Saturday, December 05, 2009

Weekend Camping by the River Cauvery at Bheemeshwari in Karnataka, India

An impromptu decision taken in the middle of the week took us to Bheemeshwari over the weekend. We had called the Kanakapura forest department office a couple of days in advance to get the necessary permissions. And thus 6 of us left our homes at Bangalore on an early Saturday morning.

Bheemeshwari, lies on the banks of the Cauvery, just south of Bangalore in eastern Mandya district and is situated about 120 kms from Bangalore.

We stopped enroute at a South Indian Restaurant for our breakfast of steaming idis, vada and masala dosa. We reached the forest check post at about 9 AM, paid for all our permits, got ourselves a forest guide and headed towards the main parking lot.

The day was getting warm, but all of us badly wanted to go on a short hike. So, off we went with our forest guide towards a hill that presents great views of the Cauvery and the valley below. Armed with caps and bandanas to protect us from the sun, we made slow headway.

The hike was steep, but since all of us were fresh and fit, we made the ascent in a short while. At the top, there was a small tower, that offered breathtaking views of the lovely valley.

We also used this tower and its shade to take some interesting photos. After spending close to 30 minutes on this tower, we retreated our way back to the parking lot. From here, we carried all our gear and equipment and headed in the other direction to find a good camping spot by the Cauvery River.

Since, I was on a motorcycle, we used it to load all the heavy luggage.

After seeing a couple of locations, we found our perfect camping site. It was by the river, had enough flat land to accommodate 3 tents, had the shade of multiple trees, had its own small beach, a great spot to build a camp fire and loads of privacy.

After setting up camp, all of us jumped into the river to cool from the hot sun. What followed next was a long swimming and water sport session. People got dunked into the water, we had dives, somersaults took place and frenzied dips took place.

Even after such a draining session, a couple of folks preferred to just sit in the water and relax. The guys who had gotten out of the water, dried themselves up and set out to collect dry firewood to set up the camp fire and thus enable with dinner preparations.

As the evening set in, it was beautiful to see the changing colours of the river and the sky. It was possibly a pure view away from all pollution and clatter.

Soon, we had a ripping, raging and roaring cam fire. While dinner was getting ready, all of us entertained ourselves with the Hoombalala dance!! Dinner was a quiet event as all of us satisfied our hungry palates with rice and noodles along with some mouth watering gravy.

Slowly after dinner, some folks got ready to call it a night, while the others preferred to stare at the starry night with their backs on the soft beach sand. It was a great experience staring at the stars while listening to the sound of the cicada reverberating in the jungle and the soft laps of the river water next to us.

In the morning, some of the folks had gotten up pretty early and thus the rest of the group woke up to the aroma of freshly prepared breakfast. After a hearty breakfast, some of the folks went to explore the territory, some went to try their luck with fishing, while the others went to the nearby town to buy food supply for lunch.

All of us got together just before lunch. The expert cooks in the group got ready with their knives and utensils to prepare lunch, while the not so expert cooks, hit the water for a relaxing dip.

We got out of the water as soon as we smelt the pleasant aroma in the air. Such was the aroma, that the neighbouring monkeys (bonnet macaques) too came running over. We had to chase them over before they left us hungry.

After a sumptuous lunch, we relaxed in the shade for a short while and then got on with packing up our camp. After packing up, we made our way back to the parking lot. By this time, it was late evening. We took some final group photographs and headed to Bangalore.

The camping experience the last couple of days was great and Bheemeshwari offers a fabulous weekend getaway from Bangalore. For the more luxury seeking people, this place has great jungle camps and offers a lot of fishing/angling opportunities.
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