5:15 AM December 25. Veena N, Veena R and I. Dharwad, Kalghatgi, Yellapur, Idagundi...
At Veena's place I met her parents and sister Vinaya. We had good breakfast; paper dosa, ghee, liquid jaggery and coffee. Veena showed her arecanut garden and took us to Ramalingeswara temple. We met one of her cousins... I remember them calling Suranna. We got back home and left to Sirle, about 8km drive.
I parked my car off NH63, at the beginning of a narrow dirt track road to Sirle village. We walked down the steep path. It was cool at the top and got warmer as we went down into the valley.
This is Talegari leaf. Talegari plants are unique to this part of Western Ghats. It seems the plant can be found in few places and Sirle is one amongst them. In fact, our decision to walk was a good one. We would see so many varieties of plants, trees and flowers. I saw a big spider but could not get a good shot of it. The sounds of the jungle were soothing after all the maddening sounds of cities.
Sirle is one big arecanut plantation with 6 or 7 houses scattered around, all homes belonging to one family. Every house is designed to handle arecanut processing... a cauldron packed in a dirt-insulated stove to boil ripe fruits and raised platforms to dry them. Almost everything is from nature. Arecanut stems are used as beams and pillars. Talegari leaves are used to protect things from rain. People here are truly down to earth. They are natural engineers.
That's Veena, Veena's father Nagesh Bhat and Veena of Idagundi.
Nagesh Bhat took me on a guided tour to Sirle waterfall, a short walk through the plantation. Veena's mother and both Veena's also joined us. There's a natural rock arch with a small cave within. The inside of the cave was pretty dark and we did not bother to venture near it... God knows what slithery creatures were lurking in it.
That's a smaller arch within the bigger arch.
The temple shaped rock looks like it fell off the top.
Dry bamboo roots.
The ladies start hunting for black smooth surfaced stones. My guess; to grind chatni.
Nagesh Bhat helps them find some. This particular stone was shaped like a Shivalinga.
We headed back to the arecanut plantation and climbed up towards the waterfall top. Nagesh Bhat & brothers have constructed a small dam and channels to divert water to irrigate the plantation.
Water flows over the dam and then rushes down towards the edge, dives down the cliff kicking up a mild spray and flows down deeper into the jungles.
I look forward to visit Sirle again... during a rainy season.