Mesmerizing, picture perfect and absorbing are the apt words to describe the small hill-station of Madikeri resting in the Western Ghats. Exhibiting freshness and charm, the town comes to life when peeked through the camera lens.
The Scotland of India is as alive as it gets in the calm tropical highland climate. One can try & be a conventional tourist types here, but it’s totally worth to step out of the vehicle and have a closer look at the roadside traces of nature. The only thought that wobbled around my mind was that everything was at peace. Less commercialized & pollution free, definitely better traits than any of the hill-stations I’ve been to.
I never expected a hill-station, hidden in the depth of the Ghats to be such picturesque & serene. Madikeri scores high on the scale of calmness with utmost beauty. It almost seems that the most placid virtue of nature is given to a place so remote that is far from the sight of city enchants. No wonder, we planned the weekend just for White Water Rafting in the vicinity of Dubare forest area. I almost under-rated Madikeri’s presence on my wander list. I’m glad I was proved wrong in no time!
We reached Mysore at 11:45 AM (way past our planned arrival time, thanks to Mysore Highway traffic stroll). From there, our friends picked us up in their TeamBHP.com flagged Ford Figo & we headed towards Dubare via Hunsur Road. The roads are peaceful when you leave Mysore towards Hunsur, but get a little swampy in the countryside. Nevertheless, the breathtaking aroma of the forests en-route make it up for the trouble caused.
Making our way through the dense Dubare forest, we reached the Rafting spot at 04:30PM, almost the closing time for them. We signed ourselves in & got ready for a much talked about Dubare White Water Rafting experience. The rafting companies provide required safety gears & instructions so that you can have fun & are safe out there too. They say in the peak season & with perfect river conditions, the waters display Level 4 rapids to row through. However, we were not that lucky as we were welcomed by the rapids of Level 2 & lesser only. Rowing our way through the wild waters, we found ourselves a stable but fast stream. What next, we hopped on into the water, off our rafts. Nothing could seem better than friends around in the vast wild waters, floating our way into yet another rapid. It was raining, which added to the thrill & adventure.
I have to admit that the Dubare Rafting guides are experienced & highly interactive. The two guides showed us the best rapids, the whirlpools & shared their fiercest rafting tales with us. I can’t forget that moment when one of them came to me & pushed me backside-down into the river while we were still traversing the rapids. It came as shock at first being pushed into the delirious water, but I realized the ecstasy of it once I was down. It’s a heavenly feeling floating alongside your raft in a substantially fast stream in a fierce river that’s set to push you into a mind-boggling rapid. Experience of a lifetime, that’s what I can say!
We completed 12kms of fun ride through the fierce waters of Dubare with no bruises, let alone injuries. All thanks to the efficient guides. It was dark & we had to get to Madikeri where we had booked our hotel. To say so, if our ride until this point was bumpy, the ride ahead to Madikeri was scary. Although our in-house guide knew the road, she did seem stranded at times amidst those dark hills. The roads were getting narrower & steeper onto the hills. It was the darkest night I’d ever seen in the hills. The creeping sounds of nocturnals from the woods & that of raging waterfalls alongside the road were scary enough while we moved forth on those steep climbs. Surrounded by woods with no human soul to be seen till the horizon (if there was any), we continued on our way. I could barely see any lights far ahead.
At times if we saw someone, we’d stop to ask the way. And whosoever we asked for directions on road would be startled & say, “Don’t go this way! Better turn back & take the state highway”. As if it was haunted or something, looked spooky to me though. After an hour long drive through those creepy woods, we were finally on the state highway leading to Madikeri. We checked in at the Highton Hotel, a little food-n-booze routine & we were off for the night.
Next day we were to start our journey back to Mysore. Had a real good breakfast at Neel Sagar Restaurant (opposite Madikeri Fort). For the benefit of my fellow wanderers, Madikeri Fort is converted into the DC office now, so there’s not much to hang around in there. On the way back, we visited the Raja Seat (a hilltop view point) & the Abbey Falls some 7kms out of Madikeri. Seeping through the not-so-densely-populated town of Madikeri, I could figure out that the place was picture perfect in all ways one could imagine. At times I felt like getting out of the car & feed the shutterbug for a while.
It was drizzling, so we couldn’t click much but the Abbey falls are a sight to witness. Especially, the bridge they have hung in front of the falls, gives an immensely refreshing experience. There’s a mile-long hike one needs to do for getting upfront with the furiously outrageous falls. Worth the effort!
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. It’d take a real wanderer to explore the calmness and beauty of such unknown land. One could travel to well-known over-commercialized hill-stations and experience the wonders of nature mentioned in their holiday brochure.
Or one can get hold of the closest traits of Mother Nature and witness the goodness. I’ve realized that the more you are willing to bend the routine, the better you are rewarded in different ways. We simply had a whale of a time getting close to the spooky woods, the raging waters and the fierce heights.