Wednesday, June 26, 2013

“Mullyanagiri” The Crown of Karnataka

Monsoon special Dream Trek

The dream start 
Mulliyangiri one of the dream place to visit in my list located in Chikmagalur. The place which is famous for coffee and is known as the 'coffee land' of Karnataka, one of the largest coffee producer’s districts of the country. Mullyanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka, with a height of 1,930 metres (6,330 ft), it is the highest peak between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. Friday night as planned everyone assembled around 10:30 PM at the pickup point near majestic. At 11:15 PM we started from Bangalore with the fear of rain play in our plan. With fun filled night journey we reached our homestay by 4:00 AM.

Homestay: The Wildernest
It was a muddy road of 1.3 Kms stretch towards homestay. Few of us decided to walk instead of going in TT. So we got down and started with early morning walk and reached homestay “The Wildernest”. Our homestay was in the center of greenery, covered with beautiful flowers, cloudy peaks and coffee estates. We can see the peaks covered in the mist, the view which will prompt you to start trekking then and there itself, but we controlled our wild thoughts and everyone went to get fresh up.   
Our Homestay!!
Day 1 Trek
Enjoying at Kalhatti Falls
Our first day trek started late credit goes to the breakfast, so we decided to have next day breakfast outside. We took a guide from the homestay and started our first day trek to Kalhatti Falls. Walking in the midst of greenery, route which is fully covered with coffee plantations, tall trees, we first reached at the small stream of Kalhatti Falls. After couple of photo sessions, covered the small bridge then moved towards Kalhatti Falls. After a prolonged discussion finally guide took us closest to the falls. The trail was more of uphill, sleepery and full of leeches. When we reached atop the pain had complete meaning. Kalhatti falls drops off an overhanging ledge which allows visitors to walk underneath and can have showers. It was just pure, refreshing and worth climbing. Everyone started giving their best possess and few got into the water. “Aaaaahooooo, Yahooooo, wohhhhh hoooooo, haaaahaaaahaaaa” were the screams who got into the falls. :D After spending chilling time at the falls we came back to homestay for lunch by 1:30 PM along with Chaku, our intelligent guide through out our trek and would run and join us whenever we take any group pic. He followed us to the top and guided us like a human. I just loved him, he was so adorable without tail but the other dog was always coming in front of the photo with his tail. :P  

Climb at Z view point

We finished our lunch by 3 PM and moved to next in visit list which was Kemmangundi. “Kemmangundi” a peerless hilly site and is 1434m above the sea level. It was freezing, cold breeze was add on. Hardly we could see anything. After spending quick time there we hurried for ‘Z View Point’. It's a steep uphill trek which leads to the Z point, a spectacular vantage spot at Kemmangundi. We reached the base of Z point and started moving fast because it was almost sunset and also it was leech territory. Few trekkers told us not to climb now because it is around 1.5 Kms from here and route is dangerous to trek in night and we will not be able to make it. Because of time constraint and other team mates pace it was decided to stop and return back. 

In the clouds 'Z view point'
Keeping all this aside myself, Naman and Sant(h)osh wanted to do it and we did it. We covered that steep uphill in mere 12 minutes.  What I should say about the view? This was my thrilling experience. It was breathtaking, serene views from hilltop offering a nice ariel view of the distant Shola grasslands in the undulated Western ghats. The wind force was so strong and dangerous that I was not able to handle my body weight. I have to sit down and wait for the wind force to reduce; I also can’t wait for long enough with the fear of losing line of sight of my other two trek mates. The mist was so thick giving you access to see more or less in 5 meters only.  After spending few minutes we started descending and literally we were doing balancing act while running. One wrong step and you are gone that’s what it takes in these treks. And it took us only 10 minutes to reach base point where others were waiting for us. What next after that? Yeah all stories about the view point. From achievers face you can make out how exciting it was. I can describe it as “I was walking in the clouds.” 

Kallathigiri Temple
Next we visited Kallathigiri Temple. At Kallathigiri, pilgrims love to witness a small temple that is sandwiched between the waterfalls and rocks. Being a quint essential Indian temple, it retain idols and stone sculptures of the predominant God and Goddesses that turns this place into a pilgrimage destination worth a visit. Here someone in group realized that he has got a leech stick to his tummy and the funniest discussion was “Leech trekked from top or bottom to reach to your tummy” :D. Our plaster boy donated lots of blood which scared everyone in the group, and after tea we rushed to our home-stay for which everyone was eagerly waiting to check themselves because of leech attack. After that everyone got fresh up, started with introduction, spending fun time discussing whole day trek moments and after having finger licking dinner everyone retired for the day. 

Day 2 Trek – Mullyanagiri 
Day two as planned started early. All packed their bags and started after saying bye to our hosts. We had our breakfast on the way itself while playing dum charades. Lets see next time how can you enact for Kismat Connection and Chandaal, the funniest part of acting Sant(h)osh would be cursing his Kismat on this. :D With fun on high we reached at a small village had tea and started checking for route to the base of the peak. We got mixed responses from the villagers. Few said not to go at this time, few said you can. We were in dilemma because after this trek we won’t be going to home stay to check where we got leech bite; we have to wait till we reach Bangalore. Finally we decided lets reach the base point and then decide. 
Team 1 at Sarpadhari before start of Mullayangiri climb
The starting point of Mullayanagiri trek is called Sarpadhari. From Sarpadhari, there is a steep trek of 5 km till Mullayanagiri peak which is moderately difficult. There is also a concrete road that goes till Mullayanagiri peak via Sitalayanagiri. We reached Sarpadari at 09:00 AM and divided the group in 2 teams. Team 1 of 6 people, including me took the trek route via Sarpadari and Team 2 took the concrete road. After preparing ourselves we started to climb. Best prevention I came across to deal with leeches during this trek is ‘Salt and lemon.’ 

Slips, steep an awesome climb to the peak
One should be careful while trekking in monsoon; some of the rock patches are difficult and dangerous.  The initial stretch of the trek has some breath- taking vertical slopes those can be a severe challenge for an acrophobic person. We were walking bit slow in group giving support and maintaining line of sight. There were points were it was very difficult but in a group we made it. The breathtaking view of Western Ghats revitalized my strength along with superb team to climb with. Without any halt we made it to the top by 10.15 AM. Pure elements, refreshing and undoubtedly magnetizing that captivate people from every caste and creed. Landscapes and sceneries that are stunning will always strike our mind.

Team rocking at the Peak
With the Temple on the top surroundings covered with mist, temperature varying between 15 degree to 16 degree, wind force at its best, we were celebrating our climb. After 15 minutes Team 2 joined via step route and to their surprise we reached before them. After taking couple of good shots and bit of exploration around we started descending. The step route was also not so easy. One wind force is enough to make any skinny person fly. Well our organizer was with the group and we all reached the base safely. 

At Bababudhan Giri datta Peetha 
After that we moved to have lunch post that we visited Bababudhan Giri Datta Peetha. It is known for its shrine which is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Muslims. There were direct steps which lead us inside. Photography strictly not allowed inside, request all travelers to follow this. After paying our visit we moved towards Manikyadhara Falls which is just 4 kms away from Bababudhan giri on the Baba Budan Giri Hills. The view point, the falls was beautiful. The only part that was not going along was pilgrims who come there think that they have to throw away their clothes after pooja as part of tradition which makes that place so untidy. After wonderful scenic view we moved towards Honnamana Halla Falls. Everyone started experimenting with their special stunts including me. Altogether we covered many places in these two days and after dinner around 10 PM we started back to Bangalore and everyone was door drop in midnight.   

Memory to take forward
The long wait for Monsoon trek finally worth waiting the moment I trekked the highest peak of Karnataka ‘Mullyanagiri’. In spite of heavy downpour at most parts we were able to complete our trek as planned and even more than that. The weather was just awesome and it supported us like anything. The mist, cloud, wind, greenery, food, and the group were just perfect. Trekking is one way of meeting wonderful people and I am glad to bug them with my sardar jokes. :P Osssuuummmm experience without a SINGLE leech bite. Rain treks are not easy but it is not that difficult too when you have strong will to do it, so just push yourself. I achieved what I dreamt of now looking forward to climb next in to-do list..!!!

Panoramic view from the peak

Monday, June 10, 2013

Trip to Ramanagaram - WOW special

How will it be when you go out for a trip with only group of female trekkers? I had this dream which became reality on 08th Jun’13 when I planned my first trek as an organizer to Ramanagaram. Ramadevara betta is a hill in the Ramanagara district. It is a Hindu shrine rising more than 3000 feet. Lord Ram is said to have visited here during his 14 years exile. There is a Ram temple at the top of the hill. It will give you an awesome feeling as you approach the hill. It consists of twin hills with caves and huge rocks. It is here the 1975 super hit movie Sholay was shot. And it is also said to be rock climber’s paradise.
Panorama view of Ramanagaram 
The Start
The trip started early morning for me. Got up at 5AM and reached station by 6:40 AM to buy tickets. We three people reached early and stood in three different queues so that we can get tickets soon. Finally we reached till the counter and asked for 6 tickets to Ramanagaram, he said 1000 bucks. We were like, what 1000 na? Ticket counter guy was funny, we were surprised again after getting tickets, that it was only 60 bucks for 6 people. After that one by one other 3 trekkers joined. And we all reached platform number 6 to board our Fast passenger train. As usual our Indian Railways was late and reached station by 8 AM and started by 8:10 AM. Well I guess everyone can imagine how general compartment would be. Thanks to our brave girls Roopa, Vinitha, Jyoti and Chandrakala who managed to get into the train in that crowd and get one upper bunker. The only person benefited was Chandrakala. She just went up and slept. Later one by one we all got some place, squeezed ourselves and sat. 

At Ramanagram
Kaja Bhai with WOW!!!
Finally 9 AM we reached Ramanagram station. After little search found small good roadside shop for breakfast. After breakfast time for tea and no wonder when WOW made Kaja bhai, tea stall owner’s day wow. His face showed that happiness and tea which he prepared for us was too good. When we asked him why is he wearing helmet and preparing tea, he said to protect himself from Sun and heat. We took photo with Kaja bhai and with so much innocence he said TA TA when we left that place. Later we took auto and reached the base of Ramadevara betta by 10:15 AM and started our trek-cum-photo-shoot walk.      

As you walk around you could see many hills and when u reach on top you will have one question “Can we trek on that hill?” Don’t ask me on which rock does Gabbar was hiding, as there were many beautiful hills. We were lucky enough to have glimpse of couple doing Rappelling. We all spent more than 30 minutes just to see them doing this crazy stuff. After that we reached final steps which will take us to the peak. It was scary and we saw guys giving up to climb those steps. Except one, we all 5 climbed and saw the true beauty of Ramanagaram hill. After spending some quality time at the top we returned, on the way having energy bars and other cookies we again took and auto and reached Boating point. But because of rain all boats were already sank and couldn't take us to sink. We sat there for some time had whatever left with us and started our way back to the station. At the station we had formal introduction session, well it was interesting one, guys would not be comfortable to listen so let me stop here only. With the Sun playing hide and seek, WOW completed their first trek of Ramanagara Betta. We boarded 3 PM train, though it was express but it took double the time of passenger. We reached Bangalore city by 05:15 PM and dispersed. I had awesome feeling at the end of trek when I rested my head on my pillow and said finally it happened. :) :) 
"WOW 6" 
For more photos: BTC Album link 

My First 10K Marathon

I always wondered how people run for so long at a spring in mass of thousands. How it feels like being inside the mass, running for cause, for corporate? I got answer to all these questions in my first Marathon. Yeah I participated in 2013 edition of TCS 10K with bib number 8260. 

After registration, the main target was to complete my race. I was least worried about my ranking and timing. Preparation for the run involved talking about it, posting and sharing my intent on Social media, controlling hard on the eating stuff which I like most, and visualizing the runners feeling, when I run with all the amazing people of Bangalore city. The actual physical training for the race was not much. Planned to do practice as hard as I could, but seldom getting time to do as decided. One night before race ate well, kept my gear ready, tied chip to my shoes and slept early. 

Morning got up as early and reached Sri Kanteerva Stadium by 6:15 AM for the warm up session. The race day atmosphere at Sri Kanteerva Stadium was just electric, everyone smiled at each other. The high-octane music inside the stadium, pumping heartbeat, along with actor Rahul bose, Puneet Rajkumar, brand Ambassador Maria Mutola, three time world champion to motivate runners. Everyone practicing, conversing with other runners on to make this run their best run. Number of enthusiastic people participated in all events. Hats off to all participants of Champions with Disability & Senior Citizen's RUN for their high morale in marathon and incredibly over 22,000 people came out to run at the TCS 10K Marathon on May 19, 2013. After warm up session, different categories of race flagged off followed by open 10k race. Young and old, fit and fat, first-timers and veterans stepped out together to run. Distance was never more when we had supporters standing entire stretch just to drive and cheer runners. Folk dance entertainment, runners performing to their music and encouraging them too. Differently abled kids, and other NGO’s running for a cause spreading message and awareness. Costumes run participants running with definitive messages to spread in society. So many people racing together, I saw it live for the first time. People waited long enough to read each other’s' placards. The experience of running with more than 10K people was worth the sweat. Other than the actual run, the causes for which people were running for were really splendid. There were best of the best messages during ‘Majja run’. 

First half of the race was more or less smooth. As it became little tougher, the other participants kept cheering each other to keep running till the end point. Finally I finished it in 01:28:49 sec, not a great timing but a beginning. This is not the end; it encouraged me to bring the best out of me, next time. Yes I will come back and am running all over again. The feeling when I crossed the finish line, that’s the best feeling I had and I know how it feels like because YO! I am a FINISHER.