Nowhere into Western Ghats - II
by Elango (fb/elangovan.visvanathan)
I was in absolute dilemma, whether to sign this trek or not, as I was thoroughly occupied. Didn’t sign it for quite some time. But it was a trek organized by my favorite buddies’ vignesh and Rajavel, it was very tempting, and even though the title sounded “Nowhere into Western Ghats”, I knew it’s gonna be sharavathy. I have heard nice things about this place from fellow trek mates…… and here is my chance, I thought…..And postponed whatever came my way and set the highest priority to this one. As always a group was formed and members added, people knew who’s who, obviously its FB right. But unlike the past, no great amount of activity was witnessed in that forum. May be everybody was busy as me I thought or maybe it’s a trek for hyper busy humans, either way no activity in the forum…….
Came the day of departure, and it was a early evening start and everybody was asked to reach Chennai Central railway station, 45 minutes well before departure, as always, everybody did, super punctual CTC-ians. The usual hi5’s between the known one’s and the formal introduction between new mates happened and so did our journey. It was a fun filled train journey full of wits and silly cracks and loads of snacks bought or brought. Thanks to the trekkers who joined from Bangalore, they provided us the much awaited warm dinner, believe me it was warm literally. We reached Bangalore at what time? Who cared, right time I suppose. It was a transit point so no fun there. As soon we reached there it started to rain and we have to spend some time at the railway platform. so the next plan was to head towards SHIMOGA or SHIVAMOGGA, whatever, we reached our respective buses, yah we were divided into two groups, 30 minutes separated the two, and if one need to give some credit to the organizers, it was for this comfortable journey , nice air conditioned bus semi sleeping luxury……awesome, the moment I closed my eyes at the borders of Bangalore city with Vishnu helping me to do so with his nice calm talk , (sorry vishnu, the organizers are the one to blame) the last thing I Iremember was somebody waking me up at shimoga, have to confess that i had a deep sleep rather slumber.
We reached shimoga, took another bus towards SAGARA. It took another two hours , we were there.... Again we were asked to board a small cab, which, miserably couldn't contain all 30 plus of us. This was the one which would finally take us to the final destination.Enroute there was brief stop, to have a peek at the majestic Linganamaki reservoir(bear With Me, Had i messed Up with the name). The entire view was panoramic, we had a brief photo shoot there,Again started our journey towards our destination.
We had a wonderful time travelling on top of the bus, it was ten of us, even "morgane" and "flo" managed to climb, and i guess they too had a wild time, it was indeed a roller coaster ride as the bus was meandering the spiral roads of western ghats, it was green and lush green all around, the enjoyment lasted 20 minutes max, when someone in the group suggested that it was bit risky to continue that way, so we were back inside the cab, had a stop at KARGAL, a hilly small town, where we got some chocolates and snacks.....Another 30 minutes we were there at the base camp MUPPANE.
We were asked to have breakfast as quickly as possible, arranged by the forestors, as we have to travel another 30km for a trek.The breakfast was yummy idlies with crispy vada. Can anyone ask for more, in the middle of the forest, to have such a wonderful unlimited food, that too served hot, heavenly......
As instructed we finished our food, started our journey, after around 45 minutes, started to hike,only after a while we discovered that the hiking trip itself was made for the sake of hiking, as most of the journey was through laid hilly roads, neverthless it was great to feel and breath the oxygen factory, the forest obviously. At the end of the hiking we reached a scenic falls, with a temple. There was a story attached to the temple as well. The temple was said to be built by BEEMA and prayers were offered by him from the banks of that little stream, we got to believe that just by the looks of the temple as it was very ancient.
We had a wonderful time chilling ourselves, and a big photo shoot was happening downstream and the model was, no prizes for guessing, SUBHA herself. Pradeep too Jumped into the fray and joined the party, both had their coolers on while shooting, awesome touch!!!!. Obviously the Photographer was the young, energetic, highly professional RAJAVEL. He had his PIXOTO moments just before the departure, Won a “Picture-of-the-day” contest guys, applauds Rajavel……Keep going. Within no time everybody was hungry, it was time for lunch, and was arranged in a nearby house, the owner of the house was incidently the priest of the temple. The lunch was a good one, rice with sambar, pickles & pappads, All Served Hot, incredible......
Now its time for getting back to our base camp, and we did it in a hours time....reaching back it was already early evening, and RAM the instructor and a good friend, told us that its time to swim, but hell, it started to pour and the entire jungle was bombarded with thunder bolts, inspite of that we got into the water, obviously with our life jackets, the entire fun lasted only for a short period, due to continuous lightning.....
Ram called us all back due to safety reasons and he surely didn’t want any of us to be served us night dinner as lightning roast….. So the refreshment was served hot, hot bajjis with herbal tea, our group neither got the bajjis nor the tea as we were late changing, good god, somebody told both weren't worth a eat.....sour grapes hehe.....
The sun was down, it will only be surprising if you are not around a bone fire, especially when you are on a trek, that too in a dense forest, we did follow the universal rule.But the usual fun was missing as there was a Government botanical survey team from pune, sharing the stay in the jungle with us, and we were asked to keep our decibel levels down. As always no screaming, no fun..... But not even the formal intro session.With no entertainment around everybody was thinking about one thing, DINNER.
The dinner was served in time as well. The menu read as follows…….Hot chapattis with sabji (veg curry), sambar rice, curd rice, payasam, yah you read it correct it was payasam indeed, and it was succulent and mouth watering. By the time when we were busy with our dinner gobbling, the foresters started to arrange for our stay. It was two large and comfortable tents inside a lake side canopy, the setting was incredible. Smaller tents for three’s were also put up near the dinner ground. We as group took the larger tent and nobody had the mood to sleep, and it was chatting and chatting all the way, but as the girls in the adjacent tent complained, we had to shift the party to the shores of the reservoir. But what a night it proved to be, it was a full moon day, to see the forest with that natural light, with reflections from the wavy water spreading across, with the chilly winds of the western ghats cutting through the jungle, and to experience all that stuff in one go was one hell of a moment. We spent quite some time and were back to our residing place. The tent protected the chill and my sleeping bag came handy as a pillow, as it wasn’t required inside the tent. Good sound sleep, and we were woken up at around 5.30AM, and everybody was surprised, why so early….. It proved to be a top decision as we had a handful of time at the waters
We refreshed ourselves, and were asked to pick our life jackets from the stores, and we queued to the lake shore. Ram conducted a small What-to-do session, and next thing he told us, shook all the participants I guess. He told us that only the people who complete the swimming to “a place” and coming back would be given the breakfast, and the “The Place” he told was a Kilometer away, and to reach and return back we had to cross a 250 foot deep reservoir catchment, we got chill down our spines, but nevertheless we jumped rather walked into the depths of the water. Even it was a bit difficult for the non-swimmers, they quickly caught up with the technique to move around, with help of some mates. So it was long and hard swimming, I had to confess that I had never swam this far in a single stretch. I thought it was a prank when ram told us about this the earlier night. It took us may be 45minutes to reach the island shore, I am not sure, midway there was full grown tree, protruding its strong branches outside the reservoir waters. Enroute I managed to climb to one of the branches which was half meter in dia (I give to you guys to imagine the size of its main trunk) and had a look down, I was astonished, as the water was clear blue, I was able to see the entire or at least half its entire growth down the water, which gave me the indication as to how much depth we were swimming at. Chill down the spine again.
As the distance was too large we swam a distance, floated for a while, had a chat on all the topics in the world, swam again, it alternated. Getting back was also a struggle but fun all around. Some fellas took the help of kayaks, held on to it, to swim back. Me, visvam, vaishnavi & viji were honest and swam the full stretch. (We weren’t offered the kayak …. Hehe). Returning back, it was breakfast, hot upma and not-that-sweet kesari, it was a usual practice it seems in karnataka to combine these. Puliyagere was the second dish. Once done, we were again into the waters, but this time played a different role, we turned rowers. Kayaking and Canoeing was in full bloom, and everyone seemed to be an expert, only that the boats weren’t going the intended direction. After trying my hand at all the available boating resources I shifted to a more adventurous trip. Two rubber tubes tied with three bamboo sticks, it looked a catamaran, and to sit still atop was itself a great achievement, Saravana sundar had a hard time managing that. Every slightest inclination to the sides would make you feel a topple, but we both managed. So every fun has its end. We too had to end the session and move on. So that’s it for sharavathy. I and Rajavel was the last to leave the place with a heavy heart. The majestic single tree and the shores of that lake would never be out of our mind for life, I am sure.
Now it’s time for us to head to our next location, that was Enroute Mysore, khushal nagar if I am correct, from there we need to head to a place for WATER RAFTING. Finishing our lunch we started our journey towards sagara and from there to Shimoga. On the way it started to pour like hell, the lashing of down pour was so severe, that the driver could barely see anything in the front. Sudden red muddy streams started to run across the black topped road, and we slowed considerably to across each one of them. By the time we reached shimoga, shocking news was broken by the organizer Vicky. A trouble has started to brew in & around Mysore, due to the Cauvery row, and all vehicles have been prohibited from running to Tamilnadu, and since our trip was near Mysore and that was the epicenter of the trouble, the organizers decided not to go, and instead cancel the trip, which given that circumstance was the most wise decision one could come up with. So now the realty was, we were still inside the core of karnataka, and lots of thinking was put towards, how to move us back into Tamilnadu safely. Vignesh & Ram had a lot of discussion and finally it was planned to reach Bangalore as early as possible and catch the first possible train leaving to Chennai. Two Omni buses with the same comfort of onward journey were booked in minutes, and everyone got packed us towards Bangalore. Need to talk about Crisis management, this was it, absolutely precisely executed. Kudos VIGNESH, RAJAVEL, CIMBU and the guy who helped them manage all that stuff, Mr. Ram, salutations to you. The Next morning we reached Bangalore safe and sound, and still had a task of getting out of Karnataka. A 6.15AM start of Lalbagh Express, took us to safety and we reached Chennai around Noon. That was the end of the fun filled, thrilling trip.
Thanks to Team of Organizers,
VIGNESH for his all around hard work, and planning the entire trip with precision, and going through the tough phase of making the Hard decision to cancel the trip to Mysore and convincing the people in that regard……..
CIMBU & VISHNU for playing the second fiddle, whenever the occasion, these two were up to the task, kudos guys.But still I felt something was missing from this trip, I can’t put it exactly in words, even I told Vicky about this, Was it the absence of Saravanan and Rajanna, I don’t Know, But Except for this, It was a great trip and it will etch the memory for long, that’s for sure.