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Secrets of the River

(This piece has been published in The New Indian Express)

A thick green forest, vast grassy stretches, and a river running through the undulating landscape. And to think all this is a mere 100 km away from Bangalore! Cross Kanakapura, and you will get to see hamlets of about 30-40 families punctuating the forest. As we go past Sathanur and take the Muthathi road (which by the way is an adventure in itself, considering the poor state of the road), we see stretches of mulberry plantations, banana crops, and all the pastoral scenes that jump straight out of a fourth-standard textbook chapter on rural life. Bheemeshwari Nature and Adventure Camp (was a fishing camping earlier) is an initiative of Jungle Lodges, Karnataka government's excellent eco-tourism project. The camp was earlier a fishing camp that attracted tons of visitors because of the Mahseer, the fish that has made the gushing and throbbing River Cauvery its home. Fishing (even catch and release) is banned now, but the camp attracts visitors for other reasons. The region offers excellent trekking trails, and you can trek all the way to the Basavana Betta which apparently has an old forest guesthouse constructed by the Mysore Maharajas. We chose to trek four km to the watch tower en route, and that was a satisfying trek on its own. We were richly rewarded with a view of the entire Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary region that encompasses bits of Kanakapura, Kollegala Chamarajanagar and Ramangara regions.



Apart from the trek, Bheemeshwari also offers rafting, adventure sport activities such as the Burma Loop and Parallel Walk, and a Zip Line. Never one for adventure, I was somehow dragged into these activities. And it turned out to be quite an adventure when I was stuck midway across the zip line for a few moments! 

But what I loved most, apart from all the activities on offer, was to sit by the river and read. Not that I got much reading done, because at some point I gave up on Richard Flanagan's 'The Road to the Deep North' and just stared at the river. As I watched the river take on many shades through the afternoon, and then the sun setting over the horizon, a lone coracle catching a glint of sunshine even as the sun disappeared, I was reminded of Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. The river is life. The river is a metaphor for everything. Journeys, beginnings, endings. A single moment in an eternity. 

You can check out junglelodges.com for more on Bheemeshwari, the accommodation, distance and other details. 

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