April 7, 2012
The drive from Degaon to Talewadi was a rough one. We had to get off at a uphill stretch and guide our cabby Balu. Indica's wheels spun before gripping the rocky-dirt patches. Balu proved to be talented driver. Soon we were driving a flat stretch of dirt road. We saw a couple of thatched roof huts but no humans in sight. Balu caught a movement in one of the huts. We stopped to check if this was Talewadi. Slowly, very cautiously two women, one elderly and one middle aged, emerged from huts. I said namaskar and asked for directions to Talewadi ...the elderly pointed down the road- a little further you'll see two more houses. Barely 250m away, after a bend a road was Talewadi.
These two milestones, a mile away from each other, are from the British era. Distance shown is in miles. These are real milestones. Places mentioned are Belgaum, Shirol, Khanapur and Talewadi.
We took the Indica for another kilometer and parked at a dead end. From there we entered the jungle. Ganapati led the way, a narrow shaded path, it was silent except for birds and insects going about their chores noisily. Suddenly the shaded path ended and we were out in the open. The path winded through rocks and descended into a wide valley. The cave was neatly hidden behind a clump of trees. The picture below is a screen shot from a video I made.
Feeling confident, we relaxed a bit. The portion behind the group looks ideal for animals to lie down for sleep. No wonder Ganapati checked it.
Ganapati pointed out at a narrow opening to an inner chamber. Ganapati located an paw print in the moist floor, our untrained eyes could not pick it. Manju shone the torch at that point. We heard a low growl, a low but a nasty sounding growl for about 5 or 6 seconds. Balu asked Manju to switch off the torch. Now it was confirmed, we were guests and disturbing our beasty host. We were tense but none of us panicked.
We decided to move towards the mouth for our own safety.
Close to where Balu is, to his left we found several prints of birds' feet.
View of the valley floor and a smaller cave opposite the bigger cave.
After few minutes walk, we were at the highest point of Talewadi. The three small mounds above Balu's and Manju's heads are the rocks of Krishnapur. We are 800m and Krishnapur is 200m above the sea level. We need to descend 600m to reach Krishnapur!
We saw something we can never see in cites. A very different type of flower- white, blue and red.
The blue ones seem to the younger ones. The blue top falls off exposing the red inside.
This story will continue in the next post.