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Feb 10, 2016

Konaje Kallu- cavern in the clouds

Published Date: 08 Nov, 2010 (9:28 PM)

By Rajat R. - Team Mangalorean, Mangalore

MOODBIDRI November 2, 2010: You don't have to go to mount Kilimanjaro to feel the clouds. Travel east for 36 kilometers to Moodbidri and you will have the same feeling, well almost. Fed up with the maddening hustle bustle of the city and want to breathe pure oxygen? go to Konaje Kallu a tower of rock surrounded by multiple layers of green cover where it gets dark at 4pm.
Yes, take a road going to Hosmar just in front of the fabled 1000 pillar Basadi (otherwise known as Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani) and go east for 5 kilometers. Suddenly you will find a towering stone structure. Don't even wonder why you could not see it all the way to that spot and why it was visible so suddenly. It is just because the structure is so well and thickly covered with foliage.
The Konaje Kallu as it is called is a cluster of two large complexes of rocky structure which is stated to have formed during the formation of Western Ghats, and it is not exaggerating to say that  even today it remains in its seminal and pristine beauty.






"It is a challenge to the rock climbers and trekkers," says Vivek the instructor of Kirti adventure school of Mangalore . I have led many batches of adventurers but none of us could conquer it. "It is sheer 90 degree drop from a height of 200 meters and since it is a monolithic granite block there are no ledges or footholds but there is a place from the Western side which has a large crevice that might give place to climb but nobody has tried it," he says.
But more than a rock climber's delight it is a trekker's delight says Mr.Ashokvardhan founder of Arohana - a trekking club of Mangalore. The narrow path made of rocks and pebbles takes you through a series of perennial water bodies and small waterfalls and throughout the 1.5 kilometers meters trek uphill the aroma of moist earth and decaying thick layer of leaves shredded by the trees. "Many passes on the trekking path are so thickly under green canopy that fills your lungs with pure oxygen. There is no any place like Konaje Kallu." 
The narrow path leading from the base of the rock formation to the Northern side of Konaje kallu takes you to a cave large enough to seat 200 people and the view it gives is breathtaking. It is as if you are standing on the penthouse or a 20 story skyscraper in the middle of the rain forest. It is absolute bliss except for occasional sound of the Conch and bells at the shrine of  Sharadadas a Shiiva saint who has attained Samadhi there.
During monsoons and in winter the Konaje Kallu vanishes into thick mist and was the best time to visit it. But you may not see much of the rocky surface. But this is the time when students of botany visit in hoards from local colleges and Mangalore University. "It is a mini reservoir of the Western ghats species and should be declared as a national ecological hotspot" says Mr.Niren Jain a conservationist and wild life activist.
The forest department has notified it under the reserved forest and has enclosed 199 acres around Konaje Kallu for conservation and development. "We have made some efforts to promote the Konaje Kallu as a tourist destination, but the funds are not forthcoming for development" says an official of the tourism department at Mangalore.
Dr. Amrut Malla a local knowledge bank says, "though there has to be some basic facilities for development of this as a tourist destination like a paved walking path, railings to help the climbers and solar lights and water points.

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Rammohan, India Nov 5, 2010
It would be nice to details about the route access to this spot

B N Pai Kambla, India Nov 2, 2010
Thanks for the nice article Rajat. The pictures are really nice. They should develop it further and get tourists. Mt Kilimanjaro is very famous. I have seen the replica in Animal Kingdom at the disney world in Orlando. They also have a replica of Kali river there. [With some village restaurant having Suneil Shetty's photo etc]I see you have been advised not to compare it with Kilimanjaro. Mr Gowda is right. Each place has its own beauty and history and it will have to be enjoyed for what it is. However you may be able to compare Karkala Gomateshwara with the one at Shravana Belagola for example. Or even Dharmasthal or Venur for that matter. Again, every Gommata may have similarity and some differences. Bahubali who sacrificed every thing in his life is standing tall with plants and roots, weeds surrounding him. Salute to that great King who became a saint.
Prakash Mallegowda, Japan Nov 2, 2010
Dear Rajat,

Please assume if I were a reporter from Mt. Kilimanjaro and you read my writing saying you don`t have to like MOODBIDRI!

I don't want to insult the majestic beauty of MOODBIDRI and the sorrounding and I am NOT sure if you ever visited Kilimanjaro (though, you sound like). Even if you did, you ought to be careful what you write because millions of Mangalorean.Com read your report all over the world.

Konaje Kallu is beautiful,no doubt; butI don't think it is realistic to compare to Kilimanjaro. I would dare to compare Kilimanjaro with that of Bababudan Hills in Chickmaglur or Table Mountain in Cape Town (South Africa), or even Mt. Fuji in Tokyo.

If I were you (if I chose to be a journalist), I would just introduce the beauty of this place, how to access, where to stay, what to see and explore, etc.,

Don't take me wrong.

Prakash Mallegowda
R.P.Thekkar, India Nov 2, 2010
It is wonderful. Like Konaje Kallu, there are many places in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts which are Tourism Hot Spots. But neither the Karnataka Govt, its Tourism Dept. nor the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation take interest or initiatives in promoting such Hot Spots.

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