Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Bababuddangiri to Kemmangudi


After a lot of heated discussions the destination was finalised 3 hour before the onward journey.  This time we were more organised in terms of Food & Transport ( 12 seater Tempo Traveler).  Harish (ಮಾಂಸ ಪರ್ವತ) had both the TT and Food arranged. Food worth INR 5k !!

Day 1: to the starting point>
We reached Mulliyana Giri (highest motor-able road in Karnataka) Saturday early morning, freshened up in the open, heated water using Jatin Mari's new ultra-portable stove (camphor stove).  To warm water it took about 35 minutes.  We had instant noodles along with Hot Bajjis and Hot Tea from a nearby makeshift mobile food van.
Nagesh and his Discovery
 After a brief entertainment by Nagesh with a small 12" snake he discovered, we decided to head to the Mulliyanagiri temple and then to the Cave just below the temple and then started our trek.

The trek started from behind Mulliyanagiri Temple. It was a warm-up trek for the following day.  The weather was stormy, gusty winds, poor visibility and a few little blood sucking monsters.
The Troupe

With poor visibility we didn't get to good panoramic views. Our trek ended at a Forest Checkpost adjacent to road below (4kms trek approx).
Jatin,Harish,Nagesh,Prajval,Rohit in-order
To welcome us Sandalwood Actor Prajval Devaraj had lined up to pose for us.

Rashi water falls:
En-Route to Rashi Water Falls

We later trekked a small waterfall (Rashi Waterfall- 1 km steep trek) which is a few kms away from the check-post en-route Bababudangiri.  The beauty of the falls is it has knee deep water with a three layer cascading falls.
Cascading Rashi Water Falls

The rest of the day till late into the evening we ended up scouting places to camp for the night.  It was finally decided we halt in a guest house beside datta peeta (Bababuddangiri).  The accommodation was a 15'x8' with a pay-n-use toilet.  We had also rented a kerosene stove for our cooking.  Nagappa and Harish did most of the cooking.  Dinner was Puliyogare and sack items.
Trail leading to Rashi Falls

Day 2: Kemangundi Trek via Palumane Trek route>
Breakfast was last night's left overs with 3 cups of Tea, Thanks to Goutham who bought the ingredients in his last minute shopping.  We had the TT drop us off at Galikere from where our 20 kms trek began.  Thanks to Jatin who had offline maps for the first 16 kms of the trek.  The last 4 kms we had no clue.
Galikere Temple - Trek starts here

We started out trek from Galikere at around 8 am.   The terrain is mostly flat and we maintained a good pace.  We were also warned about tigers.
Tiger shit & Pug Marks
On the trail we found Tiger pug marks and shit as well :).  The terrain is also extremely scenic with a lot of green cover all through,  the trail went missing on few occasions since we had the GPS we got back on track.
Valley view down along the Palumane Trail
The frequent odd rains during October had covered most of the trails.  On many occasions we had to cut through bushes and thorny shrubs with bare hands to make way.
Gautham exploring the valley along Palumane Trail
The best part of this tail is the valley of Flowers purple and yellow.  Extremely pretty for about a km range.  This is towards the last 4 kms of the Palu mane Trail.
Valley of Flowers - Palumane Trail
The palumane Trail ends in a ruined ancient guest house with a small lake nearby.  There is no visible trail from hereon to Kemanguindi.
Ancient Ruins - End of Palumane Trail

Make your own trail:

From here on we roughly had a 4km displacement to Kemangundi Peak.  But with no trail we decided to just head out North-West.  We initially stayed on the open shola grassland region but finally had to enter the thick forest.  Here we ended up in a T- Intersection with a trail both on the left and to the right.  Since Kemangundi was more towards the left, we took that trail which soon turned out to be an animal trail.  But we did not lose spirit.
First clear view - Just out of the thick forest growth
Harish & Jatin took lead and stuck to the compass.  We hit a steam crossed over to the other side and kept going.  The forest cover got denser and extremely slippery do to heavy incessant rains.
Deer Skull - Fist sign of life (HAM Radio antenna visible from this clearning)
We finally got out of the thick forest.  To our luck the sky had cleared, the rains had stopped and could spot Z-point and Kemangudi HAM Radio antenna.  But to get there was another adventure,  since we had lost our way and no visible trail, we ended up scaling a mountain cliff.  On the way we saw a clearing where we found skeletal remains of what looked like a Deer.  We scaled the final mountain stretch from where we could see Raj-Mahal from the peak. We finally reached RajMahal at 1800 hours.  Everyone had too many leeches all over.  Everyone smelt of rotting blood ..., till we reached Bangalore.

Thanks to all the trek was awesome the 2nd day last 4 km trek was a memorable one for all.
Trek this terrain, words can't describe the beauty!
Panoramic Valley View along the Trek

Fellow trekkers who want to do it our way check this map out. [Once palumane trek ends find your way back to kemangundi(you could find our trail if you made it out alive)]
QR Code for your smartphone:

1. Leech bites turn itchy after a day or two the only cure is apply sandal paste with normal salt. it really helps.
2. Do not forget to carry a sickle ( we did not carry it on the trek) we had a tough time using bare hands.
3. It was a good idea to hire a TT pickup, drop & unnecessary delays for public transport avoided. It worked pretty cheap too INR 700 per person.
4. GPS helps carry it, when there's poor visibility and in unknown terrain.
5. Getting permits to trek is now a bigger problem than trekking, you don't one here!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

2011-05-20- Bheemeswari Night out

Offlate it's kind off hard to get like minded people who wish to spend a wild night out in a freaky forest (Common - think straight!). Four guys made it to Bheemeswari - Ravi(new entrant with pumping adrenalin), Sandeep, Srikanth and Zorro-Rojo(my new nick - Red Fox). The poor time keepers this time were Sandeep and Srikanth who showed up 2 hours late they show up 1530 hours.
From Zorro-Rojo, Ravikanth, Sandeep, Srikanth

We reached Muthathi pretty comfortably - 17:30 hours with a lot of day light to spare. Soon we hit problems with Srikanth on a flat rear tyre. With two spare bikes it wasn't a problem to manage the temporal loss, however with no repair shop nearby we parked the bikes in a makeshift tent at Muthathi to proceed further.

3 kms further away from Bheemeswari is a secret place where we frequented. Now the place has given way to a new forest guest house. We were left with no choice but look out for a new safe haven. It was 1930 hours with not many options we took shelter in the open beside the Cauvery's.
From Camp Site

Got the camp fire and bajjis started rolling in, along with the bajjis were a few locusts, and interesting fire-flies fried as well. It was time to rest in peace (i mean we were done for the day). To keep the foxes at bay i had just the right music rocking through the night - Lady Gaga, Katty Perry,Cascada and so-on.. Basically we stayed up whole night each for a different reason -
Sandeep, Srikanth and Ravi just couldn't handle Lady Gaga; like the foxes, myself kept the fire rolling through the night.
From 2011-05-21 - Fire after the Rains

2011-05-21 - New Day
We danced 0530 hours not 'cause of Gaga, it had started to rain down heavily, we just weren't prepared for it. Packed our bags and kept them below a maiden tree and started a photo session. We got lukcy, the foxes and the deers showed up in large numbers. The rain didn't last more than 30 minutes to our relief. The camp fire wasn't disturbed we heated MTR pre-cooked food - had breakfast and soon left. On way back we had Srikanth's tyre fixed and zoomed back home safely. In the end it was a rocking trip.
From Foxes Hole

1. Fun for Free
2. FYI, Fuel & Bajji's didn't come free spent about INR 300 here.
3. Deers & Foxes don't like Gaga
4. My next adventure - Mogala Betta PART - III [I am somehow obsessed with this place]

Monday, March 28, 2011

Devara Gudda + Mogala Betta ~ Virgin Route

Our earlier attempt to capture Mogala Betta via Virgin Route turned out pretty disastrous. We ended up meters short of Mogala betta summit. The team this time was Gururaj & Rohit. We were well prepared to beat all odds, new trek gear, sufficient water and escape routes.
Mogala Betta Rojo on Mogalabetta Ridge

Day 1 - 2011-03-26
We got off at Gundya check post at 0500 hours. Freshened up sipped Tea followed by tender coconut waited for 1st ray of light to start our arduous journey. We locked compasses to head North-East. To start with the weather conditions were pleasant, but with no breeze, extremely dry conditions and spiny shrubs it was pretty tough clearing through the jungle. We forgot our sickle and used bare hands to maneuver thorny shrubs bruising our hands. We reached open grasslands by 0830 hours. From here begins the hardest part. Our rate of assent dropped considerably; we ended up taking longer breaks in open grasslands with sun shining right into our faces all the way up.
Mogala Betta Mogala Betta peak in the distant far

We summit Mogala Betta by 1130 hours. We got into the adjacent forest took rest and a long lunch break till 1300 hours. We next headed towards Devara Gudda further north. We reached the base of Devara Gudda by 1330 hours, there were 2 peaks almost of same height and I could not figure out Devara gudda off them :). So we decided to head back and hurried our way back another new route. By now we had run out of water, with no known source of water nearby we had to get moving faster.
Mogala Betta View Down Mogala Betta Peak

We picked up a new valley for our descent; by the time we entered the thick tree cover it was already 1900 hours. We used mobile torch light and an led torch to cut through thorny shrubs and thick forest cover. Just 100 meters down we found water!! We kept going till we realised it was raining. The terrain around was steep descending valley; with absolutely no other possibility we stayed up all night in the stream completely drenched, shivering... After drinking too much hard water we had to skip dinner. Gururaj ended up even puking each time he drank the water from the stream.
Devara Betta Devara Betta Ridge

Day 2 - 2011-03-27
The night was very unpleasant, we thought we will not make it through the night; we had imagined we would meet our end with one of flash floods, lightening strikes or snake bites. It was the first time during any trek I was so cold and blank; I did not know what to do... In the morning we were disoriented due to de-hydration, lack of food and sleeplessness all acting at the same time :). We just kept following the stream which led us back to civilization. We took bath in the nearby stream and head back to Bangalore in a Rajahamsa (something unusual - we generally take the Red-bus :)).
Devara Betta Devara Betta as seen from Mogala Betta Peak

1. Carry sufficient portable water, drinking water from streams can make you puke in summers.
2. Use a sickle to cut through thorny shrubs and obstacles.
3. Use leather gloves to prevent thorns pricking.
4. Avoid trekking during summers.
5. Take care of your camera and other belongings, I lost my camera hood; if you find it please return it :)
6. Photos are off Day1 only, I was too dis-oriented to click pictures of Day 2 :P
7. Parasitic Tics are active around March, Guru had few on him, the bites heal very slow.
8. Our legs took a beating getting down steep ridges, we have blisters all over :)
9. Due to inflation the total expense of the trek was INR 500 per head.

Terrain Map Red - The Assent, Blue - The Descent

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pucón - Volcan Villarica - Trek

Volcan Villarica is one of the most active volcanoes in the region of South America. Pucón is one of the beautiful cities in the south of Chile - Region IX or Araucanía. 5 of us decided and in just 2 weeks bus tickets and accommodation was booked. The troupe consisted of Carla,Militza,Vinayak,Louis & Rohit.

Day 1 [2011-01-22]:
1. Lago Azul:
Lago Azul has numerous small waterfalls with a difference. The water here is distinctly deep blue in colour.
Pucón Lago Azul
The place is clean and camping is permitted. We spent about 2 hours and left to Caburgua

2. Lago Caburgua:
This is one of the most popular lakes in Pucón only to Villarica Lake. The specialty out here is that the lake bed has sand. The sand is black at one stretch and white at the other stretch. Surrounded by huge mountains and thick forest tree cover.

3. Playa Blanca @ Lago Caburga [White Beach]:
While on our Boat ride we past by Playa Blanca.
Pucón Playa Blanca
The place was overcrowded with Tourists sun bathing.

4. Playa Negra @ Lago Caburga [Black Beach]:
We spent a while here walked along the sandy beach stretch had lunch and left to the Hot water spring.
Pucón Lago Caburga - Volcan Villarica in the backdrop and Playa Negra

5. Terma Quimey-Co:
Quimey-Co is a private hot water spring with water maintained at 3 different temperatures. The coolest of the lot is outdoor with open roof.
Pucón Quimey-Co - Wrist Band
The other is outdoor with a sun-roof and the final one is indoor with the warmest waters.
We spent considerable time in each of the pools playing and relaxing.
Pucón Hostel - Victor
Our day ended with preparation for the Volcan trek and a dinner party at a local restaurant includes Kuntsman Beer, Pisco Sour & Melon juice.
Pucón Salud Volcan!

Day 2 [2011-01-23]: Volcan Villarica Trek:
We were given strict instructions not to eat anything heavy the previous night and the day of the trek just 2 Bannanas. We were given heavy back packs with snow gear and each carried atleast 2 litres of water accompanied with light lunch.
Pucón Slopes of Volcan Villarica

The weather report was clear skies but strong winds. The ski station had shutdown lift service and that meant we had to trek an additional 1 hour. From here on the hike gets tougher and we start to use the Ice-Pick.
Pucón Tour Operator Uniform
We were given brief lessons on how to use them and we took off after a brief snack break. Carla found it very hard and gave up.
Pucón Various other Groups racing Ahead
From here on it meant no rocks to rest on and snow everywhere. The climb gets steeper and the ice had turned slippery. I kept falling the ice pick saved me from dying atleast a 6 times! Vinayak too felt it very strenuous and took a break. It was just Militza, Louis and Me.
Trekking on snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on normal rocky terrain. To add to it, we were carrying too much water and other accessories required for the descent.
Pucón Solitary Soul

The wind got stronger as we got higher and higher, I was just too dehydrated. I even began to eat the snow as i was too lazy to get the bottle out to sip. The Guide instructed me not to as it contained toxins from the volcano. Initially I began taking a lot of pictures, towards the end i had to pack it back in due to the terrain.
Pucón Fuming Volcan Crater - Rohit, Militza

The sun is pretty intense, burns any exposed part of the body. A lot of sun screen and full arm jacket/shirt recommended. We reached the summit at a snails pace. The sight on the top is just too good. I was all too excited to peep into the crater of the volcano. The place stinks of Sulphur, one cannot go too close as the terrain is dangerous, one could easily slip inside the crater :D.
I clicked a lot of pics and took 2 rock samples for my memories. Not sure how I will smuggle that back home to India :D.
The best part is the descent. We slide down the volcano on our asses. I could not take any pictures as it was too dangerous to get the camera out. We wore special gear to prevent our asses from frying along with special lower knee sheath to prevent snow wetting our pants down.
Pucón Volcan Vegetation!

We reached Pucón at 1700, just had time for our last Lunch-Dinner and ran to catch our buses to reach Santiago early next morning. We reported to work and did work the following Monday with our aching asses, knees, and backs :D

All in all it was a very special trek and experience. By Chilen Standards, we had covered a great deal of places in a very short period of time.
Pucón Lago Caburga - Louis,Carla,Militza,Vinayak

1. Volcan trek cost ranges from 30,000 CLP to 45000 CLP. One has to bargain and strike a deal. We were initially asked to pay up 40000 CLP, after bargaining it was settled for 30000 CLP.
2. There are 2 timings for the trek, 0430 hours and 0730 hours; we weren't lucky for the 0430 hours trek.
3. Trekking on Snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on a rocky terrain.
4. You get dehydrated on snow very quickly, you need to keep drinking water.
5. The snow is slippery and hard to grip on, you must learn to use to ice-pick.
6. Sun screen is very much necessary, another pal did not use it, his face is burnt and skin's pealing.
7. Book bus tickets and accomodation atleast a month or couple of months earlier to get a good deal.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pyramid Valley

Pyramid Valley Front View of the Pyramid

This unheard place is just 35 kms from Bangalore. It is near Harohalli about 15 kms before Kanakapura via NH 209. It is believed to be the largest Meditation Pyramid in the world.

Preetham and myself decided to visit the place. Since we did not know the exact location, we overshot our destination and missed a very prominent land mark where we were to take a left deviation. We initially hit Harohalli city limits and had to back track.
Pyramid Valley Budha statue

The campus is pretty big which is yet to be completed, including the Pyramid. There is a big Amphitheatre, Canteen Facility, Library and the Pyramid Itself. Kids are strictly not permitted inside the Pyramid and visitors are expected to turn off cell phones inside the pyramid.
Pyramid Valley Pyramid Meditation hall entrance

Inside the Pyramid:
There is a huge meditation hall, it's got a King's chamber where it's believed to have the maximum concentration of cosmic energy however one's expected to spend at-least 30 minutes on entering the King's chamber meditating.
Pyramid Valley Pyramid Meditation hall entrance
People recommend Full moon day to experience highest doses of cosmic energy. The atmosphere inside is stuffy and I felt the heat as I kept getting closer to the King's chamber; however there's sufficient lighting. With construction activity still in progress, the environment is noisy and it's hard to meditate; when I was around, a worker was drilling holes with a high speed electrical drill gun inside the Pyramid's stairway :) I could not figure out the idea behind this.
Pyramid Valley The Pyramid Back view

Lunch is served to everyone, including visitors between 1300-1400 hours everyday. From the workers inside the facility, I understand weekend spiritual classes are conducted.

1 - Nice place to spend a few hours seeing the architectural marvel.
2 - The best part - There's no one marketing around for taking up courses or into making donations.
Somanahalli Lake near Somanahalli

Muthodi Wildlife Reserve

2010-06-2010 - 13-06-2010 - Kemangundi,Baababudangiri,Muthodi WLR & Mulliyanagiri


We decided to hit the Western Ghats again. This itenary was finalised Thursday night. Harish did wonders and managed to arrange a Qualis Friday morning such that we start off Friday Evening - amazing guy. The troupe consided of Harish(KK), Jatin, Murali, Gururaj, Debjyothi,Vinesh & Rohit.
Muthodi Wildlife Safari Left to Right inorder: Jatin,Rohit,Debjyothi,Vignesh,Murali,Harish,Gururaj
The meeting point was Majestic Railway station at 2300 hours. Everyone made it on time.

Day 1 - 2010-06-12 - Z-point,Habbi Falls,Jagur View point,Gaali Kere,Manikya Dhara
Kemangundi Z-point

We reached Z-point at 0500 hours, we were the only souls out there. The view was berathtaking. There were clouds clearing up in the direction of the strong chilly winds, the surrounding landscapes had green cover with thick fog everywhere. The ones with cameras were busy clicking and rest were modelling.
Kemangundi Z-point Jatin left behind
We were done by 0800 hours, we had breakfast at Kemangundi and left to Habbi Falls. The only mode of transport is an off-road vehicle with 4x drive.
Kemangundi Flower @ Guest House
Its just about 10 kms and the joy ride will cost you INR 850.. He finally agreed upon INR 700; the ride was bumpy all the while with greenary everywhere.
Kemangundi Habbi Water Falls [Hebbe Falls]
After lunch at Kemangundi we left to Baababuddangiri. The drive to Baababudangiri is awesome through Muthodi Wildlife Reserve.
Muthodi Wildlife Reserve Jaguar View Point [Silver Oak Trees]
The terrain is mountainous with shola vegetation at higher altitudes and thick tree cover lower down.
Muthodi Wildlife Reserve Near Jaguar View Point
We halted by Jaguar view point took a few snaps and left soon after it started to rain. Next we hit this Manikya dhara, the place is a total mess with clothing thrown everywhere and extremely unhygenic.
Baababuddangiri View point at Manikyadhara
However the view from here is breathtaking. We next made it to Gaalikere temple (Anyaneya Temple).
Baababuddangiri Gaalikere
The place was clean but covered with thick clouds with poor visibility. We had to do a bit of jugglary to get our Qualis in making a U-Turn.
Baababudangiri Drive back to Chickmagalur
We then hit Chickmagalur for night stay. We checked into a couple of double bed rooms and had a great dinner.

Day 2 - 2010-06-13 - Sathodi Wildlife Reserve,Mulliyanagiri.
Sathodi Wildlife Safari Indian Gaur

We started our day at 0600 hours with Sathodi wildlife reserve jungle safari. We could spot just the herbivours - Gaurs, deers, peacocks, Kingfishers and a 400 year old teak tree. There is a drive through the wildlife reserve to Mulliyanagiri which we took.
Muthodi Wildlife Safari 400 year old Teak Tree
This route is very scenic and we stopped by a lot of places taking snaps. With every ascent the weather got harsher on the peak it was a storm. Very strong winds, thick fog and intermittent rainfall prevented us from playing around with our cameras.
Mulliyanagiri Mulliyanagiri temple in backdrop
We hurried up to the temple got wet and retured back to Chickmagalur. On reaching Chickmagalur we had a royal meal checked out of the lodge and headed back to Bangalore by 1500 hours. We reached homes by 2200 hours Sunday evening.

Finale -
-Total Expense per head worked out - INR 1550
-With heavy rains forcast not many tourists around

Appeal -
I see a lot of trashing at Habbi Falls/Inside the Wildlife Reserve - plastic Bottles, Glass bottles (broken)..etc, be responsible tourists and dispose them appropriately.

Kemangundi 2Near Jaguar View Point