Belkal Theertha waterfalls near Kollur: Go well prepared! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Belkal Theertha waterfalls near Kollur: Go well prepared!

Belkal Theertha is a holy waterfalls near Kollur in Udupi district, Karnataka. Belkal Theertha is considered holy and is super complex to access. I was planning to visit Belkal Theertha since sometime and finally managed to. This post gives you brief about the Belhal Theertha.

If you are planning a visit to Belkal Theertha, keep following points in mind

  • Extreme hiking required. At least 3-4 kms from starting point one way + extra distance depending on where you park your car. Be ready to hike up and down 10 kms total, including very slippery, tricky rocks.
  • Not a good idea to visit with family
  • Absolutely no facilities- no restrooms, washrooms, changing rooms, proper signage etc
  • Leech infection during monsoon season
  • Govt now charging 100 Rs per person fee, without providing any facilities
  • If you can survive all the above, you can treat yourself to an amazing waterfalls like none other.
I had written about complexities in visiting waterfalls in Udupi district earlier. Was contemplating visiting Belkal Theertha since sometime and recently things fell in place and the visit happened. But it wasn't as easy as I had anticipated.

I did some online reading before planning and everything I read did warn about extensive walk. But the total distance, time and effort required were not called out. It is hard to find waterfalls by the highway and couple of kms of trek to waterfalls is acceptable, so I didn't worry too much about it.

Saturday we left early from Udupi and headed towards Belkal Theertha following google maps. At the last 1.5 kms we consulted a local and he guided us in the different (right) direction. The approach road was muddy and slippery but after checking I felt confident Venue will pass through. We drove a km or two further. There was another downward slope. I could have gone down easily but I wasn't sure if wheels will have traction while coming up, as the soil is too slick and will be even more slick if it rains. May be I was worrying too much but at this point I decided to park and walk the remaining distance.
Following signage and info from locals we reached the trek starting point. Forest department has recently started collecting entry fee from visitors to Belkal Theertha. 100 Rs per person. This amount would have been fine if they had provided a few basic services/facilities- such as toilets, rest area, information (how many more kms left etc) and some improvements to hiking trail in sections where it is too difficult or risky to cross. But so far absolutely no facilities from Govt to visit Belkal Theertha. There were no staff to charge entry fee so we proceeded, thinking we can pay on our way back.
As we began walking towards the fall, we crossed a few streams, had to jump across fallen trees and almost reached top of the hill. The end was nowhere near, even after 45 minutes of hiking. We were inspired by a few sounds of the waterfall but they turned out to be minor falls or streams. The main falls was still not in sight. With heavy rains, leeches sucking blood and no clear info on how much more we have to hike, couple of times we debated if we should abandon and go back. But having come all this far, all of us were sort of determined to take it to a logical conclusion.

The long hike to Belkal Theertha falls is tricky. Narrow, full of sharp rocks, leech infested during monsoon. If you slip, fall or hurt yourself there is no help nearby. Wear proper protective cloths and shoes, use a stick for support if needed, be very careful at each of your steps.
After about 1 hour of hiking, probably 3-4 kms upstream, we found first glimpse of the massive Belkal Theertha waterfalls. But again couldn't get decent photo because of massive mist and cloud formation. From there another few hundred meters of further hike took us to a better spot where we could feel the water bouncing from the top above us, with its sprays, accentuated by winds splashing us standing at a distance. Wind was too strong and it was raining so taking clear photo was out of question. Managed a few quick video risking wetting my phone and soon  we began our return journey.

Watch a short video below. [Watch on youtube]

We did get a few leeches troubling us. But not a major issue- I kept checking regularly and removing them.

My suggestions if you are planning a visit to Belakal Theertha falls near Kollur
  • If going in monsoon be ready for leeches. Wear protective cloths, medicines/anti leech stuff like salt and check regularly if there are any leeches on your body. Earlier you detect them, less blood you loose and easier to remove them.
  • Wear proper trekking shoes or carry additional footwear. Everyday shoes and chappals might fail on sharp rocks and slippery path
  • Have good and go after full energy. Carry water and energy bars. The up and down hike takes 2 hours + walk to parking area plus drive to nearest city/hotel: Almost half day will be needed for Belkal Theertha.
  • Do not pollute please.
My suggestions to Govt/Forest Department on improving Belkal Theertha: 
As you are collecting 100 Rs per person, please provide following facilities
  • Make the path little more bearable. Wherever there are complex steps/blockers/obstacles put a rock or something to make it easier to cross.
  • Toilet, first aid, proper approach road, parking and such basic facilities.
  • Display boards indicating how much done and how much more distance pending- like below (clicked in Vancouver Canada). This way people can decide early if the distance is too much for them.

I will plan another visit post monsoon- may be late October or early November. Water intensity will be less but there will be less rain, less leeches (hopefully) and a better view without too much mist, cloud and rain hampering. Now that I am aware how much walking is involved, I will be better prepared that time.

Where is Belkal Theertha? How to reach
Belkal Theertha is 50 kms from Kundapura, 25 kms from Kollur and 80 kms from Udupi. You can plan a stay in these cities and drive towards the falls. Jungle Lodges Ane Jhari butterlfy nature camp is nearest decent accommodation.

Turn right at Jadkal (while coming from Udupi/Kundapura) and follow the map till you reach a split road where concrete road ends and mud road begins. Map is not accurate from here. Take the right most one and proceed for 3-4 more kms. As you begin your off road drive you should be seeing a river on your right. Road may not be very suitable for your car or you may not be confident driving through- if not feeling comfortable find a spot to park and walk further.

You will be guided by Kannada board "way to Belkal Theertha" at many spots.  Eventually you will find a narrow bridge and a temple. Proceed further till you reach the signage shown earlier in this post (Second image). Park here and walk further. After you cross the police checkpost, you will be able to figure out the walking trail- just follow the popular path, do not wander around and eventually you will reach the falls.

Nearby: Kolluru temple, Kodachadri, Haklamane falls

3 comments:

  1. My experience was different as we could take our auto till the village. Looks like weather was bad during your visit.

    https://aravindgundumane.com/2016/07/trek-to-bkt-waterfalls/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I will visit again post monsoon

      Delete

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