Write-up By Siddarth
People often go abroad,seeking to visit the tallest,highest,longest and other endlessly adjectived places!!!
@all those adjective lovers-well,there is one such place,in our own backyard and I can assure you-this is more scenic and more satisfying than any other alien land ;) I've been there and now,I can proudly say,I trekked up to the world's highest organic tea garden!!! All this noise is about the Munar-Kollukkumalai trek and believe me,its worth it :)
Rite from the moment Masi & Bala went there and posted their pics,I've been wanting to go there.Everyone who had been there were giving rave reviews :)People kept on speaking about the place and its climate,the trail and its views,igniting the stomach-fire in me and of course most of the fellow CTCians:O
Finally,Arun came to my rescue...After a month long gap,CTC trek invites started flowing in and Arun's invite for the Emperor's trek to Munar and the deep jungle jeep safari was amongst the first few mails I recieved.The invite further fuelled my appetite,with pics of those oranges available all along the trail!!Registered for the trek,got shortlisted after the fitness test (;)) and started waiting for the day!!Tickets were booked for the night of 14th september, Friday.As usual,I was the first to reach the travels office at perungalathur...was roaming around here and there,finished a small dinner and was staring aimlessly-that's when Arun called out for me.He had come in with the tarps and we headed for a tea.Arvindh arrived soon and by virtue of his costume,had an extremely hard time convincing us that he was indeed coming for the trek :P Then came in Ninja(not that video game :P),Marine and Morgan,closely followed by Quecha's brand ambassador..not letting out the name here for security reasons:P After a few intros and many mokkais,heard from Vibin that the bus had started from CMBT and Sundar sir had safely arrived with his Boli's :P
The bus arrived and very very unusually,the trip started on time :O Smelled something fishy and happened to realize it the next morning :P The bus journey was super duper-started off with Bala's(Burma Bala :P) stuffed Chappathis.Headcounts were taken and accounts were handled.Thats when the confusion started with 'Myself sairam and Ganesh'.Even after thikki thenari investigating,we couldn't account for that one extra headcount,until someone found out that the 'myself' was none other than 'Sairam' himself :O Wondering at our intellligence,we settled down for sleep after pulling a few more legs.
Next morning,woke up,sensed that the bus had stopped.For a moment,imagined that we had reached theni and everyone was waiting for me to wake up :P But,learnt that we had not even crossed trichy and the halt was due to some technical snag :( After some 3 hours of delay and non stop discussions,a spare bus was brought in and then,after wasting some more time on procedures and processes,we proceeded towards Theni :)Meanwhile,Balaji had arrived from Banglore and others who had boarded other busses had reached Bodi.Even Ramakrishna who had missed our bus and come through some other bus had Reached Bodi before us:)Orders for food and vegetables were made through them.Meanwhile, Burma Bala shared his experiences and cookies,both of which we enjoyed :)After a small tea/tiffin break,we moved towards Theni.Balaji joined us at Theni and we quickly boarded the bus to Bodi.This is when kalyan realized that he had missed his shoe while switching busses:( Reaching Bodi,we had a quick Koozh-buttermilk breakfast and Arun arranged a van for us to Korangini.One of our guys was heavily damaged by one local kid here.....again not mentioning the exact dialogue here :P
From Bodi to korangini,it was a smooth van journey-we were enjoying the views of the mountains and that's when kalyan's vomitting bouts started:P A Lemon was thrown at him to prevent further delays.At Korangini,the common gears were distributed and we quickly started on our trek-almost 5 hours behind schedule.We dint feel the heat,thanks to the wonderful Climate- The initial part of the trail was not much of an ascent-it was some trail followed by villagers-with lemon trees all along.Arun was leading at the front and we were moving along in groups.Boni was really helpful,marking out arrows at points where there were diversions.We then reached the first and final water point of the day- the pool was superb-Cold,clean and accomodative for all of us.We dipped again and again and posed for pics,thanks to Bala's underwater cam :)we had our breakfast here,filled water and moved out quickly.
The ascent was a bit steep now,but manageable.Prabha,with his headset and music on,took one diversion leading to somwer else and poor Vibin had to run down all the way to catch him :P From here we had to catch that zig zag trail which we had seen on all those pics-this climb was again steep but the refreshment and energy from the dip helped us a lot.A recent forest fire was very much evident-the hill was full of ash and burnt down trees.But,it was extremely delightful to see those lush green baby branches sprouting out from the fully burnt trunk.Also,it was great to see some saplings being stocked and preserved there for planting :)Now we had orange and lemon trees all around us at one point of the trail.We pickd up and packed dozens of those freely available fruits :) Though sour,the oranges were extremely helpful in energising us.Soon,at one point we caught up with the zig zag trail-had some photo sessions here.Balaji had a very tuff time extracting poses out of me :PWe took a left turn and then,one more photo session :PAs expected,people were literally standing in queue for a Balaji click ;)From here on,the trail was smooth,grassy....we kept on moving slowly,steadily enjoying Nature.The next waiting point was at the single tree.briefly rested our legs and moved further up.At one point,stopped for a late lunch-Coconut Boli's sponsored for us by our very own Sundar Sir:)Awesome A2B Bolis.Arun decided to finish off with the Bhel Puri here.Bhel puri was prepared for around 23 of us and Arun single handedly emptied more than half of it :P
After lunch,it was a non-stop climb up.We kept on moving and at one point few of us stopped,to wait and show the way for the rest of them coming behind.This was where we lost track of Arun and the lead group.we somehow kept on moving ahead,thinking it was the right trail.We assumed some random marks on the ground to be footprints left by the leading group and proceeded further.After sometime,we realized that we were on the wrong path,but our common sense made us realise that the destination is the top of the hill and eventually every trail would lead us there.But Kalyan was carefull enuf to make arrow marks for the team behind us to follow,so that we could get lost as a big group :PAt one point we caught up with the arrow marks made by the lead team and moved up the hill to the tea factory there.It was a refreshing and rewarding moment.The cold was severe and the tea was superb!!!!By the time the last grup reached the shop,it was almost a 5 hours past the time at which we started.Considering the darkness,the 8 Km downhill walk to Suriyanelli was cancelled and the jeeps were called up.Our Mokkais continued in the waiting timeA jokes from Raja Songs to A jokes,everything was on cards:)
The jeeps arrived slowly and It was a bumpy ride down to suriyanelli.We had missed several amazing view points cos of the break-down delay.We then headed for dinner at a roadside shop.Parottas and omlets were gobbled up in huge quantities.Imagine-it was around 11:30 pm in the night and we were in the process of almost picking up a fight with the localites there,as we were depriving them of food :O the shopkeeper too had a very tuff time serving us-at one point of time,he became frustrated enuf to let us eat in typical CTC style-placed all parottas in a single plate and let us enjoy the fight :)Meanwhile,Buns,cakes and candles were being arranged for Arvindh's grand birthday celebration in the middle of the street.It would ve been an unforgettable birthday celebration for him and also for us-he pleaded and escaped from birthday bums and also evaded the treat :(
By around 1:30 AM ,reached Raja's house there-comfortable for the cold.Bharani joined us here.We headed for the terrace and wrapped our sleeping bag clad bodies with tarps.After some chit-chatting,I fell asleep.We woke up early next morning,finished off our morning chores and headed for breakfast-parked the jeeps at a small hotel there and started filling our tummies.Sundar sir eventually won the eating competition.This hotel owner again had a reall tuff time convincing and persuading us that food is on its way :)He felt threatened on seeing the pace at which we were eating-he wouldn't have seen such a ferrocious,attrocious group in his lifetime :P Now,it was a jeep drive cum trek to thoovanam falls.Accompanied by the forest guard,we trekked to the falls.The falls was Majestic indeed-lived up to it reputation.Though the heavy current din't allow us to dip there,we climbed up,pretty high into the falls,to a cave like structure where we had some few photo sessions.After some group pics,we headed back to the roads,and a couple of teas later,the jeeps started.Now,after a heavy lunch ,the jeep safari continued and everyone were busy getting safari pics for their DP.I was half asleep for most of the time.....:( The watch tower offered an excellent view of the entire sorrounding area,even the Amaravati Dam :)As we drove down further,we encountered an open tea plantation along the road and decided to stop for one more photo session there.Our next stop was at Topstation,from were we had to trek sown to Korangini.This 12 Km down the hill trail was pretty dry,but it offered ultimate views of the trail through which we had climbed up the previous day.Meanwhile,
Prabhakar,with some injury to his leg,had decided to take a bus to Theni and wait for us there.
We slowly moved down the trail,enjoying the views.We could almost recollect each spot of the climb from the trail's view n the oppsite side.Some people even tried to locate the Bhel Puri spot:P With each and every turn down,the view became more and more breath taking.The single tree on the trail was more prominent when seen from this side.Myself,Balaji,Kalyan and Dr.Arvindh proceeded slowly at the end of the group.We even had sarbath at one small shop down there after everyone had passed :P We even missed the trail at a few spots,thanks to kalyan :PAfter having beef for lunch,he was behaving rather strangely.....shouting and searching for echos all along the trail :O
We suddenly realized that we had to catch the 6 pm bus and hence started rushing down.On the way,Arvindh joined us and then Sairam,who was down with a pain in the toes was treated with Volini.Realizing that it was getting too late Balaji,Arvindh and Myself rushed down the trail,taking shortcuts here and there.We had almost come to the conclusion that the bus would ve left and we would have to go early and arrange transport for those coming behind.On reaching korangini,we were well ahead of target and the bus was waitin for us.The rest of them joined us after some more time and we boarded the bus.After reaching Theni,it was time for dinner and one more hotel guy was in queue to be terrified by us :P
Bala was the only one in a hurry-he had to catch an early bus and so ordered everything in a hurry on entering the hotel.As expected,he became the goat,along with our very own Sundar sir ;)Everything which they ordered was emptied in a matter of seconds and they still kept on ordering tirelessly :P Thanks for the treat guys :)
Everyone who ordered bacame a goat.....Myslef,Balaji and Arvindh postponed our order and told the waiter to bring our food at the end.Sparing the veggies,we din't allow anyone to eat peacefully:P And Arun was in full flow-the most active guy at the hotel.There wasn't a single plate at the hotel which escaped his hand:P But true-As Balaji said-once the trek ends,we begin to miss these lunch and dinner sessions.When there is no competition for food and everyone behaves or rather acts decent at office,a sudden remembrance of these trek moments happens :)thanks guys :)
Soon,we started dispersing-I had to travel alone now,as I couldn't get a ticket on their bus :(So,for me,the trek was officially over.In contrast to the hyperactive 2 days,this was a silent journey.Accompanied by a bottle of Bovonto and lots of sweet memories,I boarded the bus.Slept in a jiffy-tired and happy.
It was an awsome two days da guys with all of you-great team,superb fun and a tharumaru trek :P Hope to see you all soon at Arvindh's B'day treat :P Kindly facilitate this Organizer-catch the goat please :(
PS : Some evergreen dialogues/moments from this trek-not giving full details.Just recollect this when you're down and a smile will pop up :P
1)Place:Perungalathur Bus Stand.
One of our guys to Arun Prabhakar- Oh....Neenga emperors la kooda irukkengala ??????
2)Place :Bodi Bus Stand :
Local cycle kid @ One of our guys- hero va......paatha dummy piece madhiri irukku :P
3)Place :Kollukumalai tea estate :
Ninja,Marine and Morgan trying to say 'Thaarumaru Thakkali Soru' :)