Friday, April 11, 2008

"Trek to the Highest Peak of Karnataka"

Place: Mullayyanagiri, 20kms from Chikamagaluru.
Chikkamagaluru is certainly one of the famous places in Karnataka, for the coffee estates and the exuberant hill stations... How to go: Lot of Buses are there, Raj Hamsa, Volvo, Semi delux (from B'lore)
less than 6 hours of journey from Bangalore.
Stay and food - is good - Plenty of good lodges and hotels.
Date: 11th and 12th of Apr 2008 Place near chikkamagaluru, called Mullayyanagiri is the highest peak in Karanataka, which is just adjacent to the Bababudangiri hill ranges!

This trip came as a treat for me since it had been a long time since I went out for a trip (mostly 4 months). And as usual this one also left some memories to cherish about for lifetime :0) It all started with my neighbour uncle who has a big yoga gang of his, when he told me about this trek. I immediately said "I am in" since I was waiting for it. I like this gang since it has all generation of people from 20 to 50 years old :o) So certainly it is a good experience and exciting one too to see aged people climbing the hills faster than we do.

We all (19 of us) started from Bangalore at around 11pm after a lot of last minute hassles for searching the bus in jam packed KSRTS bus stand. Since there were 3 continuous holidays, we had to fiddle with a lot of traffic and we could beat the traffic just in time and boarded the bus in last minute.

After reaching Chikkamagaluru in the early morning at around 4:30am, we started searching for lodge, so that we could take bath and start the trek fresh and fast. I don't know why many lodges were full that day; after a lot of difficulty and a walk of 1 km we could get a lodge.

After having heavy breakfast, all started walking towards Mullayyanagiri, I asked everyone, "why can't we go till the starting point by bus?" - but who will listen? - They started walking on the roads - with a standard dialogue - "Enappa ishtu young aagi, aagalla antheera?"

I tried to walk for a km or so and then 6 of us got into a local transport and reached the place called "kaimara" from which the peak is 14 kms. A left turn from there leads to the peak, and Kemmannugundi etc... places. None of us knew the exact starting point for the trek. So we kept on walking on the main road. In between whomever we met, asked them where is the "Kaalu daari" to go to Mullayyanagiri. Everybody told us a different way and we ended up walking more distance than we were supposed to. Someone said we have to go through coffee estates, others pushed us on to the mail road again.

One memorable incident happened which was witnessed by all 6 of us. I don't think anybody would believe this other than we 6, if i tell the story. As we went down to take the short cut, I got see a cobra on my left side, in a small bath room sized room. One of us took out a camera to zoom it and capture the snake.. The snake moved back and did hide itself beneath a step like structure. It popped up again to see whats happening outside, since all of us were staring at it, it moved fast towards the door and disappeared for a while.. .Next moment we had the biggest shock to experience.. Who would expect a snake to climb up the door and close it showing its face to the stunned spectators! Trust me it was the scariest moment I have ever witnessed in my life so far.
Only we know how careful we were for the next half of the trek. A local man was giggling at our unhealthy efforts of climbing the steep regions. We had to walk a long distance and more over it was almost a bus route, nevertheless we thoroughly enjoyed it as we got to see many eye-catching view points, views of 2 beautiful lakes (one of which is supposed to have been shown in "Gaaliapata"), ice cold stream of water to relieve our suffered legs..
After a few more steps we reached a place called "SitaLayyana BeTTa" - where there is a shiva temple. We opened up the eatables that my mom has packed up for us, and we had a peaceful lunch sitting under the tree. By the way, what happened to the other 13 people whom we left behind?? - I called them up to hear that they are almost near the peak. I was surprised!! We left them 4 kms behind and we are lagging behind by atleast 1 hour. We had taken a round about trip to the hill :o)
After taking rest for a while we climbed up 3 more hills to get the ziz-zag view of the steps to the highest peak. btw there is a temple at the the top of Mullayyanagiri, called "Mullayyana MaTha".

When we reached our gang on the top, most of them were flat down - Their snoring sleep could disturb birds flying around. :o) They had actually trekked the hill stright up which was almost 75 digrees. I also took the opportunity and slept off for 2 hours. When I got up at around 6:30pm, others were trying some photography, when sun was closing down for the day. We had a great evening discussing all gossip news, pulling each other's legs, teasing someone who was over the phone for 2 hours on top of the hill!

We stayed back over the hill for the night - it was an amzing experience - No vehicles around - no pollution - every breath we took was so sweet and satisfying - a dim moon light - blurred view of the perimeter of the Bababudangiri hills - sparkling bright stars of course - Not only on top but when we looked down, Chikkamagalur's lightings looked like a necklace filled with rich jewellary - refelction of the road lights in the distant lakes - Words can't explain better than the live experince.

The guy who takes care of the temple (priest), gave us shelter for the night and food to make us feel even better. Next day morning, after wishing a sweet morning to the raising star, the Sun, we thought it is time to leave, and immediately we started back our journey. We trekked down few hills for 2 kms and then waited for a bus to Chikkamagaluru. We reached back home at 5pm, after we boarded bus at around 12pm.

Though it was burning hot season we didn't feel so, since it had rained the whole week before the day we went there. We could see more greenery just because of that one week's rain. Thanks to two of my colleagues who made it for this trek. So 2 more guys added to this trip list. Someday, somewhere villagers will see a huge crowd attacking a hill nearby and definitely get scared! :0)

One more unforgettable trip added to my list to make it more rich and make me say "Yes, I am really having an amazing journey through my life".