SHIVAMOGGA: If you are looking to relax and also have some adventure, then Honnemaradu in Shivamogga district is your holiday spot. You can dive into the cool pool or go boating or canoeing or go in for trekking in this nature’s cradle. Honnemaradu, a tiny picturesque village 22 km from Sagar town and located along the Sharavathi backwaters, throws challenges for adventure enthusiasts.
The Adventurers at Honnemaradu stands out from the crowd for its service-oriented camps for children with disabilities, besides training programmes for college students and corporate executives. It is a non-profit organization promoting outdoor learning, environmental conservation and social development.
S L N Swamy, president and founder of The Adventurers, says, “Our top priority is to bring humans back close to nature. Outdoor training activities instil confidence in those who come to camp for 2-3 days.”Adventure sports and water sports are open to all age groups.
“We have been imparting training in life skills with a medium of adventure activities. Every activity conducted focuses on fine-tuning life skills like leadership qualities, interpersonal and communication skills, creative thinking and motivation by building confidence in oneself. Above all, it provides an opportunity for everyone who comes here to explore themselves and introspect to enhance one’s abilities,” says Nomito Kamdar, programme director.
Every year The Adventurers organises two prominent camps -- one, for children with disabilities and helps them face the worldly challenges by accepting themselves as they are. They organise exclusive camps for 800 -1,000 physically challenged children every year. “I enjoyed it to the maximum while organising and conducting training for the physically challenged children. They were allowed to pit their strength to do the activities. At the end, I had a sense of accomplishment as they became more self-reliant,” says Kamdar.
The second camp is Teppayana – a four-day-long sailing in Sharavathi backwaters -- from Honnemaradu to Siganduru and back. The backwaters behind the Linganamakki reservoir spreads across 350 sqkm. Once you start Teppayana, you will find water everywhere. Teppayana will make you explore the Western Ghat ranges along the backwaters. You would get a chance to visit and enjoy the popular Kodachadri mountain ranges, Nagara Fort, tombs of kings who ruled Nagara, Muppane, a paradise of wildlife, folksongs and dances of the tribals, and places were spices like pepper, honey, cinnamon are grown.
“Our Teppayana expedition will be of 4 to 10 days all along the Sharavathi backwaters. Camping in the islands of the backwaters, and being with nature day and night, would provide a memorable experience to understand oneself and explore the nature and culture of Malnad,” says Swamy. Participants themselves have to paddle their coracles (Teppa) by carrying their luggage and food. It is not a joy ride-- one has to learn and put their skills to test.
“This expedition made me realise my inner strength, skills and courage. Spent the nights without lights, and listened to the music of beetles, crickets, birds, insects, trees covered with glow-worms. Sometimes it makes us feel elated and sometimes it induces a sense of awe,” says Marshal Sharma, retired principal of Kodachadri Government First Grade College, Hosanagara.
“When The Adventurers commenced their activities in Honnemaradu, local residents were apprehensive that it would be yet another commercial activity, exploiting this place. The efforts of Swamy and Nomito in disseminating the history and culture of the Malnad region is commendable. They have set an example of how to conserve nature by making a living here,” says Gajanana Sharma, writer and retired superintendent engineer, KPTCL.
Activities offered at Honnemaradu
Lighting a campfire is a privilege here and also how to put it out is also a technique that should not disturb nature. Participants will be taught this skill too
It is another challenging task for the participants to swim in the Sharavathi backwaters. Water will be as deep as 60-140 feet. Life jacket compulsory
This is a kind of local traditional boat (Teppa). It spins wildly in circular motion in water. A group of 4-6 enjoy the ride
Long boat that accommodates two. Rowing by one who sits in front increases the speed while the other sitting behind navigates.
A lone person rides a low-to-the-water, canoe-like boat, that requires concentration, technique and skill
Hillocks located nearby and watching the dawn is a thrilling experience
One should be aware of the wind blow and skill of balancing the boat
Do’s and Don’ts at Honnemaradu
- No smoking, alcohol, non-vegetarian food, electronic music
- Your garbage (waste) is your responsibility – Carry back wrappers of any item you bring in
- You can use a cellphone to connect with your family. But don’t play music
- Bring your own plates, spoons and mugs