It is a tricky business to track accurately the flow of Sharavathi, especially when you are at site. (Imagine... What if Sharavathi was a major river? How many times would I have chased the wild goose?!) The reservoirs further complicate the issue; water would seem to be flowing in from everywhere, and staying there. The dynamics of flowing water is completely lost here, overtaken by tranquility! I am speaking about the Talakalale Balancing Reservoir which receives water from Linganamakki Dam through an underground tunnel of about 4.3 km length, that opens out at Bidaruru, just off Kargal - Bhatkal road. This Reservoir feeds the Mahatma Gandhi Power Project at Jog Falls. These parts are off limits for the general public due to security reasons.
Journeys end. Idylls break. We reach destinations….. At the far end was Sunkadamane, which had all of one house and one family living in it! Yes, such things exist. The rest of the world may be ignorant, but not the itinerant salesman, whose ilk has populated that home with so many wordly things that you would be taken by surprise really. In a world dominated by musical chairs, this lady has a whole bunch of them at her disposal!
Water, isles of intense green and the blue sky that occasionally hosted a flirtatious cloud. And the deafening silence if you could blank out the hissing noise from the motor. What else do you need to conjure up Heaven?! If life were a journey like this, who would ever need destinations? Only eternity would do.
The appointed day was 4th Feb. 2020. Dhanapal sauntered up to the meeting point at 11 AM, completely oblivious to my eagerness. The boat was under a shelter and the approach made it comfortable to embark. We climbed in, checked the motor, fuel, & the life jackets, and set off. The sky was a bit overcast and created a sobering effect complimentary to the landscape. This is what I saw as soon as I settled down for the ride.
On a lucky day, I managed to catch hold of the eternally busy boatman after two failed attempts. His FRP motorboat is the only mode of sailing across the Talakalale reservoir and he agreed to take me on a ride. And yes, Sharavathi has tested my patience time & again; sometimes, I have ended up changing my plans after reaching specific access points and engaged in exploring other minor features that abound the landscape.
The road that goes around the water body is not uniformly hospitable. When you pause and look around, you find breathtaking vistas like this!
There is a road that encircles the entire Reservoir area. Driving - and sometimes trekking - along these stretches, I could visit places hitherto unkown like Vaddanbail, Vatakki, Melina Haklu & others, and photograph Sharavathi from these locations. However, setting sail on the reservoir itself kept eluding me despite persistent efforts to coordinate the boat ride with the local people.