Monday, December 26, 2011

Chunchi Falls

It had been over a month and half since I had been to Kudremukh along with a few of my relatives, this time I was looking for something closer, something that could be done within a day.

I had been to Mekedatu and Sangama while at school, and while searching for some places to visit around Bangalore, in addition to these I found this place - Chunchi Falls.

Chunchi Falls is lacated around 75 km from Bangalore. This falls is formed by the river Arkavathy which has its origin at Nandi Hills. With the rapid urbanization of Bangalore, the catchment area of the river is seriously affected.

This river joins the River Kaveri at Sangama and later flow through rapid stone gorge called Mekedatu. We shall discuss this in some other blog on travel and trek. Today's blog is about our journey to Chunchi Falls and the experience there in. 

It had been long since I had spent time with my family and so decided to get going on a trip with family. The location choice was mine - Chunchi Falls. I had heard about the falls a few times when I was planning some treks, trips over the last few years but had never made the move to reach the place. 

From the blogs I had read, I had gotten to know that the falls would be around 75 Km from Bangalore and one had to cross Kanakapura Town and move in the direction of Sangama. 

We set out on 24th December around 11 AM from our home towards the falls. It was car drive and together with me on the trip were my parent, my spouce Sahana and my cute niece - Pratiksha. We drove pretty steadily through the traffic in bangalore before we hit Kanakapura road. 

It was probably the first time my parents had driven out in our car on the Kanakapura road. We moved past the Metro, before the traffic began to subside. The rest of te drive was pretty peaceful. You move in front of the Art of Living campus, then beside the campus of APS College of Engineering etc before we reach Harohalli. 

Another 20 minutes drive from Harohalli we reach Kanakapura. Just as we enter the town of Kanakapura, we cross a bridge across the River Arkavathy. All along the journey this far, we find hills which appear to recemble various creatures - depending on your imagination!

We reached Kanakapura a few minutes after 12:00 noon. We moves through the town' main road and then came to the road taking us to Sangama. We move for quite some time on this road till, we find an arch (not in the general sense of the word - but more to indicate an entrance). This is where we need to take a left turn and drive down the narrow road till we reach the parking lot. (The roads are bit narrow and its good to keep an eye for the vehicles coming from the other side).

The falls is supposedly best between early winter and early summer. One has to keep in mind that the falls is no perennial, and it is the rain-fed river which forms Chunchi falls. We reached the parking lot, just on the banks of River Arkavathy, when we found a localite run towards us with a receipt book - the parking fees for a car is Rs 30/-

Just as we move towards the river, we first encounter a channel with water. This channel takes water from the small dam upstream to the power-station a short distance ahead. 

We crossed the channel and began defending towards the river - The river flows along rocky bed of Arkavathy. At various points you would find small deviations from the trek route that take you down to the river. Any point would take you to the big heart shaped pool that the river creates before it decided to take a leap downstream. 

One can reach to the top of the point where the falls finally makes it leap! The only precaution one would need to take is the smooth surface of the rocks. While the smooth surface is just one of the issues to take note of, the other challenge is that of  broken bottle pieces which the weekend parties of the bangalore crowd leave behind. 

I still wonder, why we literate people do not understand that they have to be socially more responsible. The various waste that we produced as part of our joy is also our responsibility to dispose them without creating trouble for the others who too visit the place for enjoyment. 

I some how wasn't very happy with having visited the top of the falls, I could still see faint strains of another falls close by and being the fall lover I am, I would love to get a view of the other one too. I spotted a view point on the opposite side of the falls. I quickly realized that would give me a view of both these falls.

We got back onto the return ascent to the channel and then took the jeep track to the view point. Its around a kilometer from the channel, and is relatively undisturbed. 

The view of the 2nd falls from the view point was something that gave me a good satisfaction. The falls had 2 cascades and had a lot more water flowing when compared to the mail stream flowing.

We reached the view point, munched the junk food we carried and had some snaps clicked before we decided to return back.  The view point however is not well maintained and if I could say is almost neglected. 

This place too like many of the other places in Karnataka, has enormous potential but doesn't get the required attention and dedication towards ensuring that the potential is expiated and also gets little maintenance.

With these thoughts in the mind we began the return journey, when I woke up to the reality at hand. We had skipped lunch, so we had to get back to a good hotel to have some food that was to get us going back home. 

We reached Kanakapura, had our lunch at a Udupi hotel that was at the entrance of Kanakapura just after having crossed over the bridge across the River Arakavathy when coming from Bangalore. My parents purchased some vegetables on the way back and we resumed the drive back home.

The journey was pretty simple till we reached Metro, the rest was a drive through the city traffic and we finally reached home at 7:00 PM. 

After many days it was a time well spent with family, and I wouldn't be surprised if I would repeat this and get it to be a routine.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trek to Kuduremukh 2

It had been quite a long time since I had been on a trek. The last trek I had been in 2011 was some time in March. This was also to be my first trek after marriage. This time I decided to make it a closed group for the trek, including my wife - Sahana, uncle - Manju, sister - Shwetha, and my cousin -Ramya. Shana, Shwetha were to leave from Bangalore, while Manju Uncle and Ramya were to join from Udupi in the morning. 

Our initial idea was to reach BalGal via Kalasa, however dude to prior booking of seats we had to get back to using the route we chose the last time via - Karkala. We were to travel from Bangalore to Karkala and then take the local service buses to reach Balgal. 

We had booked a bus to Karkala, starting from the KSRTC Majestic Bus-stand at around 9:15 PM. We reached Kakala inspire of the pathetic ghat roads around 6 AM in the morning. Manju uncle and Ramya had just reached the Bus-stand a few minutes before we reached there. 

We got down and enquired about the first bus that was scheduled to reach Kalasa via Kudremukh. The first such bus leave from the Karkala bus-stand around 7:30 AM. We still had nearly an hour and half to wait for the bus. 

This was my second trek to Kudremukh, so I suggested we get to the hotel close by and have some "avalakki" and some other breakfast before we being the journey.  We sat back for the breakfast and enjoyed it before we got back to the bus-stand. 

The bus that was to take us to Kudremukh was a bit delayed and reached the bus-stand at 7:45 AM. A short while after the bus left the station, we reached "KinnigoLi" where the bus halted for breakfast. The bus stood here for around 10 minutes before it began the journey, the next major stop was at Kudremukh township. Another half an hour's journey from the township, we reached the point where we had to get down - Balgal. The time was around 10:15 AM.

Before we had left from bangalore, we had reached out to Arun who runs a home stay (I had taken his contact the last time I had come down here). He had organized a jeep to pick us up from Balgal. The jeep however wasn't there when we reached there! We checked with the localities and got to know that driver had just gone to the closest major town - Samse to pick up some of the daily grocery that was ordered by some of this relatives. 

The driver was back in around half an hour, and we left towards our home stay at around 11:00 AM. The road towards the home stay was all wet and slippery, thanks to the rains. Yes, it had rained pretty heavily the last few days (unlike the last time I came here when it was in the hot summer) - this means there would be leeches for company through the journey :) It wouldn't be new for many of us, but for the first few times it would definitely keep any one paranoid! All this was to just the right build up for the adventurous trek we were to have. 

The Jeep journey was just the beginning of the adventure - road was completely slippery and it requires great skill to drive on these narrow track.  What made the journey even more challenging was that the sides of the road were dug up for some pipes laying. These pipes were built to store water for the proposed horticulture project. The construction of the storage tank was pretty bad, and the water would leak as if from a sprinkler! All along the track we had coffee estates and provided a very memorable scenery. After this long journey, we reached the home-stay at around 12:00 noon. 

We were already late, so dumped our luggage and had a quick brunch before we began our trek to the peak. Arun decided to company us to the peak. The last time we had been on the trek, we began the trek at 1 PM and retuned by 6:30 PM, so I definitely believed it would be possible. 

The climate this far was pretty good, with the sun shining. It looked like the ideal weather for the trek. I was pretty sure we would have a good trek to the peak. The only thought I had at the back of my mind was being able to really get the ladies in the team constantly moving and keeping their stamina ready.

We began the trek at around 12:15 PM, and steadily moved through the track. The initial track was pretty good, not too slippery. There were very few leeches at these initial parts of the trek. The first break that we took was around 20 minutes into the trek just below a tree - we called it "Bodhi Tree".

A 5 minutes break and we continued our trek to the beak, we resumed the trek. The next phase has many streams and - this time the streams were flowing with lot more force. We moved on to the lobo-house. I could feel the steam in the team slowly receding, we just took a short break before we continued the trek.

From the last trek, I remembered the next phase was going to be pretty challenging. - It required us to climb a steep slope. The team slowly geared up for the climb but it took longer than expected. We reached a camping point which had manifested itself to a leech removing venue for most of the trekkers. We had our lunch at this spot before we resumed the trek. 

The next phase of the trek was the actual climb of the Kudremukh peak. The Camp-spot is just at the base of the peak and generally involved a pretty steep climb to the peak. When I looked at the watch, I realized we were slower than the last time and we would have a challenge at hand if we wanted to make it back by 6:30 PM like the last time. 

Ramya and Shwetha were already completely drained of energy, so we were pretty slow in our progress.  We began the last stretch around 3:30 PM and after consistent pushing and coaxing, we reached the plateau at the peak around 4:15 PM. The walk to the peak from the point we reach the top is around 10 minutes - one could find a ruined church on the right. 

We reached the edge of the peak from where we could see the plains of the west coast. We spotted a few notable landscapes, completed another set of snacks we had carried along. and by 5 PM we decided to resume our return trek. The joy of having reached the peak had in fact completely gotten us to forget the strain we had put to get to the peak.

Just as we began the decent from the plateau at the peak, we could see the clouds forming pretty quickly. We had to rush through the remaining trek if we intended to reach pretty quickly - Just a few steps into the trek and we had a quick shower which got us completely wet. The initial drizzle just got heavier and we found it just hard to see the route more than 3 meters ahead of us!

The heavy rains of the slope, got the complete slope flowing with water. We found it hard to even lift our foot and put it to the next one. This was just the beginning of the adventure at hand! The light faded away very quickly. We could also spot lightning ahead. With the state of the team at hand, leeches, water, lightning, and many more we were here for something memorable for a life-time! It was pretty common knowledge that the heavy rains at the peak would generally flood the stream on the return path - that is the last one we would expect!

The steep decent, combined with the rains was just making the complete journey a hard task at hand. A Slip and a fall was something that had become an common seen on the way back. The umbrella, raincoat and jerkins we wore were no protection form the rain. The rain would subside for 4-5 minutes but it wasn't enough to hold the ground against the wind. The wet dress only made it chiller than usual. We had 3 torches with us and we were completely at their mercy. 

Our Guide Arun, was pretty patient and helped keep the pace constant. He was the last person till we got down to the Lobo house, and then took to being the first in the line. The route was pretty clear till we reached Lobo house but then it was hard to find the remaining route in the tall grass and to add to it, it was the possibility of wild animals. 

We steadily made progress and kept moving towards the home-stay. In the dark, we found  a few rabbits, some bats and some others which we couldn't identify in the dark. This journey in the dark on the boundary of the National park, is definitely something that was to stay with us for long time in memory.

Ramya and Shwetha were pretty tiered and only when the reached the homestead did they realize that they had really done it. The strain of the travel, trekking, darkness in the forest and the fear of leech had gotten the better of us all. We reached the home stay at 9:30 PM. 

The next 30 to 45 minutes were spent to finding the leeches that had climbed all over us. We then freshen up and finally had dinner at around 10:30 PM. 

We took a sound rest before we had we woke up for the next day's return journey. We had asked the jeep to come down at around 7:30 AM so that we catch the bus at around 8:45 PM. 

We reached Bajagoli at round 10:30 AM, had our breakfast. Manju uncle and Ramya returned to Udupi; Shwetha, Sahana and I returned to Beltangadi before catching the next bus to Dharmasthala.

We reached Dharmasthala and booked our tickets to Bangalore. We reached Bangalore at around 9:00 PM. 

This was a memorable trek, thanks to the nature's forces. It always reminds me of one thing - Man only proposes and it is God who disposes. The Nature - a form of God has a lot of lessons to teach the student who is ready to learn. The absolute bliss is felt when you surrender to it, live through the experience.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

From a Bound Glass to the Free Air

Deep within the monotony around me;
All I see is many like me!
Compromising with the routine and the emptiness of daily life;
The water looked calm from the outside, but there lived a void inside.

Every new person walking in to the routine,
Like a colored drop, was lost,
Either being one of us,
Or occasionally, when many colored drops falling in
Painted us in a new gloss!

Everything around me was changing, yet there was no fulfillment.
Trapped! I felt in all this coloring and slow change.
Bound I felt like the millions around me;
It was the glass that held the water - that bound me.

The tranquility broke, as tough the hidden hand; had shaken the glass.
All the people felt the shake; it was only for a few who were now awake.

I was one of the few, whom the agitation drew,
Unhappy with the state around me,
I moved from wall to wall, bottom to top; In search of that inner peace.

In my confused search, I found –
A bubble - A bubble that grew out of the agitation around me.
On which I decided now to ride.
From the random motions – I was now moving to the top.

It had now opened up a new horizon to me,
As I raise to the surface;
The inner dissatisfaction, calms down,
With a larger view around

I sensed a new beginning,
With the mental agitation calming down
I was bound no more by the walls of the glass,
Or the image that stuck with many of the coloring around.

Freed from my bound; I moved on...
Liberated by the bubble, from the mental agitation,
This was now a new beginning - unbound, undisturbed.
I moved on...
Awaiting a new role – a new place.
I had but found in myself an inner peace,

- Chi

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Polyester Prince - Hamish McDonald

I had got hold of this book from Mumbai road side when I was doing my internship, but had never set reading it until the beginning of this year. And even after I began reading this, I had a lot of distractions which hadn't let me complete the book earlier. Again the long weekends and frequent travels I have been doing off late have given me ample time to really spend time with my books, and that is how I got to complete this book.

The book talks about he era of - Dhirubhai Ambani. One of the icons of Indian business. What I loved the most was not the narration, but the links I could see to the history of India post Independence. Having born in this country with rich traditions approximately 35 years after we had gained independence, I have for a long time missed knowing how this country functioned and operated before my birth. I had another agenda when I began reading this book which is about the life of another entrepreneur.

This book has got me to realize not just the hardships Dhirubhai had to face, but also got me to realize how it was to live in an era of license raj. This book also gave me a peep into the importance of policitical back up for a business when its in a phase of scaline up.

Over all an interestin read! You would enjoy it, if you are interested in the business-politico history of a country.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Plunnge - Rakesh Godwani

When I completed reading my last book - Simply fly; I was looking for something light and quick read. I had borrowed this book - Plunnge by a collegue of mine at IIMB - Rakesh Godwani, so began reading this.

The long weekend was an ideal time to start off a this book and I must admit, its a pretty engaging read! I was quick to acknowlege it to him on his Facebook wall saying I was enjoying the read.

Given that the book as a set of 15 short real life stories about people who dared to "reinvent" themselves by taking the "plunge". The short crisp stories with a learning that Rakesh has picked up was very usefull to reitererate the lessons learnt - a good style!

I also see that Rakesh has made an attempt to creating a theory here, and has used the different stories to evolve the theory. This differentiates it from just a lot of stories of people who took a differnt path or plunge; there are numerous lessons that Rakesh has put across in the book, and I wouldnt break the suspense out here.

For a first book, I must admit this is a great start - waiting for more Rakesh. When is the next one coming up?

Go grab this book and read it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simply fly - Captain Gopinath

Its been quite a long time since I had completed reading any book, and this long weekend gave me some time for this cherished activity - reading (4 days!)

Stories of entrepreneurs have always excited me. My list of books too indicate the same. This one was special as it was gifted by Intel for me having spoken at one of their promotional events.

When I began reading this book, the narration took me back to some of the childhood menories of my village - the fun and frolic; I had experienced as a kid. The narration of the various phases of life and challenges that Captain Gopinath experienced has been really captivating.

The part of the book I loved the most was where Captain is out to set up Deccan Aviation - initially the helicopter and later on the Air planes. What got me involved so much with it was the scale of the operation that was attempted and especially when Captain started off with nothing! Hats off!

Captain ends the book about his current baby - the end-to-end logistics company. Wish him all the best.

Personally my respect for Capt Gopinath has grown after I have read this book and wish I could meet him some time in life.

Dont miss reading this book - a whole host of experience to gain from!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Lost Starry Sky

The Lost Starry Sky

A black blanket above me, with small spots - the stars,
Some twinkling, some shooting, looking as though at wars;
Far off, I hear the sea roar,
And occasionally tearing blanket a shooting star soar;

As it where it where to teach me!
Giving me the freedom - The white dots on a black paper;
With my creative ink - draw I could, linking the dots;
Not bound only by my thoughts,
I created structures in the sky;
With just dots and my creative eye.

My childlike innocence today looks like nonsense!
A busy day, and a tiered night
Within the four wall I see no light!

My bound mind's eye, - Now sees no more;
The structures I created are just a thought turned sore;

Evaluating today, I create;
I say some good, some bad; some possible some difficult;
The sieve of prudence, and convention has just let go of the fluid mind;
All I have today is bound by the routine, the definite; limiting me!

No dots to connect, all I look at today is only walls that bind

- Chi

In this poem, I have tried to get to the table 2 aspects which I closely feel about
  1. The lost child hood creativity and it being replaced by the routine life of a grown up
  2. The Evaluative Mindset of a grown up which kills our joy of creatively looking at the situation we are in

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Undercover Economist - Tim Harford

I began reading this book while traveling on my Business Development activities as part of my first start up - that was more than a year and half ago. I was only able to complete this book today through random bursts reading while on travel. I generally love reading books while traveling and not sitting at a place - this book was just perfect – Reading and relating to the surrounding I see is a very useful way of learning economics.

When I was first suggested this book by my friend who had completed reading the book - I wasn’t very clear as to why “This” book on economics. Undercover Economist is just awesome! - for anyone with little economic sense like me this book is an eye-opener. The reviews on the hind cover are very true; as David Bodanis says - "is like spending an ordinary day wearing X-ray goggles"; this book really gives you valuable insights and gets one understanding the reasons behind the way things work.

Beginning from a simple example highlighting the scarcity power and its relation to the coffee one could purchase, Tim moves on to highlight not just the daily activities and phenomena through economics but also deals with the externalities, taxation, globalization and finally ends with a very neat insight into the way China has risen to an economic super power of today. Free from details that could be got elsewhere from if one needs this gives a very useful reference frame for activities in our society.

This book is worth being in the library of everyone who is interested in gaining an insight on the daily functioning of an organization with the best of economics being clarified in it. It’s definitely a "Must Read" for everyone.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Believe you can!

“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

When Emerson the famous explorer said this statement, he probably was reflected on the fear that we have to open up to the future and create our own identity.

Each one of us in unique - unique in our own way, our talents is different and what we do using these talents are clearly distinct. But, the big challenge we face today is moving above the ordinary, rising above the fear that is so prevalent. The thought that this is not tried earlier – I may not succeed, I may fail; the thought that - I would be wasting my time chasing the dream I have.
If, Albert Einstein were to believe that he was a dull student as said by this teacher; or Thomas Alva Edison were to believe that he was incapable when thrown out of school by his teacher; we wouldn’t have seen the scientific advancement due to relativity today nor would we benefit from the inventions by Edison. The life and achievements of such great people stands testimony to the power of individual dreams being created in-spite of opposition.

Don’t limit yourself with the thought that I am an only an imitator; believe in your abilities; you are an innovator, an inventor. Stretch your imagination. Reach for the skies. Pursue your passion. The whole world is your playground provided you are ready to play – explore it.

As you begin the new phase of your life - entering the professional course, take it upon you to follow your passion. Get interested into aspects of your specialization that most interest you. It is good to be completely involved – it helps you specialize better than others. Be the best in your favorite area.

Pursue your identity – realize you are best as you not as anyone else.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I stood the autumn

I stood the autumn

I flew with the wind, not knowing where I would go…

Left I went and sometimes to the right,

As the winds settled, I landed down,

Not knowing where I was, what I was to do…

As the soil fell on me, I felt I was done for good.

Water moved on me, wetting me, dirtying me.

I felt this was the end of me…

Seasoned passed, I grew –

From dust and dirt to see the sun;

Sky’s the limit I felt, all but to know there were taller people than I.

Seasons changed – summer to winter, heat to cold;

When the sun was hot, there was no shade – I wanted to run but couldn’t

When the rain drenched, there was no cover – I wanted to run but couldn’t

When the winter froze, there was no blanket – I wanted to run but couldn’t

I lost my precious breath – I was hopeless what was next

My hands folded – nowhere to move, fighting for each breadth I stood

I just stood just believing I needed to stand, I had nothing but to stand

Stood I, as the birds flew, stood I as the heat increased, Stood I

I believed I would stand the autumn,

As my Breadth returned!

I knew, I stood, I knew, I stood the autumn.

- Chi


I have used a metaphor of a tree to indicate the state of mind of an individual, right from the birth to growth. It signifies the importance of strength of mind in surviving hard times. This is my interpretation but is open to various other interpretations too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kudremukh Trek - 1

Kudremukh Trek

Treks are a very lively and living experience. If you dream of a trek for quite some time, and it is realized after a long wait, the feeling is just ethereal. Kudremukh trek for me has been a dream since I began my trekking. I would see it from my hometown in udupi and wish I get to its peak – today the dream is a reality. I have climbed the Kudremukh peak.

This trek and hence my dream wouldn’t have been possible if my friends – Niranjan and Bipin weren’t getting married (Jan 24th one at Udupi and the other at Dharwad) during this period. I dedicate this blog to their indirect assistance in helping me realize this dream.

When I realize that the 24th Jan was a Monday, I was wondering if I could get some company over the weekend and we could climb the Kudremukh. I shared this Idea with Naveen G S, who was Niranjan’s ex-colleague. His office members were planning to hire a tempo traveler and make this trip, however as it would be, there were last minute walk outs from the plan and the field was left open. There were only 6 members all boys and enthusiastic to trek. Naveen put across the idea and it was accepted. We decided to leave Bangalore on 22nd Jan Night. Naveen booked the tickets and the team was right there at the KSRTC bus stand game for this adventure.

The bus was an Airavata to Kundapura, and we got down at Karkala. Just before we boarded the bus I called up another old pal who had recently been to the trek – Nagendra Mayya and asked for any contacts. He sent the contact of Satish Mullodi who promised to make the necessary arrangements. He suggested we reach there by 1030 am and it should be an easy trek. He also suggested it was an easier getting to the place if we reach Kalasa – however this route was out of question.

We boarded the bus and got down at Karkala – at 5:00AM. A call to Satish and he told there was a bus at 745 AM and that would take us to Balgal at 9:45AM. He would later arrange the jeep to his place. We were wondering what we could do in the mean time in the bus stand. We freshened up at the bus stand and were still wondering.

One of our fellow trekkers – Madhu was a resident of Naravi, a small town just 30 minutes away from Karkala. After some discussion we decided to use the service and booked a Force Tufaan which would take the 8 of us to Balgal. We had time till this vehicle would come down to Karkala. We decided to have breakfast in the mean time. There was one hotel that had just opened up and was giving “avalakki” and “uppit”. We got in and hogged as much as we felt. By the time we were done it was 6:30 am. We were still waiting for the vehicle, we called up Satish and got the information updated – he suggested we come in the vehicle as far as possible on the mud road from where he would assist us get to his home.

At 7:00 am the vehicle was there at the bus stand and we were ready to get into – a few kilometers away from Karkala and we had the first part of the adventure – the vehicle had a puncture. Driver Santosh cursing his bad luck quickly changed the tyre but suggested we get the wheel repaired and left, the nearest place for this was Hosamar. Given that the it was a Sunday many of the puncture shops for such vehicles were shut. We all agreed and we reached Hosamar at 8:00 am and the repair work began.

With such a long break, we had time to discuss on a wide variety of topics ranging from politics to science to politics. It took around 40 minutes to complete the repair. We got back into the Toofan and we began our journey. We were already an hour and half behind the plan and my mind was busy calculating the possibilities. I didn’t want to miss this chance of realizing my dream!

We traveled to Bajagoli then S.K (South Kannada) Border and then Kudremukh Township towards Kalasa. We passed the check post, the place where we need to alight is named – “Balgal”, this is around 2 km from the check post towards Kalasa. There is a mud road which moves over a small stream, this is the route that one needs to take. Generally there are jeeps which are arranged to take you till Satish Mullodi’s home and they generally charge Rs 500/- for a trip. Since we had our vehicle, we moved ahead with the same as far as we could. We probably covered around 4 km out of the 7 km stretch to our Base camp – Satish Mullodi’s home.

Having covered the 4km through the vehicle, we parked it by the side of a small falls and continue the remaining part of the journey by foot. The scenery around was a treat to the eyes. At this point our team had split into 2 groups – one which was full enthu and the other which was occupied with clicking pictures and moving slowly to Satish’s house. A bit over a kilometer into the journey, we spotted a green snake on the path – the group that went front skipped this and had moved ahead. We took our time understanding is it was in an attacking mood or not and clicked snaps of the snake.

We moved ahead into the journey after this photo session and finally reached Satish’s home just moments before 12 noon! We were almost 2 hrs behind schedule.

As discussed over the phone, Satish and his family had prepared our breakfast! (Ya it was almost lunchtime!) – Idilies prepared of boiled rice. We also had tea before we began our trek. Satish had prepared Puliogare as our lunch. He packed them up in separate cover and handed them over to us. After a 30 minutes break, refilled cans and tummy we resumed our trek at 12:30 pm. He has also arranged a guide at Rs 350/-.

Our guide was a 9th Standard student – Rakesh. He probably knew the terrain and had guided hundreds of teams by this time. It was really exciting to have him along in our team. Our team was now 9 members and it was absolutely scorching sun at this point of the day that proved to be our biggest challenge.

We began moving upwards taking the jeep track beside Satish’s home. We could hear the stream below the edge of the hill where his house was make a lot of sound. There was a small falls that this stream was making which created this sound. We continue our trek along the route, which now had slowly grown narrower and uphill. We could spot Kudremukh peak at a distance. We continue along this route till we found a lone tree – the base of the tree had a nice shade and a seating place in case some trekkers were tiered already.

The next part of the trek is taking a left at this tree, the path is along the side of the mountain and, you can savor the beauty of the Western Ghats and its streams along the side. This narrow path then takes us into a small shoal forest where we need to cross a small stream. These streams are rain fed and generally dry up in the hot summer; however we can surely see a shoal forest flanking any such water stream banks.

The terrain is pretty much the same for the first one third of the journey – you move along the side of a narrow path on the hill surface, them crossing over to the adjacent hill via a stream. We pass through two such streams and then the surface opened up to a beautiful hill
beside the Kudremukh.

We could spot a way to the peak of this falls, this too like Kudremukh was open to the sea side, and am sure would give a very beautiful view of the costal district. We didn’t take detour there and continued our trek along the Kudremukh route.

We passed through another forest cover before we opened up into an area which probably was used for cultivation some years back. This is where we get to spot two old houses – also called the Lobo houses. One of these is a bit off the main trekking route while we need to pass beside the other. The house that is farther from the route is in a better state compared to the one that is closer to the route. The closer one has almost collapsed. The area in front of these was probably the farms of the residents of these houses. The route this far since the first climb beside Satish’s home was pretty plain and almost negligible elevation what followed was a quick increase in the altitude.

We moved through the small forest beside lobo house and we found ourselves open up to the vast grassland lying on the slope of the hill. We could see the Kudremukh peak very distinctly from this point. It was getting closer! How close we didn’t know. It had take us an hour and three fourth to reach lobo house and it was all through the plains, now it was climb to the peak.

I had been carrying the heavy bag on my back; it had begun straining my shoulders and my back. I decided to shift my bag to some other team member and continued the journey. I continued clicking the snaps of the beauty that was at offer. We continued the climb, the edge of the hill, the ridges, the green slopes, the far off townships; etc all offered beautiful scenery. It was a treat on offer for me! I enjoyed every click here.

We continue along the side of the hill, and then into a small forest area. We had a small falls; the source of this was the peak of the Kudremukh. The stream had almost dried up but there was trickling water. We were just below the falls, but there was a challenge still at hand, climbing the last mile.

We moved out of the forest and continued the climb which finally opened up along the steep slope of the Kudremukh peak. We found a group of forest department return along the path here. While were resting along the small stone protrusion, we realized it was almost just a few minutes away from the high spirit of having reached the peak. This excitement got us moving along the surface, we moved slowly yet surely as a team.

With a 10 minute climb, we reached the relatively plain surface atop the peak; it was very easy move from here. I was involved in clicking snaps of the trek all along; the high spirited members ran to the edge of the peak and dropped down there for some fun filled moments. One of our team members – Nikhil had completely cramped himself, and I spent most of my time just around him to ensure that he is not the only person left behind; this also gave me a lot of time to click the snaps, and reduced my strain of climbing in a hurry.

We finally reached the peak at 4:00 pm. The sun which was above our head, now shown on the west side, but atop the peak there was no shelter.

We took the much essential break at the peak. We had our lunch – the packed puliogare here. We also emptied some bread and bun that we had carried along. This recharge was a really necessary one. Post the lunch we had a small photo session and then we begun our journey back.

In our effort to climb to the peak in a hurry, we had ignored the church at the peak, I am sure we wouldn’t have noticed it if Rakesh our guide hadn’t mentioned about it. As we moved along he showed us the remains of this old church. It is covered by weeds all over, there is no roof and is in complete ruins.

We continue the trek back, the sun now was preparing to set, and the shadows of the large mountains were growing pretty quickly. We moved quickly with longer paces and covered up the distance quickly, we reached the lobo house pretty quickly. We rested a small while before we continued on the trek.

We had covered around 4 kms to Lobo house from the peak, but the remaining 6 km to Satish’s home had to be done quickly, I was still in mood of clicking picture this far, I decided to do away with it as far as possible.

Another 45 minutes of trekking through the plains and the streams and we finally reached Satish’s home at around 6:50 pm. As I thought back about the initial thought while I began climbing, we had performed better than expected. We climbed the peak in 3 and half hours and got back to the base camp in 2 and half hours. It was a great record for the team.

We had a cup of tea and returned to the vehicle where we had parked. We reached the vehicle and begun our journey. As we reached the entrance to the check post, we decided to have small Tiffin. There was the commentary running of the final India-South Africa match on the Radio. We enjoyed the crackers that Yusuf Pathan was providing with Zaheer Khan.

We got back into the vehicle and continued our journey back home. Exhausted most of us were asleep in the cab except for the driver. We reached Naaravi, where our host Madhu and his family had prepared a grand hospitality for us. We thank them for all the support they provided us with.

This trek would remain in my memory for a very long time, I shall definitely return to this place; coz there is so much I haven’t explored here. I will get to them soon.

I think many people don’t have the contact of the people to get to the peak; here is the contact numbers of 2 pretty helpful people here.

Suresh Mullodi - 08263249595

Arun - 9481578065

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Skandhagiri Trek

Treks are generally thought to be planned events, but I don't agree with the view. Treks are greater fun when you learn to accept the uncertainty that comes along with the new location. It is this uncertainty and the associated feeling that keeps me looking for more in every trek.

I had just returned from a long travel to Maharashtra, and was planning to rest when Rajat called me asking if I was game to a trek to Skandagiri. I had heard a lot about this from visitors to the place and the pictures that people had clicked. I was game but wanted some more people to join so that we had a larger company.

Rajat got along with him Vishwanath; I could get in Naveen, Umesh and Uncle Manjunath. It was a nice team of 6 people. Changing our initial plant to go by bikes we switched to car for ease of travel. With the team in place, we decided to leave Bangalore at 1:30 am.

I woke up at 1:00 am with Uncle along, and picked up Vishwa, Rajath and Naveen from Domlur. We got Umesh on board from Vidyranayapura. We fueled ourselves and finally left Bangalore at 2:45 am.

The night drive along the Bellary highway was a great experience, we reached past the Airport deviation, went further. Our idea was to reach Chickballapur as early as possible and begin trek. On the way, we saw a car with a drunken driver, whom we couldn't predict what the next move of his was.

We reached Chickballapur and 3:30 am. We were scouting for direction late night, thanks God! We found a rickshaw driver and asked for direction. Vishwa tried getting some inputs from the commuters in Telugu.

One you are in Chickballapur main road, go ahead till the Police Station, just before that there is turn take it. From there you have to continue till you find a Banyan tree (or rather move over 5 humps). Take a left there and you will find yourself navigating through the narrow lanes of some village.

At the dead end you could expect a Constable and the Inspector waiting in the jeep. You would need to pay an entry fee and get the approval. Missing or skipping this means you would find some more constables further through the way.

The next phase was through beside the lake (which is on the left) then through a village. The village road has a dead end, and just prior to that you would need to take a left turn. Keep driving and on the right hand side, you see torch light flashing.

Pretty soon you would find being interrupted by self proclaimed guides. The rates of their guidance depend on your vulnerability. They try dissuading you from venturing out on your won saying you would get lost. If you have trekked earlier, finding the path isn’t really difficulty. The guide charges vary from Rs 200/- to Rs 3000/-. Ensure you bargain well - else you would be taken for ride. The only challenge in the complete process is the starting point of the trek. If you are able to spot the starting point, getting to the peak is very easy.

Moving ahead without the guide, we had taken a chance here. We were new to the place, there was darkness all around. We weren’t familiar with the terrain to. Just beside the foot of the mountain, there is a small plantation of acacia trees, beside that there is a small stream - watch out for any water in this.

One you cross the stream, you are at the foot of the mountain. There is only one way which is pretty clear, and if you have crossed over earlier than the actual one - you might need to do some scouting just the way we did. Be ready for it - this is where the fun is; the usual route is not a great fun.

Ensure at each step you are looking out for the right route! Tough we began on the right route, we missed a small section of easy route and returned to the harder and then came back to the easier one at the fork. So, keep your senses open and watch out, even if you don’t, you will only be delayed to the summit, not denied of it.

The total time to the peak is around 1hr 15 min to 1 hr 30 minutes. Our detour cost us another 15 minutes. We started off following a small group of torches; we thought they knew the way, and it was only after some time that we realized that they too were looking out for the right way. After grappling in the dark for around 10 min, we spotted the right route. We continue along this route, and were able to spot the exact path. At one of the points we took a left turn instead of a right. This is where many people who were climbing too had mistaken and we were no exception.

This detour takes us to a steep rock phase where our confidence on our footing is tested. Most of the team members easily came up, but Vishwa, who hadn’t been on too many treks earlier, had some issues. He was looking his confidence, but made it up at this point after a struggle of 10 minutes.

The next phase we joined the other route, which joins here. At this point, the route is a bit slippery given the early morning mist. There are some step marks on the stone surface and we could use this to climb.

As we began climbing the trek, at the base we couldn’t see the peak, but as we continued the ascent the surface slowly unraveled itself and this was another challenge that our team had. Vishwa wasn’t expecting such a long trek to the peak given that this was his second trek.

We realized that in order to make it to the peak as a group, we needed to move ahead quickly. I decided to accompany Vishwa and boost his confidence. This seemed to have worked the trick and we picked up the pace. In less than 20 minutes we navigated some dangerous curves and reached the top. We reached the peak at 5:50 am.

Now was the time for the anxious wait - the wait to spot the Sun and the clouds if any that is so talked about of this place? We waited for nearly an hour and at around 6:45 Am we spotted the sun. All the while we had twilight, and the anticipation kept everything away from the mind. For many in the group, this was an early raise and probably the very few occasions when we had seen the sun come out from the horizon.

At a distance, one can spot two hills and I guess these would be Mulabagilu (not sure) which is where the first sun-rise is seen in the State of Karnataka. I think I would get down there sometime and have a look at the sun rise. Once the sun shown itself, it begun raising rapidly and just 5 minutes since the sun-rise the whole of the surrounding was brightly lit.

We spent the next hour clicking pictures and snaps of the surrounding. There are a couple of mantapas at the peak. One of these is the temple and the other probably was the guest house of the guard who would look out for enemy entering the vicinity. There is a fort which borders a very steep edge of the hill.

People have littered the peak and hence we find dogs and monkey a plenty there. There are a lot of stores that give u a tea and some quick breakfast like sandwiches, omelets’, bread jam etc. We had carried our own food - thanks to Vishwa for the wonderful palav he had prepared and got along.

We rested for a while and began our descent back to the base at 8 am. We had sufficient light and so the torches were all in the bag now. We moved slowly now that the whole day was there to make it to the base. With rests in between, we were having our tummy filled too.

We finally reached the base of the hill, a few meters away from where we began. We looked back and recollected what we had done over the past 4 to 5 hours. The memory of the night would stay in our mind for ever. The excitement and fun clouded with the experience is here to stay with us.

This was one awesome trip, as I drove back to Bangalore; we visited our role model - Sir M V's home town - Mokshagundam. There are three monuments that are put up at this place. The house of his birth has been renovated. There is also the house that he used while he was the Diwan - part of this has been converted as a museum and the remaining houses the SBM - which he was instrumental in forming. His samadhi is just beside these houses and has a beautiful lawn surrounding it.

We paid our tributes to the great engineer who inspires us and would inspire more engineers for the years to come. We prayed for his blessings and returned to Bangalore.

We reached home by noon and had the remaining of the day to rest!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Parinathi Group goes on its treks for brain storming and group building every quarter. This trek is the fall out of this resolution of the group.

Shivagange - a place known as a pilgrimage center by many is also an interesting trekking spot. Unlike the other treks where one has to put a lot of strain on the complete body, this trek is more of a step climbing pursuit.

Situated around 60 - 65 km from Bangalore, we chose this place for our brainstorming as most of the group members couldn't spare two days for the trek. Our initial count for the trek was expected to be having around 10 members but turned out that only 4 could make it.

We moved out of Bangalore around 8:30 am (a delay of around 30 minutes) from Domlur where all of us had decided to meet up. The journey thorough the city was pretty not eventful. We reached Yeshwantpur and refueled ourself before continuing the journey. Once we reached the elevated road there was no stopping us, the group was in the discussion while I was busy driving the car.

It was a pleasant drive over the elevated track, and we were near the tollgate withing 5 minutes. The road was pretty clear and the speed limit prescribed was 80 kmph so that made it all the more easy. We bought the toll pass for the day (priced at Rs 25/-) and moved a head on the NH. The road was very good and we reached Nelamangala where we took the deviation towards the Bangalore-Mangalore Highway.

We reached gudemarana halli, from where we took a right to Shivagange. Shivagange is around 15 km from this point. The road is not the best nor is it the worst. It is pretty good ride down to the town.

We begin spotting the mountain from a distance, in some angles it resembles the holy Ox (Nandi) of Lord Shiva. We reach the entrance of the temple where we parked our car and had a small energizing tiffin before we began the trek.

We began the climb the first temple that you get on the left is the "Harake Ganapathi" You then climb up to the split. Take the right if you want to visit the temple and the left if you want to begin the trek immediately.

As you move towards the temple, you get a small passage, this passage take you to the Veerabhadra swami and the Patala gange. Besides the passage is a small temple entrance - that of Swarna gowri (aka Honnadevi).

Back on the track you get to the temple route, you enter into the temple which of lord Gangadhareshwara. In front of him stands the bronze idol of the founder of Bangalore - Kempe Gowda. There is supposed to be a tunnel that connects the temple with Bangalore, but people are forbidden from attempting to get through these.

All these temples are inside caves and give a very special feeling since we are away from the disturbance of the outer world. The feeling is so peaceful and gives happiness.

The shiva temple is also very special since we see an irreversible reaction (that of converting ghee into butter) take place right in front of your eyes. The priest applies Ghee that the devotees get on the shiva linga and it turns in some time to butter, which is then served as prasadam.

The temple is pretty old and I guess it dates back to the time of the Cholas, some of the Nandi carvings look to resemble them. The gopura etc resemble the Vijayanagara times.

Once you have visited the temple, you can begin the trek from the path adjacent to the temple. On the sides you see an old fort wall and numerous pillars all telling the story of apathy of he present and the glory of the past. One would easily get moved seeing these scenes. Something needs to be done quickly with these so that we preserve these for the future. With all these thoughts running in the mind, our next target was the famous Olakallu teertha.

Moving out of the fort premise, we being the ascent towards the peak. There is a door (dwara) to begin the journey. All along the path we find vendors offering one thing or the other to ear/drink. The consumers eat these and drop all waste around the path. This has lead to a big monkey menace; and the reactions of the people who climb have only made these monkeys more aggressive. There are warnings stating that monkeys could be aggressive, but this should definitely be controlled if we don't mindlessly litter the environment.

There are steps all along the trek so there is no way any one could miss the route. There are many students and groups that were on their yearly trips and we found at least ten different such sets. The students were bubbling with a lot of enthusiasm as the begun, but later on, as the ascent got steep there was absolutely little of their voice that was heard. Many returned from Olakal teertha.

There is a common belief that only the fortunate ones get water when (s)he attempts to catch water from the underground spring. Many test their fortune and get back!

We continues our journey further on the path and reached the place where larger than life size idols of Lord Shiv and Parvathi have been constructed. The path further from here have been infested by Monkeys.

The climb through the next phase is pretty steep. At some points you note the old step marks or the railing that have been replaced. Take sheer care of your luggage, the aggressive monkeys take away your belongings even if you have them along in your hand.

The climb through this exciting phase you reach the Nandi which is carved out of the rock there. And once down the Nandi, you get to climb to see two temples at the peak of the hillock.

There is one store at the peak which again showcases the power of monopoly there. There are two pillars there which seem to be dating back more than a millenia (that is my guess, given the architecture and carvings there)

The view of the surrounding is really mesmerizer. I couldn't spot the Savandurga around from here thanks to the clouds and the sun which blocked my view.

We went to a bit off the general public and had our food there, surprisingly, we had no monkeys to bother us here. This is what got me to the realization that the monkeys thrive on the filth we throw away on the path to the peak. I guess if we have the discipline to handle these carefully they wouldnt bother us much.

We had rested at the peak for around 45 minutes before getting on to the return path. The journey to the base was rather non-eventful and we returned at our own pace.
The sun which was scorching in the afternoon had become more familiar as the day progressed and now looked very friendly.

The total journey from the base to the peak and then back to the base was around 3.5 hrs. We had gone barefoot to the peak and it felt really different all along the trek. We probably hadn't got the blood circulation so effective for days.

This was a rater memorable trek for the reason that was done on bare foot, but what saddened the whole thing was the filth people put all along the way. I guess it is time we grew more responsible to the environment.

We drove back to Bangalore and reached Mantri Mall by 4:30 and had fun watching Upendra's moview - Super.

It was complete fun filled day that was worth remembering.