mathukathe

Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

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Things to know before you start:
Distance from Bangalore: around 95 kms
Nearby town/village: Koratagere, Madhugiri, Dobbspet
Public transport available?: Yes
Elevation (above sea level): 5000fts
Elevation (above ground): 1700fts
Distance from base to hilltop: 3 – 4kms

Introduction:

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Never thought of trekking before, because you think it’s too painstaking to climb on your own. Fear that you get tan on your skin and lose that extra plump. If this is your concern then need not to worry, a trek to Siddara Betta doesn’t demand all these. Siddara Betta is about 95kms from Bangalore and belongs to Tumkur district. Way to Siddara Betta starts from Tumkur Road(NH-4) take a deviation to the right towards Dobbspet which is about 45 kms from Bangalore, another 32kms from there takes you to Koratagere and 12kms from Koratagere will lead you to Siddara Betta.

Siddara Betta has historic significance to it. As name defines in Kannada, Siddara Betta entails Hill of Saints. For decades this unique hill was home for numerous Hindu Saints for their sacred meditation and to obtain Nirvana. As time passed by, this practice got into an extinction. One can find very few saints chanting in distances. And it too has a old styled “Aashrama” at the base.

Team:

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Our team consisted of 22 people, most from my company, 6 from Symphony Services and 2 from State Education Department. Trekking was never this easy before, since whole trekking consisted of only two checkpoints commemorated by a cave temple of Siddeshwara found in middle of the way.

Checkpoint – 1: Trekking

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Trek to Siddeshwara temple consists of man-made stone stairs stretches for a distance of 3kms. This simple stretch takes you through lush greenery coming on the way. On route, one can also find huge boulders to pass through, even this has been eased by etching stairs on them and by providing support rod right through. In middle, you can also find a petty shop selling juice, snacks and cigarettes. After this you’ll find similar way of almost equal distance towards temple.

Checkpoint – 1: Cave Crawling

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Here comes the most interesting part of this whole trek, crawling inside caves. This starts from a visit to Siddeshwara temple inside the cave, and just from there starts cave crawling. Before starting hire a guide from temple, since it’s highly difficult to determine route inside caves.

Cave formation in Siddara Betta is nothing but crevices formed between rock & boulders. It’s advised to carry only necessary stuff inside, leave unnecessary outside and lighten your backpack. Inside cave, one can see places where saints were meditating before. A torch in-hand can be a good companion. While crawling I discovered a distinct, slightly dark & isolated place in middle of the cave and graded it as “Honeymoon” spot, Yes I mean it! After a few crawling, jumping, slipping and falling we saw some light coming from a gap that lead towards a huge hollow place inside boulders and a had a creepy tree similar to one shown in Harry Potter’s movies. It’s a view that one would’ve never imagined beyond. Finishing packed lunch there, we headed back to temple through some other way that god knows better and reached temple on time.

Checkpoint – 2: Trek to hilltop

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After spending a little time at temple space and with resident monkeys, we started towards hilltop which is another 1km from there. Here this doesn’t have any man-made stairs, but has easily walkable natural narrow ways. The hilltop is a plain huge boulder that exposes you to unstoppable 360° view of regions, plains and small mountains around. It’s a panorama no words can define it. Just after sipping refreshing hot lemon tea prepared by Ananda & Venkatesh, we started from there with a heavy heart. And it hardly took an hour to reach base.

Useful tips that help:

  1. Have an experienced member in your team, who already visited the place at least twice.
  2. Don’t try to climb in hurry, it may lead to slip-down.
  3. Carry sufficient water.
  4. Never forget to carry a electric torch with you
  5. Seek assistance from a guide at temple to guide you along Caves.
  6. Wear shoe that has a demonstrated ability of holding over rocks & grasses.
  7. While climbing down try move in side-wise or zig-zag manner, this will not only give additional grip to your foot and also reduce body weight over your knees.
  8. Carry your own garbage bag to collect waste like excess food, plastic bag etc & dispose it in any garbage dump in city. This will help keep the place clean.
  9. Don’t carry any food stuffs or any plastic bags in hand, since terrorist turned monkeys can snatch it from you and leaving a shock in your mind.
  10. And don’t forget camera, to Click!!!

Last word:
Our heartfelt thanks to Ananda H.M. for organising such marvelous expedition.

Trek to Ranganatha Swamy Hill - A Marvelous Expedition

Click here for photos from my camera

Click here for photos from Ananda’s camera

Introduction:
If you are a die hard trekker, game for arduous paths and adventure runs through your veins, then Ranganatha Swamy Hill is the place for you. Ranganatha Swamy Hill is also called as Bilikal Hill. This beautiful hill is located at Konavaradoddi village, Maralavadi post, Kanakapura taluk and belongs to Bangalore Rural District.

Ranganatha Swamy Hill doesn’t pose any ancient significance. Villagers say it’s named after a stone that emerged from ground atop of mountain, later named as God Ranganatha Swamy. Ranganatha Swamy Temple is one of the oldest temples found in nearby villages. Ranganatha Swamy temple is looked after by a committee of villagers. The temple is open only on Saturdays and there will be a special ritual offered to god on that day.

Useful Figures(Approximate):
Distance (from Bangalore): about 45kms
Elevation (above ground): 1500fts
Elevation (above sea level): 4200 – 4800fts
Distance from base to hilltop: 3 – 4kms

Expedition:
It was partially cloudy on Saturday the 29th September 2007, 10:30am. The team of 9 namely Ananda H.M.(Organizer), Sutapa Pal, Kotresh, Jagadish, Sameer, Abhishek, Roshan, Venkatesh and myself all geared for adventure. We started with a walk for about 10 minutes towards base camp. This walk exposed us to a scenic beauty of farmland, tall trees, sunflower plantations and hills all around, I then called it as Heaven.

The Trek consisted of 3 checkpoints separated by three boulders, where way to first to second checkpoint is characterised by tough, narrow, steep and muddy path. Second to third is easy, less slant and shadowed. Second to third is again dense with trees, narrow and steep path. We heightened the enjoyment by taking photographs, sharing Sardarji jokes and here Jagadish got a new pet name “Pintu”, that’s because it’s his pet dog’s name.

After 2.5 hours of climbing at about 1:00pm we are at hilltop, visited Ranganatha Swamy Temple followed by lunch and little nap. At 3:00pm we started for sightseeing around the hill. It’s a wowing panoramic view of surrounding hills, lakes, farmland and countryside while facing to a strong current of wind at the rock tip. Maybe these words are not sufficient to describe the beauty, it can only be experienced. I pity those members who purposely missed it to watch cricket or any other reason.

At 4:00pm Ananda & Venkatesh prepared hot lemon-tea. Soon after sipping tea with snacks, at 4:30pm we left hilltop and started towards base. After 1.5 hours of descending with bum-smashing drops, at 6:00pm we are base. Upon reaching base Sutapa unable to believe that she had climbed this magnificent hill with her own strength. And surprisingly Sameer, Roshan, Abhishek & Venkatesh reached base 30 minutes earlier to us.

After reaching base, Ananda distributed sweets among village children and we finally said good-bye with a sheer bliss of achievement.

Some Useful Tips:

  1. Have an experienced member in your team, who already visited the place at least twice.
  2. Don’t try to climb in hurry, it may lead to slip-down.
  3. Have a strong bamboo stick along with you that will serve as an extra limb while climbing up and down.
  4. Carry sufficient water.
  5. Wear shoe that has a demonstrated ability of holding over rocks & grasses.
  6. While climbing down try move in side-wise or zig-zag manner, this will not only give additional grip to your foot but, also reduce body weight over your knees.
  7. Carry your own garbage bag to collect waste like excess food, plastic bag etc & dispose it in any garbage dump in city. This will help keep the place clean.
  8. And don’t forget camera, to Click!!!

Last Word:
Our hearty thanks to Ananda H.M. for organising such marvelous expedition. And I wish best-of-luck for your next expedition to this place.

Savanadurga - A Panoramic View

Introduction:

The place now I’m going to explicate is about a monolithic rocky mountain which has vested vast wonders & mysteries within from centuries. It’s Savanadurga about 65kms from Bangalore, Magadi Taluk, Ramanagar Distrist and has an altitude of 4025ft above the sea level. The word Savanadurga is derived from two kannada words “savina” & “durga” which means “Fort of Death”. Yes, during the rule of emperor Hyder Ali Savanadurga played a role of prison to punish and execute the enemy soldiers in immense brutality. It was highly difficult to penetrate into the guarded fort of Savanadurga, that would equalize to stand over his own death. Savanadurga witnessed massive massacres ever happened during Hyder Ali’s rule and hence the name of the mountain. The mountain has also played a role of safe chest for royal treasures.

Trekking:

We were five comprising Ananda H.M.(Organizer), Sameer Nagaich, Venkatesh, Babu & myself. That was 10:30am on June 23,2007 when we reached the base. A climate just bespoken for the expedition with sun hiding somewhere within the clouds, small drizzle now & then and gentle winds. Sameer added his words to this saying “The climate would’ve never got better than this!”.

Thankfully, there is a safe & convenient way has been marked with arrows as to direct trekkers to the destination. The trek comprised of 4 checkpoints commemorated with four different fort walls coming all over the way. Venkatesh inaugurated the trek with a joke saying “Aa, Tensingh gu saha havaai chappali hakkondu ee betta hattakaagalla. Aadre naavu hakkondu hogidvi gotta!(Even Tensingh can’t climb this mountain wearing slippers, but we’ve done that!).

Surprisingly, we were escorted by three village dogs from base to the tiptop. Since they are following & directing us, Venkatesh sprinkled a joke saying that these could be ghosts of Hyder Ali family and possibility that they are watching us. So I sought names for them as Hyder Ali, Fathima & Tippu Sultan(It’s just a joke, don’t drag this to any controversy). They would relax when we’re relaxing and would start once we step forward.

Each checkpoint turned out to be marvelous experience where the beauty of the surrounding villages & forests increased with each feet we climbed. On the way to tiptop one can witness natural caves made out of stone gaps, Babu mentioned it as cave of an English movie “MacKenna’s Gold”. After about 1.75 hours of trek we reached the fourth checkpoint that is tiptop of the mountain. Tip top represents a Bull Temple and a metal pole. The other side of tiptop is a 90 degree steep of the mountain.

The joy of trekking doubled when we took photographs at exotic locations. We stayed there for an hour and after that started to return to the base camp. While returning Hyder Ali, Fathima & Tippu Sultan left us to escort some other group arrived at the top and within less than 30 minutes we reached the base camp. Soon after that we moved towards the Savanadurga Park for lunch which is just about a kilometre from the base camp, there Fathima joined us again.

Forest Walking:

After lunch & a little relaxation started a hiking over the forest countryside on the other side of the mountain and the way to that begins from the park itself. This showed a real adventure of walking at a no-man area, surprisingly we are again accompanied by Fathima all over the way. This is again 1.5 hours of walk through camping area, woods, ponds and rocks. We reached place of an old abandoned temple in midst of the woods. We stayed, slept, tattled there for almost an hour or so. At 5:00pm in the evening we are about to prepare our tea, but our portable gas stove didn’t light up and we have to return without having tea. Finally again after continuous walk for an hour we reached the park gate where our vehicle stood. We could see Fathima waving a bye for all of us with her tail, saying her a goodbye & few biscuits we are on the go way back to the concrete jungle called Bengaluru.

Reaching There:

  • By public transport: Buses are available from K.R. Market & Majestic to Magadi
  • Through own vehicle: You need to go through Magadi Road, once you are about to enter magadi town about 1 kilometre before a deviation to left takes you towards Savanadurga.

Tips for Trekkers:

  • Wear any shoe which has demonstrated ability to hold grip on the rock
  • Don’t forget to carry water
  • It’s better to carry a water proof jacket & a cap during rainy season
  • While climbing steep up/down look for crack between rocks. Sometimes these crack does acts as a good lifesavers
  • While climbing down try move in side-wise or zig-zag manner, this will not only give additional grip to your foot but, also reduce body weight over your knees.
  • It’s better to have a person in your group who already knows about the place
  • Hold a rope which can be used whenever necessary
  • Do not forget to capture the beauty with a camera

Last word:

Our thanks goes to Ananda H.M. for organizing such a beautiful trek to this unseen place and also to other group members to make this moment cheerful ever after.