This is a pick from old memories of exactly a year ago.. I had decided to catch up with my mom over the weekend while she was away on a business trip.
I boarded the bus to Belgaum from Bangalore and my mom was there to receive me when I alighted there the next morning.. We freshened up at the place where mom was put up and then we headed straight to Gokak. The little town known for its cotton mill, is also famous for the nature’s treat- the mighty Niagara of Karnataka. The bubbling, roaring and crashing waters of the Ghataprapha river create steady patterns here with endless rhythm as it leaps 52m down between two tall, craggy cliffs to form the Gokak falls..
The century old hanging bridge, the only mode for the textile workers to cross the river allows us to enjoy the breathtaking vista of the environ as the gushing water plummets down. The presence of turbines dating back to 1885 stands testimony to the electricity generation station established here which still provides power source for the cotton mill across the street. The 11th century Shiva temple dedicated to Lord Mahalingeshwara (Locally known as Tarakeshwara temple), built in the Kalyani Chalukyan style, faces the cotton mill and flanks one side of the gorge.
Meanwhile, I called a friend of mine who hails from Belagavi district to enquire about other places I could visit around his hometown. He guided us to a small village named Godchinmalki where river Markandeya cascades down amid a scenic backdrop forming another beautiful waterfall called by the same name. Mom and I walked down for 2kms through rolling green pastures, fields of corn and banana plantation to reach this waterfall that plummets down in 2 storeys. Once we reached there- it was a thorough treat to our senses to watch the waterfalls racing ferociously through the deep gorge.
We thanked my friend who had directed us to such a beautiful place in the lap of mother nature which, we would have missed otherwise.
On our way back, we took a little longer route from where we got a complete view of river Markandeya snaking though the greens. A 9kms long underground canal carries water from the river across which can be seen emerging out of the hill from this view point. The snaking roads with beautiful views of the valley was a wonderful drive to the city.
After all the waterfall hopping was done, it was time for some temple visit. We headed to Saundatti a.k.a. Savadatti. This place was the capital of the Ratta / Rastrakuta dynasty from 820, until it was shifted to Belgaum in 1230. There is a fort here also called the Parasgad fort. But, the most famous is the Renukadevi temple located atop the Yellamma gudda. This is a very place important for devout followers of Godess Shakthi. It also is an important place for the devadasis- or the servants of god. We had a good darshan during the pooja offered at sunset time. and it was soon dark and time for me to head back home to face another boring week ahead…
Do not miss to pick up kardantu(a sweet made with dry fruits rolled into balls with jaggery) while you are at Gokak.