New Delhi, India
November 21, 2013
Whatever the truth behind it, this lake (locally known respectfully as Shri Renukaji) is very popular. There’s a temple beside the lake as well as a wildlife sanctuary, which includes an Asiatic lion safari.
We’ve been planning to go the second day of our trip, but it’s been raining almost constantly, and landslides have blocked the Jamta-Renuka road. We’re told it’ll probably be clear by the afternoon, so about 3 PM, we set off. Our luck runs out 10 km short of Renuka, where a landslide’s dumped a bed of gooey mud on the road, in which a truck loaded with stone blocks has gotten mired. The road’s too narrow to allow any other vehicle past. There’s no way we—or anybody else who’s waiting—can go on. Fortunately, though, another of the area’s big attractions is right here: the Bedolia Waterfalls. Swollen by the recent rains, the waterfall leaps in a long, white frothing veil from the summit of the peak down midway to where a shrine—the Baba Bedolia Temple—stands, on a bunch of large boulders. Surrounding it are more boulders, around which the waters churn up a froth of café au lait (more lait than café, actually—it reminds me of the milky brew the Grand View Resort serves up). The water bounces and gushes its way past reddish-brown boulders and bushes of lantana loaded with orange and red blooms. It then goes on beneath a narrow bridge, all the way down the mountain, and eventually to the valley below, where it joins the monsoon-muddy waters of a meandering river.
A very short walk up an easy path along the hill leads to a 2 feet wide bridge (without railings, so watch your step!) that crosses the gushing waters of the waterfall to the temple beyond. Much of the bridge and the temple itself are covered by a film of moisture from the spray, but plenty of people go across anyway. They remove their shoes outside the temple, dip their hands and feet in the supposedly sacred waters of the waterfall, offer up a prayer at the temple, and spend a few minutes admiring the view.
We aren’t keen on getting our feet wet, so we don’t go to the temple. But we stand opposite it, oohing and aahing at the beauty of the waterfall before we finally retrace our steps and then head back to Jamta.
Bedolia Waterfalls isn’t awesome enough to merit going all the way from Nahan (or Jamta, for that matter). But if you’re headed for Renuka Lake, it’s worth a ten-minute break. The scenery is lovely, and all for free too.