Banavasi to Gerusoppa

Update to remove broken links. No other meaninful update.

Staying in Bombay for a year now, I have seen how Shivaji, and his heroic acts, are now a part of lore, and more so, a part of their core identity – Maharashtrian Pride. After visiting Banavasi, in the Kannada heartland tucked in the Western Ghats, I remembered the historical king whose introduction to me was through the glorious movie – Mayura. I guess he, and the story of his ascent to the Kadamba throne has enough heroics and romance about them to merit some place in the Kannada identity that many in Karnataka are trying to seek.

I have seen them (the many) taking resort in various symbols like Rajkumar (will come to this irony in a while), Kempe Gowda, etc. It’s also manifested in their (quasi-)hate for various other concepts like other regional languages, non-Kannada movies, BPO-IT-Mall culture, proliferation of non-Kannada speaking people in urban centers, etc. It’s lamentable that they haven’t used political and other related machinery to invoke Kannada pride in Kannada people by having other more meaningful symbols – Kannada literature, historical figures like Mayura Varma, classic Kannada movies, Kannada speaking intellectuals like Girish Karnad, etc. The irony I was reffering to earlier was that while they can have Rajkumar as a symbol for Kannada identity, they don’t look at the glorious characters he has played in Kannada Cinema. Also, again ironically, a popular Tamizh speciality restaurant in Bangalore goes by the name “Kadambam.” Hmmmm

Anyways, the Madhukeshwara temple at Banavasi felt great in spite of us not having a guide, and therby missing all the unique things that the temple has to offer tourists, Kannada identity seekers, or people who come there to worship. I will ensure that I won’t miss those again. On an aside – there was this “seve” that someone was having there, and during their lunch, we managed to get two glasses each of the fabulous tangy ‘n spicy Malnad drink: Mavinkayi Neergojju or AppehuLi.

Gerusoppa, popularly called Jog Falls, is now maintained by the grandiosely named “Jog Management Authority.” I guess its job is to ensure that the visiting area of an entire two square kilometers is clean, safe, and fun for visitors. That apart, the waterfall itself is quite spectacular. I will upload photos here once Nishant’s (analog) SLR camera rolls are developed. At 8 in the morning, the mist, the clouds, the overcast weather, the chill, the silence, the smell of water, the sound of birds, the rustle of leaves, echoes, the great view from the bridge before the falls, and of course, the light spray of rain now and then, made up for the lack of a gushing waterfall. Tragically, we just caught a small stream trickling down the massive wall of rock, but it was still worth the early morning drive. And of course, the drive itself is worth the …er….drive.