Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kumara Parvatha: Yet another conquer !!

As I have promised you I am writing the trek report. I will try my best to take you to the place through my words....

"Oh Gosh!!... Paradise on Earth!!" This is the quote that somewhat (not fully) explains the beauty of the place. Kumara Parvatha the name itself is enough for a trekker to push him into the realm of dreams, if he had been there before! The beauty of the place,the stamina it takes to reach there, the preparation needed, the enthu you have to have in you, all these make very much sense when you are out there amidst the cloud...when the cold breeze winds beside your ears giving a chill feeling. You see yourself so small infront of the huuuge mountain range that you feel ashamed that being so small in the world we boast ourself as if we are the biggest element on this earth. There is so much of space around us but we fight to owe a tiny 30x40 in some corner of the very much crowded city! You will laugh thinking how foolish the man is...You will!!

We started from Bangalore by 11 o'clock bus at night. Our plan was to start climbing the peak through Somavarapet side and to descend towards Subramanya.My data collection suggested me that with our speed we should be there at the peak at around 3:30PM. With this sketch in mind we stepped out of the Rajahamsa bus at 5:50 AM. The first bus to Beedalli,which was our starting point, was at 7:20AM. So we decided to hang around and get ourselves ready to the voyage. We finished our breakfast at Sharada Canteen which was hardly big enough to accomodate all of us and our baggage. By the time we finished our breakfast the bus was ready. It was a bus with a big banner saying "Bhagyalaxmi" and heading to Pushpagiri. We took a photograph of the entire team infront of that.

Our Bhagyalaxmi thrown us out :-) at Beedalli at around 8:15Am and and from there started our long awaited journey through the woods and cliffs. Everyone was verymuch excited and why not as we all were bored of the noisy and polluted atmosphere of Bangalore. From there we got a muddy track which which was under upgradation to tar. We walked in that road for almost half a Km and at a point it took it split into two. One awas going towards a bridge and the other though the river. As many of them didnot want to wet there shoes they all prefered the route which was going over the bridge. Only I and Manju went ahead and stepped into the river. Oh!! It was a wonderful 8:30 in the morning when the sunrays are just started penetrating the woods when there beams started dancing on the waves we felt very nice and spent some 10 min standing in the flowing water. I tried to catch the dance of the rays through the leaves through Manu's Olympus SP500 UZ. After a few min we realised that the rest of the team is very much ahead of us and we need to catch them soon. So I and Manju started stepping fast. After 20 min we both met our rest of the team members who were busy in changing their clothes. Many of them changed to shorts, 3/4ths and track suits...I and Naga didn't. After 5 minbreak we started again. On the way a yellow browed bulbul caught my attention for a while. I also saw a white throated groundthrush. Beautiful it was! .....After walking for almost another45 min we encountered the forest checkpost. It is this point of which I was a bit afraid of. "What if they don't allow saying we dont have any written permission?"..."What if they refuse completely for letting us go?"...all these thoughts were running into my mind. But when we went there, the gesture with which they welcomed us pushed my feelings away. They were very pleasent. They told us to write one declaration stating we ourselves were responsible in case anything happens and took my signature. I was relieved bigtime! :-)

Ha...from there what started will remain in my memory for ever....

The first thing we encountered was an incomplete hanging bridge. It was looking really cool. Everyone wanted to give a try to walk on that but it was not that easy to pass through that. Naga and GK gave a hard try and succeeded to some extent. Rest all of us tried once and came back and prepared some energy drink.After having rest for some 15min we started through the dense evergreen forest. The forest is really thick at some places.Most of the patches are evergreen biotopes.The tree canopy is really high and the path thru the jungle is really steep.Having an average of 12kgs on each one's back the boys were really working hard. For the people who are afraid of leeches: dont worry you seldom find common leeches here....what you find is CATTLE LEECHs!! :-) They are really big.When I say big, I mean it! They were measuring some times more than 1 inch even without sucking the blood! [They suck man, they really suck!! :-) ] Thanks to the tobbacco leaves that we applied for our legs and shoes which was trying to keep them away as far as possible. Despite that many people donated their blood to the poor fellow unknowingly!
At around 12PM we reached a viewpoint where we spent sometime resting. The viewpoint is good and gives a nice glimpse of the landscape. Some of our boys were fuming like an old truck. Shiva must have been cursing me, I thought :-). After refreshing there for around 10 min we started again. Then came the first patch of rock, infact the most difficult patch of rock tosay as the rock was partially wet which made the climbing a challenging one. Manju almost fainted :-) looking at the rock! We planned a stratergy that some experienced people will take the responsibility to pass the bags to the top and the first timers will climb carefully with the help of the others. The stratergy worked excellent. Atlast Manju and Shiva succeeded without any problem in climbing that. Manju was literally said with full emotion "Thank GOD I am alive!! ". Hahaha... That was a moment to watch... Sorry Manju..! ;-) Now after all these days I have decided to call that rock as "Manja na Bande" !.... ;-) [Isn't it sounding like "Mirza na Kote" [of Kumta] or "Kanakana KinDi"[of Udupi] ? ;-) ] Going ahead we had two more rock patches welcoming us. They were longer than the first one but were not as steeper as this one. After treading those rough paths as we were moving ahead we heard Abhi screaming "Bisons....We have got Bisons here"...He literally shouted. Actually he was walking a little ahead of us as we were clicking some snaps. When we heard that we were also frightened once but we knew that they wont come near if we are in a group.So we decided to stick together and move ahead. Luckily/Unluckily we havent seen them after, though we would love to.... After again some 30 min trek we atlast reached the "Mantapa" where we had our lunch. It was 2:45 at that time. I and Naga went ahead to look for the route which leads towards Subramanya. We went at the top and came back without finding the route! Then Naga called Chethan [Thanks to HUTCH] and made clear the route.... After finishing our lunch it was the last patch of the mountain which ends in the peak,which was left infont of us. At 3.10PM we were at the of Kumara of the highest peaks of Southern India...One of the toughest routes to trek...Finally we were there... It was almost around 12-15 degrees [or even less] over there... After reaching there Some of us,including me went to sleep for some time.... It was a Heavenly experience... An Afternoon nap at KP... have to be there to experience it...Believe me!!

It was 4o'clock when I opened my eyes and my GOD what a place that was....we were completely inside the cloud! The sight was hardly few meters! When I looked around our team was scattered all over...some had gone to explore some new places around,some were still in the dream land,some were listening music in iPods,some were sitting calm....everyone was in their own different world! Wonderful sight it was. I was dumbstruck to see the serenity of the place...I was reluctant to speak even a single word which I thought might disturb the serenity of the place! Then, I got a call on my cell phone from Abhi.He was screaming with enthu and calling me to come to the place where he was. I knew the place as I and Naga had been there in search of the route to Subramanya. So I went there. The place is really fantastic.Not a second word about that. The hide and seek of the clouds and the montains in the backdrop was just can't be explained in words. I took some snaps using Manu's Olympus SP 500UZ. Some snaps came very well.We sat there for some more time... It was amazing...After sitting in that mood for some 10min I thought its time to get back to some work. We had two tasks infront of us. One was to find the water source nearby and the other was to collect some wood for the camp fire,without which it was almost impossible to spend the night over there. We decided t split into two groups to do these tasks. One team went in search of the stream and the other to collect some solid wood stuff to fire up. But, since the place is covered by mist most of the times,the wood that you find there are wet and not much combustible. Then Naga gave one idea,to use the Bison dung (!!) for the fire...yyyaakkk..isn't it? Yes...but we actually did that. We 4 of us started collecting them in a plastic bag.But only lateron we came to that all the effort that we put in collecting them was a waste as the dung wont take the fire as it contained too much of moisture in it. :-( a sad end to an ambitious effort! Somehow we managed to get decent amount of wood for the fire. But we knew that this much is not enough for the entire night. But we were helpless as there were not much dry wood...after some time the other team also returned with all the bottle filled with water. They also brught a good news that they have found out(!) the way which leads to Subramanya. That was a double treat.
Yup...Our official cook,Bava was all set for preparing the grand dinner for the team. In the menu there were Puliogare and Chapathi with Honey[thanks to Shiva]. We prepared two small fire places to cook food and the other team was in struggle to put up the camp fire. We never thought even in our dreams that it will be this much difficult to get a proper campfire here at KP. We were prepared for the worst condition. So we carried half ltr of diesel along with some petrol. Without petrol it was really difficult over there. Finally after fighting for almost one and a half hour the team came up with a decent fire. At the same time the food was ready for one set of people. When the food was ready to serve we realised one stupid mistake! We had forgot to bring paperplates to eat!!! Oh Sh**!! What a silly and foolish mistake we did! But no use in regretting at that point of time... We went ahead and used the chapathis as the plates and had our dinner. The hot puliogare was tasting awsome in the cold breezing night. Everyone ate to their full... Now, as the dinner was over everyone wanted a seat beside the fire...and ofcourse why not... :-) luckily after a hard struggle we were successful in having a good camp fire... It was a very nice experience ...It was almost 10:30 in the night when everyone was feeling the tirdness of the hard day trek. They all started going into the tents one by one. I and Naga had decided to sleep in the two members tent bestowed to me by Sanka sir. Somehow we both fit into that.Before going in we made sure that the fire is sufficiently lit. Coz our plan was to have one more round of campfire at the mid night. After making sure that the fire is enough for another 3 hrs we went inside the tent,hoping we will also have the same sound sleep as the others were having! But the fortune was playing a different game with us. Inspite of remindings from my mom I neglected the blanket thinking that my jerkin and my monkey caps are enough to beat the chill. But I was terribly wrong!! Naga also did the same good deed by not bringing any blanket. For almost 2 hours we both didnot had proper sleep. The cold wind was piercing our skin. The tent had an opening at the top from where the cold wind was entering our tent. We both were helpless. At about 1:30AM we both realised that if the same condition continues then we will be freezed by the time the sun comes out! So we both decided to go out and lit the fire again, have some warm and take one or two blankets from the other tent where the blankets were almost useless as they were completely protected from the wind. As per our plan we lit the campfire, and Abhishek gave us his blanket. And its only after this we had some sleep atlast......
When I opened my eyes it was 5:30AM. It was the right time for the last leg of the campfire. I asked Naga if he is interested. He showed me the door of the tent, saying he wants to sleep for some more time. The blanket had also become cold because of the cold wind. I went out and lit the campfire after some struggle. Then Manu and Bava also came out. It was 5:45 then and the horizon was giving the indication that what we are going to witness will be one of the beautiful moments of our life! The horizon was yellowish orange which gradually had merged into dark purple which then stretched into the light blue sky. The moon was still there witnessing all of us! We all ran in to get the cameras and we went to the sunrise point. At around 6:10 Am sun started appearing as a bright yellow ball. I had seen many many beautiful sunsets but not the sunrises. This was one of the finest moments that will never fade away from my memories... Aaah... what a sight it was! The cameras went clicking for long time. We had some really excellent pictures. By the time sun came out half the way all the people in the tent had come out to witness this gorgeous beauty of the Sun...
After that amazing sunrise we all rushed to the spot where we spent almost an hour yesterday hoping for the cloud to clear. The mountain was called "Shesha Parvatha". As we went there the sighting literally stunned us with its beauty. The vally below was very very deep. I mean it...very very deep. The view was clear and we could see the horizon on the other side. The swallos were gliding happily and seemed to be teasing us! All of us took portrait photos and went to the other side of the point. After spending for around 1hour and clicking loads and loads of photos we came back to the camp area to have food and start again. We had chapathis which were left and cucumber along with orange. By the time we packed the tent and started moving, it was 9:15AM. Chethan had told me that the "Bhatra mane" was a 2.5 - 3 hrs stretch from there. So after preparing mentally we started our journey back to ground zero...
The descending path was not easy as we expected. It was really hard. The path is full of stones which pain the heels and make the walk a painstaking work. We were in the clouds,literally while descending. In the midway we had some chocolates and fruit drink brought by Abhi....
After about one and a half hours of painful descend we finally had a view of te forest checkpost where we had to reach! It was looking like a dot in the biiiig picture. Many of us were reluctant to agree that that was the place where we had to go! But truth is truth! That was the place and it gave an impression that it needs almost two hours to reach there. But as we started descending further we were able to complete the rest of the path in another 1.25 hrs. At last we were at the checkpost at 12:20PM. It was a sighof relief for all of us!
We paid the trek charge (Rs. 70/- per head) to Mr. Anand, who was the forest guard over there. All of us washed our sweatty faces in the cold tap water. Then after some 10 min we started to "Bhattara mane".
Bhatta is staying there from past 32 years!! Yeah...from past thirty two years! We found him a very nice guy. He welcomed with a smile on his face and looked like he understands our pain! We decided to have lunch there and then start descending further. He served the lunch at 1:20 and my god how tasty it was!! We enjoyed the food very much. He charged us Rs 30/- per lunch. He told us that every year he will get almost 8-10 thousand people as visitors!!! We were astonished hearing this figure. Eight to Ten thousand not a joke...we started wondering if there are really those many enthusiasts come here every year... But he cant lie to us....why will he? So it is true...Amazing isn't it?
At 2:20PM we started the last stretch of the trek, descending to Subramanya. Bhatta told us that the distance is 5.5Km. But it was in the forest.That means the humidity makes the journey tough. We planned to reach Subramanya at around 5.00 in the evening. The route was not that easy. But it was certainly not as tough as the first descend that we made from the peak. As this route was through the jungle the way was clear. After taking some three breaks during the streach we reached the bottom at 5:10PM. Wow!! What anaccurate estimation, I thought... We had some left out chapathis and finished the honey too. After having some 10 min rest on the road we went inside the town...
It was "Champa shashti" in Kukke. So the crowd was big in te place. We kept our bags near one dormatory and Abhi and GK stayed back looking after the bags while the other members went inside the temple. We all came back at 6:00 and now we had to find a bus which could take us to Dharmasthala, from where our tickets were booked to come backto Bangalore. After some struggle we came to know that the bus to Dharmasthala was standing outside the Bus stand. We rushed to theplace but by the time we went there people were already occupied all possible places inside the bus...What to do now? Nothing ....stand for two hours!!! Thats what we did.... After 45 min we got seat and we were thrown out in Dharmasthala at 9:00PM.
Everyone was tired to hell. Manu wanted a bath. He talked to the person who was collecting te fees for the loo and asked him if he cam make arrangements for a bath. He agreed and showed us a room and provided with a water pipe....Oh it was a heavenly expierence!! We all bathed for a long time... The tirdness of the whole day disappeared and thanked Manu for the wonderful idea...:-)
The bus was ready and after having a small dinner we boarded the bus at 10:30PM..... I remember only closing my eyes and te next moment when I woke up we were several hundred kilometers away from the place where we found the Paradise on earth!!

It was truly a Paradise...!! Its calling me again... dont know when I will pack my bags again..... :-)

The Photos are here in this below link: Dont forget to visit this link...


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The calm after the storm...

The storm has shaken up the entire city and the wrecks are all scattered apart. The roof is shaken, the trees are upside down, you can see the devastation everywhere!
Now the storm has calm down. You can feel the silence everywhere. You can see the anxiety on the faces of the people about their future. What will happen to them? How much time is needed for them so that they start their daily life once again? How much time is required to that news paper boy to start his business again? How much time is needed to the milkman to again start distributing the milk every morning, the money which comes from that drives his family. How much time is needed to build the home again which has just finished its final coating of paint? How much time is needed for the poor beggar to start begging again, who was pushing his life on the bread given by others.? Everyone in the city is a beggar now! The ground is equal for all now!

But the question still remains...Will ever be the city become same as before?

Only TIME can answer it !!


A quote from the greatest comedian on earth is haunting my mind...
"I always like to walk in the rain as no one can see me crying!"

Friday, November 24, 2006

KP is calling...

Finally the time has come to fulfil a long awaited dream, to conquer KP! It is regarded as one of the most challenging trek routes of southern India. We had planned for this mission way back in May itself when we returned from nearly impossible voyage through the woods of Bandaje, conquering the Ballalarayana Durga. Since I was preparing for the CAT 06 our team was silent.
Now as the waiting is over, all are very much ready to take the challenge. We have been preparing for this trek from past one week and almost everything is ready at its best. Hoping for a memorable time amidst the beauty of the Mother Nature!

As the region from where we are starting is full of thick forest we have to be mentally prepared for some brutal routes. We have done a lot of ground work to get the detailed info about the site and the route. Naga has enquired with a DFO who is his uncle regarding the permission and other things and I have called Bhatta over there to get the current details of the weather condition and regardning the permission and all those official things. Special thanks to Chethan who has given a lot of info of that region and given us some photographs which will be really very helpful to have a clear cut idea of the place. Thanks alot Chethan!

Everyone is really in great enthu and this will be one helluva experience for all of us as it will test our endurance to the core.Our team building capacity, decision making ability, our perseverence to achieve the goal, our stamina, our mental strength, our patience everything will be put under the hammer to test them! I have to see how our boys come out of it, though I am very much optimistic! :-)

When such a task is infront of you, a storm in the way will attract your attention less and will not dilute your concentration. ..........It should not!

Wish our team Good Luck!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dont know why...!!

There is so much to learn! And I don't know why people become so dull and dumb as they grow up! They tend to think only about their career, their family, their job, their money,their property blah blah blah. Why do they become so blind about the other fact that the life is to learn, to learn as many things as possible or as many things as you can! I don't know, I feel very pathetic about the people who say "m bored of this monotonous life". Who the hell has asked you to make it monotonous ? Its you who has to get up and develop interest. Nature doesn't come to your drawing room where you sit lazily all day long, and show its beauty in front of you. The falls in the deep jungle doesn't come to your garden and showers its splendor there. The beautiful birds in the nature don't come to your table and chirp around. The star in the night sky doesn't tell the story of its life cycle of how they evolved and became a sparkle in the black night sky. The beautiful photographs that you see just don't tell the mammoth effort by the photographer who has spent countless days and nights to learn how to capture such a fantastic moment in such a beautiful way. They all don't tell anything. Its you who has to feel it. You will know the pain and patience required to click such a fantastic photograph only when you start learning it. You will know the skyline efforts of the scientists who spent their entire life just to get an equation that describes a part of the life cycle of a star. You will know the amount of patience and observation required to build the skill of identifying the birds around you correctly only when you start inclining towards it. You will start appreciating the beauty of the mother nature only when you start taking interest in it. "Interest" is what you need to start learning. When interest deepens it transforms into passion. And when the passion drives you, you yourself will witness a different person coming out of you! This is the passion that drives the human race to its progress. It was the passion of Graham Bell that resulted in inventing the telephone. It was the passion of Columbus that resulted in finding a distant land. It was the sheer passion to know about the relation between the time and space is what made Einstein to discover his legendary Theory of Relativity. Its the silent passion of Dr.Salim Ali to know about the winged wonders, the birds, that took his entire life to do a Herculean task of studying the birds of Indian subcontinent. If we look into the history we can clearly see that it is because of the "passion about something" is what made our lives like this.
All of us know all these things but somehow feel that these are all not our piece of cake! Why not? I ask! If you start developing interest in anything and if that interest turns into passion then its not at all impossible task to excel in that area. And more importantly in the process you will never say that my life is monotonous! Do you?
I bet you don't. Think about it!

There is so much to learn! I am in the process...