This was a post I wrote for an office magazine sometime back. Just thought I would post it here.
For me the best part of Honnemardu was the rustic charm of the place, the complete disconnect from the rest of the world and the brilliant waters of the Linganamakki reservoir.
Honnemardu is a small village nestled in the Western Ghats near Sagara, in the district of Shivamogga, Karnataka. Most part of the village is submerged by the waters from the Linganamakki reservoir, built by damming the Sharavathi river. And the many hillocks that decked the village now project out as small islands, ideal for camping, in the calm backwaters of Honnemardu. The water is exceptionally clean and has no sign of any pollution. The whole village is a no-plastic zone, and the camp organizers insist on every bit of plastic waste being taken back by the visitors and campers who come to Honnemardu.
We set out with a plan to camp on one of these islands on the night of the Buddha Purnima. We started from the Kacheguda station and headed towards Jog Falls ,from where we hired a jeep to take us to the nature camp conducted by Mr Swamy and Ms. Nomitha, environmentalists who have made it their life’s endeavour to revive the forest areas of Honnemardu. The campsite is managed by a team called “The Adventurers” headed by Mr. Swamy, and this group organizes all the watersports in the area.
After a quick breakfast and a briefing by Mr.Swamy about the camp and the rules and regulations to be followed while in the camp, we took our lifejackets and headed to the waters. The whole morning was spent swimming from one hillock-island to the other. Following a good lunch we spent the evening rowing the coracles and the boats. Coracles were basically big round tubs with seats and two people should put up a synchronized effort for the coracle to move forward. It was a very fine experience.
At dusk we packed our tents, some food and set off to camp in a nearby island; in anticipation of the full moon of the Buddha Pournima, that day in the year when the moon is closest to the earth. The full moon that night was a photographer’s delight, and it felt brilliant to be swimming in the calm backwaters in the light of the full moon.
The following day we headed back to the campsite and spent a good chunk of the day kayaking, canoeing and swimming. Canoeing is similar to boats except it is much faster than normal boats, but it is a bit hard to balance it and it needs a coordinated effort from two people to row it. The one and a half days of water sports was very memorable and refreshing.
Later in the evening we had a very good and long talk with Mr Swamy about his efforts to rebuild the forests of that area. He also proudly claimed that the Malabar giant squirrels which had migrated to other regions due to deforestation had returned to these lands, a great boost for the rehabilitation efforts taken by Mr. Swamy and his group.
We left the camp that night with some very fun-filled memories. It might not be a quintessential resort holiday people look for, you might have to draw water from the well for your needs and collect firewood for the night yourself, but the fun-filled activities and the pristine nature of the village is surely a memory to cherish.
**The credits for photos are not mine, it was one of my co-travelers( cannot remember his name right now)