Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mesmerizing Mullayangiri

This trek was our first trek for nearly 2 years, since we last trekked the Brahmagiri peak. So our usual friends of the Thousand iBoys gang consisting of Clement, Jerry, Santy, Myself & our good friend and a new entrant to our trekking group (Jalsa) Sebastian. After much discussions and persuasion, we finally decided to trek Mullayanagiri. We decided to go on 30th Aug, 2008 & return to Bangalore on 1st Sep, 2008.

Mullayangiri /Mullayangiri(Mullaihnagiri) is the highest peak in Karnataka, its height is 1930 mtrs ( 6317 ft ). It is situated in Chickmagalur district. To reach Mullayayngiri one has to take Chickmagalur bus, and from there a private bus to Sarpadhari( from where the Mullayanagiri peak starts ).

Or one can take hire local jeep, which will cost you around Rs.225/- for one way drop. We took the 0630 bus from Majestic bus stand & reached Chickmagalur around 1230 Had lunch at a nearby hotel and hired a local jeep to Sarphadhari, as the local bus was supposed to start only at 1530, so as not to waste time we hired a jeep for Rs.225. We reached sarphadhari at 1430, and began our ascent to Mullayanagiri

The weather was absolutely fabulous, it was not raining, that was a blessing in disguise. We also never faced the problem of leeches. We had bought sweet lime, which was very useful in energizing our body ( we should thank Santy, for he forced us to buy sweet lime ). After nearly 2 hrs we found our first landmark the nandi statue. Boy we were so thrilled to see. I knew that the peak was close to half an hour from here .

We never thought what would lie ahead of us. We were very enthusiastic in our initial part of our trek. after trekking for 10 mins, we realized how stressful and demanding was the trek. We were panting & gasping for breath, maybe bcoz of lack of fitness and also we are trekking after 2 yrs or maybe age is catching up with us ( maybe this is a true fact, after all ). Also we were carrying heavy backpacks which included a small gas stove, and other food items. The trail became steeper at many points.

Due to previous night rain the trail was very slippery. We thought we had missed the trail, but yet we continued hoping that we might find our first landmark ( nandi statue ). We were taking breaks every 10 mins, in fact i was the one who was calling for the break. Sebastian was very enthusiastic. He was urging us to move faster. Boy he never knew how stressed we were.

Santy was joking at me saying that it's high time that i stop trekking ( as i was getting older ) and concentrate on marriage and enjoy life. For once i thought what he said was right ( after all i was just 28 yrs old !!!!! ). Well i was clinging on to my dear life, as we had some heart in the mouth experiences we had to encounter midway thru our trail. We had to face some steep slippery rocks, and we never had ropes, so carrying heavy backpacks was making our life miserable. We were literally crawling on. I was thinking to myself i should have enjoyed my weekends in Bangalore, rather than enduring all this trouble and pain? But slowly and steadily we were gaining pace and climbing. The view from the statue was breathtaking and amazing. Giant serene mountains clothed in thick carpet of greenery is a wonderful sight. We were covered by the clouds, oh boy it was cold and windy out there. We were left speechless by the beauty of the nature and wondrous works of God. From there it took us 1/2 hour to reach the caves ( 2nd landmark). Here we met one of the temple helper. We couldn't venture deep into the cave, as we were ill equipped with light and ropes.
We managed to go in 20 mtrs and decided no to take any risk. Finally we reached the top after 21/2 hrs of back breaking, bone crunching and tiresome trek. We reached the peak at 1700 hrs. We found out there were 14 trekkers from Chennai already occupied the temple room. We were not worried, as we had sleeping bags .
We refreshed ourselves and were just admiring the beautiful valley from the temple top. Just then i realized that there is a road that leads to the top of the peak. We found many people came there by cars, and one of them was Anil Kumble, the Indian cricket captain. Who had come for the darshan of the temple. Then we met one of the nicest cop i have ever met, his name was Manju. He was in charge of the tower control out there. He became our companion till we stayed there. The temple was been renovated & the place was crowded with labourers & other trekkers, so we just took a small walk at the backside of the temple.

Within few seconds we were inside the clouds, an the feeling was awesome. We had unbelievable time out there, just staring at the beauty. Sky became darker, then we came back and took some rest. It rained for some while. We prepared MTR's ready to eat tomato rice, with pickle and haldiram's bhujia. We had dinner in the open grounds on the premises of the temple courtyard. The night was pleasant and cold. We saw the beautifully lit chickmagalur town, which was sparkling like diamonds.
Then we decided to start bonfire, but due to heavy winds, we had to abort the plan. decided to hit bed at 2230. We stuffed ourselves in the sleeping bags. Well clement could not sleep due to the fact his knee which was met with minor accident was troubling him all night. I somehow managed to grasp some sleep, even thou Santy was at his best in snoring loudly, followed by Jerry. Got up early just in time to view the sunrise. Later we had a wonderful breakfast consisting of toasted bread with butter and jam sandwiched with bananas ( thanks for Clemy & santy for preparing such a delicious breakfast ).
Then we decided to hit the trail that leads to Bababudangiri. We had to follow the trail that starts right behind the temple gate. We started around 0830 and slowly we were trekking among the clouds along the beautiful valleys. We took many snaps here, in fact we were in no hurry.
This point of the trek Jalsa sebastian become the main attention of the trek. We christened him every 2 mins with new names like Jalsa sebastian, smoke sebastian, monaco sebastian & so on & on....... We decided to skip the plan of trekking Bababudangiri. Finally after 2 hours of descent we hit the road were the trail meets the road. Here we find Swami Vivekanada picture just before hitting the road. Also you will find a water tank on which poet Kuvempu picture is painted. From there we took a small walk till we reached some private estate which had a small stream running inside their estate, which also had small waterfalls. There we had our bathing sessions. It was such a relief having a dip in the freezing waters. Just when we were having the plan of preparing lunch, the estate owner found us, then we had to apologize to him for venturing into his estate without his permission.From there we again planned to go back to the same place were the trail & the road meet to have our lunch. But we found other alternative place opposite to the water tank. It has a tower where a forest officer is stationed there. Here Clemy prepared delicious Maggi noodles. We had to hurry bcoz the bus was already on its way to our boarding point. Around 1530 we boarded the bus to Chickmagalur which was crowded, we had no option but to take the bus, so that we can catch the early bus to Bangalore.
We reached Chickmagalur at 1700 hrs. Then we took the 1730 bus to Bangalore. We reached Bangalore at 2330. After taking our bikes from the parking lot we reached home 0030. Thou the trek was stressful, it was worth trekking. Oh boy the experience as just unbelievable & magnificent.

Highlights of the Trek:
* Of course the fascinating Mullayanagiri peak & the breathtaking views of the valley
* The steep climb & heart in the mouth experience we felt while ascending the peak.
* Having dinner at 6300 ft with torch light & viewing the glittering Chickamagulur city from above.
* Sebastian being christened every 2 mins of the trek.
* Not encountering rain ( which was a mystery for us ) that too in rainy season. Also never got bitten by leeches.
* Taking a cool dip in the stream of some private estate.
There is an alternative route that leads you almost to the top of Mullayanagiri peak. If you are planning to drive, you can hit this route. Here is the phone number of the temple 0826210770. Please call in advance so that the people there can arrange for your food. Also make sure not to litter the place or the trail. Make sure you carry ropes, which might be useful in some steep rocky places. Also nowadays the place is changing, as due to the road that has come up adjacent the trail. I heard that the place may be commercialized very soon by the Govt. So better visit the place before it becomes another commercialized place, filled with visitors.
Click here for more pics

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This was our first trip of the Gang of Four of the Thousand iBoys group ( consisting myself, Clement, Jerry & Santy). Well this trip was planned by clement & jerry, after little hesitation i was willing to go for the trip. Our journey started around 11.00 am. we planned to go to Kollegal, to meet jerry & santy's uncle who is a priest there. We finally managed to reach kollegal around 9.00 pm. We had a horrible time travelling in those pothole filled roads and muddy tracks. Another reason was the bike in which i and jerry rode had headlight problem and we had to see the roads from the other bike's headlight. After all those glitches we managed to reach kollegal without any problems After a good sleep, we left around 10 am to Ooty via Chamarajanagar. After crossing the Bandipur forest we came to Mudumalai forest ( Tamil Nadu ).

Once we crossed mudumalai we could see drastic changes in the weather and the forest. The forest was dense and we found two elephants having their meal and managed to click snaps of them. We could not spot the other wild animals, thou we spotted few langurs, deers & peacocks. After crossing mudumalai, we took the Kalhatti falls route which has 36 hairpin bends and breathtaking views on the side. We had stopped at several places just to admire the nature's beauty. We went to see the kalhatti falls, which was dried and all we could see was the dry patch and rocks. the view from the falls was really breathtaking. We finally managed to reach ooty in the evening

Just managed to book room( it was season time in ooty, and very difficult to get rooms) . We had one bed to share among four friends, somehow we managed to sleep. Next day we got up early, to go to church, after finishing the church service we managed to go to various picnic spots like Dolphin's nose peak, Catherine's Falls, Doddabetta,( highest peak in Nilgiris ) Pykara falls, Sims Park Coonoor & finally the Botonical Park. I could not go to my sweetie pie's school Mountain Home in coonoor as we had little time. We had a great time visiting the beautiful surroundings of Ooty.

To be frank Oooty has become more commercialised. Infact i liked coonoor better than ooty, as it was less commercialised than ooty. We clicked lots of snaps in and around ooty. Finally my dream of going to ooty fulfilled, thou i had to face some minor problems like stomach upset, sunburn etc i enjoyed my first trip with our friends. We finally managed to reach Bangalore in the evening in good shape. Please note: Its always good to book your lodgings in advance during the season time i.e. March to May end. For photos please click here

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brahmagiri Trek Via Thirunelli ( Kerala )

Well this was the trek we had planned to do desperately, as we heard about the place from many trekkers that this place was a beautiful place to trek. We decided to go to Brahmagiri via Thirunelli side thru Wayanad district. After going thru some blogs, we decide to take the Thirunelli side. So it was as usual myself, Santy, Jerry & Clement agreed to go. We managed to rope in Charles. Than at the last moment jerry's college friends Zia & Sedric accompanied us. We planned to leave Bangalore early morning as to avoid the traffic rush as well as the heat. We left Bangalore at 6 in the morn with 4 bikes. We hit the road at a constant speed travelling around 80Kmph. Finally we stopped at Mandya to have our breakfast. After having breakfast we took the Mysore-Nanjangud road. We had a tea break session at Gundulpet. Then we took the deviation at right going toward Sultan Bathery. We could see the landscape changing as were entering the Kerala Border. We entered Wayand, and the place was really good. It was greenery everywhere. Then we crossed Sultan Bathery and at last managed to stop to have our lunch around 3 pm. We had to travel another 90 kms to reach thirunelli. But before that we had to go to the Forest Dept at Manathavady. We managed to speak to the authorities and finally after some smooth talking they gave us the permission to trek. They also gave the contact number for our guides and the permission to stay in the Forest Dept's Guest House at Thirunelli. After securing the permission we managed to reach Thirunelli just before the sunset.

This is the route map that we followed to reach Thirunelli. We saw some beautiful views on our way. We reached and managed to speak to our guide and got the rooms to stay that night. The Guest house was neat and well maintained. We got it for Rs.400/ per day. You can also get the dormitory for Rs. 50/- per head. So we changed our clothes and came back to the town to have dinner. It was crazy walking in the forest with just a torch. Man it was really freaking to go out in that pitch dark forest infested with wild elephants, snakes & other animals. Here is the pic that we took in pitch dark with only the flash light of the camera. Then we managed to hog what ever we found in that hotel. The guides told us that they will come to pick up at 8am. So we had to go to bed early so that we can get up early for tomorrow's trek. Well we were so tired after travelling 350kms. The next day we got up and went to the town to have our breakfast and managed to pack some idlies. We began our trek at 9 in the morn. We started from the jeep track nearby the guest house. This was the starting point for the great adventure that we had on that day. Trek started on a gradual pace, then the humidity started to drag us slowly. We were really going at a slow pace. Good thing was that it wasn't raining, only few days back the entire district was affected by heavy rainfall. Then we had the bloody encounter with those blood-sucking leeches. There were many small streams on our way to the peak. When we came near the stream to collect water those leeches got onto our shoes and started to suck the blood. Infact me & jerry were the blood donors on this trek. We were bitten badly. We had forgotten to apply snuff powder to our legs and forgot to bring while trekking. We slowly reached the Tower At the base of the Brahmagiri peak and finally managed to take some rest & remove all those leeches that were stuck inside our shoes.
After cleaning ourselves with dettol we moved ahead to visit the Pakshipattalam caves ( its also known as Munnikal caves ). The guide told it is somewhere 5-6 kms from the tower. We managed to find a nice place beside the stream to have our lunch. It was already 2pm. We had bought Magi noodles. Our guys ( Clement & jerry) did an excellent job in prepearing delicious noodles. one of our guide made a spoon out of some plant branches, which we used as spoon to stir the noodles. Believe me the noodles were tasting awesome. infact i had never tasted magi noodles that were so delicious. ( maybe because of hunger). After managing our lunch we pulled ourselves to the caves. Before entering the cave all of them except me climbed on top the cave to look at the panoramic view of the ghats of both Karnataka & Kerala side. Well from the point we could see the vast differnce between Karnataka forest & kerala forest. The forest in Kerala very dense, whereas karnataka side had sparse shola forest and partly the grasses. Enterance to the cave was very narrow and once we entered we could feel the eerieness of the cave. It was dark inside. We could not spot a single bird inside the cave, thou the cave is famous for its birds. The guide told that morning is the best time to see some exotic birds. The we managed to find bats enclave. And the worst part was we were all siting on the bat droppings. After spending nearly an hour inside the cave we managed to begin our descent to the town. We never realised the time was almost 5pm when we came out of the cave. Our guides told to hurry fast as we were running out of time to reach our place before the sunset and also of the danger of being confronted with elephants.

We began our descent hastily, then at this point Charles started to have his cramps, as it was his first trek, he had never walked this distance. Finally his bulky body began to show its after-effects. He was struggling to walk. we had to convince him that the town is very close and we had to give him some pep talk. Then our worst fears slowly began to come true. We reached the tower at 6.30pm and the sun was setting quickly. Still there was another 5-6 kms to walk and we were in danger of walking in pitch dark inside the forest. Then our guides decided to walk down the steep sides of the peak. Man it was really scary as were were almost tumbling around and cling onto the tall grass for our support, just when we finished descending from the slope, we saw a herd of 6 elephants crossing the same place where we started to slide down. Incase if we had taken the normal route we surely would have had to face these elephants. Then the sun was setting very quickly and the light was fading fast. Then started our heart in the mouth experience of trekking 6 kms in total dark inside the forest and probaly facing the risk of being attacked by wild animals. We has 2 torches with us, we gave both of them to the guide. One guide was leading us the other was follwing behind us. Then Charles began to feel his cramps again and was limping. He was struggling to walk. We managed to give him some pep talk and making some jokes just to get the fear out of our hearts. Boy it was really dark and scary. Everyone was scared including the guides. Infact they had never trekked this place in the dark and for the dirst time they were trekking late in the night. We could hear some strange noise. All of them managed to switch our mobiles to get light. We were really pushing ourselves to the limit to reach the town as soon as possible. We were saying our prayers inside our hearts. After two hours of night trekking we managed to come to the banks of the Lakshmanteertha streams. The our guide assured that we are safe and after 10 mins we reached the town. By the Grace ogf God we managed to reach safely without any incidents & wild animal attacks. We were so exhausted and tired, just managed to go to local hotel had our dinner & hit the bed. Jerry had to leave early morning to go to work, so he left with his friends Sedric & zia at 3am. So it was Me, santy charles & clement were left behind. We managed to leave guest house at 10am after settling the bill. We had our breakfast in a small hotel near Pookote lake. We wanted to go to the lake but due to time constraints we had drive further. This time we managed to drive thru Bavalli to Mysore road, which passes thru Nagarahole forest, Kabini river lodge & HD.Kote. Never did we imagine the pathetic conditions of the road that we had to travel. Boy the roads were in a horrible conditons filled with stones and potholes. It was a back breaking journey. we were riding slowly. Till 22 kms from Karnataka Border the road conditons are bad and from there it is a smooth journey. After riding 10 kms from the border santy's bike got punctured in the middle of the forest. Somehow managed to remove the wheel. Me & Clement took the tyre to kerala to to fill the air in the tyre. We lost 2 hours due to tyre problem and finally managed to start our drive from there onwards around 2pm. Then on our way we saw many deers & sambars. we managed to find couple of elephants with their calf. Tried to take a snap of them, then suddenly the elephants began charging at us, thou we were on our bikes we just managed to avoid the danger. It chased us for almost 200 meters. Anyhow i managed to click the snap. From there till Mandya we had a smooth ride, then all of the sudden clement's bike got punctured. Again we lost time trying to fix the tyre. We stopped at a dhabba at Kengeri, had our dinner and finally reached home at 10pm.

Highlights of the trek:
* Charles, for without him, the trek would have been an easy one. But becasue of his cramps and never say die attitude we have an scarier & thrilling night trek in the forest. Also we must compliment his willingness to trek, thou he had cramps he managed to pull his bulky body and finish the trek successfully. Also for some funny incidents involving him on the trek.
* Narrowly avoiding the Elephants while descending from the peak.
* Awesome beauty of Brahamagiri peak & its valley. Never to forget about the Wayanad valleys & peaks .
* Pakshipatalam Caves
* Chased by elephants at Kabini Forest.
* Donating blood to leeches
* And Finally the night trek inside the forest without being attacked from wild animals and walking with dim torch ( Only by the grace of GOD we managed to reach safely )
* Not to forget all the members who acompanied this trek to make this one the most memorable and breathtaking trek.

The total expenditure of the trek ------ Rs.6000/-
Total distance covered------- nearly 900Kms
Route : Bangalore------Mysore-----Nanjangud------Gundulpet-----Sultan Bathery--------Mannathavady---------Thirunelli
Date ----- 4th & 5th Nov, 2006
The experience of the trek----- Unbelievable & Breathtaking one.
The Moments ----- PRICELESS
click here for pics