Thursday, March 14, 2013

Post Trek Write up for Emperors One Night and One Day Trek to TADA Top - Medium - 27,28th October-12

Excellent Write Up from Sridhar Thiagarajan: It's one of favorite my write up. Sorry for the few low quality Images.

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Pem confirmed that I was selected for the trek....and that left me happy and at the same
time a bit apprehensive cos, generally the empreror's trek is supposed to be a bit more
demanding the normal ones, nevertheless once I saw the list of other participants, I
knew there was enough and more company to feel confident.

At Madhya kailash, where I was supposed to meet with 4 others, surprisingly all the
guys were on time, i just couldn't believe it, I was happy that we were all on time and
a bit scared thinking that emperors meant business and we assembled at koyambedu,
and once we reached there, I realised it is business as usual, the simple reason the
larger group assembled and left around 545 instead of 430. So that was the first morale
booster.

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Every single passing vehicle at koyambedu was staring at us, unable to imagine what this group was all
about, added to that was the fact that we were signing papers. A few old ladies on the road probably
thought it was about grinders and TV free distribution but then they left a wee bit disappointed. After
completing the formalities, with the yellow ribbons fluttering, 6 cars left. We crossed the place where
we were supposed to have dinner, and then Prem suddenly pulled over and said, “guys we need to go
back for dinner” and we all obeyed the leader, went back to the daba, scared the hell out of that small
hotel and ate. The veggies being honest, while the nonveggies hogged everything. By the time we

reached the base it was almost 945 at night and we set up camp. The first thing we all did was a bonfire,
there was a tribal dance led by magesh, where we lifted his legs and offered to the fire god but then it
was not as tasty probably that his leg was left unaffected. A few others joined the dance as well.

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After the bon fire and the oooollalalala dance, there was the session on self intro. We thought it was
about having to talk about each one of us, but then after the first 3 or 4 people spoke we realized that
there was something dicey, as every body was praising prem. The best part was Yeshwanth, the fellow
was lying down, looking at the dark sky and the stars, and then he gets up and suddenly, little realizing
that he was lying on the lap of another guy with two other guys next to him he says “it is a great feeling,
so romantic….” And every one of us, were like, with two guys next to you and your head on a guys
lap…you saying romantic???????? He promised never to use that word in life again, hope he sticks to it.
While every body enjoyed the dark sky and stars, I found a glimpse of the dark sky and the stars next to
me…..see the next pic and you will understand

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It was a great session, so much so that even the non-tamil folks laughed at the joke, but they didn’t
understand why we were laughing they still laughed…..ritika, Pratik….they all said it was team
effort….we had in sampath, a reptile catcher, and Rahul was interested to find if he caught a crocodile,
while sampath was explaining how he took egg shells of a snake from a hole in his home…..that was
a sleepless night, the mosquitoes and then when everybody could catch some sleep, there was this
sudden howling noise from one of the sleeping bags…..i guess it was David….he managed to ensure we
never slept with that, and around 5 am when we were waking up, we found two guys coming out of one
sleeping bag, nobody could understand what was going on….but then the reason for that was attributed
to mosquitoes, and we believed them!!!!!

The trek started off….the food items distributed and the morning chores done….we were all ready for
an eventful adventurous day ahead. Prem went on to explore the trail while the group waited. Venkat,
myself, Ritika and Archana and Gayatri….started walking off by ourselves and were proud to be ahead,
so with a great sense of nonchalance we waited and then suddenly Mr. Jags aka Jagadeesh, comes up
from nowhere and with a stern look “you guys were supposed to wait there, who told you to go, now
the whole group is delayed and waiting there for you, Prem is really angry, upset” the guy almost scared
all of us….am not sure if Archana started weeping but she looks the same even if she didn’t….and we
walked back….Some of them were in deep slumber as they didn’t sleep the previous night, courtesy

David’s howling and the mosquitoes…

Finally Prem emerges and announced “guys, we will go up by the wet stream and get back along the dry
path” and he started the lead, to our horror we found that he was walking the same path, we had gone
earlier and Jags made us walk back, we decided to pardon Jags for the day and continued.

We stopped for breakfast, and that is where people realized their antecedents and started climbing
rocks, and Kumaaaaaaaaar,(that is not a spelling mistake, that is how he is supposed to be called like the
ad which says caaaaaar and not car) ended up with a Charlie chaplain kind of leg there for the rest of the
day with a sprained ankle, but the good thing was he completed the trek,

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You see him laughing here, but the truth is he couldn’t turn around……we finally used human cranes and
lifted them all up for a moment’s photo shot..

From there we moved ahead, and the emperor’s trek was proving its worth, the sounds slowly fell,
it was more of huffing and puffing and moans but all with an undaunting spirit, the team carried on.
Rahul amazingly did the trek barefoot, and by the way, he is the star studded sky in the earlier pic, and
here you can see him standing with the brown or off white t shirt to the right extreme….very helpful,
enterprising guy, with a great sense of humor…even the rocks laughed…


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The sense of team spirit is very evident even in this picture, ritika wanted a picture under a rock, and
despite being tired and breathless, Anand and I held the rock up for a few moments so that a picture
could be clicked, but she stands there totally unaware of our efforts…….later she thanked us though..

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After an arduous climb, it was a great sense of triumph to sit on the peak against that picturesque
backdrop and get our pictures…….nobody still knows why Gayatri has that smug look, but she wanted to
carry two or three more bags and we wouldn’t allow it, perhaps that’s why she felt sad here…..she is the
one in the red t shirt in right extreme….

For those who are not able to recognize Yeshwanth, you see the guy with the checked full shirt, specs
and shy of facing the camera in the middle….yes that’s the guy….so guys be careful when he is around,
he is ROMANTIC…!!!!!great fun to be with him really, he laughs at everything….

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Here comes the jump from the 30 ft ledge into the pool, and this is Prem jumping in….there was a lot
of discussion and time, distance velocity calculation to click these pics between me and Yeshwanth as
mine is a simple cybershot…..finally Yeshwanth agreed that my calculations were right…whether he
understood or not, god knows… J

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One of the many fantastic views….

We ended the day successfully and reached base camp around 6 pm, and after dinner at the daba again,
reached home around 11ish. It was a great group, great day, and great climb, lots of fun, humor, thrill,
fatigue, finally mind prevailed….

Thanks and kudos to the team..


Excellent Write Up from Sampath:

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It all began on a lazy Saturday afternoon, with many awaiting for their rides on designated spots.  After hitting the road, the first segregation took place near a non-descript tea shop, though with his business pace, he could have well held shares in the ITC group!
Following several bouts of introductory handshakes and smiles, we were all patiently awaiting for our ‘Emperors’ to arrive. In the meantime, everybody went about signing the disclaimer forms (which a roadside granny mistook to be for Govt’s free ‘electrical appliance for load-shedding times’ scheme!?!). As time passed the number of curious onlookers grew, culminating with the police patrol questioning us in suspicion, whom we dodged successfully (TADAku tadai potuviduvargal endra bayathil naangal NGO molamaga theru perukka vandom endru solli vittom!)

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Then arrived the ‘Emperors’, to be greeted with a few red faces instead of red carpet! Following a brief commotion, the loaded cars took off towards our destination. As daylight faded away, our stomachs began to rumble. A wayside Punjabi dhaba (without Punjabis!) was our relief. Incidentally, one of our trekkers was born on the same day (wait, it was many years back) and thus we too jumped into the candle blowing - cake cutting fun thingy, only we had to cut the smallish cake into 30+1 slices! The extra one was for a tail wagging acquaintance we made at the dhaba. After that, the vegetarian and non-vegetarian contingents took sides and began to dig-in into the delectable dishes.
Fully reloaded we were on the road again, hurtling towards TADA. The first signs of the wilderness appeared as soon as our ride became bumpy, the side paths scrubby and the incumbents of the car grumpy! When things came to a halt, we looked skywards glumly for signs of impending rain. Fortunately, it was dry then and we set out in search of firewood to make a camp fire. After scourging the surroundings we managed to get some dry twigs and thorny branches. The fire was lit and everyone settled on a tarp which was at a little distance from the fire. As the night drew and the people too bored to sleep, all began giving a brief account about themselves; some short, some longish, some teased upon, some hardly heard across, but all thoroughly entertaining. Too bad some of the jibes and taunts in tamil was not entirely understood by some, still all had good fun under the dual toned glow of the full moon and the blazing orange-yellow fire.
Soon a night of disturbed sleep followed, thanks to the sultry climes, ravaging mosquitoes, a few over-enthusiastic dogs and a trekker who started screaming in fear through his sleep! The next day, everybody woke up before the crack of dawn and started packing up. Interestingly, we discovered two male trekkers cozily wrapped in a single sleeping bag (now don’t let your imagination run wild!), only to be taunted and laughed upon in a friendly manner.
Next up, we rode another few kilometers of bumpy paths and parked our vehicles. All the essentials for the trek were unloaded and we took off towards the beginning of the trail (ok, we did fertilize the plants before that!).

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The first hour or so involved trekking through big boulders, with water streaking through at some places, whilst forming little pools at other. Then we reached a rocky outcrop with a shallow pool filled with clear mountain water beneath. The view ahead consisted of a faraway range framed on either sides by steep cliffs. We unraveled there for breakfast for some time and then took off again. What followed was trekking through denser overgrowth replete with bushes, twines and trees. The terrain got steeper, rockier and trickier too. At points, one had to really watch their every step, not just for their safety, but also for those below! Then we reached a point where the incline was as steep as 85-90o and had to use ropes to haul overselves over. That was followed by yet more exhilarating climb through precariously steep and rocky terrain, ending at a point on top where the hill tapered off. From there all were walking through uneven terrain, flush with dense undergrowth, gradually leading to the sound of water thrashing & gurgling at a distance.

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Soon enough, we reached a sight of picturesque beauty, one made up of a fast moving stream of water emptying itself into an emerald green pool formed on a recess in the rocks. Nobody needed a clue to do the most fun thing imaginable, only the non-swimmers had to wait in silent anguish till their floating tubes were inflated. The joyous commotion in the pool rekindled the inner child in all, some leaping into it, some thrashing in it, and some simply frolicking about merrily. Soon, our tummies ordered us to refuel again and hence followed the ritual of making simple yet hearty food comprising of beaten rice mash in three spicy flavours, accompanied with crisp potato chips. The drinks too were hearty, made of naanri, lemon and fresh mountain water.
As if all that fun in the pool was not enough, a brave few men cast their eyes and eager hearts on a bigger pool lying about 10-15 meters below. A few were hesitant at first, even intimidated. But as soon as the leader of the pack dived in, they too shed their inhibitions and savored the sheer thrill of diving into it, almost feeling like a bird for a few brief seconds!

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After drying overselves and changing into new clothes, we set about to descend. The descend wasn’t merely retracing the trail we took before, rather it comprised of traversing as many as 4 peaks all lying adjacent to one another. Many a wonderful viewpoint followed, each feasted upon by our wide open eyes! Eventually, we reached the ‘jeep trail’, a relic from the british era which was used to travel to a higher elevation from whilst the advances of the enemy could be noticed. From there on, it was a fairly easy descent; one had to merely follow the trail snaking down till the foothills. Once in the foothills a bunch of trekkers left to their cars and another lot walked towards a nearby pool to take a dip. Soon all of them met at the parking lot and the weary trekkers were glad to be moving by gas-power, rather than muscle power!
The dinner was again had at the dhaba, without any cake cutting this time (too bad!). After devouring on the delicious food (even boiled potatoes would had tasted fabulous with that hunger!), everyone said their parting goodbyes, most vowing to meet again.

Another Excellent Write Up from Gayathri:

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Tada top trek , the break that I most wanted and it was totally worth the trip.
Surprisingly unlike the other treks I have been to , the Prep mail on the Trek Schedule to the Selected participants turned out to be a chain of conversations(main highlight being the food :D) flowing like decade old pals having a good chat. Such was the bondings (like Fevical :P ) even before we met in person.
So we assembled like disciplined kids right on time at our pick up points waiting for the Royal entry of our Thala Prem. I was asked to bring a Cake for Venkat (the Bday boy) who had chosen to enjoy his special day on a trek with a bunch full of strangers, so this was the little we could do . We pushed off around 6pm in 6 cars to Tada. On our way we had dinner at a Dhaba hogging all that we could foreseeing the trek we need to do the next day.
We decided to sleep for the night at the Tada checkpost and though the weather dint call for , few of the freshers wanted a campfire.  The tarpaulin sheets were laid and the campfire lit, like in the usual spirit of ctc we had the intro session doing its rounds.  Each of us doing the self intro and trying best to Kalaichify (bully) others, Sridhar sir was a king at this-he was on a roll in pulling others legs and sadly I was the royal catch for him :-/ (will take revenge someday :P)
The moment we settled to sleep, Lord Arjuna was so unkind to shower some drizzle for few minutes that we wrapped ourselves to get shelter. But soon the drizzle stopped and we again settled to grab some good sleep, soon arrived the next villain – the notorious Mosquitoes. Never knew the mosquitoes so murderous. In a nutshell it was a sleepless night 

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Next day we kick started the trek around 7am, we were given our food packets and a bracelet like band for the non-swimmers, was funny to see the guys wearing it :D (good thought organizers, guys might probably think it is better to learn swimming than to wear the band :P). As we walked came the sandy trails, then the stream and the rocks and thus our climb started gradually as we proceeded.
We went through some challenging trails (atleast to me) which was fun and their came a point where we had to do a tiny whiny rope climb :D, we stopped in the middle to break for breakfast – Bread and Jam.. . After some good amount of inclined climb we reached the hill top, now this is the feeling I always earn for! The Hill top! We had the breathtaking view of the valley and we never gave the Photo bugs a miss to capture that moment. And soon followed the pool, we dint wait a moment to get ourselves the Dip into the pool. Pool was great fun, we had few doing the dives, the summer saults and a few trying to grab some good swimming lessons.   

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The tummies came grumbling once we were out of the pool. Prem like a dutiful organizer started preparing the aval chaadam ( Poha rice) . We had puliodhara rice, tomato rice, rasam rice and to our surprise even Payasam… yummm!! We gathered like scavengers around Prem with our bowl and spoon. Raghul was busy grabbing his food from others bowl (mainly mine ! grrrrrrrrr). Then came the hiatus work of squeezing the lemon into the bottles to prepare lemonade, more because of the tiny scars in the hand because of the thorny bushes :P.
After making our tummies happy , we packed ourselves to continue the trek, another inclined climb to go through. Luckily we had a lovely climate (romantic climate to a few :P) which was very breezy and cool. All the slow trekkers (like me :P) had to miss one hill point which the rest got to see by the time we assembled after lunch, but anyways we had fun with some clicks from Kumaaaar’s (he is not kumar, he is kumaaar) most talked about Ipad (he managed working even at the hill top looking into his office mails – Sincere sigamani).
Next in agenda was to cover the Fort ( a ruined 100 year old British fort) , we had another lovely view point from the Fort watch tower and like always had a few clicks there. We then proceeded our way down having covered 3 hill tops in total, the decline was a not so tiring trail. Except for the thorns murdering my legs, I enjoyed the decline through the grassy bushes and then the jeep trail followed.
On reaching the base, a few still wanted to quench their need for more, and so we decided to have another dip at the pool near the base camp even though it was getting dark. 

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We walked our way to the cars, refreshed ourselves and headed again to our most celebrated Dhaba for dinner. Had another mouth scintillating dinner treating our over worked body for the day. After settling the accounts, it was time to wave bye and leave our way home.
With a refreshing adventurous trek and making like minded new friends we headed back home ending the Sunday on a happy note.

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