“Anbilaar ellaam thamakkuriyar anbudaiyaar
Enbum uriyar pirarkku”
Enbum uriyar pirarkku”
Those without affection in their hearts will keep all they have for themselves;The tender-hearted will even give away their bones.
The above Kural from Thirukkural can be reminded for the whole of Kurangani - Kollukumalai Trek. The whole trek taught us how people can be so much helpful even to unknown persons.
We started boarding bus after few of the people dropped out due to work. Finally the count was 8. Stalin, Karthick, Anand, Senthil, Palani, Anagra, Lavanya and Marie.
We all assembled at restaurant in Bodi bus stand. After having breakfast started to Kurangani where the trek route starts. Stalin's update about weather was slight cloudy on Saturday (June 6) and Sunny on Sunday(June 7). The misty western ghats welcomed us with its cool breeze. After reaching Kurangani, Anand unpacked the food items he bought. We thought that we should be camping for 4 days to complete all the food items. After distributing food, we decided to keep a bag full of food items and extra clothes at a shop. The shop keeper was kind enough to keep them there even though we didnt bought a paise. We wanted to hurry to get out of the place as the police checkpost is right there and two were watching us. We crossed the place and started the trek. Locals told us that it would take an hours time to reach Kollukumalai. Meanwhile something about Kollukumalai. Kollukumalai is the highest tea garden in the world. The place is well known for coffee, tea and mango plantations. We were enjoying the sceneries right from the first step. The walk was a bit easy and we enjoyed it. We saw a women who guided us in a path that leads to Kollukumalai. We followed that path and reached few coffee plantations. The place had orange, mango and pepper plantations. A person welcomed us and told that we were misled. We should have taken a trail much down . He also told that there is another path but it is full of bushes and chances of clearing is difficult. He was very helpful and offered us coffee. The black coffee was tasting excellent and we took 2 glasses of that. Its pure Arabica variety of Coffee and the smell and taste still in our tongue. The drizzle started and he told that this is the start of the rainy season here. The drizzle was getting heavier and heavier as the time progressed.
We got down the place very quickly and after confirming from few locals we found the trail leading to Kollukumalai. We were amazed to see the scenaries on climbing up. The trail was very clear and easy. The rain was pouring sometimes and sometimes it stopped. We were freezing whenever we stopped due to chillness. We were able to see Top station and few small villages from this hill. We were enjoying marvelous valley views from Kollukumalai side. At 4 PM we stopped at a place and we determined to reach the place before 6 PM as the rain was heavy and chill. Finally myself and Anand were the first ones to reach the Kollukumalai estate. It is a big estate and lot of people were working there. We were welcomed by the workers and offered us hot tea and caring words. The manager was stub born and he said that we could stay there the night by signing register. As time passed by other people reached the top and took the workers home and were enjoying hot tea with the pot of hot charcoal to heat up.
Finally all were inside the worker's home and having another round of tea and it was freezing cold. They told that this is the start of the monsoon and not a nice time to camp outside. The wind was blowing heavily and rain didnt stopped. Anand came back to the workers home saying that the manager asked all of us to leave the estate as it is a private property and need to get prior permission. We tried to console them but all went in vain. The workers were so feeling very sorry of their state and we decided to move away from plantation. We discussed and finally concluded to go to Stalin's home tonight and start trek at Kurangani in the morning. We got a Jeep and we had a bumpy ride to Power house via Suriyanale. The suriyanale is the place where we trekked top from the Mahindra hill resort during the Bike trip. The Jeep drive was very fearful as it made us jump from left to right and ups and downs. The rain made it worser. The Driver was amazing and helped us drop at Power house bus stop.
After reaching power house we found Marie's bag missing and the worker who came along with us in the Jeep assured of getting the bag and deliver it to us in Bodi. Then we took the bus to Bodi and it made few of us to vomitting sense. After 3 hours of drive in bus we reached Bodi bus stand. Later we took auto to Stalin's home
Stalin's Home was waiting for us. We were served a grand dinner (Dal, Rice, Egg burgi, Groundnuts and Rasam ) at 11:30 PM. We ate to full stomach and we slept there in his home. The home was very traditional and had a big hall and a open mutram. We slept till 7:30 and were wakeup with bed coffee. Stalin's amma was already preparing breakfast and lunch for us. Everyone finished the breakfast and decide to spend time in Stalin's garden and leave to Chennai. Later girls got into kitchen and prepared breakfast for all. We had an another great feast ( Idiappam and Poori) . We had a tea after breakfast and went to Stalin's garden. His father and mother was so kind and helping each one of us. Stalins sister joined us in his hospitality and we reached garden viewing amazing views of the Western ghats.
We went to his coconut plantation and we started playing ball. After having a nice time with the ball we started getting bath in the motor. The well was too deep and no way to get out from water. We decided to take bath in pump set and we had a nice one. Later Stalin's periyappa joined in his hospitality bringing biscuit packets. Later in the noon we reached Stalin's home and had a grand feast again(Kolla ball, Chicken, Egg, Rice , Rasam, Mangoes and Cauli flower fry) We ate like pigs and we started playing UNO after heavy lunch. Stalins family joined us in the game. Meanwhile Stalin and Karthick went to Bodi to collect tickets, bag from the estate worker and bag from Kurangani. They also arranged a ticket to Bangalore at last moment which would be impossible without them. They made sure everyone got the tickets. Karthick and Stalin took longer time and we started to Theni having only few minutes spare.
The worker's family who brought back the bag was explaining that the bag was down in the jeep drive and they gave money to collect the bag. Also they gave back the bag only to us without expecting anything . Amazing guys.
They dropped me at KPN and the others started to Chennai by TAT. The whole trek was fun filled and each of the people we met was helpful which we never expected. We left the place with hope of doing a lot of treks in this side ofParticipants:
Stalin Sathitharan, Senthil Subramaniam, Karthick Ramalingam, Lavanya K M , Anagha Suresh, Anand Chanduri, Palanidharan Chidambaram, Marie-Paule Serre
Written by: Senthil
Organized by: Stalin