There are some things in life that don't make sense. But they turn out to be the core reasons of your existence. Not that there's no sense at all; it's just that rest of the world can't see the reason behind that.
For some of us it's travelling, reading, watching a movie, photography, music, driving (that's me!!). And our moms won't necessarily have the same view about these wasteful activities. Yet, we indulge.. One such adventure coming up: starring four people of the travel category.
After planning for ages, we finally managed to zero in on a date and location. Thanks to advent of summer, there were only a few places that were worth trekking. So the surrounding places of Chikmaglur were targeted and Varun n Arun: both having visited these places already, would be our guides.
On a pleasant Thursday evening, Arun, Rajath, Varun n I were speeding on the Tumkur road. No, I didn't get to drive: the driver wouldn't give me the wheel and I forgot to get chloroform. The journey had a lot of music, munching and a Kannada movie. The Qualis had a DVD player & screen, but the only DVDs available were Mr. Rajiv's (our driver) choicest.
We reached our 1st destination: Kalhatti falls at 4 in the morning. As the sun rose an hour later, we caught a glimpse of the pathetic guest house, the dismal waterfall and decided to leave. The next destination was the Kemmangundi guest house and thankfully, it turned out to be in a better state. Now that the biggest Indian tourism problem (read: finding a decent washroom) was solved, we had breakfast and started the trek to Hebbe falls. Now this is where nature offsets the gap created by infrastructure: or lack of it. The 13 Km terrain was quite treacherous and we did take a lot of shortcuts which presented more adventures.
The last 2 KM stretch involves crossing the stream thrice. Crossing water bodies never ceases to thrill. The water so clear: You could see rocks, fish and what not! Getting a view of the majestic waterfall was a reward itself and upon reaching we didn't waste any time in getting into the water.
I thought this was the most enjoyable time of the trip. Well I was to be proven wrong in some time. After stepping out of the water, we decided to head for another trail where 4X4's would be available to take us back. Tough Mahindra Commanders were found but sadly the money in our pockets could not match up to the drivers' demands. Now one guy in a pick-up offered to take us at half the price and we jumped at the offer. Though three of us would have to stand with his cargo (he'd pick that up in some time on the way), we were looking forward to the mini adventure.
We had a jolly ride until he stopped for his cargo. Surprise surprise: the cargo turned out to be chopped trunks of trees. Kindly note that I do not say chopped wood as I don't think it'd do justice to the massive blocks having volume almost equal to 1 Rajath.. We were informed to sit 'on top' of the cargo. Now sitting 'on top' of the cargo poses a greater peril than 'standing with the cargo'.
Soon the cargo and three of us were loaded (Rajath grabbed the cockpit seat). Now we started crawling on the terrain. Again, I am not using we drove on the road. Soon, we lost count of the number of near misses. Branches tried to scrape us. Tons of wood resting beneath us whomped our backs and bottoms. A live wire passed above us. Thundering clouds threatened to strike and set us on fire. All the while the vehicle tried it's best to throw us around. At one instance, the front tires could no longer hold and the front was lifted off the ground. The passengers sitting 'on top' of the cargo were asked to get off and stand on the hood to generate better traction. After fighting for our lives for the next one hour, we finally reached and jumped off. The smiling driver asked us if we had a good time and if we'd ever forget this drive. Silly question... The aching body parts kept sending signals to the brain: 'wouldn't trekking back have been less painful??'
Pain and thundering clouds did not deter us. We decided to trek to Z-point immediately. The narrow and steep trails challenged us all the way. But in the end we were rewarded with howling winds and a heavenly view.
The next day, we headed to Mulliangiri: the highest
We headed back after lunch and after an impulsive decision, decided to stop at the 11th century HaleBidu temples. You may detest photography or history, but you cannot help being amazed by this place. The sculptures can entice even the naive and artless mortals (I refer to my-self) and you can't help being awed at the rich history of our country.
As I said, I was a bit skeptic thinking about where we'll stay but in the end this fear is exactly what made this trip unforgettable. Not that we had to struggle a lot for a decent place.. It's just that since there aren't many places to stay around here; most of the population has stayed away and the place remains uncorrupted and pristine..
Do check out Arun's write up: http://arunmulbagal.blogspot.com/2010/04/beyond-this-horizon.html