Monday, August 17, 2009

Dudhsagar - 2nd version!

May 13th - Planned
May 15th - Finalized the date
May 30th - Booked the tickets for 21 people
August 2nd - Few people met to discuss on food stuffs
August 9th - Another meet to finalize the things

Finally, August 14th :- Sharp 8'0 clock the Yeshwantpur railway station was filled with people but the trekking group are still on their way. At 9.30 PM everybody is in the train compartment. Another 10 minutes, the train will leave Bangalore.

12'0 clock midnight :- most of them are sound asleep as the train moves, but there are few people who are wide awake chit chatting.

7 AM, 15th aug :- Reached Hubli, I brushed my teeth at the station and got into the train. Stomach was quite hungry. Ate bread and jam. Joined the group who were playing Anthakshari, I was not sleeping nor I was not singing but I was listening. :)
Thankfully after an hour or so the game ended, and I was so happy.. :P
Londa station arrived, another hour to reach Castle rock. An hour went by very soon and we reached Castle rock. The same station where we had started the last year DDS trek. This time the plan was different. We had plans to reach Kulem and then trek back from there.
When the train started, few of us sat at the door of the compartment and enjoyed watching the sceneric beauty of the place. Around 10.15 AM, we passed through the Dudhsagar water falls. Amazing, beautiful and wonderful as same as before though there was less water pouring down this time it still had the beauty in it. The very same attraction which made us to visit it again.

10.45 AM :- Reached Kulem, distributed the food stuffs and rest of the things. It was time to celebrate independence day. Raised the flag and celebrated the day in our way. With a wrist band of flag and sweets to eat, we enjoyed a different way of celebrating it.

11.30 AM:- Started trekking towards the fall. Passing by the forest and beauty of the nature it was our second experience. It started raining very heavily in between. My umbrella and the rain jacket was of no use at all. It did help a bit in saving my poor bag.

2 PM :- Lunch time! I was already late when I reached a small station where the rest of the team had finished their lunch. Credit goes to my legs which were not at all moving fast. Had Roti and Chapathi with variety of curries. I didnt even realize I was sitting on a ladder which was kept in a tilted mode. I just crashed down from the ladder when it broke all because of me. I didnt dare to sit anywhere after that.

4'o clock :- View of the falls every now and then making us more energetic to walk fast. With snaps shot everywhere we got close to the falls. This time I didnt wanted to be left behind from watching the beauty, hence moved so fast that I reached first with 3 more people. I dumped my backpack and other stuffs near one corner and went to every place I could, near to the falls to enjoy its glory. There were lot many people this time and the place was mostly covered with garbage things here and there.

5 PM :- No sign of other people, guessed that they might have got down into one of the streams flowing by for a dip. Madhukar came in search for us to ask us to come and join them. We went back with our backpacks to the place where the stream was. Already everyone had finished their bath. We got in and enjoyed the cold water bath in the bath tub.. ;)

6PM :- I trekked back again to Dudhsagar with few others and rest of the people were already pitching the tents by then. There was another group of guys who had occupied ther upper portion of the shed house so the tents were pitched at the bottom. I quickly got freshened up and had a nice time walking here and there. Exploring the place again with those moments that I had last year with fresh new ones.

8.30 PM :-Time for dinner. I ate chapathi with MTR curry and also had MTR sambhar rice. My dinner was over I went inside my tent to relax a bit. I was in no mood to come out as it was cozy inside and I was also very tired. But rest of the people had planned to gather outside for chit chatting and I badly wanted to go and enjoy with them. We sat on a brickbuilt place like a round table conference and started talking and shouting. We could not decide what exact game we can all play and hence finally thought of doing a brief introduction of everyone. It was fun talking and knowing more about each. After lot of jokes and talks, I went and slept off by around 11.30 PM.

6.30 AM :- It was pretty much warm inside the tents though I had expected it to be very cold in the morning. I came out and could see few people already awake. I had a small walk beside the falls on the train track and after an hour, few of us went to Dudhsagar station to enquire about the train which would take us to Kulem. On the way, we had a nice time with the photographers who were busy clicking our snaps on all possible places.
We came to know that there is a passenger train which would pass by 11 AM which would drop us at Kulem. We thought we might take a goods train or something which would be completely a new experience. With options in our mind, we went back to the base camp and got ready. We quickly had our breakfast which was bread with jam and pickle and i ate so many chocalates early in the morning. We cleared all the stuffs from there and came to Dudhsagar station again at sharp 10.45 AM.

Because the passenger train came early we had to go in that and couldnt wait for any goods train. :( we reached Kulem at 12 PM and walked along the track to find a place near the flowing water. We went inside some jungle cafe and found a place where we could play in the flowing water. But unlucky time, it started raining all of a sudden and made me wet all over again. I had a tough time protecting my stuffs. We got a place to keep our backpacks and so dumped everything and went to play. We enjoyed playing in the water though I was not very comfortable this time as I was feeling very cold. I didnt get into water much. Just sat and watched and few dips inside. By around 2 PM, we all were out and were almost dried up. We had our lunch at the same place and this time it was yummy as we ate MTR ready to eat rice items like bisibele baath, pongal etc with chapathi and curry.

3PM :- Few went in search of fish curry and rest of us took complete rest and we all gathered again at Kulem station at sharp 4 PM. The one most thing which we all did everytime was talking, so whenever possible we were chit chatting. The train was supposed to arrive at 4.35 PM until then we went on with this and that topics.

4.40 PM :- Train arrived. We had to run to the last compartment which was reserved for us and we finally settled down to our seats after we got into it. Train started moving after 5 mins and we came across the same tunnels and same falls again on the way back. With howlings and shoutings while crossing the tunnels, we were exhausted but still had that potential to enjoy the train journey.

6 PM :- We started playing dumb charades and it was so much fun that everyone enjoyed playing it. The whole compartment was shaking and growling with our noises that probably our neigbhour people out there might have been scolding us inside their minds.
The train had stopped for more than an hour at Londa and we didnt even realize to peek outside. We went on playing and enjoying.

I was shocked to see the time when it showed 9.30 PM. Time to sleep? and then we will get up in the morning and go back home? :( sad part ...
So I tried to be awake as much as I could to enjoy the most. People were tired of playing Dumb charades so they all opted for anathakshari. I knew i would sleep off in little time if we started this game but all started it and went on singing. I couldnt keep myself awake after this. I took small naps there itself every now and then and finally I realized I didnt have dinner. I was afraid that I might feel hungry in the middle of the night so tried to fetch something on coming station. We couldnt find anything nor I wanted to buy junk food so had a bit of cold pongal. I badly wanted to shut my eyes then so finally at around 12 PM, I went to the upper birth and slept off...

6.30 AM :- No idea at which place I was. I got up and brushed my teeth and sat down yawning. Everyone woke up and all gathered after getting freshen up. Few had energy to talk and few did not. We reached Tumkur by 7.30 AM and I started eating chocalates as I felt hungry.

9 AM :- Reached Yeshwantpur Railway station. Time to depart. Bid good byes to all and went on my way to my hostel at RT Nagar!

Total People: 19
Names: Deepika, Ashwini, Sindhu, Jaggu, Sudhir, Vishnu, Rashmi, Madhu Gopal, Madhu karuthedath, Prasanna, Madhukar, Karthik, Sathya, Chethan, Harish, Bishu, Peter, Raghavendra and myself!

Further note: Dudhsagar is truly amazing BUT now the place will no longer remain beautiful as the place is getting destroyed by people. We could see all sorts of garbage and unwanted things thrown near the falls. We even came across with people who came there to drink and enjoy dancing. Presently, every weekend there are minimum of 500 people visiting the falls. Last time we went, there was not even a single soul. Looks like every individual who visits the place is destructing this beauty (including us).

P.S: This is just a personal thought of mine. I'm not pointing to any individual person.

P.P.S: It was indeed another best times out there! Different from first yet both the times it was truly best.

P.P.P.S: Pics from Chethan; Madhu karuthedath; Prasanna; Sathya

Friday, January 23, 2009

Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta!

Madhu and Neeta were planning for an outing in the weekend. They involved me too and three together started deciding on the places. Lot of places were listed but after a lot of thinking and chatting. We freezed on Himavad Gopal Swamy Betta!

Himavad Gopal Swamy Betta is a hill located in the Chamarajanagar district of the state of Karnataka and around 220 kms from Bangalore. It lies in the area of Bandipur National Park and is frequented by wild life. The the prefix Himvad is due to dense fog which covers the hill all through the year.

The final list included nearly 14 people. We had planned to leave Bangalore the day before so that we can get much time to spend near the hills. At around 11.30, we left Bangalore and were on the Mysore road talking and shouting. In no time, most of the people were asleep. Me too :)
The journey was for about 4+ hours. We reached the foot of the hill at around 4 in the early morning. As Madhu had already taken permission to enter the forest department at that time, we had no issues going further. The way to the top of the hill was quite jerky as it was kind of steep in some places and the driver had a difficult time to keep the vehicle moving on. As we were near to the destination, the engine of the vehicle went off and the brakes weren't enough to halt the vehicle from moving backward. The vehicle moved for nearly 20 feet behind and with a great thud it did stop near a pit. Thankfully we had a great relief! After 10 minutes of struggling, the vehicle started and we were off again in the early morning.

At around 5. 15 we reached the top of the hill. We got down to find ourselves in middle of a hilly forest with a twinkling moon on the sky and very chill breeze all over. We could see the temple and the hills which were surrounded near by. We made our way to Inspector Bungalow which was 2 minutes of walk from the temple. As we were unable to find the concerned person near the place, we had a good time walking to the temple and again back to guest house. At last, we were inside helping ourselves with our bags and stuffs!

We had quite a good bit of introduction in the early hours of 6 AM. We were feeling sleepy but had no intention of sleeping. It was the time when the sun rises and nobody would like to miss it. We went out again leaving our bags behind, on the path leading to the temple and found ourselves to be in between the rise of the sun on one side and moon going behind on the opposite. As few were taking shots of the wonderful sight, we went further to explore a better view of the hill and surroundings.

As we reached back of the temple, we could see many more hills in a clear view where the clouds were on the foot of the hills. Quite an amazing view. As the moon was left behind without any clue we could see the sun rising to the opposite. We went further for a walk to the next hill and were quite far from the temple when we looked behind. Trying to spot some wild animals in the forest we headed further without much noise. At last where we thought of heading backwards, few people found an animal very far ahead. But unfortunately, we couldn't recognize what animal it was at first. The animal was moving very slowly and hence, we thought that it must some rock first but dropped that thinking when we could see more clearly when it was gazing nicely. With two minds, thinking either it must be elephant or a bison, we tried to move little further. We could finally recognize it to be bison! After few clicks here, we headed back to the our base camp which was temple.

We reached back the guest house at around 9 and quickly got fresh so that we can go next to the temple. After darshan, we came out and were waiting to have our breakfast as we were all very hungry. We came to know that it will take some time for them to serve the breakfast as they were supposed to do the temple rituals and then distribute the prasadas. So we had a good time playing dum charades though our stomachs were playing cats and rats game! :D

At around 12 o'clock we finished the breakfast and were back to the guest house all set for our trekking around the place. There was a guide who was supposed to take us for the trek and we quickly started our trek following him. He took us all the way round the place covering most of the places. The place is said to be having a no of wild animals which includes Tiger, Elephants, Spotted deer, Sambar, Wild dog etc. We were expecting to see atleast one of these on the way.

After half an hour of the trek, we saw spotted deer. The guide asked us to keep quite and watch it as it might run off hearing the voices (or seeing the city faces :P) . Most of the people couldn't see it as it went off as soon we noticed it. We were quite far from our starting point and were already tired to move further. We were taking rest every now and then. The guide showed us the place which is at the foot of the hill where we were standing and said that it is the place where most of the tiger resides and the place also has few den. Further he gave an explanation which scared me. He told that if the tiger is hungry it might walk for 25 kms in search of its food. That means we were standing in an unsafe place in the middle of the jungle. Well, thankfully nothing of that sort happened. We went further which is the place of elephants. The place was covered with high bushes and we finding it difficult to walk. We could see lot of elephant dungs here and there. It means that we were again in a risky place where anytime we can come across straight to the elephant. I would have loved to see an elephant from far there but didn't come across any. According to the guide, from past few days most of the elephants have gone further in to the jungle in search of water or river.

Just after little time, we saw Sambar! Atleast we were lucky enough to spot some deers and sambars. It was in a group and we could see it starring at us from a distance. In no time, all of them disappeared. There was a small stream passing by at the foot of that hill and we took rest there for 10 minutes. We had come all the way down for atleast more than 8 kms and now our turn was to climb back. According to the guide we had to climb 4 kms. We went on climbing the hill which was the difficult part. We used to take break every 10 minutes of walk and finally could see the tip of the hill where our trek ends. We went as fast as possible and again we came across huge bushes which was quite thick than before and had a great time howling and struggling to walk further. After a great effort we did reach the last hill which is exactly the same place that we had visited in the morning.

We went back to the guest house rejoicing that we did cover up a great trekking place. As it was so hot, we didn't really notice that our skin was burning. We got fresh in no time and were waiting to have our late lunch. The lunch was ready and we ate it without any energy left in our body. As people were busy packing their stuff. I went to take a quick rest and was sound asleep. It was Neeta who woke me up when all were ready to move out. I had hardly slept for 5 minutes but felt like I slept more than an hour. :D

I came out with my bag when I saw people were having a good time starting the tempo pushing and running. I did enjoy watching it. With another few pushes, the vehicle roared up and all of us where in talking and shouting. We were now heading back to Bangalore. Hearing to music and playing dum charades along the way was again a great fun. By the time we reached Bangalore it was 11.30 PM.

P.S: We were totally 14 people which included me, Neeta, Madhu, Saravana, Prabhu, Rajesh, Aparna, Nithin, Shoubith, Veeresh, Vasu, Veeresh's frnd, Shaubhik and the driver Raju.
To the Gang: Thanks for all the people who made it wonderful and also for the people who took the snaps.
Photos: Click here to check the pics from Shaubik.