Machanabele – Savanadurga Trip

Sleep, Wake up, eat, sleep, internet/movie, eat, sleep. Had got adopted to this routine very well whenever i stayed in bangalore during the weekend. The only way to break it was to pack the bags and get out of the city. This trip was the result of such an urge to break the laziness and do something. Manchanabele & Savanadurga was the only option that was considered.

Onward Route: Bangalore – Bidadi – Bidadi Tavarakere Nelamangala road – Manchanabele dam- Savanadurga.

This is a longer route and was consciously decided keeping in mind the Thatta idly shop @ Bidadi. Started @ 8AM and struggled through the traffic in Mysore road and reached Bidadi idly shop by around 10AM. After that the ride was smooth and pressure free in Bidadi – Tavarakere – Nelamangala road. Should say enjoyed the extra 10KMs. Thanks to the rains, the weather was pleasant though it was mid of the summer. The dam had some water too, which allowed to rest on the shores enjoying the cool breeze and seeing the birds flying around.

Could have spent more time there but we were already late for the trek. So started and rode to Savanadurga, one of the largest monoliths in Asia. Without wasting time started climbing, but it was noon already. Finding the trek route was not difficult as it is well marked. It was not very hot, but it was hot enough to make the trek difficult. I was not expecting much challenge but soon realized my stamina has record low level. Slowly climbed the peak sipping water every now and then. The trek can be divided to four stages – the outer fort walls, the inner fort walls, the mantapa and the summit. To me it looked like a single steep climb from bottom to the top. Anyway, with determination we reached the summit where there is a nandi statue in exactly two hours. Climbing down was easy, which we did in less than an hour.

Started the journey back home a little later around 4PM. The route we took was Savanadurga – Manchanabele – Dodda Alada Mara – Mysore Road – Bangalore. This is the shortest route with well laid roads. Stopped at dodda alada mara or the big banyan tree on the way. Reached home once again after struggling through the bangalore traffic. It was a nice trip at the end.

Photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/ManchanabeleSavanadurga

Sakleshpur Trip

When you look up the sky in the night and watch the stars, what you are seeing is actually the past. Something that happens today in Andromeda will take 2.5 million years to reach earth and for scientists here to realize what actually happened. So what is the point ? I am fast. It took only a month for this post to be published!!!!

Anyway, visited Sakleshpur sometime around March. This was a different trip for me, no trekking, hiking and planning  too. Aim was to visit a resort, eat, sleep, relax and come back. Long time since i went on a trip like that, so agreed instantly when invited. The resort we visited was “The Hills“. Tucked away from the Sakleshpur town, far away from the crowd and with nothing much around that is really worth visiting, it was a perfect vacation that i wanted to try. Reached Sakleshpur in the noon, had lunch and retired to sleep. 

Evening visited Magajahalli waterfalls. Small it was, had good amount of water and more important, none around to disturb a peaceful bath in the falls. Since it was March, the water was not cold as well. The falls was ours for the next 1 hour. Spent the next hour in the falls, enjoying the force with which the water fell on our body. Returning to the resort indulged in a game of shuttle, a round of archery and other petty things the resort guys had to name as activities. Rest of the night was dedicated to some heated discussion which usually involved around house, rent, bangalore, traffic, marriage, gals etc etc.

The next day woke up around 7.00AM.  It was nice to wake up to the sounds of birds and insects and compared to horns of vehicle and sound of the busy people. The only plan for the day was to visit a temple nearby and walk around the hills nearby. Did the same, visited the temple pond and fed the hundreds of fishes in the small pond and started the journey back to Bangalore after a nice trip.

Kodachadri Trek

A trek after a long long time. Kodachadri was on the list for a long time. Since it is a beaten and little easy decided to try it. The gang too pitched in and the trek was on. There are two or three ways to trek to Kodachadri Peak.

1) Starts from Karikatte. This is a shorter route and easy one. Most of them start from here and go via the Santosh Hotel/Kaka Angadi. The trek goes via a Jeep route till Santosh Hotel and the actual trekking starts after the hotel.

2) Starts from Marakuttaka (locals pronounce it differently something like Marakudukka) which is near sigandur cross. This goes via Hidlumane Falls and is a little longer route. Even here the trek goes via jeep route till Hidlumane after which the real trekking starts. Check these out – Sigandur Cross: http://wikimapia.org/118754 /Sigandur-Cross & Marakuttaka Bus Stop – http://wikimapia.org/433100/Marakuttaka-bus-stop

We decided to climb up from Marakuttaka, visit Hidlumane Falls and then trek to the peak via PWD guest house and camp at Sarvajna Peeta. The idea of visiting the “Hidlumane Falls” in the middle of the falls was exciting. And while coming back, decided to come via Santosh Hotel, and if possible visit Arashinagundi falls.

Late Start: There is a KSRTC bus from bangalore that stops at Sigandur Cross. Starts at 8.30PM and reaches there at 6.00AM. Walk back towards Nittur for 2KM and there is a small bridge with a Jeep track on the right, which is Marakuttaka or the trek starting point. Tried adding it to Google Maps, hope it is visible now. Anyway that was the plan initiallly. When one of our friend wanted to join at the end, had to replan, and choose SRS instead of KSRTC due to unavailability of tickets. SRS reached Kollur at 9.30AM after a 12 hour journey. Checked into a hotel, quickly refreshed and finished breakfast, and hired two autos to Marakuttaka. There is a bus from Kollur to Marakuttaka every 1 hour too  from Kollur Bus Stand. We reached Marakuttaka, a little after 1.00 PM. And the trek started. One thing was clear, we are going to trek in the night with torches to reach the peak.

Trek to the Hidlumane Falls: The initial trek take you along the well established jeep track. All we had to do was follow the main jeep track. After a little walk, there is a small stream to cross after which it continues once again on the jeep track. There were locals moving around in bikes and cycles to help us. Soon we crossed a lonely hut, where we asked for direction and then a school. The jeep track ends at Hidlumane or Gururaj’s home. To go Hidlumane falls, cross Hidlumane, and cross Gururaj’s fields. Can ask Gururaj for direction too. After few minutes of walk, reached the base of Hidlumane falls. Hidlumane is a cascade waterfall with a total of around 7 cascades. Cross the first one and second one and continue on the trail on the right side of the falls to reach the main falls. The second or the third one too has enough water to take bath, but the final one is majestic. We reached the falls at 3.00PM and the water was ice cold then too. It was more like small icicles falling on your body. The bath was exhilarating.

Trek to the peak: After spending quite a good time in the falls, started the trek towards the peak. We took the path on the left(when you are facing the falls) of the falls and later learnt that there is no route there. Had to do a bit of climbing, jumping, sliding to reach that conclusion. You can try that and then go the neat trail on the right or go to the trail on the right(right when you are facing the falls). This trail is neat and leads you to the jeep track. Takes around 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the pace to reach the jeep track. Take right on the jeep track and continue to the PWD house. Jeep drivers warned us about putting tents @ sarvajna peeta. Looks like forest guards took away the tents of few people a week back. One guy said, we can camp if we are planning for camp fire. And one more guy said, we can camp, there are one or two there already. We had no other option too, so we continued to the peak. It was dark, people were descending after the sunset, we were climbing up for the camp. Few were puzzled at the idea of us camping at the peak, few had got sarcastic comments about it. Anyway we continued and reached the peak at around 7.30PM. One good thing was it is very difficult to miss the path in Kodachadri, unlike other trekking places.

Camp: Spent sometime searching for the best place to camp. After a futile search, decided to camp near the peeta. Set up the tents, finished the dinner with the food we had carried, and then dozed off at 9.50PM, only to wake up at 2.00AM. I heard sound of someone scratching our tents from outside. Pushed the tent from inside, felt a strong push from outside. And i felt i heard some footsteps. Next 30 minutes went in listening to the sounds intently and trying to guess and also envy my friend(Sai) who is having a peaceful sleep amidst all this drama 🙂 Blessed he is.  Atlast he too woke up at 2.45AM. Together we slowly opened the tent and looked around. Nothing. Closed it, we could hear all nonsense. Open, nothing. Anyway after some investigation decided it was the air outside and the sound of footsteps could be that of the dog outside. Later learnt that our friends in other tents were awake from 12.00 to 3.00 and slept only after we woke up and started talking 🙂 Nice & thrilling, as long as there are no misadventures.

Sunrise & Trek down: Woke up at 5.30AM, packed the tents and waited for the sunrise, which didn’t happen till 6.30. While Mohan & Anoop spent time munching snacks early in the morning, Sai was busy putting water bottle cap on a torch light!!! After a few hide and seeks, the sun emerged above a sea of clouds. Awesome it was. Clicked a few snaps and started trekking down at around 7.20PM. Trek down to PWD guest house, and then take the narrow trail opposite to PWD guest house to reach Santosh Hotel. The trek to santosh hotel was easy and we did it in around three hours, with a 30 minutes pit stop in between. Had Puttu-kadala at Santosh hotel and then enquired about Arashinagundi falls. Looks like the entry fee per head is 250 Rs and then we may have to take a guide, since the path cannot be easily found. Decided against it, took the jeep track to Karikatte, and walked for the next one hour to reach karikatte. Took a jeep from there and reached Kollur at around 12.30PM. Checked into a hotel, took bath and rested for a while. Also Kollur Mookambika temple in the evening. Think this is the second visit to the temple in five years. It was not crowded and had a neat darshan.

Started back to bangalore in the 7.00PM bus and reached bangalore in the morning after a not so tiring, nice and wonderful trek with hidlumane falls being the highlight.

Snaps: Mine & Sai‘s

 

Weekend Trip – Mekedatu

I didn’t go home past weekend. Not a big deal, but few of my friends get surprised by that. The idea of spending the weekend sitting at home started disturbing me and thought about going somewhere. Checked with Arangs, Jeyahari and Nagarajan, and Mekedatu was decided. Though i had second thoughts, thanks to the enthusiasm of the others, finally the trip was on.

Everything in the trip was an experience. We went in Tata Nano. We were not sure how it would work, moreover being newbies self driving was a challenge, and there was a small ghat section before reaching Mekedatu and we tested Tata Nano for the first time in that, travelled 4KM sitting on top of the bus, took bath in river after a long time.

The route to Mekedatu from Bangalore is through Kanakapura. From Bangalore take the kanakapura road, after reaching Kanakapura there is a small left turn that takes you to Sangama. Get the help of locals to get the Sangama road. We had thoughts of filling petrol after Kanakapura, but later learnt that there are not Petrol bunks after kanakapura, so drove back to kanakapura filled the tank and progressed again.

The drive was pleasant, there was not much traffic in Kanakapura road and the Kanakapura-Sangama road is good after one or two KMS with very less traffic. Tata Nano got too many looks after reaching Kanakapura, i dont know what they meant though.

Reached Sangama around 12.30PM. Sangama is the place where river Akravathi joins Kaveri. We then crossed the river in coracle to take the bus to Mekedatu. That was a special bus, wait for the photos to see how special it is. They charge 40 for the bus and 40 for the coracle trip, and they gave a discount of around 80 Rupees, after some calculation/discounts it came to 240 for 4 people. The coracle drive was ok.

The most thrilling part was the bus journey. The bus top was reserved for guys like us and we seized the opportunity. The route was so bad, and the bus was worse enough for the route. So the journey was wonderful. From Sangama to Mekedatu it takes 15-20 minutes for 4KM through the rough roads. Reached Mekedatu, where river Kaveri flows through narrow gorge, show its wrath on the rocks there by making the rocks, smooth and slippery. You can sit and watch how Kaveri flows furiously through the gorge or the rocks, if you don’t have your girlfriend near you. We sat and watched the rocks for a while.

Started back to Sangama and took bath in the river for one full hour. It was wonderful, there was current but holding to the rocks it becomes enjoyable. The next one hour, was spent in the river, enjoying the river and also the comedies of the drunkards around. Finally after a enjoyable bath in Kaveri, started the journey back to home. On the way back drove through Nice road, which was nice.

Mekedatu, is a good place to visit for a day during or after monsoon season. No scenic places except for the narrow gorge, but the drive to Mekedatu, bus ride sitting on the top, the bath in river made it interesting. Anyway, drunkards are leaving behind their broken kingfisher’s and signatures and families are adding enough plastic plates, packets and litter to spoil the place.

Yet to get the photos, but you will find them in a day or two at http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003.