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Posts Tagged ‘Gaalikere’

No trek for a month?! No, I cant live with that. My greatest of passions, with the never ending list of ‘Must see before I die’, I cannot afford to waste a weekend. I was successful in convincing Saurabh to come along with me.

Destination? Mullayanagiri –Bababudangiri- kemmannugundi trail.

Though I had been to the same trail twice, I had the same enthuse and eagerness as the rest of the group who were waiting for the bus. Day:April 17/09, Time:10PM, Location:Symphony theatre, Bangalore. A few known faces – Janak, Harsha and Poonam and rest 20 odd friendly souls busy talking within their small groups. A few had packed their homes inside mammoth sized rug sacks – all ready for relocation. I still cannot believe they had read the entire instruction manual and were prepared for worst of the scenarios, even a Tsunami. I could have easily tucked my backpack in one of them.

Making sure everybody had arrived, we boarded the bus. It was not a cozy one and had very less leg space. The journey had a dinner stop at a panjabi dhaba, bumpy ride, driver’s half an hour restroom time out in the middle of nowhere, diversions and numerous stops. On reaching Chickmaglur we checked into a hotel named Woodlands – Well don’t fall for its name; It was only as good as a public toilet. It did not take more than an hour to get ready and have a light breakfast at a nearby hotel.

Sarpadaari Begins

Sarpadaari Begins

After reaching the beginning of trek route called ‘Sarpadaari’ at the base of Mullyanagiri and a small round of introduction we started climbing the hill. We had Janak with us leading the way and Harsha (and Poonam, asusual) at the tail end. I was amazed to know there was a girl with acrophobia! (fear of heights) and it was fun pulling her legs (Not literally) – the first one to talk to among 20 so friendly souls. By half way numerous photos were clicked and water bottles were emptied.

Gufa

Gufa

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After a short break under a tree 300mts below the summit, we went to explore a cave nearby of whose existence I wasn’t aware of. The cave with multicolored walls was pitch dark. Torches flashing, we wasted no time in exploring all possible routes crawling on our knees. Harsha showed us a hidden route where we found a bat hanging by its wall and decided to go no further. It took a while to dust our clothes after coming out of the cave.
Mullayanagiri peak

Mullayanagiri peak


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Mullayanagiri to Bababudangiri highway!

Mullayanagiri to Bababudangiri highway!


We reached the top in another ten minutes and roamed around the stupa for a while. After refilling our bottles with super tasty water and a few more snaps on top of the highest peak of karnataka, we started our descent towards Bababudangiri. The surface of the hill was barren but during my last visit the whole mountain was covered with blue and yellow flowers. This was a very easy descent where Namratha refused to give up her lead until we reached our bus for lunch. Sitting inside a small bus stop we had parceled lunch- pulav, raita, curd rice and pickle which tasted like a million dollar meal.
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Campsite - Galikere

Campsite - Galikere


Sunset at Galikere

Sunset at Galikere

We then traveled for half an hour after which we got down and started our trek towards Manikyadhara falls. Our guide Krishna took us to the place. We were surprised to see the 50paise entry fee. After paying it(well 2 rupee for 4 people) and getting an yellow chit we entered the stairs that leads us to the falls. To our great disappointment the falls was just like a sprinkling shower which would take hours to wet surface of out body. We started swearing at our guide and made fun of Vani who actually took bath in it and Swetha who was cribbing for losing her hard earned 50 paise coin. It was late in the afternoon when we started our trek towards Galikere – our camping site for the day. This was a fascinating path revisited for me. We walked through the thin strip of hilly pathway with gush of winds threatening to take us off our heels. Saurabh and I were deviating from the trail every now and then to reach the verge of the hill. We reached Galikere just after sunset. The place had a small lake(galikere), a few shops, a small temple and our campsite was barren with chicken feathers and bones.

We sat on the resin sheets spread on the camping site where all our backpacks, sleeping bags and tents had been dumped. We first decided to sleep under the sky and not pitch tents. But later somehow everyone wanted to pitch tents for the sake of learning the art of pitching one! Harsha and Janak went on to give the demo and we followed. A few misplaced the colored sticks resulting in a handicapped tent and it was fun watching the fight between girls and guys over a cursed stick which girls finally managed to snatch!
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Campfire!

Campfire!

After setting up tents Janak, Harsha and others got busy preparing soup and demanded money for the same. Finding no buyers they had to give it for free. There was roti and ready to eat MTR channa masala and Paneer masala for dinner. Our Harsha CHANDRA SHEKAR ate all extra roti (all? I’m not sure). We brought a huge log from somewhere for campfire and there was a fight between Janak and another girl(Swetha if I’m right) for lighting the bonfire .
Then started a session of extreme PJs where everyone gave a tough competition to crack the worst possible PJ.

“How do you find out if a housefly is male or female?
– Usko darao, agar uda to Male, udi tho Female “ for a sample.

A few of us got our sleeping bags and slept outside near the bonfire while the rest settled inside their tents. After a while, one by one came out with their sleeping bag to sleep outside. It got cold and windy later that night and even showered a few drops of rain.
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We got up early in the morning (by 6 AM) and wow! The clouds were right beside us. I could see the ocean of floating clouds below our level, slowing gaining altitude and coming towards us. The panoramic view forced the cameras to come out of their bags. Poonam(christened chaiwali) prepared tea which was called “makki ka chai”, well yes there were a few insects which committed suicide wanting to taste the tea. After tea and breakfast (bread and jam), we packed our tents and bags and dumped them in to the jeep. We saw tens of villagers climbing the nearby open hillock for their morning works. By the time we started wondering how can they be so foolish to have chosen such an open place, the clouds had gained altitude and covered the entire place! Within seconds we couldn’t see ten feet from us. What timing!
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From the sword of Zorro

From the sword of Zorro


We started our trek to kemmangundi by around 7AM. The trail was more friendly, foggy and cold. We had made good acquaintance with rest of the group and it turned out to be comfortable morning walk with lot of witty conversations (well yes, on a moony day ;-)). We stopped by a small falls at a stream and a few of us took a dip in it. It got sunny by the time we reached halfway and most of us were burnt and out of fuel by the time we reached Kemmanugundi. Here the guide dragged us further down from the guesthouse where he said the food was available. We fell for it and reached to find out nothing was available to eat. Too bored to go back I slept in the bus for a while. After an hour filled bellies came back with packets of Bisibelebath for those who stayed behind. How sweet of them!
Indian Hummer

Indian Hummer


Hebbe falls

Hebbe falls


We then decided to go to Hebbe falls. Having seen it twice before, to make up for Manikyadhara’s disappointment I was pestering Harsha to visit it. We booked 4 jeeps which took us for a heavenly ride . These jeeps are super old killer Indian Hummers driven by super kids and has modified engines which can conquer any terrain. Run by half diesel half kerosene mix they even have a 2 wheel/4 wheel drive toggle! Attached photo is of one such hummer I traveled during my last trip. We got down at the estate house and after passing 3 streams reached the massive 2 step falls. Within no time we were in the cold water sitting under the falls and enjoying the water massage which was thwacking us with all it force. After an hour of play, we returned to our bus via the same route.

It was 7PM and we did not want to reach Bangalore at some odd hour. Hence we charted out a plan to delay everything so that we can reach the city not before 4AM. We left to Bangalore after a round of tea and some snacks. The bus broke down(No this was not part of our delay plan) at Arasikere and we used this time to have dinner in some stinking restaurant. After the dinner, our laughter for Harsha’s anecdotes were never ending. Finally we reached Bangalore by 4:30 AM. I could not say bye to every one of them but their smiling faces saying adieu would remind me of all the fun I had during this trip. The trek was partially successful in bring together a group of strangers and creating a clique out of it. Miss you all!

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