Sunday, November 21, 2010


Bangalore might have the most favorable climate and friendly situations for many of us here, but then the outburst of vehicle and human populations has taken away the olden charm that the city once used to showcase. More importantly the city doesn’t have peaks that exceed the sky, wide flowing rivers , clouds that bring constant rain, landscapes spread far , far until one can see, places that are inaccessible by roads, wilderness with sudden surprises, Grasslands, pristine waterfalls, air temperatures maintained at ≤ 15° C, that’s exactly why am always heading out bag packing.

Of course, I gotta be a lot lucky for having settled down in here. A night’s journey from the city would lead you into endless number of places to choose from. So this time, here we were in the beautiful peak of KODACHADRI. It is the 4th tallest peak in Karnataka, falls between Shimoga and Kollur. Kollur is an important Religious destination; The Mookambika Temple here is frequented very often by devotees from kerala . On the tp of Kodachadri peak there is the Sarvagna Peetha of The great Religious preacher Sri Adi Shankaracharya. This is also the same location where the famed “ Galipata” movie was filmed.
Team Size: 19

Organizer: BASC

Means of Transport: the Super splendid “HONDA EXECUTIVE AIR CAR” (As seen in scripted boldly on the bus) 23 seater Run by Swaraj Mazda Engine. This minibus had a sturdy chasis, Woodlined interiors that gave an authentic look, Push back seats with more than 80% seats actually in working condition and a small 17” colour tv that seem to doll out hot movie flicks from the driver’s vast pirated collection. No Sarcasm here, the Bus was pretty good

Expenses: Roughly 1000 Bucks

On the iteanary : Visit Hidlumane falls, Kodachadri , Arishinagundi falls, kollur temple and a fort that came on the way near Rippon pet.

The week ended with a lot of excitement. Was quick to reach home on Friday and started off packing bag. A brief visit to the supermarket to buy a couple of biscuit packs and the famed MTR ready to eat, after which I left home by 8 PM. The Departure was at IST 9:30.
We left the city by 10.30. The route until Tumkur road through Dr Raj kumar was quite messy with private tourist buses queuing up all along the road. Once past the Jalahalli cross, the ride was smooth. I usually have a thing for these night rides, the pleasure of feeling the cool breeze from the edges of the windows with a pinch of music by the ears would be the perfect way to unwind. And if it’s a train ride they could be fascinating as well. The rhythmic sounds of the rails, suspensions and a periodical horn from the engine would also make for a great musical on the backdrop to compliment the ride. These when coupled with a window berth can make for a perfect package to pass the night awake and going.

We stopped by for sometime at 3AM or so for a tea session. The road isn’t particularly great all along. Finally we made it to Nettur early morning by 7 Am. Headed to Sri Devi Hotel for the morning Kriyas after which we settled down for breakfast. The Guy who runs the hotel is a humble guy and has the whole of his family employed at the kitchen. Breakfast were marked by the Idli’s, the poori’s, the Bun’s and lemon rice. These south indian breakfast delicacies were shared ranging from 1/1 to 1/4.

Start point:

3Kms from Nettur, we arrived at the starting point. The unwanted luggages were dumped back into the bus and the essentials made their way into the bag packs. After a quick intro session among the team, we soon headed into the fields. The 2 day date with the nature and the clouds had now officially begun. Crossed a stream, and arrived at a Govt. primary school on the way. The classroom which was adored with various charts, maps and photos of poets brought back memories of my schooling days. Don’t we all share fond memories about our schools! The only place which I remember where simple things are kept simple.

The lone teacher at the school looked like a dedicated guy, his mobile phone kept ringing every now and then. The team distributed chocolates among the kids. These tiny tots were initially surprised and taken aback when they saw us. Later smile forayed back on their faces. We did click some pics with the kids and after which we resumed back on the path. Spotted a water snake resting in a small pool of water by the path, the snake was clearly unfazed by our presence and lay calmly with all of us clicking photos surrounding it. The path finally leads to Hidlumane Waterfalls. We could see some well fed agricultural fields that radiated lavish green color to the whole of the surrounding area.

The Hidlumane waterfalls lies at the top and on the way we come across many smaller waterfalls as the water forms a cascading effect and gradually falls through several step formations. The route to the falls took us through forests, minus the leaches even though the soil had no sunlight and appeared quite damp. The climb through the forest was easy and needed very little effort. Soon we reach the falls; the falls isn’t particularly majestic but offers a good healing massage to people who would want to stand on its base. And for people who’re just ok with admiring it at a distance, its beautiful as well. The Sunlight seeps through the tree tops and falls on the water falling giving it a glitter. It did appear like a series of crystal falling from the top..

We move on, 10 mins climb through the forests soon bring us to the open grasslands towards the peak. It is here where the 2 day association with the clouds begins from. As I inch step by step, the landscapes open up, I could see flat plains on one side and patches of water bodies on the other side. The little felt miseries of trekking inside forests had thus ended. The weather from now was moderated for less than ≤15 C. Cool breeze could be felt, The clouds beginning to loose height , while we gain more potential energy soaring to the peak. It is at these kind of places where I’ve felt some of the most pleasant and carefree moments in life. The walk could rightly be called “ The walk in the Clouds”. The sentence reminds me of a romantic Hollywood movie that I happen to see some time back, it had the same name.

This was followed by a brief stop for lunch. The packed idlis and the Mangalore buns tasted good. Soon we resume and join the Jeep track to the Kodachadri Peak. The next stop was at the base camp were the group positions for a tea break. Being a sweeper ensured that I was always the first from the last. We get our dinner for the night parceled at here and soon take on the last 30 mins accent to the peak. The food was carried to the peak with people taking turns. (Yes we work as a team!). The clouds soon start covering up on us. They could be felt everywhere. The deep vertical drop next to the path was no longer visible; it instead appeared like a milky white carpet all-round. Soon the Peak was here. The divine Sarvagna peetha of Shankaracharya gave a very austere look to the peak.

To be honest, I didn’t have any feeling of accomplishment as the whole trek had been more of a casual one, yet it was nice to have made it finally to this beautiful place that lay above the clouds. The next obvious thing everyone set out into doing was photography and it was soon time for sunset. The sunset on the peak is definitely a moment that shouldn’t be missed. The Sun often goes undercover between the clouds, the hide and seek game goes on for a while and finally bidding good bye to light up the world elsewhere. The clouds take a fine polish of gold when the sun sets; this makes for a beautiful background to take some mindboggling photos of the clouds themselves and at times we humans at the focus too.

The sleeping mats and bags are quick to come out and people are gradually seen settling down. The dinner was finished soon. While the rest of them are either sleeping , playing Cards (Minus the betting money), Counting stars, tracking sounds, exploring paths on torch, etc ,We settle down for a chat . The weather wasn’t very chilly however my wollen shawl was just not enough to cover me. By 10 we’re done talking about all our previous treks, photography, and a hundred random topics that made it in our conversation. We soon surrender to sleep.

I did catch up on some sleep till 4 AM. Later that Morning I was among the Long list of accused people for having snored last night. I always refute the claims; I never feel that I could have ever snored.

We did explore the landscape around at our will trying to catch enough of the sunrise.

The unknown river trail at the base, followed by the clouds and the sunrise at the top, this shot is gonna be embedded in my mind for a long time, a rare scene.

We pack bags, leave the peak and are at the base point where we have the breakfast. The Lone filler for the day was a plate of Lemon rice; little did I know at that time that I would end up passing the whole day with this little food. A half day trek down within the forest trail leaves us at the main road; The distance from the peak to this exit point spans 10kms. Nothing notable on the way, although yeah, we came across a bunch of bikers all on their bullet along the second half of the trail. Their bikes sure did make me jealous. Anyways Biking can wait until the next april, this time I was solely on trekking.

We take the bus to Arishinagundi falls entry point. It is from here that all my miseries take shape. 15 odd people who begin walking the 5km trail to the falls are grandly welcomed by an army of leaches who had been impending an attack on this trail. The attack seems to get more and more while the number of people still on track kept reducing. Finally the number reduced to 2 owing to a trade off between doubts on the trail, the leaches, the empty stomach and an incredibly steep trail on one side and an Arishinagundi falls on the other side. The 2 of us myself and karthik, mysore who headed undeterred were joined by Apoorva later. The top priority in life at that moment was to find that board at the left showing a deviation to the Arashinagundi falls. We finally find the board and head on to the falls. With no food and very less water at stake, it was a daunting task to have finally made it to this beautiful abode of nature that lay totally secluded from humans. The Falls is majestic with large volumes of water pouncing down from more than 40 feet height. The Central cachement area was very difficult to approach and we were happy viewing the falls at a distance, yet fully satisfied. The rocks all around the falls gave us ample opportunity to jump one another and make it closer to the falls for being clicked. After all we put in a mammoth effort to make it here, we need the place and our presence well documented. The other 3 member gang was soon to follow. After a brief rest at the falls, we set sail back to the bus. We were more relieved to be getting back.

We had to climb for 15 mins to make it to the diversion point where we initially took the left turn to the falls . Once reaching this point the rest of the journey was more of getting down the whole of the route. I turned back shouting for Karthik, mysore who often stops to clear the leaches. We knew we were already delayed by much time and I wanted us to make it back to the bus asap. Suddenly a snake passes through my feet. It looked brownish with white scales and measured a nominal 5 feet. Suddenly my heart stopped a beat seeing this creature, which I thought even, bit me. Already I had so much of sensation in the leg due to the leach bytes that I couldn’t gauge any sensation due to fresh Snake bites. We passed the poor creature that rested by the side of the trail. The way back was more introspection, evaluation and assertion of the possible snake bite. I kept thinking about the hours one has for medication in the event of the snake bite. Also kept thinking about the number of incomplete accomplishments at this phase of life in the event something really bad happens to me. Suddenly out of nowhere god appeared in my mind. I seem to chant his name in mind asking him to keep me alive. I didn’t talk much until I made it to the bus.

Once reaching the bus we were received by the rest of the team with open hands and claps, I felt great to be back , to be joining the team. After a short session cleaning by bleeding leg (I estimated the total blood donation to be around 200ml for this trek) we got back on the bus and headed back. We reached nettur where the Sri Devi hotel did have dosas left over for the day and was minutes away from shutting doors. Had 4 dosa’s and settled back in the bus.
The journey back to Bangalore did involve a lot of activity. We did start of with Ravichandran, who was busy consoling/romancing his heroines in all of the video songs we played. Antyakshari later took over and went on till 12 in the night. By the way it was more than 6 hrs now since the snake encounter and I was doing fine. Yeah be happy to be alive, the poor thing never bit me.

Bus made it to Bangalore early by 6.30 on Monday, caught an auto and got back home. I did have a friendly supporting team as always, and experience exceeds my expectation as always.
That’s Kodachadri for you,

November edition of Karthik’s Nature escapades


Phantom said...

Ever been to Skandagiri. Its heaven on earth i heard. And just beautiful for an early morning trek

karthik said...

Skandagiri is just a respite for the urban mass who frequently visit here because there are no options.

I dont think it is even anywhere close to places like Kodachadri which falls in the range of Western Ghats

& Thanks for your Comment