Can you believe Mangalore has piece of Africa? It is beautiful, unexplored by tourists and lonely. Yes it is Gatti Kudru about 5 kilometers from Padil-NH 48 intersection.
You have to arrive there by boat after crossing a short walk on the fields crossing villages and picturesque countryside of Padil. Those who are good two wheeler riders can reach to the point where the waiting boat will take them into the breath taking landscape created by god himself.
The sparkling waters of the Nethravati river, air charged with oxygen, green covered valleys converging at the horizon the only man made structure one can see is the bridge over Nethravati 5 kilometers away.
The beauty unfolds before you once you sit in the boat, as it drifts away from the land the, the only sound you can hear is the sound of water when the boat ploughs through. After 20 minutes of boat ride you arrive at the Gatti Kudru which is exactly on the Eastern bank of Nethravati river.
?I have not seen any tourists coming here. A few people live on the Gatti Kudru who cross from Padil to the Kudru? says boatman Ibrahim. ?I have been ferrying people from Padil to Gatti Kudru for over 30 years and things have not changed much ever since,? Ibrahim says he still charged Rs. 10 per person for the crossing.
When I asked Mr. Rico Rodrigues what was the speciality in Gatti Kudru, he told ?It is the river. This part of the river is so placid it is like a lake, the water hardly moves. I, my wife and two daughters go to the river and collect mussels which is called ?Kolu? it is smaller than the common mussels ?Marwayi, but the shell is black in colour and the flesh inside is thicker than Marwayi. Some people from Mangalore who like this very much come here to buy it from us. I also get rock crabs which is a delicacy in many hotels in Mangalore,? he says.
But that is not all, a walk through the Gatti Kudru leads you into the enchanting greenery and thick woods which is hard to come by in the nearby areas.
Ibrahim says he has devised a package boat ride, ?I will drop the picnickers after taking them as far as the bridge bring them back and drop them at Gatti Kudru where they have relax. I pick them up back whenever they are ready, all they have to do is let out a cry from the banks of the river and I can hear them all across the river some 1.5 kilometers away? he said with a chuckle. But he had only few takers for this package and he felt sorry that people do not care for such natural beauty and spend their time in mall hopping.
Author: Rajat R.- Mangalore