Monday, July 4, 2016

An imposing ravine @ Syntheri Rocks

From Supa, we now wind up the Ghat roads towards a tourist attraction Syntheri Rocks. We  travelled for more than 17 kms through deep forests  and then drove up hill. The foliage was more denser and varied  and the colors ranged from dried brown to intense green. I could only identify the tall bamboo shoots some of which were burnt.  Yet again, we could see boards calling out to the drivers to go slow as the wild of the forest could cross the roads anytime. But no such luck for us, infact our driver was telling he saw a leopard and its cub crossing the road the previous day and a couple of days back a King Cobra crossing and when they wanted to show the tourists desperately, they could not. 

After a perfect ride through beautiful driving  weather and fresh forest breeeze, which our open windows of omni freely cross ventilated, we reached Syntheri rocks. Syntheri rock is an imposing  monolithic rock (  description in photo below) supposed to have been formed by volcanic eruptions some many millions of years ago. This place is supposed to have been discovered by an English lady Ms. Syntheri and hence the name. 

The sun which was playing hide and seek then shone brightly when we landed in the clear landing where the more than 200( around 250+) steps descended. Was initially skeptical if i should go down with weak knees but then my family had already descended and so i followed suit. The steps were  comfortably placed in the beginning and then went steep as it led down and finally there were no steps and one had to hop from one steep rock to another to finally reach the little water fall made by River Kaneri. It was amazing to see the imposing rock and the forests it held from depth.It reminded me of another western ghats waterfall but a huge one at athirapally in Kerala.   We spent time walking close to the waterfall( did'nt get down, there was a warning board that the water current had claimed 12 lives), sitting on a rock under the soothing green canopy  and listening to the pleasant gurgle of the the  streaming  waterfall and taking photographs with the fall as a backdrop.  After spending more than 30 minutes soaking the place we ascended back the 250 steps in cloudy weather and drove back to our holiday home for lunch.

As soon as we finished our late lunch at 3.p.m in the rustic gazebo, there was a huge downpour which  cut us off from our room. The curtain of water was so thick that it even lashed crossly under the shelter and blocked the view of our room. We managed to the room with the garden umbrella. 

2 hours later, the sun was shining bright again and there was no standing water in the land where we were. Rain and shine ....So i deal for greenery to thrive, no wonder the rainforest.  And the rest of the time till we left the place the following afternoon, we spent exploring the damp, lush and wild place. In the evening, We walked around the earthy place. Somewhere between smelling the wild jasmine plants  and the  plantain farm, we stopped at a compost heap and took the rich soil in our hands. There was a moment of epiphany. This is what it means to live close to the earth. 

Next day morning, while the teens were still sleeping, we went on an unguided walk into the forests,  walking over the mulch with the calls of the birds and cicadas for company, butterflies flitting,mushrooms on  a tree's bark...was hoping to see a snake slither by ..but that did'nt happen. On our way back, we saw a neighbouring homestay's jeep near a house  and spoke to the driver asking him about the location. 

10 minutes later when we were walking up the lane,, he was honking behind us asking if we wanted to see his homestay. We did't carry our wallet and had no money to offer him, he asked us to join for a free ride. We went 2kms up the road crossing our property. We went into the estate  and saw it was more like a resort with man made lake with activities like  coracle ride, kayaking, burma bridge, paved pathways, landscaped garden but the rooms and washrooms were more glamorous .  We were offered free tea and after going around the typical tourist brochure way of eco-friendly homestay, we were on the road back to our place, when the same guy honked again and  offered to drop us back to the back gate of our homestay but this time, his jeep was full of local villagers going to work. So, a free ride and free tea later( some things do come free), we reached our place for the morning breakfast. 

We idled our time at the place striking conversation with arun and playing till our driver came to take us to Dandeli. We boarded the bus from Dandeli to Dharwad.

At Dharwad, I met an online FB  friend for the first time, who is a very talented and wonderful human and spent some quality time with her for close to 2 hours and boarded the bus to Hubli. From Hubli we reached our city hoarding Ilkals as gifts and Dharwad pedas in our backpacks, a crate of Alphonso which Dharwad is famous for and a heart full of memories. 

 all along the trek down the steps you find such rock descriptions that make up the place with stone benches to rest.
                              Non-stop trek down the 250 steps

             The kaneri river gushing by the 300 feet monolithic syntheri rock

very slippery, supposed to have claimed 12 lives 
                 The forest bee making the rock its home
                                                   a view up from the deep ravine

              on an unguided trek into the forest in the morning
                     an early moning  walk on the road to dandeli


  1. Thanks for the wonderful travelogue. And, beautiful photos. Reminds me of Yosemite National Park.

    1. Thank you SG for reading the post and glad that it reminded you of Yosemite.

  2. Asha,
    Thank You for this wonderful travelogue. Did not know about this place at all even though growing up I lived in Uttara Karnataka. Thank You for making us aware of all these places. We definitely want to go visit this sometimes. You are an inspiration for me truly. No doubt about it.

    Thank You,

    1. Thank you Veena for your kind words. Your appreciation means a lot to me. Glad you liked it.

  3. Very nice. Charming and not very frequented - both to my taste.

    Everything great in your travelogue until you came to the last sentence. Boo to carrying pedas and Alphonsos :):):) What is an "Ilkal" by the way ?

    1. Thank you Ramesh for reading the posts and leaving appreciative and encouraging comments. Coming from a widely travelled person like you, it is an huge honor.

      Regarding the last sentence, For me a travel is incomplete without local food and local crafts. Ilkal is a GI tag handloom woven near a place by the same name.