I had waited until the last moment for confirming my participation for this trip, coz I’m not in a habit of getting up early at all 😛 … but in the end the temptation was too much for me to resist. Thus began my first trip with the Intel trekking team, and I’m so happy that I went ahead with it. The excitement of exploring a new place was just magical for me. I had just an iota of doubt about the place being safe during the rainy season, but our organizer Ananth put it to rest.
Then came the morning I had been looking forward to. I woke up at the expected time (I had planned it all the previous night) and was on time for the bus at kalamandir (marathahalli). I did see a few people in the bus, but not as much crowd as I had expected to. However, the bus got completely packed by the time we picked up people from BGA. Initially, all was quiet as we listened to songs being played on the radio. The cool breeze from the early morning was doing it’s wonders as well, and so we moved on. Ananth (and our breakfast) got into the bus somewhere near majestic. Believe me we were all looking forward to it as we were already 1 hr into our journey, without much to hog on!
We started playing antakshari soon after, and it did pretty well in raising our spirits. Both the teams were pretty well versed with songs, and we played all the way until our rock came into view (this place is off magadi road, approx 50 to 60 kms from Bangalore), stopping once for the breakfast off course. The very first view blew my breath away, and I was like, do we really have to climb up this thing? It’s supposed to be one among the highest monoliths in Asia ! All the visuals were adding to our excitement and the weather was great! I was loving it!
We got off the bus soon after, and started moving towards the rock when all of a sudden we heard Ananth’s voice calling us all back. Even as we were wondering, we were told that there’s going to be a warm-up session just in case our legs don’t lock on the way up! Some of us started cribbing about it (in a +ve way off course), but at the end of it, our muscles felt more relaxed and ready to take on the challenge. We formed a queue quickly, read out our nos so that we could have a total count, and then headed off towards the village market from where the route would begin. The market was colorful indeed, what with flower and fruit vendors dotting the gate of the temple on our way, after which we entered a small expanse of greenery. It was a narrow path dotted with a lot of greenery on both sides, and ppl (including me) had started clicking their way up!
Just as the green expanse cleared, we set our foot on the very rock which was to be our ascent that day, and my, there were quite a bunch of models and their mentors (the photographers) already on it and clicking it all up! We had just started the trek and it was almost 10-15 mins before we could persuade the shutterbugs that they must start the actual “trek”. After some persuasion, they did so, and all of us started moving up, albeit slowly (coz the shutterbugs had to be obliged anyway). And then there was this group of trekkers that had already made some ascent but was waiting for us. We were told that we won’t be allowed more than 2 stops on our way up, but since we had people with different pace and interests in our group, we did make quite a few small stops.
After a little bit of ascent, I could see some history unfolding in front of me in the form of old fort walls (only walls remain at few patches here, along with a few other structures on top, and off course a small temple. Don’t worry we’ll explore them all on our way up! ). Talking about history, I remember reading a newspaper column about savanadurga a day before our trek. It talked all about the hill being fortified around 1540s, and ultimately passing into the hands of Tipu Sultan, and finally, the British. All my way through the trek, I kept on wondering how armies would have managed their way up the hill each time it passed hands. How would they manage to fight here anyway? However, let’s leave all that thinking to our forefathers at best, and continue our light-minded trek.
We kept ascending and clicking whatever scenery we could fathom in. I remember plains all around, hills at a distance, and a river meandering its way through. Lovely colors of nature and great weather I must say.
We had managed to reach one of the fort bastions after a steep ascent, and this was the first scheduled stop on our way up. People did manage quite a few poses sitting on the structure, and the wind was awesome, especially since it was cloudy that day (thankfully, no rains). We rested a while, had some snacks, clicked pics, all the while waiting for the rest of the gang to join in.
After all of us assembled, we started the 2nd part of our trek, which was supposedly not as tough. This turned out to be true and after a half hr or so of climb, we were at the summit of one of the rocks (there are 2 rocks to be precise, the kariguda and the biliguda.). I reckon it took us almost 2 hrs to reach there, or probably a little more. A few structures came out of oblivion on our way, and ppl got busy clicking once again. I would like to mention that throughout most of our trek, there was very little vegetation (its one huge rock), but some pockets of water here and there; perhaps water sources for people in the past.
From our first summit, we could see the second (a little taller) summit and the temple on top of it. View below was simply awesome, with a beautiful lake to feast your senses to. Few people didn’t like the idea of climbing all the way up to the 2nd summit, but our organizers edged us on, and slowly all of us were on our way to that temple we had seen just now. It turned out to be a good ride (a short one I must add), a little steep however before the summit. All worth it, the whole group was now sitting at the second summit and happily clicking at the temple. It wasn’t a temple per se, but a statue of Nandi sitting inside an enclosure. It was beautiful though, and as usual, the shutterbugs went busy once again!
Now it was time for some activities. All of us grabbed our place on the rock, opened up our snack packets (shutterbugs still busy), and sat huddled in a group. Out came a suggestion about people introducing each other as this was the first trek of our group. This exercise quite lightened up the mood as each of us went about telling why he had joined a trek in the first place, whether he had gone for other treks before etc etc. … We got to know a little about the group in general, like how some people belong to the villages and the hills, and have been trekking since their childhood ( one of the guys actually came in sandals, however safe we may think it isn’t ) … There was this guy who goes on treks almost every weekend, and I remember one guy making it a point to mention that he’s married, and how this is his first trek after marriage and that he’s loving it 😛 ( If I remember correctly ) ! Quite a few people had been to other treks before, so it was not a ‘nascent’ crowd anyway. However, we just loved this outing nevertheless. Very welcome break from the usual routine. One of the organizers had actually completed a few mountaineering courses, and had been working towards his dream of conquering Mt. Everest. Best of luck dude! Perhaps I’ll make it to the Everest base camp at least!
Introduction part over, we went over to a small game and then, all of us joined in to form the Intel logo, and man there was a lot of fun doing that ! There were quite a few other games in store too.
We then spent some time on the summit doing whatever we wanted (read relaxing), and then it was time to leave. We were on the summit for an hr I believe. Now, we started descending, and though we did have a few hiccups in the beginning, we managed it pretty well after one short advice from Ananth as to how to descend sideways. It took us around an hr to get down, re-living on our way the experiences that we had on our way up. Talking, laughing, descending (stopping at one place only), man it was some good relaxing time we had.
Finally, when we did get down, we feasted on some coconut water and lunch that was served; but only after we went through the mandatory drill of stretching exercises once again, courtesy our very own yoga instructor!
We were all very tired as we boarded the bus back home. I slept most of the way while the bus meandered its way through the slow Bangalore traffic. Still, I managed to reach home (at marathahalli, the other end of town) within 3.5 hrs of leaving savanadurga !
All in all, a very fun trip and all of us parted ways promising each other to meet for the next trip soon.
Adios until then!