I was rather skeptical when my travel buddies told me of an unexplored waterfall in northern Karnataka that had stunned them (quite visibly!) with its “unapologetic self-assurance.” Those are some really strong words of praise for an unassuming cascade lost in nowhereness, I thought. And never have I been this wrong. I was put to shame by its sheer serenity. So allow me to take you to Sathodi; this gem of a waterfall that hums its own tune far far away on the road not taken.
What’s the brouhaha all about?
There is no brouhaha about Sathodi yet and its inconspicuousness is what will probably strike you first. And like all exquisite things, Sathodi makes you trip and fall and she almost tests your worth throughout the 2km picturesque trail that leads to the waterfall. But once you make it through, you will be rewarded with magnificent sights of the Sathodi in all her glory. Formed by a bunch of unnamed streams in the Kallaramarane Ghats of the Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka, this 15m waterfall pours into a rocky pool and then flows into the backwaters of the Kodasalli Dam.
Though Sathodi is at its visual best during the monsoons, the clayey trail and the mossy rocks will keep you from experiencing the best pleasure that it has to offer: wading all the way through the rocky pool right up to the bottom of the waterfall and feeling the current run therapeutically down your back. But make sure that you seek the locals’ safety advice before you soak yourself in this summer goodness.
What to look out for?
If sitting under a waterfall is too tranquil for your taste, Mother Nature has made sure to create some adrenaline pumping opportunities right there. Before draining into the backwaters of Kodasalli, some of the cascades flow into a huge bowl-shaped depression that is deep enough to dive into and is surrounded by cliffs just high enough for the perfect cliff jumping thrill. The friendly locals will do everything to help even if it means climbing the cliff with you to help your nerves!
And just 80 kms away is the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. With numerous resorts on the banks of the river Kali, Dandeli is the perfect stop over before you head for a day excursion to Sathodi. The avid birder and wildlife enthusiast will be spoiled for choice and the adrenaline junkie will be more than satiated. A vibrant wildlife scene, night trails, white water rafting on the river Kali…Dandeli never disappoints.
How do I get there?
If hiring a cab is not an option, then take a bus to Dandeli from Hubli (56kms away) or Belgaum (66kms away). Once there, ask the reception of your resort for travel arrangements to Sathodi.
What about food cravings?
This part of India is known for the likes of dosas and idlis. Since no elaborate lunch or dinner options are available near Sathodi, eating at your resort would be the safest bet. Don’t, however, shy away from a piping hot cup of tea at the family-run tea stall just ahead of the make-shift parking at Sathodi. Make the best of your travel through Belgaum by stopping at one of the sweet vendors to taste the kunda and mandige, both insanely famous sweets that have been ruling over the sweet tooth since time immemorial.
Any other tips?
Always trust the locals when it comes to safety. Speak to them with an open heart and you’ll be surprised about how much you will have learnt by the time you touch base back home.