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.

Kemmanagundi, Bababudangiri and Mulainagiri Trek

It started as a highly spirited trek. The photos from other blogs added a lot of excitement to the already excited mind. So thus started the trip to Kemmanagundi, with most of them belonging to the usual gang(Nilamagal Kadhalargal) and without few. We started off in Shimoga Express that starts from Bangalore at 11.30PM. Reached Tarikere at around 5.45 since the train was late by around 1.15 hours. From Tarikere took a bus to Lingdahalli, from where we paid 500 to a mini vegetable van to take us to Kemmanagundi. The driver chose the shortest route, but it has to be the worst one i guess. With 11 packed inside it a little difficult one. Anyway thats the only option left to you since the first Bus to KG is only around 9.30AM. We started the much awaited trek after refreshment at Traveller’s Bungalow.

The weather at KG was unbeatable. Neither too cold, nor too hot. With the mists, caressing the grasses at will, it was a wonderful sight. And the mountains covered with green lush grasses, i am seeing it for the first time. Occasional drizzling, ran out of words to explain. Now the excitement level crossed 100% with ease. Finally the trek started. The tall grasses and the drizzling raised some suspicion about leeches, the tiny insects we dread the most. But we didn’t find any then, so the trip started with a lot of enthusiasm. First point of confusion came, when paths(looked like) diverged towards left and right. We took the right one and thats where it was not right. Little did we know we are invading the leech territory and there are millions of armed warriors waiting for the taste of blood. Worst part was we were unarmed, or not prepared. Worstest part was two of the gang were not wearing shoes 🙂 Courage disappeared, panic stroked, in the rush of adrenalin think we reached the top in few minutes 🙂 Thanks to the leeches!!!

Two in the gang, Mani and Peter were the feast for the leeches. I suffered a small one, where a determined leech has started sucking blood through my socks. But it was nowhere when compared to the attacks Mani, Peter and Pramod has suffered. Next hour wasted in cleaning the leeches, soaking the socks in dettol, applying tobacco mixed in castor oil to the legs etc etc. Make it a point to remember that, tobacco mixed with castor oil when applied prevents leech attack to an extent. Good that leeches have not caused much damage. Bad that this was enough for the courage in people to disappear. Adding to all these, there was a small forest cover to cross. Done. Few wanted to take the risk, few did not. Taking the risk and safety, the end of group discussion saw us retreating with the trek put on hold and with plans of continuing it next day from a different location.
The best part of the trek was the lunch. We had burnt some energy, and even bread and pickle were delicious. We were left with just few bread packets.

Next plan was to go to Gallikere by bus. Went to the bus stop to find that there are just two buses to KG one at morning 10.15AM and another one at 4.15PM. With nowhere to go, decided to stay in KG and started setting up our tents. To our dismay, one of our tent was in a very bad shape. This time we had tried renting out tents from “Adventure Era” or something and we had to pay the price. We setup two tents and decided to just sleep inside sleeping bags with the tent just spread out. Luckily we rented out a room in the dormitory available there and the night went without further troubles.

The next day, woke up early and started to Hebbe falls. Adding to our woes, wheel of a jeep we went got punctured. But that gave opportunity to trek for two KMs to few of us. We had to walk few more kilometers, crossing three small streams and tackling the leeches to reach the falls. Bath in the falls was awesome anyway. Managed to catch the 10.15AM bus from KG, reached Lingdahalli, caught bus to Chickmagalur, finishing the lunc there and started the trip back to Bangalore.

Bababudangiri, Mulainagiri remains unexplored. Few misses, few hurdles, but the trip was great and enjoyable one. What matters the most is the crowd with which you go. We have a great gang which rocks everywhere. Blog cant end without mention of the the people involved, it was Prabhu, Pramod, DP (Deepy), Thirukumaran Annas and Mani, Musi, Praveen, Bharathi, Peter, myself and our Captain, Muthukumar.

KG offers a great scope for photography, since you get a glimpse of virgin nature in purest form at few spots. So every photo looks beautiful without special efforts. Check out mine at http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003/KemmanagundiTrip#.

Waiting for the next trip/trek.

Trip to Jog, Murudeshwar, Kollur and Sringeri

I am yet to recover fully from the effects of the trip, both physically and mentally. Physically it was challenging and it is not a trip to forget so soon. It was not a well planned trip but it turned out to be a great one with every piece falling into place at the last minute. The trip started with the journey to Jog falls, through the orphaned roads of Karnataka. Any road that is outside bangalore is neglected and looks like government rarely notices those roads. Anyway after few hours of bumpy ride, we reached Sagar where we spent sometime to clean ourselves and finish breakfast, before we headed for the most gruesome part of the trip. We reached Jog falls and then started the journey down to the abyss of the waterfalls. The cataract falling from around 900 ft height is the highest waterfall in India, and the journey to the bottom of the fall s through the half constructed steps tested the physical fitness. The view from the bottom of the Jog falls is worth taking and view and the  cool breeze is all too great to ignore and the pain is worth taking. Climbing back to the top required arduous efforts.

After that we went to Murudeshwar, a silent sea shore with a huge siva statue. Rest of the evening went in mini football. If you are in doubt what was mini in that, everything was mini right from the team, playground to the ball. Yep, we played football with a tennis ball in a small area with four members per team. But it turned out to be an interesting game. After few months, it was good be involved in some fat burning activity.

Next day we went to two temples kollur and shringeri. While kollur potrayed kerala architecture and look, in shringeri it was fully Hoysala (borrowed from Prabhu’s IP). Sringeri temple is  located on the banks of River Tunga. This river deservers special mention because on the shores you will find huge school of fishes of size which i had never seen till now.  After that started the most difficult phase of the the trip, sitting in van for several hours and being rocked like a baby because of the narrow turns on the way to chickmagalur. Putting all together it is an wonderful trip to remember.

Before i fall asleep without switching my laptop, here are the links for the photos

http://picasaweb.google.com/kpraveen85/JogFallsShimoga
http://picasaweb.google.com/kpraveen85/Murudeshwar
http://picasaweb.google.com/kpraveen85/SringeriKollurAgumbe

For my share stay in touch with http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003 It would take a little more time before i upload the photos. Before last half of the left eye closes, i am signing off now.