GHATIKALLU Homestay: The best hangout place for Corporates

          I consider it to be one of my basic rights to choose a peak, a place or a location in Western Ghats when obliged to plan a trip, trek or an outing. 

            Fed up with the routine work in office, few of my colleagues came up with an idea of spending the weekend in a serene place, muted from telephone rings, keystrokes and computer beeps.  My share of the plan was to find a place which was safer (As we had few gals and more ladies in the team) remote and in the hearts of the Ghats. Unlike my other unplanned trips, I had a huge responsibility in this one in taking care of the amateurs in the team.

            “Why not a homestay amidst the Ghats? “. Though this was the first and only thought that stuck my mind, I was a bit sceptical about the opinions of few and feared they would reject my proposal!! But I was taken by surprise when everyone said “Puneeth, Ki Jai “!!

               After lots of googling, bugging through the blogs, browsing through the website of homestays and sneaking through the activities offered, tariffs and stuffs, we decided on a homestay named GHTAIKALLU near Chickamagalur situated amidst 100s of acres of coffee estate!!

              15, was the final count!! The dates were decided and the homestay was booked!! Drizzles and showers in the middle of July were the only things we were concerned about!! But later part of the story turned it to the best-est part of our trip!!

             Just before the day of departure, a general body meeting was called and a big lecture was given by me on the dos and don’ts!! My confidence was not because I knew everything but it was just because my colleagues didn’t know anything about the place!! :-P

              On the night of Friday the 12th, we started off. As usual, most of our travelling time was spent in playing games, singing songs and pulling each other’s legs. While few enthusiastic people continued giving chorus to the song being playing on the deck, I dozed off till I opened my eyes to the first rays of light in the sky. Amidst the drizzle, at around 6 am in the morning, we had a pit stop in kottigehara for revitalising!! Despite carrying the route map given to me at the time of booking, I was forced to enquire with the locals and call the proprietor of the homestay as well to ask the exact directions to reach Ghatikallu!!

             Solving the maze of the Ghats to find the right path out and to the destination was something close to impossible. On our request we were escorted by one of the homestay guy from Sunkasale and I believe it is the best option one can choose if going for the first time. One has to detour from SH 106 and take a worn out road up the hill and through the estates to reach the coffee county!!

             Talking about the road to the homestay…. it’s a stretch of around 6 Km and passes through the estates. It is a mere jeep track and is muddy, swampy and completely worn out. The sole reason for this condition is the heavy downpour in this region!!  The road is narrow and will definitely impose a tough task on the drivers to dodge the vehicles coming from opposite direction. Luckily, we didn’t encounter any!!!

                20 t0 25 minutes of this humpy bumpy ride up the mountain finally led us to our destination. We were early by an hour and a half when compared to the usual check in time of 9 am. The proprietor greeted and accompanied us till our rooms. It took us some time to acclimatize to the sudden drop in temperature and to the changes in the weather around. We freshened up to sip our second round of coffee.

                 At present, I accept, a year passed but I still lack words to describe my first sight, that stupendous scenic picturesque beauty and the feel I experienced. Up to the horizon, it was only the lush green patches that I could see. The pleasant odour of the soil still carried the traces of last night’s heavy downpour!! The cool breeze, the drizzle, the ambience, the flora and the buzzing bees, the freshness of the location …well, no words to describe!!!  It was pristine and we were in a paradise!! U open the door of your cottage and you see a beautiful waterfall in the distance!! Believe me!! It was a dreamland!!  Absolutely was one of the most memorable captures one can ever have in their lifetime.

Waterfall at the Distance

 

Our eyes were filled with the beauty of the surrounding and so as our hearts, but not our bellies!! Before we could realize we were hungry, our breakfast from the malnad menu, the Akki rottis and kadbus (made of rice) were ready to be feasted on in the dining hall!!  To the northies in the group, this food was something very new, but for me, it was an ethnic homeland one!! 

 

Dining Hall

While each one of us was busy galloping the food, the proprietor pitched in to brief us about the places around and the activities that they offered. A plan of our choice was designed.

Out of the many offers he made, we chose the below ones.

1.       Guided visit to a remote waterfall.

2.       Visit to the sunset point.

3.       Campfire in the night.

4.       Visit to Ghatikallu peak.

Wondering why we chose only 4 for our 30+ hours of Stay??? Hmmm…to be honest we were lazy, we just wanted to relax and chill out!! Rather than burning our calories by roaming around the places, we wanted to be completely lazy to feel and enjoy the places that we chose!!

We packed a few mandates and started off from the base camp.

Visit to a remote waterfall

Don’t be fooled by the word “Visit”, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Again!! A few minutes of humpy bumpy jeep ride followed by few kilometres (Not more than 3) of treacherous trek up the hill and with our best buddies of the ghat -“the leeches “ opens up to this beautiful waterfall. Not sure about the name but this was the same waterfall that we had seen from our base camp.  While some of us didn’t bother to donate few drops of blood to the leeches, others wasted time in checking the bites all along the trek but ended up in clinging on a bunch more of them. The trek isn’t that difficult but the continuous drizzle, the streams flowing across and the slippery slopes posed an ample of challenges to our first timers in the team. With snail’s pace it took us about an hour and a half to get in face to face with the waterfall. In no time, we were completely drenched.  At this close distance the moist breeze around Stopped us from clicking the snaps. In the end, we were only loaded with the memories to boast.  

Note: Do wear shoes that can cope with treks like these. Witnessed Shoe bites turning out to be more dangerous than leech bites!!

The Lunch was ready by the time we returned. We dried ourselves before moving to the dining hall. The food was south Indian including both veg and non-veg and was a delicacy to the northies in our team. Until our next activity “Visit to the sunset point”, all we were supposed to do was to pass the time!!  We were unleashed!! We chatted, danced in the drizzle, played dumb charades; we explored the vegetation around, walked through the plantations and clicked a few snaps as well!!

 

Sunset Point

The place was definitely at a high altitude and the vegetation around was lush green. The gentle reddish glow over the horizon was a signal that the sun was about to set. Dark clouds filled the sky and the atmosphere turned foggy. With the sun, it was a game of hide and seeks. Often when the fog cleared, we could catch a glimpse of the valleys to see more patches of paddy fields, small lakes, areca nut and coffee plantations with less human settlements. Our routine task of capturing the moments started and it continued for a quite long time. In the end, our only satisfaction was the ruby red glow in the west rather than seeing the reddish disc itself. Meanwhile, the drizzle increased and to avoid getting more wet we packed up and retuned to our base camp.

 

View from Sunset Point

Note: The place isn’t much far from the base and the road ain’t bad. Better opt taking your private vehicle. Even the proprietor insists on the same. 

We sipped our cup of coffee with the evening snacks. It was again the dumb charades that we relied on for passing the time till we lit the camp fire.

Campfire

Dropping temperature after sunset forced us to quickly get the stuffs ready for the campfire but for a while, the drizzle around showed no mercy on us. At around 8 pm, the weather turned favourable with the sky becoming comparatively clear. With all arrangements for the campfire done, we lit the tinder and occupied the chairs placed around, covering the fire. We definitely owe a big thanks to the proprietor for helping us out with the driest timber in a season like that. Pakka!! The fire wouldn’t have lasted long without that.

Let me reveal a hidden truth!! :-P The plan for campfire was made only to comfort the ladies in the team. We guys, had our own ways of combating the cold and from inside. We filled our glasses with so called hot drinks and toasted in the name of nature around. The chicken dry that we ordered for combination was the best I could have ever had in recent times or maybe I felt it so yum because of the weather around!! We pitied the ladies in the team; they were contented only with pakodas and soft drinks.

It was again the dumb charades that we played for keeping up the spirit. We even tried a few other games as well but entertainment was guaranteed only in dumb charades. While dizziness pushed a few off them to doze off quickly after dinner we continued to be in buzz till 12:30 – 1. We recalled our experiences of the day, shared it with each other and decided on the best part of the day before we went to the bed. I slept with a contentment of achieving something which no words can explain and can only be felt. I was happy that when I open my eyes to the rising sun the next day I would be greeted by new challenges and brand new experiences.

Visit to Ghatikallu peak.

As expected, the Next morning was so refreshing, but yes!! It took us some time to become sober before we completely felt it. As usual we freshened up, sipped our cup of coffee, finished our breakfast and packed our stuffs for the last activity of our stay. It was jeep ride to the peak of Ghatikallu through the narrowest and treacherous track one can ever imagine. The path went through the estates and most part of it was an uphill climb. It was marshy and merely looked like a motorable track. We ended up with a few questions in our mind… “Can a Jeep climb this? Should we try this or just give up? “ . With all these unanswered questions we climbed into the back side of a Mahindra pickup truck. Once again the humpy bumpy ride started with us wobbling across all the time. For the complete stretch we stood clinging on to the railings on the sides of the truck for support. To make this experience a bit more interesting, god showered his blessings on us in the form of rain and drenched us completely.

After around a ride of 40 minutes through the plantations and estates, slippery roads and marshy land of the jungle…. finally, the Engine came to a halt marking the end of one side of our journey. A walk uphill for 10 minutes led us to the peak.

No words I have to explain the beauty of the place. For better understanding please see the pics below!!

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Mist Covered Peak of Ghatikallu

Most of the memory in our cam was spent in clicking this beautiful creature below (Green Vine Snake).

After few minutes of our photo-shoot we returned to the basecamp but through a different route and a less risky one. Though our energy level was nil, we never ever wished this ride to end ……We definitely knew “End of the ride was an end of our trip “

After our lunch we started our journey back to Bangalore!!

This place looks awesome.

This place looks awesome. Remdinds me of our trip to the coffee estates of Madikeri. How's the food here?

Indeed its awesome. its a

Indeed its awesome. its a guest house so food should be nice i guess.

Very nice place. I had been

Very nice place. I had been there few years back. You can visit http://dreamscometrue24092012.blogspot.in/2015/02/ghatikallu-unravelling... for our experience at Ghatikallu

Please explore my blog which includes various places I had visited along with my friends.

Thanks for dropping by. I and

Thanks for dropping by. I and Puneeth will definitely look into your blog posts.

+- Vishnu

Hey,it would be even more

Hey,it would be even more helpgful if you could post the contact details of the homestay and also give a brief idea about the budget of your trip

Thanks in Advance

Hi Thashwin, They do have a

Hi Thashwin,

They do have a dedicated website for this Homestay...www.ghatikallu.com. U can browse through the same for all details. 

 

Regards,

Puneeth 

Will ask puneeth to update

Will ask puneeth to update the same. Thanks for your suggestion.

+- Vishnu

nice exploration. i do

nice exploration. i do enjoyed via pics the aroma and beauty of the ghats. keep sharing such incredible content.

Sure Mark..thank you!

Sure Mark..thank you!

Will pass thanking note to

Will pass thanking note to Puneeth for sharing such a beautiful story with us.

Awesome write=up..Keep up

Awesome write=up..Keep up this awesome job of Charting the Uncharted places of the Western Ghats..Your Blogs are true Inspiration for Us to Explore more and more of the Ghats

Thanks for your comment. Yes,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, blogs from Puneeth are truly inspiration. Everytime he comes up with wonderful information about Western Ghats. One of the true explorer of Ghats. Waiting for another discovery from him in near future.

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