Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Charmadi ~ Alekhan,Anandaka falls Jenkallu,KodaiKallu,Baalekallu betta

From Kodai Kallu Gudda - Rohit,Satya,Jayashree,Purushottam,Gururaj

With just a 4 day gap from a trip to Kanyakumari it was too early to think of another outing. I need to get out on a trek as I had missed the quota for the month. After a bit of research we decided on Baalekallu gudda in Charmadi Ranges. Five planned and all five showed up something strange, generally there are dropouts.. The same troupe showed up the ones at Kanyakumari. We board the red bus to Dharmasthala.

The initial plan
Dharmasthala ~> Ujjire ~> Charmadi ~> Balekallu Gudda (halt and return next day)
From Anekan falls - Off Charmadi Ghats

Day 1 [10th Oct. 2009]:
Reached Dharmasthala at around 700 hours, most people in bus seem to have put up "omelettes"(puke) in and around the bus. The roads screwed up big time, high time the roads are re-laid. Soon after breakfast we left to Ujjire from where we got into a bus to take us to "Anekan falls" (road side falls).
From Jeep track to Bidrutale Village
I had been there before, i felt the water was more this time; thanks to the rains. Good that we did not get into the water, we soon hitch-hiked to Bidrutale cross by a KSRTC bus.
From ID Please... what the hell is this?

The Trek finally begins:
We began our trek finally, it was quite late 1100 hours. On our way up we met up a localite who told us to take a deviation sharp left [ಕಾಲ್ ದಾರಿ] on seeing the first fork. We kept going on and on along the mountain ridges.
From Kodai kallu Gudda to the Right
We soon passed Jenkallu gudda (which we did not realise :)) and continued our journey till we saw Baale kallu gudda, which we thought was just another peak initially. We had lunch and decided to scale it.
From Baalekallu Gudda Conquered
This was the best part of the whole trek. The Western slopes of this peak are lush green and seem virgin.... We knew we were on the highest peak in the vicinity we had conquered Baale kallu gudda.
From Western Face of Baale kallu Gudda
We next checked out Kodai Kallu gudda, which was inviting. We later decided to camp close to water source below baalekallu gudda. We had plans for camp fire, with no dry wood around we just hit our sleeping bags
From Northern Ridges of Baalekallu Gudda

Day 2 [11th Oct 2009]:
We woke up intime to see sunrise behind us. It was an awesome sight, we freshened up and left to Kodai kallu gudda again as Jayashree had missed it the previous evening.
From View down Kodaikallu gudda
We decided to make our own path down to the road below. It took us about a couple of hours and we made it down in 1 piece each!
From Amedikallu Peak (Centre Right)
We did run into what looked like a rat snake during our descent.
From View while getting off Kodai kallu gudda
I had my camera tightly packed in and was too lazy to get down to photograph him.
From ID Please... Minchkallu gudda ?

Getting to Anandaka Falls:
Well our next destination was "Anandaka Falls" in "Didupe". We hitch hiked a vegetable tempo who dropped us at didupe village crossing.
From Trek to Anandaka Falls along Khudremuk Wild Life Reserve
Here we hired an Auto to take us near to Anandaka Falls. He dropped us at a jeep trail and left. From here on every person we ran into said its just a km away. we actually trekked for more than an Hour at a brisk pace! We finally saw the water off the falls and realised we were pretty close..
From Trek to Anandaka Falls through Private Estates
We dropped our luggage at the Brahmin's house and promptly followed their advice ! which was quite silly. We trekked straight up the flowing stream without realising we could have made our own path adjacent to the flowing water... Satya was a victim of 4 accidents, lucky to have survived having drowned a couple of times after sliding down slippery rocks. We soon realised there was a path along the falls and took that. On reaching the falls all our efforts had paid off! It's just too too good !!! one must not miss this awesome water fall it resembles koodalteertha water falls, but this fall has more water. Five minutes a 50 mts away from the fall and we were dripping wet top to bottom! It was like a few hundred jacuzzi pumps directed at you, mind blowing! This was our final destination, we soon moved out of from there to the place where the auto dropped us, freshened up in the flowing water and dialed a jeep. This man looted us INR 400 to drop us off at Ujjire, from where we again hit Dharmasthala and a night bus back to Bangalore... Again the bus smelt of Omelettes :), but we had no choice........
From Three Shot Panorama of Baalekallu Gudda

#1 A guide is not required.
#2 Charmadi is Hot & Humid most of the year round, do not fear the leaches
#3 You find plenty of water, a 500ml reserve is sufficient to keep you going provided you refill at every water hole
#4 An umbrella helps, sunscreen must :), a hat too
#5 Very scenic, do carry your cam.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Destination South [Rameshwaram~Kanyakumari~Kovalam]

The group consisted of Satya(Tobe professor from IISc.),Purushottam(from Healthscribe), Jaya(Opps Mgr. from Intel), Gururaj (from Healthscribe) & myself. We were to board the bus 19:00 hours at Wilson Garden bus stop (KPN Travels to Ramanathapuram). We all made it in time except Satya, who was late by atleast 30 minutes, the bus left the bus stand and he had to catch up with our bus and board it :D, he got into an auto and chased us.. He ended up spending INR 150 for riding just 2 kms !!

Below is the Complete itinerary:

View Larger Map

Day 1 [2nd Oct 2009] - Rameshwaram
Our first destination was Pamban Bridge, supposed to be the longest suspension railway bridge in India. Pamban Railway Bridge By the time we got off it was 1300 hours, without any place to freshen up we stayed dirty; ended up treating ourselves with Ice Creams for breakfast/lunch. Soon we checked into a local lodge at Rameshwaram Island freshened up and contacted a local Maruti van to take us around for INR 500. We covered Abdul Kallam's residence, Dhansukoti, Rama Teertha, Seetha Teertha, Lakshmana Teertha, Pancha Mukhi Anjaneya temples. 7 horses from nowhere in Dhanuskoti Dhanskoti is the best and must not be missed!! We even got a chance to touch and feel the floating rocks in one of the Sri Ram temples. We visited Rameshwaram main temple very late and missed tasting water off the 22 sacred wells!! FYI timings for tasting the holy water -> 0430~1200 hours. After dinner at local restaurant we headed for the last bus at 22:15 hours towards Madhuri.

Day 2 [3rd Oct 2009] - Kanyakumari
From Madhuri we hit Nagercoil and then to Suchindram Temple complex. Here we had our archane done and offered bettle leaves to lord Hanuman (the sculpture here is a lot different and looks majestic). Next we checked into Vivekananda Kendra which is a few Kms away. We had breakfast at the Kendra and head of to sight seeing, we covered the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Tamil poet's statue(which I do not find impressive at all, its made of large rock chunks cemented with seams clearly visible). Later we visited the holy Kanyakumari Temple and checked out the diamond nose ring. View from sunset point (Kanyakumari) The last part for the day was sunset for which we had to walk 4 kms. The sunset was a surprise with clear skies... the deep orange colouring's unforgettable. We postpone the sunrise to next day and ended the day playing Poker till 0100 hours.
I did win 1 of the 2 games played!

Day 3 [4th Oct 2009] - Kanyakumari Sunrise ~ Kovalam
Next morning we woke up at 0600 hours but not in time for sunrise; by the time we made it to sunrise point it was 0630 hours. The place is clean and well maintained. We soon checked out and headed to Triveni Sangam, which we failed to notice a day earlier, wasn't impressive though. Getting to Kovalam was a pain we had to change 2 busses and 2 autos.. In the end wasn't very impressive, however we played around in the salty water which was the last part of our 3 day trip.

#1 Kanyakumari is losing its charm due to over commercialisation, hawkers and careless tourists; you see litter, bottles, hawkers everywhere.
#2 Rameshwaram is truly amazing I wish I had a couple more days to spend, its truly a different experience
#3 Travel b/w Trivandram~Bangalore by Volvo twin axel was most expensive INR 925!
#4 We missed Adams bridge in Rameshwaram which is further away from Dhanushkoti