Geratti,Man and Machine trip- part 6 (The Crossed-Tusker of Gerhetti )

Geratti,Man and Machine trip- part 6 (The Crossed-Tusker of Gerhetti )



From Anchetty,I started to ride to Geratti, first few kilometers through village area. Then forest began. I always wanted to cover slowly along with some music. I had read and heard a lot about Anchetty ghat section, curves and above all greenery. I had lost quite some time due to the fall earlier. I inquired with locals about how far Hogenekal was and whether I could make it to sunset. Many of them were positive about me making it to Hogenakkal by sun set.


(Disclaimer: This is not an authentic study.  I may be wrong by 100 percentage in relating the places in the stories to the actual places. Reader's discretion is expected.)
Click in the pic for enlarged  images.
Please read the story of Kenneth Andersons's The Crossed Tusker of Gerhetti and the Strange case of Gerhetti Leopard.

Road from Anchetty towards Gerhetti

After the boarder of the forest,First stream and water hole  
It's corresponding  point on Google Map
The Roads are smooth now

After passed some stretch of forest I exclaimed the look of the new road to Pennagram from Anchetti. It is smooth and both sides are blushed in green colour. Looking into my right side I checked any point or side roads to penetrate into the scrub forest.i wanted to reach the lake no.1 somehow. But complete absence of such roads and the bad experience in the same morning happened in Gundalam forest pushed me back. I didn't have any guides to help me here too.

Within a kilometer, I spotted a water pool on the right side of road. This must be the one which the local people told. Build at road side in a nullah for wild animals to quench their thirst. It looks made by long ago because i saw the liberal the use of square stones. There is only a little water on the pool. As this pool was not my focus, I continued through the dense greenery. I remembered this was the same track which KA drove his car several trips for his adventurous journeys to his favorite spots like Kempaekare, Geratti, Pennagram Natrampalayam and spider valley. He mentioned this road on the story a Strange case of Gerhatti leopard. It was somewhere here his model Ford T refused to climb a hill but when put in reverse gear it climb easily. Somewhere along the same road near to Geratti, the man eater was sitting above the road on a branch of a slanted tree and jumped on Anderson's car and tore the resin of hood.



Probable lake (No.1)where fishes trapped in summer and Tusker killed its first victim,
I was alone and need somebody to cover the forest to the lake No.1



After reading carefully , there is another possible pools nearby,on the course of main river. so I  avoided the first pool 
My route of  a failed  Attempt to reach  the pools , from the bridge
 The old Cart road and the river crossing. At KAs time it was a ford only.Then probably there was a weak bridge, and  destroyed by currents.
There were ascends, curves and descends all over the way.I stopped at a bridge and assumed that I reached  the same area of the ford mentioned in the story the Crossed Tusker of Gerhetti. Gollamuthi River flows across the forest and the road. There is a newly constructed bridge located by a little down instead of the old Ford. Still there is remains of old road. In the riverbed and its sides you can see the evidence of the old road which is partially open to see the cross sections,due to strong current of  flowing water.

Here, in the very same point Anderson shot the wild elephant who was a rogue,probably at the other end of road from Geratti. The tusker was a man hater and I could imagine that he came up from the thick forest through the river after hearing Anderson and Ranga at the Ford. 

The tusker was on right side of the car and in that dense darkness of night Ranga shown the spotlight and Anderson's rifle spoke to the charging elephant.

In a strange coincidence, I saw footprints of a lone big elephant on the riverbed when looking from the bridge. I walked to the other side of bridge and went down to the riverbed for a close investigation.

Probable spot of shooting  of the Crossed Tusker of Gerhetti. The New Bridge and Old road can be seen
Probable spot of shooting marked in google map

Incidently I saw footprints of a lone elephant, in the riverbed. Photo directly taken above  ( from the Bridge)
Dried river bed of Gollamuthi
My bike is parked at almost  same place of KA's Car parked while awaiting for the tusker in a  dark evening. Time was midnoon,in  summer, but note the darkness along the road
Indeed its  is a new bridge,See the Date.
Enjoying last drops of water.
Self made Fear!
The Gollamuthi River lies like a silver anklet in the green forest but presently dried up. But there were scores  of white sand and small pools of dampness in the river bed. I have read in the story that there are big pools of water formed as small lakes up above the river.  On my imagination, still there will be some fishes trapped in the summer season and villagers will come to net them. During such an operation, the Crossed Tusker slammed one villager to earth and thus started his cowardliness to human race. I calculated it will have a distance within 1 kilometer from the road, if you dare to walk through the riverbed. I tempted to go there, even it have some risks.   

Firstly, I am alone and safety will be widely compromised. Secondly I have no permission to go in forest and there was no local guide with me. I don't want to be an intruder. I wished I could have some company.  A careful examination of the footprints revealed that the tusker was came up from the hills may be in last night and tried to cross the bridge through the large opening under it. He was alone, and his height didn't permit him to pass under the bridge to downstream. He returned the same way. May be he circumvent the whole area and gone to downhill.
I felt to go up to the hills and the water pool in a short walk and come back to safety of the road as soon as s possible.  I calculated if I started to walk along the river it will take about half an hour to reach there. I decided to move forward and stalk about 50 meters. I found more boulders and more elephant  footprints along the riverbed. 
Suddenly I felt something unusual. An Uncanny silence spread around me and I felt something is wrong or somebody as watching me. I remembered the footprints of the elephant went back to the forest which I am proceeding.  May be he is lurking in the forest up the hill and hidden by natural forest cover.  By all rules of the forest, if an elephant is alone and if he hear or see my approach, I will be in danger of charging. 



It was mid noon of summer under the scorching sun. All I knew that water being scarcer day by day,even in the river and wild animals may came to quench their thirst in the riverside. In worst cases even big cats may found in this green and shadow patches made by the river. As in a Wild thought I liked to imagine a rare possibility. May be a wounded leopard or an old tiger resting in the boulders, which is unable to catch their natural preys. Now one man is coming on the way and why couldn't he hesitate to kill and devour the lean man? So he can start a career as man eater by today. It's possible that I could be that unlucky man.

Other thoughts of risks, I have told earlier like forest officials, suspected poachers and bandits also deeply buried in me.

The  low  headroom  didn't  allow our elephant to cross the under-bridge. 
Bridge in google map
Follow an elephant's footprints was  never in my wild dreams....
The riverbed stretches along the hills, dried up.




So I stopped at the centre of river looking around and tried to hear some noise like our great hunter did, but in vain. You may laugh on this because being a city dweller it is impossible to me to get access of any sort of jungle sounds. I have now between two questions ; proceed or go back.

While thinking this, I saw some branches of a leafy tree is swaying at a distance. I stared 10 seconds to the spot there. But couldn't see anything below the tree due to thick undergrowth. May be a harsh blow of wind caused that. But at that moment, I liked to believe myself that was an elephant’s work.

I knew my thoughts were unreasonable and without logic. But still I have a feeling of somebody watching me.

So afraid, I retreat my footsteps towards the road through another side of the riverbed and directly to the bike. Slowly walking became an stroll and then to a full speed a bolt. I don't know what behind me but could hear some more unexplainable sounds, which I felt like a tearing sound of falling tree. Later on I discovered that actually it may be my imagination or it happened due to my own running on the sands of the riverbed. I jumped on my bike and now I relaxed and slowly started to ride on. Truly I had shivering hands and legs, but the self starter helped me to a fast move on. I should say thanks for that selfstarter...

Presence of elephant ?
More curves and beautiful roadsides were appealed me. Within less than 15 minutes I came a junction then only I realised I reached near Geratti. As Anderson said the road from Anchetti to Pennagram forked here and now the place is called Sivalingapuram. The straight road goes to Pennagram and was the main cart road at Anderson's time. Other road goes to Geratti Natrampalayam, Biligundlu, Hogenakkal and then to Pennagram. Even today's Google map marked as the first road is known as Anchetty Pennagram road.But I wouldn't recommend anybody to go through that route. A perfect no no to families and cars. Travelers in bike can go to Pennagram by this route but beware of the condition of the road in mansoon. Especially all bridges are destroyed by torrential rains and their maintenance is very bad. There are so many river crosses and bridges made up of concrete were destroyed by great force of torrential rain water in Monsoon. Absence of bridges and dense forest plants on both sides makes the travelling a terrible one. And in rainy season a complete closure of the road is advisable in the wake of safety.
Road forking at Sivalingapuram

Sivalingapuram
Geratti, check the spelling.
3rd board within  short distance.
Relation of three villages with Waterhole. Blue-Sivalingapuranm,Red- Geratti,Purple-Bharadhiayar Nagar.
Groundnuts
Trench Made by Forest Dept
And its relation




KA mentioned he had noticed the leopard 3 times before it became a man eater at nearby places of Gerhatti. I have already told one instance on the cart road between Anchetty to Gerhetty. KA spotted the leopard as first time in the same waterhole when he causally resting at forest bungalow and looking to the pool. Here I noted the distance between the pool and forest bungalow is more than 500 meters and so many houses in the the straight line. There are some trees too to obscure the view of the waterhole. I wondered how KA could see the man eater at the waterhole at this distant. May be at his time there were no houses and no trees.
The road connecting between the main road and the pool is narrow and muddy. I parked my bike under a tree. Two village ladies are engaged in their work there.
The trench made to avoid wild animals to enter the village is deepened now. Passing a small foot bridge I walked up to the edge of pool. I could see lot of village ladies sitting besides the bund.

In close examination of the pool I found it's about 5 acres in area and adjacent to the forest. It's evident that both animals and villagers benefits from the pool. Now it's dried up. Only a few patches of water collected in the rectangular depths made by locals. Must be by national employment scheme. Because I noted everybody is gathered at the tree shadows and the progress of the work seems sluggish may be due to scorching heat of midday. The village women came around me with lots of questions. Primarily they want to know that I were a government official to check their work. After confronted them I used this opportunity to ask about the animal conflict then diverted to any stories available of man lifting. At this point I lost hope to get any clues of KA'S adventures and man eaters . Because ,everybody seems ignorant about such things.

First view of waterhole.Manchimalai in bacground

View of Waterhole when looking to the village side .
Deapening work going on..
Explaining anxiety.
A short brake..




The Gerhetti leopard had taken a boy from near the bank of the pool. He also taken a lady who gone to take water from pool with her two year old son, sparing the boy and devouring the mother. Even I went that much in descriptive to the villagers, I could not gather any details. So I stopped my questions in this regard.
Waterhole  and  Geratty
Near to the Forest Bungalow
Forest quarters 
My return journey starts
Geratty village street view 
Sign boards everywhere.Just wanted to point out the spelling of Geratti is written differently in deferent places, and  I assumes all is correct.
The low  hill described by KA 
Veiw of the low  hill decsribed by KA in his stories around Gerhetti. Photo taken from Village.





I wanted to describe the story of The strange case of Gerhatti leopard in future, but for now, let me tell about Crossed Tusker of Gerhetti.

The Crossed Tusker of Gerhetti is a story writen by Kenneth Anderson in the book Man Eaters and Jungle Killers is the second book of jungle tales and man-eaters written by Kenneth Anderson, first published in 1957 by George Allen & Unwin. His love for Indian jungle led him to big game hunting and eventually to writing real-life adventure stories. His Books are hailed as classics of jungle lore.

A rogue elephant with distinctive overlapping tusks plagues the Gerhetti area, killing a number of people. Anderson arrives and his first days are wasted in tracking the wrong elephants, before he finally finds the distinctive crossed tusks he's looking for. Anderson killed the tusker without more effort but i love his  breathtaking method of story telling.

My focus turned into studying the pool and its surroundings. obviously it served a vital part of jungle history and the source of water for all kind of animals. It was here the crossed tusker and another elephants fought for several hours, thus made him a rogue. It was here Anderson started to track each elephant's footprints one by one to locate the crossed tusker. 



The Crossed Tusker of Gerhetti -A walk back


The Story

painting of a crossed tusker

The elephant was known as the Crossed Tusker of Gerhatti (GERATTI) and, for a full grown elephant, he was exceptionally black and hairy with crossed tusks. There was theory as to why this particular elephant had turned bad was that the  crossed tuskere was badly injured in an epic battle with a rival male, and sounds of fight  was  heard by the  forest gurds of nearby village.

A Raging Crossed Tusker | BR Hills,photo by Vikram Sathyanathan 
It was a mock charge but nevertheless it was very close. Poor lighting hence the shake in the image.




Presumably the permanent injuries he received so aggravated him that he vented his anger onanything 

Whatever the cause, the elephant in particular was a decided menace that had caused widespread death and destruction. An angry elephant can do awful things to anyone unlucky enough to cross its path.

For encore it generally picks up its victim in its trunk as easily as a child picks up a doll. It then proceeds to whack the unfortunate, with great vigor, against the nearest piece of solid landscape. A large boulder or big tree trunk preferred, but as a last resort the elephant is not adverse to making good use of mother earth.
Having thus slowed its catch down somewhat the enraged beast hurls the object of its hate to the ground and places a firm foot on it, with all that entails, and plucks off various limbs, maybe even the head and hurls them off into the nearby bush. It then uses tusks and feet to pull the corpse’s trunk to bits and for good measure it does a pachyderm quickstep over the remains in order to grind them into obscurity.

In short, Crossed Tusker of Gerhatti was very nasty customers indeed.

The Plot


Geratti is a small Village/hamlet you can see on your right hand side of this google picture. Alternate names: Gearatti, Gearatty.Geratti, Seratti, and KA used as Gerhatti. Geratti is in Kelamangalam Taluk in Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu State, India. It comes under Thavarakkarai Panchayath. 

Geratti is surrounded by Hosur Taluk towards North , Shoolagiri Taluk towards East , Thally Taluk towards west , Bangalore Rural Taluk towards North .     

Geratti to Natrepalayam Road, with the Pond
The Spot where wild tuskers fought


Geratti and Natrampalayam
Road,Anchetty to Geratty
Road, Geratty to Billigundulu
Road, Geratty to Billigundulu, in 2010

Gollamuthi River in Red and not sure about the blue  river( Gundalum?) Geratti in red circle
Road,Anchetty to Geratty
Probable location of the pool  with relation to Anchetty
Close up view of the pool










View from Pennagram Geratti road

Aanaibidahalla,


Anderson stalked in this route for the first elephant
The hill straight back to the pool in the centre. or RHS,Manchi hills


The low hill near Gerhetti described by both Andersons stories. The 2nd elephant gone through this hills, tracked by KA and Ranga within a few hours of gap.

 Geratti -Natrupalayam-biligundlu  road
Natrampalayam 
Road, Geratty to Billigundulu in 2014
The progress of elephant track towards Kavery. The long  Elephant Tracking; for the 2nd elephant, through a small hill opposite to Geratti, Thalvady brook and  then the riverbed to Kaveri riverside.
View of Kavery from  Geratty to Billigundulu road. Probable choice of walk by elephant. 
Billgundala  T section when coming from Anchetti. Left takes you to Hogenakkal and right turn takes you to Billgundala. From here  the elephant   turned towards downstream of Kavery  to  Ootaimalai and ended at "Katripallam"
The Tarred road proceeds to Ootaimalai as  Tusker proceeded. Mud road goes to Biligundalu Village
Bank of Kavey and low hills on TN side, probable way of tracking. 
Probable place of Kartripallam ,Though I  could not make out the correct spot.

Kavery and near to Katripallam, I couldnot locate a specific spot  as per the descriptions.
Biligundalu Village
Biliguntalu
My return from village
Evening at the planes, same as the team did, I returned. Photo from the road from Biligundalu Village
Towards Natrampalayam in an evening.
Little eerie, alone..
Kavery near Biligundalu
The shooting


Probable spot of shooting
Ford and new bridge.Imagine,He emerged from this riverbed  in darkness
Minutes of silence followed, and then Anderson heard a light rustling in the undergrowth from the bank of river nearest to the car. It was a faint sound, apparently made by a small body in the bushes.

A file  image of a crossed Tusker
Imagine the scene of , crack of trodden bamboo came suddenly. Silence again, deep and enveloping. Even the breeze seemed to have died, to allow full opportunity for the next event.


FINAL MOMENTS
 




While awaiting in this spot, Andrson and Ranga heard the ear-splitting scream of a charging elephant, mingled with the crashing of bamboos and undergrowth before the monster that rushed towards them.

Ranga switched the spot-light. Andersons torch-beam, showed an enormous tusker, his trunk curled upwards and, with two white tusks that were crossed at the tip, thundering upon them

At 50 yards range, the bullet took him in the throat. He stopped with the impact, screaming with rage. The explosion, the pain and the lights confirm, and he half-turned into the jungle. KA's second bullet, aimed hastily at the temple, struck on the side of the head. He rushed into the jungle sand disappeared in the bamboos as Anderson's third shot struck somewhere in the body. For quite fifteen minutes they could hear heavy crashes in the jungle as the elephant smashing, collapsed and then recovered, to continue his run.

Next day after two miles KA found him, half-kneeling, half-lying against a tree-trunk, and KA honored him.



A big thanks to Kenneth Anderson who  given a perfect story to do a  walk back,as he takes us along with him. My journey continued to his next favorite place, Kempakare.

Links to other blogposts related to Kennath Anderson stories:

The Man-eater-of-crescent-mountains