Monday, March 9, 2009

Trekking on a Night : Conquering Skandagiri- Part I

I have been to Skandagiri last year with my office colleagues. Famously known for its "Walk in the Clouds" where one can see the clouds beneath one's feet, you will literally feel like walking on the clouds.. The last time when we went, we planned a night trekking of Skandagiri, but due to logistics issues our journey got delayed and we ended up there at 4am and it was sun rise when we finally reached there. So when my roomie had told that he was going to Skandagiri for a Night Trek, my interest was kindled. I got to know that 3 of my office colleagues along with their spouses and friends had planned the trip. I had some plans initially for Saturday,but when it got cancelled up, i too joined my roomie for the trip. After all the adventure of a Night Trek is too hard to resist !!

A View of Skandagiri from the Road

We had planned to start by 11 pm. My roomie had the responsibility of getting the Water can. I started for home by 9pm and wanted to get some eatables. To my surprise, he was also present there with his own truck load of inventories. We did the shopping and where waiting for the Organizer's (Vivek) call. Meantime, we whiled our time by watching Crimson Tide in Star Movies. The call came around 10:45 and my roomie took the water can with him. I walked along to barbeque nation a restuarant near 100 ft road. The cab was present there along with few people. We got introduced to some. It seemed few more people had to come by. By 11:15, we were ready to start.

Once the cab started, the introductory ceremony was kicked off by the anchor - Rakesh.Rakesh works for Wipro and he was the one bustling with enthusiasm and energy. He started of with his introduction, with the following to be said by each member. - Name,place of work,current designation,marital status,anything special worth mentioning. It was a good way of breaking the ice and to know the other occupants. The trip members were:

Deepa -Vivek ,Sheetal- Nirav,Purva-Darshan,Rakesh,Chirag,Komal,Tarun,Pratik,Laxman and Prashant (Thats me)

It was the first trip for most of the members and hence most of them were quite excited. All of us had agreed on a golden rule to be abided at any cost - "That no one will be sleeping in the night." One of the trip members "Pratik" famous line went like this - "Agar aaram se sona chahete ho tho, aak bandh mat karo" )If you want to sleep without disturbance,then dont close your eyes.) We spend the journey time by narrating interesting/funny incidents. It is said "Every trip or journey involves a incident worth remembering"

Our real time funny incident happened when we reached a place in the road along the Bellary road. It happened so that the cab driver had only the knowlege of driving the cab and no idea of where Chikkaballapura was. (For clarity,Skandagiri is a hill, located approximately 70km from Bangalore city in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is off Bellary Road (NH-7 Hyderabad-Bangalore Highway), and is very close to Nandi Hills and Chikkaballapura). In the place where we came, there was a left turn with a board saying "Nandi hills - 2 km's away". The driver would have over-heard us speaking trekking and hill, and maybe he correlated the two words and decided that we are going for trekking to Nandi Hills. He took the left turn. Since everyone in the cab were abiding the golden rule, we guessed the driver intention and asked him if we were going along the right path. Our guess was right !! But the driver countered us by saying there is a shortcut through this way and once can reach Chikkaballapura. This satisfied us and we went along the way.

One thing worth mentioning here is that 2 occupants (Myself,my roomie and Chirag) had the distinction of visiting the Skandagiri Hills before. Therefore, inadvertendly we became the group's compass/guide to Skandagiri.Whenever we would hit a spot in the road where we would have to take one way, the group would ask us ' which way'. We would do a quick "Inkie-Pinkie Ponki" in our head and then decide which way to go. Chirag was excuding confidence while convincing the members about the path to take. He would say "Barabar, Barabar - to mean "we are on the right path" and say that he had seen the landmark which just passed us.Not wanting to be left behind, i would join him and substantiate his statements by saying that even i had seen the landmarks.

Everytime, it would happen that we would hit upon some place from where we would have to make a retrace. The first happened when we came across a hill which had lights decorated across from the bottom to the up. The last time i had gone to Skandagiri, there was anything called lights in it,so to imagine a line of lights put up in the hill amazed me. We kept on going and reached a path Saying "Bellary, few miles ahead". definitely we were not curious to know about Sonia's election constituency. So we retraced our step back and we stopped an old man who was walking along the road and asked him. He said it was the Nandi hills nearby and that we would have to go back and take a right turn near a temple which we had crossed along the way.

We got back the same way and once again we found a long lonely road. (Chirag added to the eerie nature by recalling the scenes from Raaz and Raaz 2 movies when a log of wood hits at the car and a 2 bison charge towards the car). Our fears were allayed by a lorry coming opposite to us and we confirmed if we were going on the right track. He told us to go straight from where we would enter "Chikkaballapura" and then we would have to take a left to reach a market and then we can enquire the directions.We travelled along and found what one can call a market. We were in a dilemma about which road to take again. The fact which we never considered was the fact that humans are not nocturnal animals and hence sleep at night, unlike us who had decided to stroll along. Added to it, Chirag repetition of "Barabar" and my confirmation ensured that the group had decided to take the way opposite to what we

A Group Photo

We, humans have got used to see others so frequently,that we dont appreciate the significance of seeing one.But for us,seeing anything with 2 legs moving was a moment of happiness. We found some people and asked them the correct routes..We stopped and got down to enquire about the directions. The people there were loading packages into lorry and probably they had a liking towards Nandi hills, that they kept on redirecting us toward Nandi Hills. Luckily, one of Chirag's grey cell had managed to remember that they had crossed a Wine Shop last time on their way. He managed to ask which way was the nearest Wine Shop and successfully got the way. With some more Barabar's and confirmations, we finally reached a road which led towards a hill. There were few people (read them guides) blocking our way and they redirected our vehicle to a parking place, supposedly put there by the locals. They told us to park the vehicle there and go ahead. I didnt know any such parking place, so i presumed that they might be trying to cheat us. So we argued with them that we wanted to go ahead and park nearer to a temple which is present at the base of the Hill. The so-called guides didnt agree and then we decided to walk the short distance. We had reached Skandagiri at 2am. We got the necessary ammunitions (torches, water bottles) and started the climb up the hill.

The group treks along :)

to be contd...


Towards reclamation said...

hey nice .. can you also mention where this is exactly located ??

Reflections said...

LOL...that was funny esp the part where the group decides to take the opposite way from wht barabar & u had decided:-D

Its the 1st time u've attempted humour in ur post right:-P????

Anyways enjoyed reading this!!!!!
Post the next part soooooon!!!!!

Reflections said...

wow did u notice tht...towards reclamation & I posted our comment at the same time:-o
Coool huh!!!!


Prashant Sree said...

@Towards reclamation: This is located 3 kms further away from Nandi Hills towards a village called "Chikballapur".

Prashant Sree said...

@Reflections: Well,iam not sure if you feel the humour was good or not. Would love to know about it ;)

You can check my post "The Adventures of Rim,Jim and Sim". I assume it will be a good read.

Yup, your timings is awesome. ;)

Reflections said...

hey no doubts...the tongue in cheek humour was good!!!!
The character of tht barabar guy shone thru:-D

Anjuli said...

great post- loved the pics and the narration.

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