Thursday, June 24, 2010

One Night @ Chorla Ghat

Komal: A CA student, wildlife enthusiast, my classmate since 8th std, we've been together for many treks- in Goa and in the Himalayas. Quiet, generally non fussy, average in stamina, a team player! 

Sharvani: My best friend, non fussy, high stamina, high enthusiasm, when excited- talks a bit too much! a Bored CA final student  .
Janaki: Low stamina, high enthusiasm, when excited talks non stop whether anybody understands or not, suddenly turns extremely fussy when tired, a confused law graduate.

Sangam: Our wildlife expert that night. Supposedly knows the ghats inside out. A fellow Geminian, calm and composed, the only guy amongst us with a SLR that me and Sharvani eye all the time, I call him "Pappa."

 From Left: Sharvani, Komal, Gauri, Janaki and Sangam.

19th June: We spent the saturday night at Khokral, Maharashtra at Manerikar's Residence.

20th June: On sunday morning we visited a waterfall that was close by. We weren't tired since we hadn't walked too much and as I was to leave for Bangalore in 2 days, I wanted to do more than just 1 trek. So I , coaxed Sangam ( pappa) to coax the other 2- Komal and sharvani to come to Chorla Ghaat.

And so the adventure began....

Pappa had told all of us that it would be only a drive on the ghats since we reached late at around 6.15 pm when the sun was almost about to set in a few minutes time. The ghats in monsoons are foggy, wet, green and dark.

We crossed the Swapnagandha Resorts and the Wildernest Resorts in the Goan side of the ghat and crossed over to Karnatak side. The roads were bad, full of pot holes and at around 6.40pm, one of Estillo's tires gave up!

Apart from trucks and state transport buses, there were very few private vehicles passing by, mostly on their way back home on sunday night after a well spent day in the Chorla Ghats.

As the other 3 got down to changing the punctured tire, I spotted a beautiful and cute waterfall some distance away. It looked close enough to reach in around 15-20 minutes by foot. Pappa, knowing the area very well opposed the idea since the area is infested with leeches and other big and small known and unknown creatures, but poor thing couldn't do much  in front of the excitement of 3 girls who wanted to "Complete" their experience of a weekend with a bath in the spotted natural Jacuzzi!

And so we left the car near the main road, and trekked down to the waterfall. All we had were 4 mobiles which were all out of range, 1 umbrella with torch and a  jacket.

In the forests, as opposed to a rear view mirror of a car, images that appear close by are actually further away.

It took us 40 minutes to reach the base of the fall, the sunlight was almost fading, the fog was rising and Pappa was tensed about the safety of 3 girls.

When we finally reached the Jacuzzi, we couldn't dare to enter the water which in the dark looked scary, dark, mysterious and so was the rest of the forest....suddenly the horror of the situation seeped our brains about what Pappa had been telling all along.

"Pappa, we'll reach up to the road in time no?" I asked cautiously.
Pappa exploded!
"Don't you dare ask me this question girls have no idea how dangerous this area is at night.....!"
Janaki: "It's not night yet...we still have plenty of time to get back!"
Pappa: In the forest, when the sun sets, it is night! Understood?

We quickly took a U-Turn and decided to head back to the car. By now, there was no sunlight, thankfully it wasn't raining though it was foggy and there was sufficient moonlight that at least let us spot each other.

It had been almost an hour we were walking back and we hadn't reached the road. We could hear the vehicles pass by on the main road but could not find our way up. It was around 8.15pm when Pappa hopelessly declared: We are lost! 

This was followed by a long tense silence. Such statements have different effects on different people- Komal went into a shock, Sharvani started the blame game and I was over excited about the prospects of getting a new adventure experience.

Sim: Sangam you said you know this area well!
Sangam: Yes! That's why I begged you all not to get down the main road, but you wouldn't listen.
Janaki: Wow! We are actually lost! I remember that song , Is kaal kaal main hum kare dhamaal!
All: SHUT the F*** UP!

Another half an hour and we still couldn't track back our way up. And then it started raining heavily. We took some shelter under a huge tree. We were by then completely wet, my cell battery as always was out, I always forget to charge it. And it's my Sony Erickson that has the most powerful light facility, others all had their fading screen lights now to guide us.

While we waited for the rains to slow down, I thought it would be a good idea to entertain the others to distract them a bit. So I chose some special stories my grandma told us which I always found creepy.

Janaki: You know my Grandma once told me a story about this one girl who went out into the forest at night and the leeches sort of all attacked her and got on to her , you know in all creepy places in her body!

Komal suddenly started scratching her body all over...
" I don't think it's a good idea to stand in one spot for such a long time. We are inviting trouble with those leeches!"

Sangam: And while walking if you step on to a snake , then? At least the leeches are not poisonous!

Janaki: And do you know, how those leeches finally had to be removed?

Sim: Shut just shut up! Is this a kind of thing to tell at this time? You are scarring the hell out of us Janaki.

Janaki: Bravery lies in one's heart Sim, you either have it or you don't!
Sim: Yes I can see that! You are the one most protected with a full pant and a jacket. We are in 3/4th's here!

The fog was making it increasingly difficult to step anywhere and so we decided to spend the night under the  tree till favorable circumstances allow us to find our way. We all wouldn't dare sit down after the leeches story, so we stood in silence, watching the night eat up the forest , and the rain drops shunning all other sounds around us.

Suddenly in the dark, we could hear some sounds, the breaking of some branches, soft rustling of leaves.....My imagination started running wild, the party and the adventure excitement was now heart was beating so fast, I could hardly breathe. Sangam stood in front of us shielding us,  I was really scared so I chose to stay right besides Pappa, Komal followed me  , Sharvani remained at the back. While Sangam was trying to see into the dark with the little light that he had, Sharvani was subconsciously stepping behind in fear of what lay ahead!

Suddenly Sharvani screamed so loudly, we felt our ears go numb for a while. She ran in the opposite direction, Komal followed her saying "avois , avois" and other exclamations in konkani . There were sounds from all directions, and I did not know where to run but I knew I had to make a move, so I ran.

The figure that Sharvani  had spotted was a herd of Bisons and they were 10 times more scared than her with her screaming, they ran into the forest.

I kept running. Behind me, I could hear Sangam asking me to stop ,saying that it was just a herd of Bisons.  In a few tense moments I'd actually climbed a difficult terrain leading to the road.

I brushed through some bushes and branches and could see a house-like with lights in front of me. Others followed behind me.

Later we found out that it was some Gopi's Dhaba.

The dhaba was closed. We walked to our car, finished the job of changing the tire and the 4 of us cramped up inside the car to take a nap till dawn.

We woke up to the sweet whistling of the Malabar Whistling Thrush at around 5am, and started our journey back home.

I've been lost in jungles before, but there were more people and we were well equipped so the situation wasn't as bad as this one. Now that I am back on safe ground, I can look back at this experience and add it in my "Most exciting days of my life" List!

Some more clicks of our trekking days:


  1. hmnn nice place.. i have been there. just cool place. and the post..very nicely formatted..keep it up. going thro....

  2. Whoa .. that was one heck of an adventure. But I always believe an adventurer is one who knows where to draw the line. Getting carried away is so easy - but being sensible is what matters.

    Its good that you had quite a good time - spending almost a night in the jungle must be such a great experience. But - it is true that it could have taken quite a different turn!

    Next time you coax *me* into an adventure, I'l know what's coming :P

  3. night we were almost near tears when the whole Bison confusion took place. When the light fades, everything is so scary, and now a days we are not at all used to living without any form of light, so that fear takes over all your senses and mixed with imagination plays havoc with the brain!

    This was a miscalculated move, because other times we always have a Swiss knives, torches, matchsticks, sleeping bags and other necessary equipments with us.

  4. Very well written... One feels as if one is present there... Lucky to see the Gaurs...

  5. I don't think we really saw them. Especially me ,I just ran with fear :-)

    But I've seen them before, and they are so huge....just the idea of their size drove me away!

  6. @ Ashwin: It's the best place to be in monsoons!

  7. Should i even be saying anything about this??
    Just that its a good use of pictures... and I was a little shocked to see my pic opening the post!
    Lets have some more of these soon!

  8. you have a nice team guys ...really...

  9. woah gurl!! quite an experience i must say!! :)
    count me in for the next trek...

    PS: btw were they bisons or ..... cattle?? :P

  10. amazing experience and a very well written post!
    keep it up.

  11. @ Sharvani: D luk u gave for d snap had tht some's tht thing u do.....I'd to put it on! :-)

    @ Trupti: Yeah.....the 4 permanent members of the "Let's go" plan....but I would always like our little family to grow into a big big one soon!:-) Anybody and everybody with the spirit is welcome! :-)

    @ Siddhi: Haha! They were Bisons, Sangam spotted the herd!

    @ Bhavin: Thank u Bhavin! :-)

  12. Hey!!Nice Post! I like the way started the blog, intro of characters whose gone run the show, it’s really interesting ..I generally find just description of places boring, but your experience made it spicy! Really enjoyed reading !

  13. Looks like you turned 'adventure' on its head. Neat job with the formatting and narrative style. Engaging text interspersed with vivid images. Loved it!.

    I think this phrase needs to be highlighted 'In the forests, as opposed to a rear view mirror of a car, images that appear close by are actually further away.' A remarkable observation. Now,we know.;)

  14. Am recollecting our trek....and night-out session

  15. @ Mukta n raghu: Thank u !

    Naren : Yes.... that was the 1st time i've ever got lost at night.
    this was our 2nd!

  16. That must a real good experience.
    Lovely photographs.

  17. that was really interesting :)
    n good to hav u bak safe n sound!

  18. Whoa! that must have been extremely thrilling! I'm always looking forward to adventures like these you know. But here in west bengal, the people lack enthusiasm. ... ans yes of course we lack trekking spots too!
    Nice post!

  19. @ Xeno: U should chk out d western Ghats n trek in them. It's I think ranked amongst the top 20 biodiversity hot spots around d world. U get d Jurassic park experience in those thick jungles!

  20. This reminds me of the nite twenty of us were lost in Cotigao forests with Bianca Dias (Off Trail Adventures), Chandresh Naik (GHA).... a day trek, that went into the nite n with no torches n stuff .... getting back with cell battery light, camera light - that were low on batteries or conking out n going in circles apparently while crossing streams difficult with the fading light n thereby almost darkness was quite sumthin. n then sharing few slices of bread among ourselves. shall blog about this :P

  21. shall blog about this trek that I went for about 2 n a half years ago, a couple of others of last year as my best ones soon.
    do feel free to voice your thoughts on my blog entries too.


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