Possadi Gumpe: A Wanderer’s Serendipitous Discovery

Manu Remakant
18/01/2016

Does the name ‘Gumpe’ ring any bells? Believe it or not, this quirky sounding place is right inside our state. Tucked to a corner of Kasargod district, Gumpe is an untapped source of pure joy for the wandering soul.

I spot the cryptic word in a tourist map of Kasargod. ‘Possadi Gumpe,’ I read it aloud and immediately find it stuck to my mind.

I reach Dharmathadka, 30 kilometers north-east of Kasargod town, get off from the private bus and pace towards a road that shoots off from the highway. I check the map again that vouches my destination is eight more kilometers away. There should be a bus, I surmise, taking note of the small crowd. An hour goes by, nothing happens. I am still soaking up the merciless sun.

"Is there any bus to Possadi Gumpe now?" An old man standing near me shakes his head as if I were talking Kongini. "No such place here." With a towel wrapped around his head, he looks every inch a farmer. Before I fish out the map from my satchel to prove my point, his dusky face suddenly brightens. ``Goompe! Oh, you mean Goompe?’’ He grins. I too grin fervently, aping the sound with equal verve: “Yeah, yeah… Goompe! Goompe!”

“But sir, where do you come from? Where are you going in Goompe?”

I told him I am a writer, on my way to write about their Goompe.

The words ‘writer’ and my hometown ‘Trivandrum’ do the magic. The man turns and whistles to a jeep idling by the road. "Come on, get in!" Hey, when did I ask for a jeep! I get annoyed at the freedom the stranger takes. For a moment I stand my ground looking away. "Sir, there are no buses to Goompe today. Better you take it. Don’t worry, this is my son," he nods towards the driver and climbs in before I could say anything, "You’ll need me." With that he thrusts out his head from the jeep and calls out to the crowd: "Anyone towards Goompe? Get in."

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As the jeep rattles along the rutted road, I can’t help wonder how I ended up in this set-up. See how coolly this guy fleeces me to make some easy bucks for his jeep-driver-son! The old man talks about his life as a farmer. I sit deaf, all-engrossed in the ticking meter. There could be much haggling at the end about the fare, I fear. I won’t get any help or justice from this strange place. The jeep offloads the other passengers, free-boarders commuting at my expense, at various points, until only the father, the son and the poor spirit remain on board.

After an hour, the narrow, uphill road opens out into a vast panorama. I hold my breath. Rolling mountains, velvet green on every side. Each hillock looks like a little heap of sugar. Here and there cattle graze on mountainsides rendering a touch of Swiss landscapes. I get off the jeep and take a long breath. Ah, fresh mountain air fills my lungs. Suddenly an ashram on top of a hillock shimmering in the red of the setting sun catches my eye. Oh, my! What would I not give for a night’s stay at this place on the mountains!

I turn towards the father and son with gratification. "Well," I smile at them, ready to give them anything they ask for now. "Tell me, how much do I owe you, chetta?"

``Are you happy sir?,’’ the old man replies.

I nod, looking over his shoulders at the gorgeous sun setting in the mountain. The nippy wind gathers strength, pricking my watery eyes. ``I will ask them to take me in for the night,’’ I tell him pointing towards the ashram.

``You like Goompe sir?’’

``Yeah, Goompe! Goompe is just awesome, chetta!’’ I scream against the stiffening breeze. Mists roll in from the foothills now.

``Ok sir, enjoy!’’ Saying this, he climbs back to the jeep, turns towards his son, nodding at him that it is time to go home.

``But…’’ I wave my hands, stupefied, holding my purse.

They both wave and the jeep takes an unhurried turn, stops for a second, and revs up again, slowly gathering momentum until it disappears into the creamy mist that has now obliterated everything except a patch of green where I stand.

How to Get There:

Get to Dharmathadka village 30 kilometers north of Kasargod town to go to Gumpe. Take a private jeep (private cars go up to the foothill from where you can start your trek). Possadi Gumpe or Posadigumpe is around 500 meters above sea level. It’s rather an isolated expanse, and since there are no shops anywhere near, carry nourishments if you plan a long evening. Take a short climb to savor the beauty of the Arabian Sea, Mangalore town and Kudremukh from one of the peaks.

(Photos: Manu Remakant)Does the name ‘Gumpe’ ring any bells? Believe it or not, this quirky sounding place is right inside our state. Tucked to a corner of Kasargod district, Gumpe is an untapped source of pure joy for the wandering soul.

I spot the cryptic word in a tourist map of Kasargod. ‘Possadi Gumpe,’ I read it aloud and immediately find it stuck to my mind.

I reach Dharmathadka, 30 kilometers north-east of Kasargod town, get off from the private bus and pace towards a road that shoots off from the highway. I check the map again that vouches my destination is eight more kilometers away. There should be a bus, I surmise, taking note of the small crowd. An hour goes by, nothing happens. I am still soaking up the merciless sun.

"Is there any bus to Possadi Gumpe now?" An old man standing near me shakes his head as if I were talking Kongini. "No such place here." With a towel wrapped around his head, he looks every inch a farmer. Before I fish out the map from my satchel to prove my point, his dusky face suddenly brightens. ``Goompe! Oh, you mean Goompe?’’ He grins. I too grin fervently, aping the sound with equal verve: “Yeah, yeah… Goompe! Goompe!”

“But sir, where do you come from? Where are you going in Goompe?”

I told him I am a writer, on my way to write about their Goompe.

The words ‘writer’ and my hometown ‘Trivandrum’ do the magic. The man turns and whistles to a jeep idling by the road. "Come on, get in!" Hey, when did I ask for a jeep! I get annoyed at the freedom the stranger takes. For a moment I stand my ground looking away. "Sir, there are no buses to Goompe today. Better you take it. Don’t worry, this is my son," he nods towards the driver and climbs in before I could say anything, "You’ll need me." With that he thrusts out his head from the jeep and calls out to the crowd: "Anyone towards Goompe? Get in."

 

As the jeep rattles along the rutted road, I can’t help wonder how I ended up in this set-up. See how coolly this guy fleeces me to make some easy bucks for his jeep-driver-son! The old man talks about his life as a farmer. I sit deaf, all-engrossed in the ticking meter. There could be much haggling at the end about the fare, I fear. I won’t get any help or justice from this strange place. The jeep offloads the other passengers, free-boarders commuting at my expense, at various points, until only the father, the son and the poor spirit remain on board.

After an hour, the narrow, uphill road opens out into a vast panorama. I hold my breath. Rolling mountains, velvet green on every side. Each hillock looks like a little heap of sugar. Here and there cattle graze on mountainsides rendering a touch of Swiss landscapes. I get off the jeep and take a long breath. Ah, fresh mountain air fills my lungs. Suddenly an ashram on top of a hillock shimmering in the red of the setting sun catches my eye. Oh, my! What would I not give for a night’s stay at this place on the mountains!

I turn towards the father and son with gratification. "Well," I smile at them, ready to give them anything they ask for now. "Tell me, how much do I owe you, chetta?"

``Are you happy sir?,’’ the old man replies.

I nod, looking over his shoulders at the gorgeous sun setting in the mountain. The nippy wind gathers strength, pricking my watery eyes. ``I will ask them to take me in for the night,’’ I tell him pointing towards the ashram.

``You like Goompe sir?’’

``Yeah, Goompe! Goompe is just awesome, chetta!’’ I scream against the stiffening breeze. Mists roll in from the foothills now.

``Ok sir, enjoy!’’ Saying this, he climbs back to the jeep, turns towards his son, nodding at him that it is time to go home.

``But…’’ I wave my hands, stupefied, holding my purse.

They both wave and the jeep takes an unhurried turn, stops for a second, and revs up again, slowly gathering momentum until it disappears into the creamy mist that has now obliterated everything except a patch of green where I stand.

How to Get There:

Get to Dharmathadka village 30 kilometers north of Kasargod town to go to Gumpe. Take a private jeep (private cars go up to the foothill from where you can start your trek). Possadi Gumpe or Posadigumpe is around 500 meters above sea level. It’s rather an isolated expanse, and since there are no shops anywhere near, carry nourishments if you plan a long evening. Take a short climb to savor the beauty of the Arabian Sea, Mangalore town and Kudremukh from one of the peaks.

(Photos: Manu Remakant)