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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chennai Coastal Cleanup/5, June 8th

If you have trouble viewing or submitting this form, you can fill it out online:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1RAc_HhgyZQNYRS2e9Dqg9Eaz_rWiL6KgKlSq3DyFVr4/viewform?usp=mail_form_link

Chennai Coastal Cleanup/5, June 8th

Welcome to the 5th year edition of the Chennai Coastal Cleanup co-organized by The Hindu and
The Chennai Trekking Club

Our ambitious target for June 8th is to collect 50+ tons of garbage from 20+km of Chennai beaches
with 5000+ volunteers both individual volunteers, corporates, schools and NGOs all joining hands 
together to send a strong message of environmental awareness and conservation within our society. 
Coordination of this massive cleanup operation will be done by a 100+ member organizing team of 
the Chennai Trekking Club who will coordinate with both groups and individual volunteers at the 15+ 
target beach zones.



Individual volunteers will assemble Sunday morning in 10 different locations across Chennai city
(see below) and from there travel together (car/bike pooling) to designated beach zones (see below). 
The cleanup will happen between 6-8:30am after which the volunteers will be dropped back to their 
respective assembly points. Garbage bags, gloves and refreshments will be provided to the volunteers.

Groups (Corporates, schools, NGOs) will directly report to their designated beach zones through their
own transport and join the cleanup effort along with individual volunteers. Corporates have to procure 
bio-degradable garbage bags, gloves and refreshments beforehand for their employees. Contact details 
of bags/gloves vendors will be shared. Estimated cost per head is around 60Rs. Schools, NGOs and 
individuals can participate free of cost (bags, gloves, refreshments will be sponsored).



Groups can register in this link - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1nuhiU2NvWT6g2Z_1dTAxHKRsLP6gtnw9TtS8ycjEPdM/viewform

Garbage will be segregated in various categories (plastics, glass, bio-degradable...) and recycled to
the maximum extent possible to minimize the percentage of leftover sent to the garbage dump. CTC 
will coordinate with third-party recycling companies and the Chennai Corporation for safe disposal of 
the remaining garbage. Volunteers and groups participating in the cleanup will be educated by CTC's 
Green team on segregation of materials.



The entire event will be extensively covered by our event partner The Hindu as well as a broad awareness
campaign on the social media supported by a large team of photographers of the Chennai Trekking Club 
to carry our message of conservation to a wide audience. Last year 5500 people participated in the 4th 
year edition of our Coastal Cleanup including 3000 individual volunteers and 100+ corporates, schools and 
NGOs cleaning up 40 tons of garbage from our coastline.

Theme of this year's cleanup is both conservation and recycling. On June 7th evening there will be an
exhibit at Eliot beach in which various vendors active in recycling, segregation, green & bio-degradable 
products will display their range of products and create awareness among the public.



World Environment Day is on June 5th - http://www.unep.org/wed/
World Ocean Day is on June 8th - http://worldoceansday.org/

We welcome sponsors who wish to be associated with this major event & conservation cause and
enable us to keep the event free for participating individual volunteers, schools and NGOs.



Volunteers and groups will be allocated uniformly according to garbage density across various designated
beach zones:
https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid=210029767232951908361.0004b7e43fe843c811425&msa=0&ll=12.971438,80.274868&spn=0.061308,0.090895

0 - Marina
1 - Lighthouse
2 - Santhome
3 - Foreshore
4 - Broken Bridge
5 - Besant Nagar
6 - Kalakshetra
7 - Tirunvanmyur
8 - Kottivakam
9 - Pallavakam
10 - Neelankarai North
11 - Neelankarai South
12 - Injambakkam
13 - Akkarai
14 - Panayur
15 - Kovalam
16 - Pondicherry









Chennai Coastal Cleanup/4 FB Page - https://www.facebook.com/CoastalCleanup4
    Full Name *
    Peter Van Geit

    Contact *
    9600004509

    Transport *
    It will be helpful if some can bring car or bike so we can pool together to the beach


    Assembly *
    Indicate your preferred point of assembly near your residence



    Suggestions
    Suggestions, ideas on how to improve the cleaning and maintenance of our beaches

    Never submit passwords through Google Forms.

Chennai Coastal Cleanup/5, June 8th - Group Registration Link

If you have trouble viewing or submitting this form, you can fill it out online: 
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1nuhiU2NvWT6g2Z_1dTAxHKRsLP6gtnw9TtS8ycjEPdM/viewform?usp=mail_form_link

Chennai Coastal Cleanup/5, June 8th - Group Registration

Welcome to the 5th year edition of the Chennai Coastal Cleanup co-organized by The Hindu and 
The Chennai Trekking ClubOur ambitious target for June 8th is to collect 50+ tons of garbage from 
20+km of Chennai beaches with 5000+ volunteers both individual volunteers, corporates, schools 
and NGOs all joining hands together to send a strong message of environmental awareness and 
conservation within our society. 

Coordination of this massive cleanup operation will be done by a 100+ member organizing team 
of the Chennai Trekking Club who will coordinate with both groups and individual volunteers at the 
15+ target beach zones.



Groups (Corporates, schools, NGOs) will report to their designated beach zones on Sunday morning
through their own transport and join the cleanup effort along with individual volunteers. The cleanup will
happen between 6-8:30am. Corporates have to procure bio-degradable garbage bags, gloves and
refreshments beforehand for their employees. Contact details of bags/gloves vendors will be shared.
Estimated cost per head is around 60Rs. Schools, NGOs and individuals can participate free of cost
(bags, gloves, refreshments will be sponsored).

Individual volunteers can register in this link - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1RAc_HhgyZQNYRS2e9Dqg9Eaz_rWiL6KgKlSq3DyFVr4/viewform



Garbage will be segregated in various categories (plastics, glass, bio-degradable...) and recycled to the
maximum extent possible to minimize the percentage of leftover sent to the garbage dump. CTC will
coordinate with third-party recycling companies and the Chennai Corporation for safe disposal of the
remaining garbage. Volunteers and groups participating in the cleanup will be educated by CTC's
Green team on segregation of materials.



The entire event will be extensively covered by our event partner The Hindu as well as a broad awareness
campaign on the social media supported by a large team of photographers of the Chennai Trekking Club
to carry our message of conservation to a wide audience. Last year 5500 people participated in the 4th
year edition of our Coastal Cleanup including 3000 individual volunteers and 100+ corporates, schools
and NGOs cleaning up 40 tons of garbage from our coastline.



Theme of this year's cleanup is both conservation and recycling. On June 7th evening there will be an
exhibit at Eliot beach in which various vendors active in recycling, segregation, green & bio-degradable
products will display their range of products and create awareness among the public.

World Environment Day is on June 5th - http://www.unep.org/wed/
World Ocean Day is on June 8th - http://worldoceansday.org/

We welcome sponsors who wish to be associated with this major event & conservation cause and
enable us to keep the event free for participating individual volunteers, schools and NGOs.



Volunteers and groups will be allocated uniformly according to garbage density across various designated
beach zones:
https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid=210029767232951908361.0004b7e43fe843c811425&msa=0&ll=12.971438,80.274868&spn=0.061308,0.090895

0 - Marina
1 - Lighthouse
2 - Santhome
3 - Foreshore
4 - Broken Bridge
5 - Besant Nagar
6 - Kalakshetra
7 - Tirunvanmyur
8 - Kottivakam
9 - Pallavakam
10 - Neelankarai North
11 - Neelankarai South
12 - Injambakkam
13 - Akkarai
14 - Panayur
15 - Kovalam
16 - Pondicherry



Contacts
=======
Peter - peter.vangeit@gmail.com - 9600004509
Prabakar - pramypn@gmail.com - 9840130464
Thilak - theluckraj@gmail.com - 9840873859

Links
====
Like our FB Page - https://www.facebook.com/chennaicoastalcleanup5
Update your FB Cover Page to create awareness among your friends -
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=306154499541439&set=a.306153666208189.1073741828.306147856208770&type=1&theater



Chennai Trekking Club - www.chennaitrekkers.org
Chennai Coastal Cleanup Videos -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zwnL5ig1rg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DganTV7cQKc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cBmUjoIIEZM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZsFQaEQLO4c
Chennai Coastal Cleanup 2013 Summary -
http://www.chennaitrekkers.org/2013/06/chennai-coastal-cleanup-june-16th-post.html



Previous Cleanup Links - http://www.chennaitrekkers.org/p/highlights.html
Media Coverage - http://www.chennaitrekkers.org/p/media.html
Chennai Coastal Cleanup 2013 FB Page - https://www.facebook.com/CoastalCleanup4



About
=====

The Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) is a 21 thousand member non-profit volunteer based organization.
It’s one of the largest and most active outdoor groups in South India which provides a platform for
like-minded outdoor and sports enthusiasts to connect through hundreds of outdoor events organized
throughout the year. The group wants to create environmental awareness through many green initiatives
including tree plantations and coastal cleanups. CTC promotes an active and healthy lifestyle by
organizing various sports events including marathons and triathlons throughout the year. Last year 1500 
runners participated in the Chennai Trail Marathon and 6000 in the Dawn To Dusk Marathon co-organized 
by CTC at IIT Madras. The group also tries to instill social awareness by organizing social treks for the 
less privileged.


    Organization *
    Name of your company, school or NGO

    Category *

    •  

    Estimated headcount *
    Provide an initial approximate headcount for your group. The actual final headcount based on response can be communicated later on before the event

    Email *
    Email ID of your coordinator(s)

    Contact *
    Mobile of your coordinator(s)

    Procurement
    Corporates are to procure garbage bags, gloves, refreshments for their employees beforehand


    Preferred beach zone *
    Indicate your preference of beach zone (if any). We will try to accommodate your preference but cannot guarantee as all individual volunteers and groups have to be distributed uniformly across 15 beach zones according to the garbage spread. The target of this cleanup is the entire Chennai Coastal line so please avoid opting only for the known touristic beaches. Final allocated beach zone will be intimated before the event date


    Suggestions
    Suggestions, ideas on how to improve the cleaning and maintenance of our beaches

    Never submit passwords through Google Forms.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nagala moderate+ trek - April, 2014

http://swarnavel.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/nagala-moderate-trek-with-peter-apr-0506-2014/

1
Do you want to test your limits? Want to know how far your mind and body will sync? Go for a trek with Peter, the founder of Chennai Trekking Club (CTC). You will definitely push yourselves more than what you think. Your body will stretch to its max like never before, your skins will get scratched with bushes and thorns, your throat and tongue will plea for single drop of water, eyes will burn like anything but the pleasure you get all the while is worth for all the pains.
2
Being a CTC Facebook group member, I happened to know Peter is organizing a 2 days moderate+ trek for fresher/experienced during first weekend of April 2014. Submitted the registration form in Chennai trekkers’ web page the moment they opened the registration. To get selected for any trek with CTC, one should clear a physical fitness test which Peter conducts in Pallavaram hill or should have a prior proven trek experience. I’ve already tried a trek with Emperors, a wing of CTC and this helped me to join this trek. I was too excited when I see the confirmation mail for Nagala Moderate+ trek from Peter and was eagerly waiting for the day; my days were occupied with the thoughts of how the trekking experience is going to be.
Finally the day came and around 90+ assembled in CMBT @ 5 AM on Apr 5th 2014. Half of them planned for Navigation boot camp and the rest for the moderate+ trek, both the activities planned for the same weekend. I knew only a few of them and I’ve hardly spoken to them as well, just an acquaintance. Four guys joined in my car and all of them came for the Boot camp. Navigation boot camp is with teams of 3 members whom will be trained to navigate through mountains with the help of GPS. Peter has given some predetermined navigation points to each of the team which should be navigated and recorded in their GPS device. I was not sure whether both the groups will set the base camp in the same place when we start and blindly followed a car with some senior folks in it. Got breakfast for us on the way in Oothukotai and reached a village close to the foot of the hill.
3
We had our breakfast which is supposed to be the last feast of the weekend with Idly, Vada, Pongal, Poori, Vada curry, Sambar and ChutneyJ. Each of us were asked to take 2 Oranges, 2 Lemons, 1 Coconut Boli, 1 Chocolate, 1 Bread loaf and some common gears. After loading them in our baggage we started walking towards the base camp.
4
It was a long walk across a dry dam, an old temple in the center of the dam and charred trees. Senior folks told the dam used to be full during rainy days and we should take a roundabout route to reach the base camp. We reached a stream after crossing the dam and followed the stream to reach the base camp.
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After giving instructions for the Boot campers, Peter joined us to show the real thrilling experience. He asked us to drink as much of water and fill water bottles before starting. We walked on a dry stream after unloading unwanted items. With just water bottle and food items, we continued our walk to reach the base of the stream. The stream was flat in the start and went up gradually.
6
There comes a crevice (kind of cylindrical formation inclined 45 degree upwards) with some water flowing down to a small pool down there. We had to climb up to continue following the stream. Most of us climbed without slipping but few slipped and got drenched in water. Those whose shoes got drenched had to remove the shoes to climb so as to avoid slipping again. Somehow all managed to climb and we continued our trek. And in the last Peter, the SPIDER MAN climbed it effortlessly just like we climb stairs in our house.
7
We regrouped then and there and decided to have our lunch in a place which was once a pool formed by a falls. We had bread loafs with mayonnaise, sweet boli, oranges and homemade chocolates which we carried all along. We had quite a big meal in the morning and now just breads and fruits. That’s life!!!
8
To continue further we had to climb some steep rocks and on the sides. We followed the stream from the top.
9
We were almost near the base, all water bottles were empty and everyone was dying hard to get a drop of water. Am sure whoever didn’t care much about water would have realized that water is the most essential need of the human body.
10
Since some of them were climbing slowly, Peter decided to leave them there and took a few volunteers who can climb quickly to the water point which was about 20min walk away from the base of the stream.
11
We walked quite a long distance and then we realized its Peter’s 20min not oursJ. At last we found the water point and that moment cannot be expressed in words, I can say we saw God in real. We drank water as much as we can and filled the bottles for our co-trekkers who stayed back. Reached back to the waiting spot and everyone quenched their thirst.
12
We followed a trail from there to the dead end pool where we dipped ourselves and relaxed. After spending some good amount of time we headed back to the camp retiring for the day.
13
It started to become dark. We somehow managed to reach the camping site with the help of the torch and some senior folks. We collected the unloaded items on the way. It’s a small gorge where a stream was flowing in between with boulders on the sides. We had yummy noodles for the dinner and everyone started retiring on both sides of the stream. We were just close to the nature on the bank of the stream with natural lights from moon and stars, sound from the flowing stream. All slept nicely in that peaceful atmosphere. What a day it is!
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We got up early the next day morning after a nice dreamless sleep. We had tea and breakfast – flattened rice immersed in water. Two levels of trekking were decided for the day. Level one, an easy one and Level two, a tough one. We decided to go till Level one and drop half of the team there to continue to Level two. Again started following the stream and on the way we found horn of a deer.
15 - Copy
We continued and reached to sliding pool. Water was flowing down and we can slide through to get into the pool. It was deep enough that we can also jump from the top. I was surprised to see some non-swimmers boldly slide into the pool. Peter and Luke pulled them safely to shallow points once the non-swimmers slide into the pool. Some folks just sat and enjoyed watching the fun.
1013804_716163625101651_4110141897024775807_n
We unloaded unwanted items near the sliding pool and walked towards level one. We followed the stream which led to a falls. We spent some time in that falls and some guys had a dip there as well.
17
We climbed up further to reach another falls and this was set as Level one. Half of them stayed back and the rest continued to challenging Level two.
18
Unlike the previous day, we had to climb up steep rocks with bushes and thorns from the beginning to reach Level two which is a pool located on the top of a 600m ridge. I would say it is more of mental ability than physical strength that drove us. It challenged everyone and tested the physical endurance and mental ability.
19
We crossed many viewpoints which boosted us to push further. Water was over even before reaching the pool. Deepan found Amla tree and picked some amlas which helped us to temporarily withstand.
20
With all struggles; limited water, scorching sun, tiring body we reached Level two. It’s Peter who set the limits and pushed us to reach Level two.
22
Fate played, the pool we were looking for was real dry and no water was found. Water was just dripping from the roots of a tree and it took more than 15 min to fill just one water bottle. Somehow we managed to fill few bottles and had our lunch with bread and flattened rice. Took rest for almost an hour and decided to start around 3 PM. Meanwhile some water bottles got filled up.
23
We climbed up further to find a trail which took us back to the sliding pool. Water bottles got emptied again and everyone was very tired. I would say our thirst drove us further to the sliding pool because everyone knows that sliding pool is the only closest water point.
24
We reached the sliding pool somehow and quenched our thirst. We jumped into sliding pool again. Down the sliding pool, there was another pool called Magic pool. We have to jump in from the rock to get into the pool. This height was almost double as that of the sliding pool. With some guts, only 5 of us jumped in and it was really a thrilling experience. All our energies regained in the pool. CTC core team brought the items which we unloaded in the morning to the sliding pool area. We collected our items and loaded them back in our bags.
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The trek was over and we walked towards the village where we parked our vehicles. We saw forest fire in the Nagala west when we walked towards the exit. Reached the exit and returned to our homes safely. It was 10 when I reached my home. What a way to end a week!!! Wonderful weekend I have ever spent in my life. Thanks to Peter and CTC core team for giving us such an opportunity.
Some moments to be shared:
  • When Siva fell down into the pool while climbing up the crevice, he lifted his hand first just to save his camera J
  • We could see them saying “Do not underestimate us”, not by words but in action from the only two girls of the trek, Susan and Keerthana. They pushed themselves well and competed almost with everyone. Susan even joined us till the water point on the first day. Great!!!
  • Deepan who know little swimming jumped into the sliding pool. I remember him saying “Risk taking is like rusk eating” J
  • Two dogs completed the entire trek from the village till Level 2. I noticed only in the morning that one of the dog slept next to me J
  • We won’t forget Virapandi and Ganeshram for sharing Coconut burfi, Cake and 5 star chocolates when we did Level 2. Thanks a lot guys.
Our special thanks to Karmuhilan, Rajasekaran and Jayanthan for guiding us along with Peter. When we tried Level two Rajasekaran pushed the team in the front and Jayanthan patiently waited for the rest then and there and brought the whole team safely back to the sliding pool. Thanks to the CTC core team and volunteers for making all the necessary arrangements.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CTC Post Trek Write up - To "Divinity" and beyooond !!

Javadhu Biking and Divine Hike to Parvadhamalai-March 1-2, 2014 - Post Trek Write up 

By Azeem Marecan 
 
 
Day 1 
 
I got up with a start! Fearing the worst. I wondered why my alarm died on me. Or did it really ring and 
it was just me who overslept? As these questions were starting to get me, I quickly came to senses and 
checked my phone… I realized I had one more hour of sleep left. It was only 2 am. I had set my alarm 
for 3 am, for the CTC rendezvous in Koyembedu at 4.30 am
 
The alarm finally rang; I got up and geared up for my second outing with CTC – The Divine Hike! 
 
This was going to be a bike cum trek trip. Having zilch experience in trekking and not knowing what to 
expect, I decided to follow Arun‟s words to the dot, in terms of the items to carry. 
 
I reached Nathan‟s cafĂ© at 4.30am and met my partner for the ride, Bala, along with a few other 
members of this ride – Anand Babu, Thanga (our discover man) and Gorakhnath. The rest of the team 
already convened at this point a few minutes earlier and it took us a little while to figure which team 
was going where. 
 
At 4.30ish on a Saturday morning, this area was buzzing with about some 3 or 4 different CTC teams 
getting ready for biking, trekking and cycling. There were a few of us who even had the idea of event 
hopping, which looked pretty viable at that point. But, to the best of my knowledge, that didn‟t 
happen, at least with our event :P 
 
So, quick ad hoc introductions were made, while the rations being distributed and someone from the 
team shouted LET‟S GO!! 
 
I was like, Whoaaa!!! Heyyy!!! Hold your horses guys, who‟s leading? who‟s sweeping? But I realized by 
the time I‟d have waited for an answer, I would have been sweeping  . So I quickly checked with 
Venky on the meeting point, which was the next toll, and throttled with Bala in that direction. 
 
 It was dark when the ride started and the sun slowly rising as we cruised towards the first meeting 
point. After the reaching the toll, we all got down for a quick stretch. Managed to witness the rising 
sun - a pretty neat sight – take a few snaps and then get back on to our bikes. The lead and sweep were 
decided here and the ride resumed. 
 
 

 

We drove on the Chennai to Bangalore highway, which was pretty ummm… well… straightforward, shall 
I say? Yessir, no hanky-panky stuff. Just cruising on a straight road. For a moment, a vague thought of 
„something is missing in this ride‟ crossed my mind. But, I quickly dismissed it, thinking it would 
probably have something to with the lack of sleep. 
 

As we were all cruising at 80-90 kmph, something zipped past us. Was it a bird? Was it a plane flying 
low?? Nope!! It was our man, Thanga, on his Discover 135 looking down on us and even making the likes 
of our 150-500cc bikes eat dust. 
 
 
And this is when the confusion filled comedy of errors crept into our ride that gave us a good hearty 
laugh and the ever so needed ice-breaker of the trip. 
 
I‟m not going to get into the details of the confusion, but it was basically 4 bikes missing to take a turn 
into Vellore and ended up going straight  
 Before I unfurl the events of the first day, I‟d like to give a quick gist of the 1st
 day‟s agenda:
 
We rode – we ate – we rode – we ate – we ate more – we rode – we ate – we trekked – we ate – we 
trekked and ate and finally we ate. :D 
 
The first place we officially stopped for eating was at this small joint that sold the softest idlis that I‟d 
ever had outside home. A bunch of 15 odd CTCians „invaded‟ the hut and hogged down every last bit of 
idlis and vadas that were available. We ate faster than they were able to make. It was not only due to 
the hunger, but the idlis were sooo soft plus every side dish that they went along with it was perfect. 
 
 
 
After satiating our appetites we were ready to hit the ghat road. 
 
“Stick together, team” was the call given by Venky. Hold on to this line, I‟ll come back to it. 
 
Ghat Road Entered!! 
 
 
 
 This was my first experience of riding a bike on a ghat road, and as the trip started to unfold, I started 
to realize what was actually missing in the ride. The curvaceous hair pin bends, the cool and fresh air, 
the awe-inspiring landscapes that unraveled after every turn and of course, biking in a group. 
 
 
As we were climbing the Javadu Hill, Arun decided to stop for a few clicks. 
 
So, coming back to our Venky‟s call of sticking together… Well, we did stick together… partially… 
 
The team of 18 stuck together in two parts of 9 each :D 
 
So, it was here that one our friends got a prefix as an identity to his name. It was… Long shot Bala. The 
reason? Bala seems to have a knack in photography, or at least the way how HE poses when he takes 
someone‟s else‟s picture implies so. And every time he clicks a pic, these are his words: 
 
  


It was initially a little difficult to remember everyone‟s names at that point and hence a „tag‟ was 
necessary. Long shot Bala got his. For the remaining guys, their respective bikes became their prefix :D 
This is how it went: 
 
Thunderbird Bharat 
R15 Vinod 
Pulsar blue Venkat 
Discover / 135 Thanga 
200 NS Anand 
Pillion Bala (My pillion) 
Fazer Gorakh 
FZ (Sorry machan, I still remember you as FZ  ) 
Unicorn Vijay 
 
The remaining, were easy… And I, was famous… So no tags required :D 
 
It was time for some crazy clicks  
 
 




 
 We resumed the ride and on the way found the other 9 who also “stuck together”. Even they had a 
photo session of their own. I guess, by now, it‟s become a protocol to take pics if you‟re lost / have to 
wait / or don‟t know what to do. 
 
Arun took us through a forest road that had thick trees on both sides, which gave a nice and cool 
feeling as we rode down the road. The ride through the forest was nothing like I‟ve ever experienced 
before. The very sight of greenness enveloping you while you‟re cruising on your bike, takes you into a 
whole new world of serenity. 
 
 

  

I didn‟t realize how long we drove as we sped through the forest, but I had a feeling that it ended real 
quick. This was when our 135 Thanga‟s bike started developing a snag. Courtesy – The evil eyes casted 
on his bike by the owners of the 150cc+ bikes :D 
 
 
We arrived at a town and what we witnessed there was speechless. Or, if I have to put it in a more 
appropriate manner, what the locals witnessed by watching a group of bikers traveling, left THEM 
speechless. Some of them were turning their heads like how the audiences in a tennis match do. We 
entered the bazaar road of the village and let our man search for a mechanic to fix his ride. 
 
I did mention earlier that taking photos has become something like a protocol if you‟re lost / have to 
wait / or don‟t know what to do. However, if there is food around…… ummm… no points for guessing 
which one takes precedence :D ATTACK!!!! Nom Nom Nom down the bujjiisssss!!! Yea!! 
 
 
  
Next up, Thunderbird Bharat had a worn out Woodlands and had to get it fixed with a cobbler. There 
was a lady selling panniyaarum (a soft idli like dish) next to the cobbler and all of us were looking at 
the panniyaarum and back at each other, contemplating if we should go ahead or not. For a change we 
chose to stay put and wait till Thunderbird got his shoe fixed. 
 
Finally the shoe and 135‟s bike was fixed. We couldn‟t stay off riding any longer and this time we 
decided to cover a considerable distance before we take a break. So on our bikes we got, ignite the 
engines we did and throttled our wayyy…… to the next tea shop, crossing hardly a couple of kilometers. 
Not only tea, they had bujjis as well, so what did we do… We ignored it. Naaa… 
 
 
 
Finally, we started for good and proceeded to Paruvadha Malai. The ride, again, was pretty pleasing. 
We were a lucky bunch on that day. The climate was awesome and made the trip even more relaxing. I 
had the phrase Mausam Awesome ringing in my mind throughout the ride. 
 
 

 

After a couple of hour‟s ride we reached a place where we all had lunch and proceeded towards the 
base of Paruvadha Malai. 
 
We were able to see a few hills, and when Blue Pulsar Venkat asked Arun to show us which hill we were 
trekking up, Arun pointed at a small structure on the peak of the tallest Hill with a smile on his face. 
We smiled back at him mockingly. We ain‟t buying that from him. 
 
 
 
 We geared up and started the trek. What started out to be Mausam Awesome, slid into a hot afternoon 
just as we were warming up to the trek. 
 
 
 
The trail was pretty dry and fundamentally involved climbing rocks (a little exaggeration there, but you 
can catch my drift). 
 
During the initial part of the climb, we struck up a few conversations on various topics ranging from 
video games, to Game of Thrones, to what not. But as we progressed through the climb, there was 
more panting than talking. Then we progressed into only panting, no talking. 
 
We kept climbing up the never ending trail of steepness, where each step meant lifting our feet up a 
knee-level high step. The “fit” ones breezed through the trail, while the ordinary mortals took quite a 
few breaks. 

 

 Even with the breaks in between I started to feel fatigue kicking in. It was just plain „climbing‟ with an 
occasional glance over the left of the shoulder to see the progress made in the form of the elevation 
we reached. 
 
 
 
As we climbed, we met our “fit” Venky who was taking a break from the climb, since the ghuska he ate 
for lunch decided to play spoilsport and exited thru his mouth. I‟d say it was a blessing in disguise 
„exit‟ :D 
 
 
 
Fazer Gorakh, who was with me at that point of the climb, casually checked with Venky on the 
distance left to reach the Temple. Feeling that we had completed at least 75% of the climb and 
expecting a response of 30 mins, Venky said 2 hours… Minimum… Pointing at the same peak that Arun 
pointed earlier. I‟m like, dude, we‟re too tired for jokes, plsss. And when he gave me that blank look, 
the realization hit me that, „THAT Peak is Where We Are Actually headed!!”  
Managing to just pull ourselves through to the first potti kadai, the sip of lemon soda felt like a dose of 
resurrection – A sip from the Holy Grail. That pinch of lemon gave so much of strength and fueled our 
„engines‟ enough to take us to the top… that we decided to park ourselves in front of the potti kadai 
and have some more of the lemon soda :D 
 
 
 
The climb resumed with the evening starting to wear in, while most of us wearing off. The temperature 
started to drop, and the burden of the heat was reduced. 
 
Darkness started to set in and the view of the mountains covered in bluish dark hue seemed eerie yet 
mystifying. It started getting cold as we gained altitude. At this stage, I had only one goal in mind – 
Reaching the summit of the hill. 
 
 
 
 The phenomena of mind over body started to set in. My legs started feeling fatigue all over again but I
didn‟t want to stop. The experience of „climbimg‟ felt so fulfilling, that to stop and wait, seemed like 
a sin. I wanted more of what I was going through. I wanted to cover more steps, gain more altitude and 
keep going. It was all so good… Well… Until we reached the next potti kadai selling panniyaarum!! 
 
 
 
Gorakh, 135 Thanga, Shinoth and I stopped for some panniyaarum and the yummy pudina chutney that 
went along with it. And this is the last stop for the night… God promise!  
 
We resumed climbing while I was still licking off the last bit of the chutney from the leaf plate. By 
now, the trail was pitch-dark. Lights on! And Team work on, as well. We came to a place that required 
us to climb a steep, narrow and precarious ladder. And it was just not straight up. You had the 
boulders protruding, and so the ladder turned left. We worked our way up in unison. With one person 
taking the responsibility of lighting up the path of the other and then taking turns to light up while the 
others were climbing. 
 
We crossed the ladder and came to a place, that had a steel plank like bridge to support us to cross 
over from one end to the other. We met up with long shat Bala here, who waited to show us the route 
or was probably in need of a torch :D 
  
 
 
After crossing the plank and a narrow stone stairs and a little bit of figuring out of where to place our 
foot with every step, we finally reached the top. And I was like, wow! We finally made it!! Thanks to 
the chill climate, we were able to push ourselves and reach the top along with the other “fit” guys, 
just at the right time when they were just about to start with their paniyaarum. We all joined Arun, 
Blue Pulsar Venkat, Venky, R15 Vinod, Unicorn Vijay for some quick snack before heading in for the 
dinner in the Temple. 
  
 
 
As we were trying to figure out a flat surface to rest for the night, we learnt that sleeping inside the 
Temple was also an option, besides them feeding us dinner. 
 
The Temple had a set of rules that must be followed in order to get your meal. You‟re supposed to 
offer prayers and all the guys have to go in bare-chested (without the top). This was my first 
experience inside a Temple and I had zilch knowledge on what to do. Thunderbird Bharat turned out to 
be my life saver during this experience. I just followed his suit. We all gathered up in a common hall to 
„wait‟ for the head priest to make his entry. Going back to the protocol that I had stated about CTCians 
waiting… Well, Long shot Bala did the honours by taking a few snaps of us while we were meditating… 
errr… waiting  
 
 
 
 The head priest finally came in and addressed the gathering. There was also a puny dog called Mani 
(Mani = bell in Tamil) who had a bell tied to him and that kept ringing with every cute little step he 
takes. I was a little intimidated with Mani at the beginning. Not because it was a dog, I love dogs, but 
because I was scared he would sniff me out – being the odd one. I had scenes of different Tamil, Hindi, 
Chinese, English etc. movies playing in my head where an animal‟s intelligence is used to sniff out the 
odd one in the group. I also had scenes playing of Mani barking relentlessly at me, and the whole group 
starting to stare at me. I started thinking aloud in my head, trying to communicate to the dog, in case 
it‟s able to read my thought. I said, “I came here only for food, Mani. I mean no harm. ” 
 
Mani did go around incessantly, with this bell ringing, sniffing people sitting there. And I sat there 
repeating those lines in my mind. Mani then seemed to ignore me and it was then that I started 
breathing a little freely. Bharat was there advising me on what to do, while I sat there following his 
advice to the dot. The priest was done with his talk and it was time for dinner!!! 
 
We were given a dish that looked like curd rice, but wasn‟t curd and wasn‟t rice, and a masala that 
went along it with. The food was too good, with the spice of the masala that complemented well with 
the blandness of the „rice‟. I loved what I was eating, NOT KNOWING what I was eating. 
 
After dinner, the “lazy bums” of the group laid their sleeping bags and were ready to hit the sack. The 
rest of us stepped out and experienced the umm… fog filled chilly night. 
 
 
 
We all had a plan to wake up early and witness the sunrise. We were on top of a hill and to witness a 
sunrise from this altitude sounded like something that I should kill for. As we were setting up the 
alarm, one of the “lazy bums” said he also wanted to witness the sunrise. So he suggested us to take a 
pic of it and tag him on fb  
 
As everyone snuggled up in their sleeping bags/mats, there was sound of someone opening a packet of 
jujupee (if that‟s the spelling). What seemed to be a bunch of guys fast asleep, remained to be a bunch 
of guys fast asleep, except for their hands that sprung up and into the direction of the sound, with the palms wide open. Seemed like a scene out of a horror movie for a moment. After getting a jujupee 
each, the hands retracted back to their respective bodies. 
 
 
Day 2 
 
It was finally morning, most of us got up ready to brace ourselves for the breath-taking view of the 
sunrise. The lazy-bums also got up, just in time to remind us on the fb tag. The souls that were up to 
watch the spectacular sunrise were Arun, Long shot Bala, Prabakar, Bharat, Pillion Bala, 135 Thanga 
and I. Venky and blue pulsar Venkat also joined during the course of the „wait‟ And yes, we did „wait‟ 
so we did take pics: 
 
 
 
We‟ve almost neared the time to witness the spectacular sunrise. According to the websites, sunrise 
was supposed to happen at 6.35am. It was 6.45 am. We thought, since we were up this height, it 
probably takes time for the sun to penetrate through the thick fog. So we waited and clicked more 
pics. 
 
 

It was 7.15am and we finally decided that this was the sunrise: 
 
 
Yessir! „plain white‟ beauty… no other words to describe the „spectacular sunrise‟ we all got up early 
for to witness. The sun decided to reveal itself after it rose completely. And not while it was rising  
 
Before I continue with the descend, I‟d like to cover a few instances of Surya‟s activities, which would 
be a crime to this write-up if I ignore. 
 Surya’s antics 
 
I can start a different write-up for Surya alone, based on his antics, but will settle down for some of 
the highlights  
 
1. Surya had a watch that could tell the temperature. People would normally use the watch to check 
time and if required check the temperature. He felt that was too mainstream for him. And instead, 
used the watch for temperature and occasionally to check the time. And when the temperature 
didn‟t seem to display properly, he removed the watch, held it high above his head and started to 
jumping, to expose the watch more to the environment in order to tell him the temperature. 
Though he had his sweater and all the thermal gears on, we was insisting on the watch to show him 
the darn temperature :D 
 
 
 
 
 
 2. We all had connectivity issue on the top and Surya‟s phone was no exception. He happened to 
misplace his phone somewhere and was frantically searching for it. Then an idea struck him out of 
nowhere. He decided to give a missed call to his connection-less phone. We all know how „well‟ the 
plan went  
 
3. After finding the phone, Surya had to make an urgent call to his girlfriend. His sim didn‟t seem to 
be able to pick up signal from the top. And Voila! Another idea struck him. He decided to use his 
sim that had connection problems in another phone to make calls. Now now now, guys, we all know 
that Surya knows how a sim works. I‟m sure he got just a little apprehensive about not being able 
to speak to his girl and in the thick of things would have lost a little data on a sim‟s functionality :D 
 
 
To ‘Divinity’ and beyooond! Contd… 
 
The descend started in groups again. I could hear Unicorn Vijay calling out the name of all Gods and 
praying to them. To be honest, the descend felt a little more intimidating than the ascend. 
 
Well, one is, it was extremely foggy. And two, we couldn‟t what was beyond the edge. It was covered 
in plain whiteness. 
 
 
 
The very sight of plain whiteness was awing. Imagine falling into the whiteness. It felt like falling into 
nothing. A pretty cool thought at that time to add more vibes to my already shaking legs. 
 
 
 
 We almost froze when we came to the narrow and precarious ladder. It looked deadly. We paused for a 
bit, contemplating a way to get down and realized the only way to get down safely is to do it in 
reverse. This helped mainly because, we were all carrying bags and to go down the ladder in reverse 
means you don‟t run the risk of your bag being an obstacle in your journey down. 
 
 
 
Though the descend was slightly intimidating, we went down pretty quick. 
 
Then it was time for breakfast. Our R15 Vinod preferred to go with Koozhu “WITHOUT ONIONS”, since 
buttermilk wasn‟t available, to cool his burning stomach :P . Vinod seemed to be in some kind of a 
hurry and left immediately after having his koozhu. 
 
We hogged like usual for breakfast. Bread + MTR mix + Koozhu + oorga made a square breakfast for the 
likes of 15 odd guys. 
 
 
 
 We waited for the next group to come before resuming our journey down. The descend took a lot out 
of my thighs and by the time we reached the base, my legs were trembling because of the force at 
which my heels kept hitting the ground with every step. And, those hits translated into jerks to my 
thighs. 
 
We freshened up, and waited for the remaining guys to join us. Once all of us reached the base, we got 
our respective bike‟s engines warmed up and ready to take our exhausted pair of legs home. We 
headed through Vellore to Aryaa‟s restaurant and had one last heavy meal before we shot one final 
group pic and parted ways towards our destination. 


Okay… Don‟t get the idea of all the bikers heading in different directions when I said “parted ways”. I 
just wanted to add some drama and hence used the phrase “parted ways”. We actually drove on the 
same road homewards, but not in a group. 
 
This was my first experience with CTC as a trekker and I started to get a feel that I was missing out a 
lot by not trekking so far. I loved the feeling of pushing myself, gritting my teeth and experiencing the 
mind over body phenomena. 
 
The entire trip was fun-filled, right from when the bikers got lost, to Surya‟s antics, to the monkeys 
understanding what we spoke in Tamil and Arun started using sign language so they can‟t understand, 
to Long Shot Bala for a moment didn‟t know who was Arun– who was his partner for the entire trip, 
besides being the organizer :D 
 
 Kudos to Arun for organizing and pulling off another successful CTC bike cum trek trip! Which actually 
introduced me to trekking, and which will be my „terminus a quo‟ to many more treks to come in the 
offing. 
 
 
 
This trip was definitely worth the fun and the pain that our legs went through for the subsequent days. 
 
Before I end this write-up, I‟d like to leave you guys with an anecdote that could leave you thinking: 
 
While we were trudging down the trail, there was a black dog that kept following our group. This 
fellow seemed a little different from any of the other dogs I‟ve seen. For instance, he doesn‟t seem to 
even flinch an eye lid when a potti kadai owner tried shooing him away with a stick. He stood his 
ground and was firm in following us. Frankly, I thought this one went cuckoo. He would just sit there, 
wait for us regardless of anything and would move only with us. 
 
This fellow even managed to irk our cool-cucumber organizer, Arun, who lost patience when the dog 
kept running in front, behind, on the sides and in between his legs :D . He would stop wherever we 
stopped and continued till we reached our base. 
 
A week after the trek, I was talking to a friend of mine and was telling about this trek. He then asked if 
2 or 3 dogs followed us. I said only one did, but became curious and probed on what‟s the deal with the 
dog(s). He said the priest on the top told him that the dog(s) are sent as a guardian, by the divine 
force, to accompany us and ensure we reach the base safely. Every time, there will be at least one dog 
that would accompany us. When he went there a year ago, he was accompanied by 2 dogs. 
 
Now, the dog could have followed because we gave him some buns. 
 
But, I did feel something different about this fellow when we stuck to us relentlessly. 
 Could it have just been a coincidence that the dogs also followed my friend down to the base during his 
trip? 
 
I‟ll let your imaginations run amok on this. Because, as I try connecting the dots with this „Divine Hike‟ mine has :)

Nabble:

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