In June, I wrote about my trip to Magge, where a vast land area is laid waste by the arriving and retreating waters of the Gorur Dam, and of the church in ruins there. What I saw then was barren land anticipating the next flooding from imminent monsoons. I was in Hassan this week, and I went to Magge, to look up the place during these monsoons. The landscape I'd seen then is drowned. The last time, I had walked up to the ruins and roamed among them. This visit, I went there on a theppa (coracle). Reaching the church, only the top of which is exposed, I sat on a dry part on the Southern wall, feeling tiny, my body and mind lost in the immensity of water. After a while I came to, and spent time savouring crisp, clean air on my face and arms, taking deep breaths of it.
Puttaswamy, who took me there on the theppa, told me it took a month since the rains began for water to rise to this week's level.
He couldn't say when the dam was built. He said that on some weekends he ferries over a hundred people a day to the church. But yesterday, Saturday, he said he had no fare at all. Writing this post, I am suddenly doubtful that Puttaswamy ferries a hundred tourists a day to the church. I feel ashamed thinking so, but I'm not to blame, really. Magge is so far off the tourist track, it is hard to imagine a hundred people looking for it on a single day.