A little sun, sand with fun, but not a sea shore -River Walk at Amanvana, Coorg

Standing alone on those bamboo stairs, I wondered if I was really going to do it. But the dusty sofa and parasol looked promising enough to be my aide, just in case I decide to back out. It’s not like I didn’t want to try it. Ever since I saw ‘8 Island Trek’ mentioned in ‘Activities & Timings – Amanvana, Coorg’ handout, given at the time of check-in, I knew I wanted it. Yet, the realisation of being there to actually do it was making my blood run cold. Sitting by myself, with bated breath, I could hear the Kaveri water burbling. Now this was definitely not the first time I looked at it, ever since I checked into Amanvana. But this was just the first time when I looked at the river with fear, not admiration; with anxiety, not calm; with timidness, not applaud. Feeling the cool air around, I was almost certain that I am going back to my room unless someone else shows up.

Little later I saw a couple climbing down the stairs. Exchanging pleasantries with Prachi and Rohan (name changed), eased out some of my nervousness. Soon after our guide, Madan, appeared with a camera in hand.

‘Before we start, can I have a pic on the bamboo stairs?’, I asked. He smiled.

As I came back to that humble parasol, on the river bank, he started with the instructions.

‘Remove your footwear here. We will walk to a nearby stream, less fierce than the one, to your right.’

With a sigh of relief, barefoot, I followed Madan, along with Prachi and Rohan, as the stream next to us, had already scared me enough.

Next, we came across another stream, less intimidating than the first one. A thick rope was securely fastened across its width, tied to the trunks of thick trees.

Madan: ‘Hold the rope with both hands, don’t try to float. 3 cheers to our start. ‘

Scared to go first, I actually went in third after Rohan and Prachi, followed by Madan. The water was chilly cold. I trembled as I stepped on the river bed. A quick shiver ran down my spine. With every step further into the river, the water level was rising.Fear. Oh! there was a lot of it. What if there’s a sharp rock, a slippery rock, or even worse if something bit me. Feeling the force of water, I imagined, how far would I be carried away, with the tiniest of a mistake. But with a leap of faith and trust in Madan, I moved forward. With the rope in my hands and the rocky terrain underneath my feet, the river bed triggered an impulse of joy, thrill and wonder, mingling with excitement all at once.

The dry sand was welcoming, as I stepped on it, even for a moment, after being fully drenched, while crossing the river stream. Next, I stepped back in the water again, seating myself on a big rock gazing at my surroundings, while the couple played with water, seated on an adjacent rock. I felt no less than a mermaid, right out of the water, gazing at the unknown world, with naive innocence. Just that a mermaid would have been much thinner, but there, at that moment, it didn’t matter, at all.

Madan announced: ‘Let’s go back now’

Me, elated: ‘Is it already over?

Prachi: ‘Go back ! So Soon?’

Rohan: ‘We were just getting started, Aren’t we going any further? Its the 8 island trek, isn’t it? ‘

Madan: ‘Let’s go back to the river you were staring at. This here was just a warm-up. Time to start the real trek.’

‘Thrill, Excitement, Fear’ – I felt all, at once.  Just that the third one was my own emotion, while the first two were the energy of our group. We crossed the river again, this time, to go back to that lowly parasol.

There it was. The mighty river that gave me the heebie-jeebies, all that while.

Madan: ‘You know the drill, Hold the rope and walk slowly to the other end. Do not try to float’ 

The water level was higher this time, up till my chin, even while I was standing on my longest toe. I was absolutely right in what I thought earlier. I won’t have dared to step in if not for Prachi and Rohan. All that time waiting for someone to appear, before the start of trek, I felt too scared to even dip my feet in the stream, yet alone, cross it. Holding the rope in my hands, while wearing my heart on my sleeves, I stepped forward.

As we reached the other end, we walked through a tiny islet. The cozy sands, pebbles and twigs coupled with the rocky terrain of the river worked rejuvenating reflexology on our happy feet. Moving through big rocks we walked through thin streams, crossing multiple archipelagos and islets, equally welcoming.Sitting on a big rock amidst the river, I felt some fear but it was soon overpowered by the vibrant energy and positivity around. Right in the middle of the river- listening to the sounds of water, chirping of birds and whispers of the pebbles, was nothing less than discovering an unprecedented calm.

Later, we started our trek back through the sandy atolls, rocky trenches and revitalizing river streams. A refreshing experience with a thrill of adventure coupled with splashes of cool currents, obscure islets and unbound natural beauty.

I am glad, I did it. As this was surely the best I felt, in a long while.

A lovely journey to unravel the spectacular natural beauty, hiding under a thin veil. It felt like nature was revealing its enchanting face, baring its tantalizing soul, slowly and gradually, as we moved forward from one stream to another. The river walk at Amanvana takes you into a rabbit hole, truly brought into being, out of an unimaginable wilderness.

The best experience at Amanvana, unsorted, yet full of happiness.


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