The land was vast and the landscape different. The trees were sparse and the land was painted green after the monsoon. One would think it was just another farmland if not for the board from the Karnataka Government’s forest department mentioning that it is prohibited to enter the forest.
The tar roads already disappeared and it was only off roads and the walk was beautiful. The walk was made interesting by the board warning us of the leopards, tigers and elephants. We did also spot some dried elephant shit which denoted that the warning on the board was not just another warning.
We had to break some laws made by man to experience nature. River Shimsha is one of the tributaries of the river Cauvery (காவேரி). I had witnessed Cauvery flowing in its full glory a few years back. The river then was unstoppable, unimaginably wild, loud and so powerful. I had never witnessed something so powerful in my life so far. Apparently Cauvery has 101 dams across in it. Thinking that all those dams wouldn’t slow the flow of the river in any way left me in awe. Watching the river that day, I made a decision that one day when I decide that living on this earth is enough I should end my life riding a kayak when it is overflowing like this.
That was back in 2019. This time around, the place has almost no water. It was like the whole water was drained out and all the rocks were visible. I always used to wonder how this place would look if it was in another state. For instance, when in Allepey, I was wondering how the place would look if all the water had dried out. How would all the boats run? I even asked a local person if there was an instance when the place had dried, like in a famine situation. I wanted to visit and see how the Vembanad lake looks if there is no water. Same way I have visited Cauvery both when it’s flooding and now when it is almost empty.
The river cuts the Deccan plateau to form the gorge and the water cuts the rocks leaving its colour and shape. You can consider the shape and colour of rocks here as nature’s way of drawing with water. The rocks showed different colours, colours of green, blue and black. And these rocks are dotted with green vegetation. The way these plants and trees survive in all this tough terrain is definitely the best self help book any one can read. There are roots over the rocks trying to reach the water at the bottom. And I was wondering how these trees survive during floods. There was green moss near the water. Will all these moss and trees die when there is flood in the river? If yes, is the maximum years these trees and plants would live decided by the floods in the river? These are questions from after visiting this place.
The climb down to the gorge looks scary. The path is full of small pieces of sharp stones. Once the vegetation is crossed, it is the rocks of the river bed. I assume there would be water till this place when the river is flooded. If there was water till there, what would the underwater look like? That should be pretty deep. Someone should dive into the water pool and write about it or even make a video of it.
The place had very little pollution, probably because the gorge is not very easily accessible. That is a good thing in a way.
Next time I visit Cauvery again, I will probably be done with Nadanthai Vaazhi Kaveri (நடந்தாய் வாழி காவேரி). This is a travelogue of a guy walking all the lengths of the river written in 1971. Until then here are a few pics of the place.