The Cauvery means many things in these parts — life and conflict, mother and irreverent lover, sacred river and source of fun. It is the last that we’re chiefly concerned with as we bump along the rough forest road towards the fishing camp at Galibore. Just 2 hrs from Bengaluru and the roads have given way to green mountains, monkeys and butterflies. Brilliant birds streak past in the bushes. Herds of goat trip along the rocks. We reach a clearing and there, a few feet away, shines the river.
The camp is both basic and remote, an ideal jungle experience. A few tents placed on the banks of the river, hammocks beckoning in the sun, roosters pecking the ground — this is what makes up the place. The choices are simple: adventure or sloth. If you opt for the former, there are coracle rides, white water rafting and trekking. Or you can curl up with a book in a hammock and watch the river flow. Galibore Fishing and Nature Camp and another camp at Bheemeshwari along the Cauvery are run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts as wildlife retreats and adventure resorts.
Coracles are the preferred vehicle around here. With their round, bamboo-weave bottoms and gentle movement, they offer an easy way to enjoy the river. There is something light, almost flimsy, about a coracle, which makes a ride seem adventurous. Manned by one person, its movement is slow, almost a caress on the waters. It is also relatively noiseless. This is one of the least intrusive ways of enjoying the river. For those in the mood for something more adventurous, there is white water rafting for which they take you 5 km upstream and then let you bump and churn over the rocks. The guided walking treks are flexible and you can choose from a couple of routes and walk as long — or as little — as you want. This is a good way to explore the neighbouring hills and the variety of fauna including birdlife and butterflies.There are plenty of nooks by the river where you can nestle among the trees and watch the swirling waters at sunset. Rock pools create interesting shapes, if you are in the mood you may meditate on them. Tree roots are wild and overgrown. Insect life is fascinating and includes crimson earthworms, mating butterflies and dragonflies with their pearly wings. As night falls, there is a bonfire on the banks of the river. Guests gather around it, eat and drink, discuss the day’s heist and sink back into the sounds of the jungle. Lanterns cast their warm, dim glow. The dark shadows of trees on the ground and the buzz of insects in the jungle make it ideal for ghost stories. Pan’s labyrinth can indeed be mysterious and enchanting.
Location: On the banks of the Cauvery River, only a short distance south of Bengaluru in Ramanagaram District
Distance: 103 km S of Bengaluru; Journey time: by road: 2 and half hours
When to go: The camp is open all year round
By Anindita Sengupta
About the author: Aninditi Sengupta is a poet and freelance writer based in Bangalore.