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Registration open for, Exploratory Monsoon Trek in Madikeri from 30th to 2nd October, 2017

Sunday, December 27, 2009

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Ombattu gudda is fondly known as OG. As SRK is Badshah to Bollywood OG is to Trekking. It is a hot favorite amongst southern India trekking circuit. Since I first came to Bangalore and started browsing for local trekking clubs, I came across this name and little information about it. I didn’t take it too seriously then. With my very first introduction with Bangalore Ascenders to Ankola beach trek, OG was always in discussion for its mystery and serene wild forest. When people used to talk about it they generated vibes full of energy and enthusiasm. I wondered, `what the hell! Stop it’ OG - Oh God!!
After long discussions Bangalore ASCENDers BASC in Picture 014-1short finalized 25-26 December for OG trek. Since the day registration  was open along with the itinerary, the game started. Inputs regarding Planning, suggestions, reviews and discussion over the ultimate savior Mr. GPS (Global positioning system) and his working capabilities in dense forest etc started pouring in. They were waves of group mail and one could feel the energy level tide up as the D-day was nearing. Not joking, you could virtually feel the mails hitting you hard off the screen.
The journey started on 24th Night from majestic bus stand. We were in all 29 of us (a huge count!) Trying to get to know each other and with aspiration of enjoying the upcoming tasks of the trek, we moved on. Who knew then what the mighty lord has in store for all of us.

At Gundya check post near Kukke, we halted at a house for a while. From there we headed towards the jungle.Didn’t strike then that we were leaving civilisation far behind. As we started the nature around looked so beautiful... river making its way through handsome looking rocks, as if a lady trying to seduce these manly creatures by her curves and moves. APicture 015-2 ll these visibly beautiful concepts of nature started to fade away as we were moving deeper inside. Reached a point where feeling of being lost in this vast forest started gathering up in the mind. With no one around but just tiny wild creatures, forest, river and sky high above.
That time the only strength you have with you is your will power and your team mates whom you trust, believe and depend upon, more than yourself. Bunch of strangers whom you had met few hours before suddenly mean more than your own family. That’s the spirit of OG, it brings out all possible strengths, weaknesses and anxieties in you. Let you know yourself better than you ever had. It gives you a feeling of togetherness to fight against all odds.

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Whenever we had to cross the river, which we did `N’ number of times, those handsome looking rocks suddenly turned out to be bald monsters who just had an oil massage, slippery enough to give us shock treatments at all possible parts of our body. With one like me having basic balance problem, enjoyed it thoroughly with no extra charges for the repeats. Aaahh, so hard and warm!! So much so that I wished this rock and water series end and let us have a feel of the uphill terrain which I did wrongly imagined would be more comforting. At last with permission from GPS and superb brains of our core team members we said goodbye to this couple in love and took off towards the hill.
All through the trek I  was  wondering  about the grPicture 017-2oup of core member’s and few other enthusiastic souls. When we had just enough stamina and spirit to follow the leaders, this people had all the energy to track the route, track us if not left behind, review and plan the schedule and of all to maintain the team spirit high. Hats off all of them!!!
Now starts the most awaited in my mind, the ‘UP HILL’ journey. I was happy as we started with a gradual slope which continued for about fifteen minutes. Suddenly the path in front of us vanished with no option left but to climb that 70 degree – 80 degree steep slope. I started with a short silent prayer in mind thinking about loved ones and GOD! We all started ascending in a train formation with a wrong thinking that the closer we walk the safer we would be. The  only thing we totally believed and trusted that time were our hands, legs and those heavenly trees, their branches, roots or whichever part of theirs we could grab and push ourselves up and a bit up.. Of course for me it was also Goutham, who in spite of obvious structural difference between both of us had all the spirit to manage me drag up and out of there. To my surprise he was also high enough to take snaps in-between, when I didn’t even dared to look down that steep valley. It looked all so beautiful to him... OG!! Thanks buddy, that stretch was impossible to achieve without you.
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With all combined circus ending, we reached the grassland. Being introduced to trees, pathway, river, rocks, dense forest and now this grassland, no form of nature was left un-walked by us. Grassland seemed prettier than sloping forest. For the first time  Picture 100-4 we felt that we might conquer OG and all ours day and a half sweat shall not go waste. These small pretty hillocks had their own charming wickedness hidden behind. As we reached at top of each hill there waited series of them smiling and mocking at us. No one would know which one was OG till we actually reached at the top of the one. Patience was low and body was giving up. I got my lesson, `keep walking and do not look forward for the destination. It shall arrive when it is destined to. So comes OG- after crossing eight hills, at the top of ninth one, OG stands all so strong and high! We all celebrated our joy of victory followed by an entertaining video shoot by Sathish ‘The Professional’, to relax our mind and body. Who else than him knew it better than that there is lot more in store and this guys need a dose to pull it through.
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We had to cross two hills, a patch of forest and a jeep track to reach back to a civilised place called Laxmi estate. A mini bus was to pick us up from there. By now two hills and that forest was not a big deal as we were so used to them. But this unending man made jeep track made us crawl. OG- one more lesson to go: don’t rejoice on your victory, that is not the end. Keep walking with the same pace and spirit because this is how life is meant to be.
Late evening we reached Laxmi estate and travelled back to Bangalore by early next morning to our routine life. The OG journey compiles within us, so much of strength, motivation and aspirations, to achieve the toughest and fight for the impossible. Thus `WE’ shall all move on.....IMG_2445-1Visit our Group @ CLICK HERE
Join Bangalore ASCENDers @
CLICK HERE
Written by: Deepti
Event organized by: Ambareesh Karanth /Satish
Image Gallery: 
Harishchandra,Satish,Vinesh,Gautham,Ameet,Shivshankar

Monday, November 23, 2009

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Monday, November 9, 2009


Objective: Tadiyandamol Peak (Highest peak in Kodagu)
Other places of interest: Nalknad Aramane. Date: November 7th 2009
Grade:Moderate                                                                                                            

Participants: 10 members (Ambareesh Karanth, Arun, Ganesh Ture, Girish V, Harish, Kiran, Murali KG, Prasanna Ganapathy, Sandeep, and Vinayaka)

About Tadiyandamol :-
     Tadiyandamol, the tallest peak in KodDSC02293-1agu, is another trekker's paradise. From the peak you can view the distant Arabian sea and the spell-binding beauty of Kodagu all around.The best time to visit Tadiyandamol  is early winter. "Highest Point" as called in Kodava language, this peak is the highest one in the Madikeri district. It is situated near Vira Raja Pete (Virajpet), about a 30kms away, on the way to Napoklu, Bhagamandala. This peak is just adjacent to the Makutta forest. On the way, you also get an old palace called 'Nalknad Aramane'. Tadiyandamol is 260km from Bangalore.

Nalknad Palace :-
Built by Dodda2-1a Veera Rajendra in 1792 A.D. safe in the depths of a dense jungle at the ba se of Tadiyandamol, this elegant two-storied palace served as the last refuge for Chikka Veera Rajendra before he surrendered to the British in A.D. 1834. Ornamental pillars and verandahs with carved windows and door frames are its notable features. The roof here was originally thatched. The Cobra looked upon as a Scourge & Savior is common in these parts of the region. It inspires fear, but also plays an important role in controlling rodents which are its normal prey. The Cobra symbol carved in various places in the building was probably meant to warn enemies in times often plagued by intrigue.

An irregular trekking route from the summit goes straight to Bramhagiri hills. These hills (1340 mts) can be seen far off towards from the south of Tadiyandamol.
Route 1: Bangalore - Mysore - Hunsur - Periyapatana - Siddapura - Napoklu - Kakkabe - Tadiyandamol.
Route 2:
Bangalore - Mysore - Hunsur - Tithimathi - Gonikoppal - Virajpet - Kadanga - Kakiambi - Tadiyandamol.

Route 2 is longer than Route 1. But one can easily reach Virajpet in KSRTC bus from Bangalore. From Virajpet there is enough number of private buses to Kakkabe. Only one Rajahamsa is available to Napoklu from Bangalore. There is no need of any Forest pass or guide for trekking. Be prepared to encounter leeches.

     Tadiyandamol, I was going for the first time and as DSC02279-1I organized this event, lots of data was collected (readings blogs, calling people). Finally we a team of 10 from BASC, started our journey from Bangalore in a Rajahamsa Bus to Napoklu on Friday night. Safely reached Napoklu by 5:30am via Virajpet. After enquiring at a milk booth, got the information that there is a bus at 6am to Kaikamba. All could sleep during night journey , as road was good. We spent 30mints in bus stop, it was still dark. Bus came on-time, it’s only 15km ride. We got down in Aramane stop (Kaikamba). To go to Tadiyandamol peak, you have to get down at the Aramane stop which is before a place called Kakkabe (if you are coming from Virajpet). We need to walk 3km to Aramane in a tar road. On both sides we can see Coffee estate, and mountain range all over. It was a pleasant journey, and was very steep. We reached Nalknad Aramane/School by 7:30am. Aramane (Palace) and School are opposite to each other. Both were closed as we were too early. ( or may be, as in one blog was mentioned that Aramane was closed for renovation). Its old two-storied building builIMG_0377-1t in 1792. We did all our morning chores at a nearby small stream. Had breakfast and started climbing towards peak by 8:30am.
Very steep narrow tar-road with dense forest on both sides, which leads to a forest check-post. Its around 4-5km steep climb. We walked very slowly enjoying nature. The only  color we could see was green, the only sounds we could hear were that of the leaves, winds and birds. We met Forest Guard en-route, he warned us not to stay on the peak because of elephant activity. Later we heard the same from workers also. Few days before on a early morning two elephants had attached these workers.
     After we crossed forest check-post, the mud road was narrow and had average ascent. From here it’s only 2km trek to the big rock, this was our planned night camping place. From here 5-minutes descend on left path, will lead you to a stream, which happens to be the last source of water. Continue straight  besides these rocks to the peak. The trail is very narrow, one at a time can go. On botIMG_1109-1h sides we can see the vast expanse till the reach of your eye there are green clad mountains. This stretch of the trek was particularly scenic. Clouds drifted past us speedily and the hills that were flushed with sunlight a moment ago were shadowed by dense patches of clouds. Due to mist we did not get good view. By 11:30am we were on the peak. Once on the peak, we felt we were on the clouds. The winds zipped past us, opening us up, alternately, to shadows and lights. Nothing was visible because of thick mist/cloud. We took snaps,had snacks and spent good one hour on the peak, enjoying nature. We introduced ourselves as, many were new to me, since this was my first organized event for BASC.
We came back near  the big rocks by 1:30pm, descent was slippery, but the nature was fantastic. Our luck changed, as mist cleared;we stopped at many places to take photos and were deliberately slIMG_1077-1ow. We had lunch and discussed our next plans. Due to mist and elephants, no body was willing to stay a night here. Many options were discussed, finally we decided to walk down to Kaikamba. By 4pm we came down to Kaikamba. Myself and Murali wanted to spend Sunday here in Kodugu, after all we have traveled all the way from Bangalore to here.So  five people headed to Bangalore via Virajpet and five of us went to Bhagamandala via Napoklu.
Tadiyandamol is a perfect one-day trek. And it is a moderate grade trek.
Many thanks for all, who showed interest and participated, all were supportive and sportive throughout the trek.

Visit our Group @ CLICK HERE
Join Bangalore ASCENDers @ CLICK HERE
Written by: Ambareesh Karanth
Event organized by: Ambareesh Karanth
Contributors: Girish V

Image Gallery: Arun,Prasanna Ganapathy,Girish,Kiran,

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Googling has become a favorite hobby of mine and while doing so chanced upon two words Suvarnamukhi and Thottikallu falls.Tried to search more about these pIMG_0072-1laces, but could not find any information and ended up laying my hands on a single photo of Thottikallu falls also called as TK falls from Google Earth. This photo did not show any signs of water and to add more confusion it was marked at more than two different places on Google Earth. So just thought why not to explore these places on our own, also clubbed the plan to explore a huge valley along the Harohalli-Jigani route just on the outskirts of Bannerghatta national park (BNP).Despite the fact that BNP has many valleys only a couple of basic routes are open for trekking.

In the pursuit of finding clear water pools in the valley and to explore lesser known TK falls, we foursome from Bangalore ASCENDers started off on the dawn of 10th October. After some traffic chaos we all met directly at Bannerghatta junction, here we had breakfast at a small darshini. Over hot idli-vadas and steaming cup of coffee, we chatted and got to know one another as we were meeting for the first time. Later on took some lunch parcels and moved on. When enquired with locals for directions to the waterfall they seemed to be clueless. So without any further adduce we took right deviation and started to the falls. From the junction one can continue straight to reach BNP; left deviation goes to Jigani and Anekal and the right deviation will take you to the TK falls.

Roads are in such a bad shape that even commuting in SUV’s can leave the commuters in agony. In-between will find some decewhite_tiger_Bannerghatta-1nt patches of road. After 5kms one crosses a small pond and here’s the deviation to Suvarnamukhi on the left side of the road. one can park vehicles here and take a small trek to the Suvarnamukhi temple built on the top of a small hill over-looking BNP; here’s a small kalyani, nothing much to explore though a small trial from here will take one to the temples situated on the Bannerghatta hill.We came back and started off again to the falls; continuing further for 2 kms one can find a sign board with an arrow indicating to deviate right on the muddy road;after 50mtrs or so forms a T-junction continue straight further down from this junction to meet a larger road and then take a right deviation this will take one to a small temple; here one can park vehicles;a small trial from here will take you to the base of the falls.Right-turn from the junction will take one to the depilated buildings on a hill now been used as the parking lots by the visitors.Be care-full as some of the village-brats steal petrol here; also sometimes local women harass visitors by demanding parking charges, especially when female folks are in the group.

From here a rugged path leads to the valley; further going left on this path will take one to the bottom of the falls. And to our surprise we saw a huge waterfall which we did not expect at all. The deep, wide pools at the bottom and the back-stream of the falls with its wide and expansive surroundings make them exciting swimming pools, besides being an ideal picnic spot. We had a refreshing bath; the water gurgling through the rocks onto the bodies, drowns away mobile beeps and the din of the city.It’s right from a picture postcard and is a must-see, being so close to BNP for its awe-inspiring natural beauty. It also can be a wholesome family experience; at the falls bonding with the family takes place at a deeper level. Waterfall is no less alluring as it tumbles and plunges right into the pools and is an image to behold especially during monsoons.100_6703-2

Visit TK falls revive your jaded spirits and feel rejuvenated.

Clock was ticking 12 and we had many things on the platter; soon we came back to the deviation and headed towards Harohalli on the Kanakpura road after passing through Kaggalipura.After around 25kms we reached the valley but were truly disappointed when we could not see any water in the valley.Hunger pangs were ripping our stomachs apart and thus we stepped into a small village bus-stop and gorged the parceled vegetable Palov.

We had few more hours of day-light left hence decided t102_3931-5o visit Bannerghatta national park. After sometime we could see ourselves lined  up in a queue for the Grand Jungle safari and later on were ushered in a small van to tour the park. This park is spread over a 100 square kilometer, has thick thorny undergrowth and dry deciduous forest teeming with many animals. But the Tiger/Lion safari is most sought-after where the big cats roam free and peer at you quite close by. This date with untamed companions merely lasted for about an hour and then we wandered around the zoo, spent some time speculating on family dynamics of these animals and talking about the interaction between the species.

At last we returned with breadth-taking frames of the journey that just can’t be described in words.

Travel tips:
TK falls is around 7 kms from the Bannerghatta Junction.And around 32 kms from Majestic.
It’s an ephemeral water fall and needs to be visited just after monsoon and before December.
Avoid Sunday’s as the local crowd will be more.                                                       Public transport is not available to the falls.                                                                    At BNP the Grand safari is the best one at 120/-,and zoo is a must visit for kids.
Volvo bus services by BMTC are available from Majestic to Bannerghatta national parkand back.                                                                                                                         
Good restaurants/resorts are available on the periphery of the park.
Check out the Route-Map.

Visit our Group @ CLICK HERE
Join Bangalore ASCENDers @
CLICK HERE

Written by: Mudassar
Event organized by: Mudassar
Image Gallery:
Chandan,Mudassar,Shivshankar,Tulbir

Googling has become a favorite hobby of mine and while doing so chanced upon two words Suvarnamukhi and Thottikallu falls.Tried to search more about these pIMG_0072-1laces, but could not find any information and ended up laying my hands on a single photo of Thottikallu falls also called as TK falls from Google Earth. This photo did not show any signs of water and to add more confusion it was marked at more than two different places on Google Earth. So just thought why not to explore these places on our own, also clubbed the plan to explore a huge valley along the Harohalli-Jigani route just on the outskirts of Bannerghatta national park (BNP).Despite the fact that BNP has many valleys only a couple of basic routes are open for trekking.

In the pursuit of finding clear water pools in the valley and to explore lesser known TK falls, we foursome from Bangalore ASCENDers started off on the dawn of 10th October. After some traffic chaos we all met directly at Bannerghatta junction, here we had breakfast at a small darshini. Over hot idli-vadas and steaming cup of coffee, we chatted and got to know one another as we were meeting for the first time. Later on took some lunch parcels and moved on. When enquired with locals for directions to the waterfall they seemed to be clueless. So without any further adduce we took right deviation and started to the falls. From the junction one can continue straight to reach BNP; left deviation goes to Jigani and Anekal and the right deviation will take you to the TK falls.

Roads are in such a bad shape that even commuting in SUV’s can leave the commuters in agony. In-between will find some decewhite_tiger_Bannerghatta-1nt patches of road. After 5kms one crosses a small pond and here’s the deviation to Suvarnamukhi on the left side of the road. one can park vehicles here and take a small trek to the Suvarnamukhi temple built on the top of a small hill over-looking BNP; here’s a small kalyani, nothing much to explore though a small trial from here will take one to the temples situated on the Bannerghatta hill.We came back and started off again to the falls; continuing further for 2 kms one can find a sign board with an arrow indicating to deviate right on the muddy road;after 50mtrs or so forms a T-junction continue straight further down from this junction to meet a larger road and then take a right deviation this will take one to a small temple; here one can park vehicles;a small trial from here will take you to the base of the falls.Right-turn from the junction will take one to the depilated buildings on a hill now been used as the parking lots by the visitors.Be care-full as some of the village-brats steal petrol here; also sometimes local women harass visitors by demanding parking charges, especially when female folks are in the group.

From here a rugged path leads to the valley; further going left on this path will take one to the bottom of the falls. And to our surprise we saw a huge waterfall which we did not expect at all. The deep, wide pools at the bottom and the back-stream of the falls with its wide and expansive surroundings make them exciting swimming pools, besides being an ideal picnic spot. We had a refreshing bath; the water gurgling through the rocks onto the bodies, drowns away mobile beeps and the din of the city.It’s right from a picture postcard and is a must-see, being so close to BNP for its awe-inspiring natural beauty. It also can be a wholesome family experience; at the falls bonding with the family takes place at a deeper level. Waterfall is no less alluring as it tumbles and plunges right into the pools and is an image to behold especially during monsoons.100_6703-2

Visit TK falls revive your jaded spirits and feel rejuvenated.

Clock was ticking 12 and we had many things on the platter; soon we came back to the deviation and headed towards Harohalli on the Kanakpura road after passing through Kaggalipura.After around 25kms we reached the valley but were truly disappointed when we could not see any water in the valley.Hunger pangs were ripping our stomachs apart and thus we stepped into a small village bus-stop and gorged the parceled vegetable Palov.

We had few more hours of day-light left hence decided t102_3931-5o visit Bannerghatta national park. After sometime we could see ourselves lined  up in a queue for the Grand Jungle safari and later on were ushered in a small van to tour the park. This park is spread over a 100 square kilometer, has thick thorny undergrowth and dry deciduous forest teeming with many animals. But the Tiger/Lion safari is most sought-after where the big cats roam free and peer at you quite close by. This date with untamed companions merely lasted for about an hour and then we wandered around the zoo, spent some time speculating on family dynamics of these animals and talking about the interaction between the species.

At last we returned with breadth-taking frames of the journey that just can’t be described in words.

Travel tips:
TK falls is around 7 kms from the Bannerghatta Junction.And around 32 kms from Majestic.
It’s an ephemeral water fall and needs to be visited just after monsoon and before December.
Avoid Sunday’s as the local crowd will be more.                                                       Public transport is not available to the falls.                                                                    At BNP the Grand safari is the best one at 120/-,and zoo is a must visit for kids.
Volvo bus services by BMTC are available from Majestic to Bannerghatta national parkand back.                                                                                                                         
Good restaurants/resorts are available on the periphery of the park.
Check out the Route-Map.

Visit our Group @ CLICK HERE
Join Bangalore ASCENDers @
CLICK HERE

Written by: Mudassar
Event organized by: Mudassar
Image Gallery:
Chandan,Mudassar,Shivshankar,Tulbir

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Muthyalamaduvu also known as Pearl Valley, is a popular picnic spot situated about 45 km south of Bangalore near Anekal. The gushing stream cascading down from a height of 92 meters offer a stunning sight. The drops of water strewn from the rock surfaces on impact give the appearance of scattering pearls. Hence this name Pearl Valley.

On an early morning of September 26; Saturday four of us from Bangalore ASCENDers team headed toIMG_0071-1wards Pearl Valley. The objective of this mini trek was to exp lore entire valley and ensure if there are any clear water pools, as we were on the look out for a place closer to Bangalore to organize mini/relaxing treks.

We reached Majestic KSRTC bus stand by 7AM to catch a bus to Anekal but were told that the direct buses to Anekal were stopped due to Namma Metro work. So we rushed to KR market to board a private bus from Kalasipalya bus-stand; other option is to catch a BMTC bus from Majestic but this will cost you 2 plus hours; best option is to take your own vehicles. Anekal can be reached via Bannerghatta or Hosur road.

We had a good IMG_0029-1breakfast at not-so-decent Ashoka hotel at Anekal and took parcel for lunch. Muthyalamaduvu is around 6 km from Anekal and auto is the only mode of transport; charges will be anywhere around 60 to 100 rupees each way. Good and the shady roads awaits you as you move out towards Muthyalamaduvu, after few kilometers one need to take a right deviation and this road ends at KSTDC hotel. This lone hotel here opens after 11AM catering to the needs of tourists and is usually full with boozers. There is a public toilet and and an ice-cream parlor too. We reached here by 10AM and there was no-one  around; stone pathway beside the ice-cream parlor takes you into the valley. As we started descending the first dekko was of the breathtaking sun-kissed valley. Pathway leads you to a small Shiva temple; to its opposite side is a small stream like waterfall which is actually the extension of Muthyalamaduvu falls many mistake this to the original falls. A small trial at the front of the temple will take you to the falls it’s hardly 10-15 minutes walk.

Muthyalamaduvu is a multi stage water-fall a sm3955224367_ebc0446540_b-1all trial starts from the left side of the falls and goes all the way to the top; many deviations to right from this main trial goes to the different stages of the waterfall. Every stage has its own beauty the water gurgling through the rocks soothes the body and the soul. Nilgiri plantation is closer to the top of the falls and is a perfect place to while away hot afternoons on a sunny day. Base of the waterfall has enough tree cover and also have a small pond with muddy water were you can build your swimming skills.

It was already 100_6567-112.30PM and we started trekking along the valley to explore, enthusiastic trekkers can trek the entire valley; this valley extends up-to Devarabetta near Harohalli You get to see many muddy water pools along the way. Few shepherd folks who met on the way told us that sometimes they get to see elephants roaming in the valley which has a close proximity to Bannerghatta national park. Valley also has good number of birds and flowers. We could see lots of construction work going on either sides of the valley and also on the top of the falls. Hope this place too is not sacrificed in the name of development.

After exploring for a good distance, as we did not find any clear water pools we headed back to the waterfall. With the mountain air whetting our appetite, we gorged on not so delicious vegetable pulav. After lunch we spent some time sharing our previous trekking experiences with each other. By 3.30PM we were back at the hotel bid goodbye to the valley and boarded an Auto to reach Anekal.Caught a BMTC bus and arrived at Majestic and later I reached Vijayanagar around 7PM.

This ended a picturesque day spent amongst verdant surroundings and a beautiful waterfall away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Travel Tips:                                                                                                                   Taking own vehicles is a prudent option.                                                                            Beware of the monkeys around the hotel.                                                                           This place is also known for birding and trekking.                                                         This is a seasonal waterfall best time to visit is just after monsoon till the end of November.                                                                                                                          Good place to spend a day out with family especially kids.  

Travel expenses:

Bangalore to Anekal and back by Bus 30/-
Anekal to Pearl Valley by Auto 25/-
Pearl Valley to Anekal by Auto 15/-
Breakfast and Lunch 35/-
City transport 20/-
Miscellaneous 25/-
Total cost per head 150/-

Visit our Group @ CLICK HERE
Join Bangalore ASCENDers @
CLICK HERE

Written by: Mudassar
Event organized by: Mudassar
Image Gallery:

Ram,Pranjal,Mudassar

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

          My previous write-up ,on OG, was all about real life adventure, trauma, uncertainty & deep forests. On the contrary, this is all about serene beauty, the calmness of the sea, the colours of the sand, and of course the scorching sun.

        Ankola and Gokarna are two coastal towns in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.This trek is one half of the Golden route trek which is from Belikeri (near Ankola) to Honnavara. The Ankola- Gokarna trek (henceforth referred to as A-G Trek) will start from Belikere which is about 30 mins from Ankola with the local transport and end at Gokarna which forms the mid point of the golden route and is sandwiched between the Gangavalli and Agnashini river mouths. This is an ideal monsoon trek for those who are willing to enjoy the pristine beaches & walk in a drizzle.

       Taking you back to the OG trek, if you remember, we did have a talk on forming a professional & non-profit group which would organize frequent treks for all the enthused in & around Bangalore. Roughly 4 months later, we had our group formed with 20 core members. This A-G trek was the first trek organized by the group & apparently, I happened to be the organiser for the trek.

        It was decided to embark on this trek, on the 15th & 16th of August. By this time, our group had a 100+ member base and it was imperative to have a trek at the earliest, to keep the confidence of the new members alive. Invitations were sent out to all the members eventually resulting in 20 people registering for the trek including 8 core members.All the core members, had their role tagged for the trek.Satish-Logistics, Mudassar-Navigator & Path finder, Naveen-Food Manger, Sashi -Photographer, Jayloknath & KB-Sweepers. Although the remaining members did not have specific roles, they were expected to chip in with their might as &when it was required .The following was the final list of participants for this trek.  DSC_1523

1. Mudassar 11. Varun
2. Satish- (Professional) 12. Chandan
3. Jayloknath 13. Vishal
4. Krishna Bhat (KB) 14. Balaji
5. Naveen 15. Triveni (Shashi’s wife)
6. Ajay- (Technical) 16. Deepthi
7. Karthik 17. Vishal
8. Shashi 18. Pankaj
9. Ramprasad 19. Neeraj
10. Adarsh 20. Roopa( Pankaj’s wife)

      Once the participants list was finalised, we zeroed in on Sugama Travels for booking both the onward & the return journey.Satish  handled the booking of tickets. On the night of departure , some of the participants boarded the bus from Majestic & the others from the Rajajinagar 1st block office.It was close to 10pm when everybody settled down in their seats, thanks to Satish for handling the seat allotments based on the participants’ marital status. He made sure couples were not separated in the process & also got one of them a sleeper birth:):):)

       It was a roller coaster ride to Ankola to say the least. The bad condition of the roads coupled with the driver’s apathy towards the occupants made the journey a bad one.After reaching Ankola at around 8:45, we chose to use the public toilets to finish our morning chores. It took some money to get all the toilets cleaned for usage. Although it wasn’t the cleanest of the place, it wasn’t bad though. All the lady participants along with their hubbies were asked to use the facilities at the church nearby ( 500mts from the bus stand). 

      After having our breakfast at Hotel Sapna which is another 0.5 kms from the church, we again IMG_0011headed towards the bus stand to catch a bus to Belikere. The area around the bus stand was bustling with school children doing an independence day march. It appeared as though the entire area was painted with colours of the tri-colour. It was past 10:00 am before we caught the bus to Belikere. RDSCN1968eaching Belikere at 10:45, we assembled ourselves beneath a tree at the open space facing the beach. The next 15 mins was spent in briefing the participants about the day’s schedule, our targets & were we would be camping for the night. There was a small introductory session from each of the participants so that everyone was aware of their co-participants.We kicked off the trek by taking a group picture after getting down to the beach, through a small hillock from the place we assembled.

        We started to walk along the Kini beach which is app.4 kms long & luckily the clouds had taken control of the situation . The overcast conditions made the walk slightly DSC_1577comfortable on a rather humid day. With the shoes tied to our backpacks, the bare foot walk was awesome with the waves splashing on to our feet every now & then. This walk along the beach went on for a couple of hours, enjoying the scenic beauty around, the calmness of the sea & the constantly singing waves.  We decided to take a break & sat along the stone ridge bordering the beach. With dark clouds hovering above us, we were expecting a round of rains shortly.

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Eventually it turned out to be a passing cloud which chose not to play a spoil sport to our journey. We sat there for about 15 mins with some of them clicking pictures & a few of them walking into the waters. I chose to walk into the waters & stand there for a while thinking of my fiancé:(:( Forgot to mention that I was recently engaged then & it took quite an effort from my side to convince people back home to be a part of this trek. I had an earful of do’s & don'ts especially from my fiancé. After a well deserved break, we chose to continue on our trail & decided we would be breaking next for lunch.

        After crossing over a hillock which was facing the vast expanse of paddy fields, we reached a small hamlet called  Nabithoda . We decided to break here for lunch. It was 2’o clock by the time we sat over for lunch at Mr. Gopal’s residence. This hamlet is a settlement of the fisher folks & they were kind enough to spare their courtyard as our make-shift dining hall. DSC04562We had a good lunch with Satish making us laugh to his one liners. The menu was high on the MTR ready to eat stuffs. We then filled our water bottles at a nearby hand pump for the rest of the journey. It was a long walk from here on along the beach. People like Chandan, Balaji, Adarsh who were enthusiastic about photography, spent few minutes every now & then clicking pictures that tickled their imagination & creativity. Also one gets to see a large number of boats parked in line which are either ready to venture into the sea or have come back from the sea after their day’s catch. There were heaps of fishes & other sea life like shrimps , mussels & lobsters, being segregated from the catch. When we spoke to some of the fisher folks, we got to know about their difficulties in getting the right amount of money for their efforts. Sympathizing them, we continued to walk until we reached a relatively large expanse of water which was supposed to be crossed by a boat. This is a point where the fresh water meets the sea. IMG_0082 After deciding on the price for ferrying us across the river as 100Rs,  the boat man ferried across 5 of us at a time.

          The crossing of this river took about 15-20 mins . It was well past 3:30 then and we stDSCN2123arted climbing another hillock adjacent to the river. This path entered into a total green cover which resembled a Nilgiri plantation. We were surprised to see this kind of a vegetation at the very place. Also, there were trees resembling the Pine, one gets to see en-route to Ooty or Kodai. It was relatively cool here. There was a small stream running as well. It’s a perfectly designed place for the night camp.

  Entrance to Belambara village is a small beach which can be reached climbing a series of steps built into a hillock effectively separating the beach into two. Immediately after coming down the steps, we were presented with a beautiful sight of the river flowing into the sea  in a small stream.  We had to cross this stream to reach the other side of the beach.  IMG_0147

        Although  it was a small stream, it ran deep enough to rise above the waist. It was mandatory for us to use a rope for crossing . I made a bold attempt to cross with out a rope as somebody had to reach the other side to hold the rope for people to cross. Some people did balance themselves across but others held on to the rope & came across. These are small instances where team effort comes into picture. IMG_0587 We then walked along to reach the road which led us to the Belambara Government School ( of course with a bit of help from  the locals). It was well past 4:30 when we reached the school premises and were in for a shock when the school authorities refused to allow us camp there for the night. Any amount of pleading would fall on to the deaf ears of the authorities.They cited security reasons for their refusal. We were also told to try our luck at Bascode Primary School which was another 7-8 kms. We decided to take a bus to Bascode.After refreshing ourselves with Kokum juice (was available in small packets), we boarded the bus. It dropped us at Bascode around 6:00 pm from where we again had to walk for a couple of kms to reach the school. On the way, we bumped into some people who knew the head mistress personally. One among them was Mr. Ravi (actively involved in the local political scenario) , who volunteered to find us some accommodation at the community hall within the school premises.He along with KB (is fluent with the local Kannada) left to meet the Head Mistress and others walked to reach the school. It was already dark then & after a bit of waiting, KB along with Mr.Ravi came there rather disappointed with the fact that the Head Mistress was apprehensive in letting out the community hall ( attributed to the committee president’s refusal) but had no problems in allowing us to use the school corridor. We took what ever came our way & were glad to have got some kind of a shelter for the night. Mr. Ravi also made arrangements for the female trekkers to spend the night at his sister’s place right opposite to the school. A-G1_Collage

         Having found some shelter, folks were eager to have a good shower before they had their dinner & slipped into a slumber. This also was made possible with few of them using  the taps in the school premises & others finding solace from the well water at Ravi’s sister place. Few pots of water were fetched from the well for us to prepare soups & boil our MTR packets. We had the power packed dinner & went off to sleep biding adieu to a rather eventful & tiring day,  looking forward to the day ahead.

     The next day began with people waking up early to find a place for their morning rituals. Some even walked for a kilometer to find the right place. The roadside bore well came in handy for brushing & washing ( face of course!!!). After having our breakfast & clicking a few pics on the school premises, we continued our journey to reach Gokarna  by late afternoon. We took some time to thank Mr. Ravi and his sister’s family profusely for their help. Keeping in line with the group’s policy of leaving no trace, we did make it a point to clean up the entire place & restore it to its original form. It was 8:00 AM when we started from the school.

         We walked along the dusty roads of  Bascode on a rather sunny day in comparison to the day before.  There was a slight change in the route plan as we had deviated from Belambara to Bascode ( a good 7 kms). We were also told by the locals to visit the HONEY Beach for its pristine beauty which was one of the major attractions. One the way we did meet meet a folk by name Nagaraj who was more than happy to explain us the benefits of a climber  called AMRITHA BALLI which is abundant in this part & is in great demand in the cities because of its curing capacity for a disease like diabetes. After an hour, we reached a Yoke. IMG_0152 With the help of some locals for direction, we took the road facing our right which would take us to the Honnebailu Beach or the HONEY Beach. We had already walked for a couple of hours & the time was 10:00AM then. It took us another  couple of hours to reach the point where we could see a sign board which showed the way to the beach. The walk was pretty tiring as the sun was beating on us. The Honey Beach as it is popularly known, is a small one with the sand colour resembling the colour of honey. It was around 12 in the noon when we reached the beach. The entry is ideally through the resort situated on a hill facing the beach. The fact that the beach is pretty isolated and fortified with hills on one side has probably helped the resort to attract a small number of people who would like to spend their weekend in a serene & quiet environment. A series of steps from the resort leads you into the beach. A-G2-1The next two hours were spent in & out of the water by some members & the others spent trying their skills in photography. A few of the folks had their lunch at the resort restaurant while the others decided to have it after reaching Gokarna. We started again from the honey beach well past 2:00 in the afternoon & planned to reach Gokarna by 4:00 PM. This period was really tiring as we had to trek along slightly treacherous path on the hills. We had to repeatedly go in search of  man made paths for easy maneuvering. The Sun was taking its toll on everybody. It was Khan’s turn to fall ill again, reminding us of the OG Trek. He started to throw up with signs of dehydration.Any way he had to hold up till we reached Gokarna.We took mini breaks in between refreshing ourselves with fluids.We had to roam around a bit in the hills before we reached the banks of the AGANASHINI river at a place called Manjuguni. DSC05109It is a point were the river flows into the sea.  This time we had to ferry across the river to reach the other side. The ferry was at 4:00 pm. We had to cross the fisher folk's settlements to reach the place from where we could get on to the ferry. We paid 10.00 Rs per head and  got on to the ferry.

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We abandoned the idea of walking along the beach from the other side to reach Gokarna since most of us were burnt out. There was a consensus reached on taking the bus instead. We had to wait for another half hour for the bus, during which the small shop selling tender coconuts made a brisk business.

At 4:30 we got into a mini bus which was packed to the hilt en route to Gokarna. After reaching Gokarna, we checked into a lodge and had a relaxing shower. Later some found their way into some restaurants & others took the temple route & visited the famous Lord Ganesh & Lord Shiva temple.  We boarded the Bus to Bangalore at 7:00 pm to reach here the next morning. We had a good sleep & luckily the bus driver was kind enough to take us through the bad roads rather carefully!!!!

      All said and done it was a nice trek to start with for Bangalore Ascenders as a group. There were a few glitches in between to be rectified as far as the organising & conducting of a trek goes, but was a learning experience for all the core members.There were moments of agony in between but finally ALL’s WELL END’S WELL………..

Things to note:                                                                                                                  1. A-G trek is good for first time trekkers.                                                                       2. Sunscreen lotion & a lengthy rope is a must.

Expenses ( Exclusive of food):

Bangalore to Ankola-Bus

410/-

Gokarna to Bangalore-Bus

400/-

Ankola to Belekeri- Bus

7/-

Belambara to Bascode           

4/-

River Crossing ( 2 places)      7/-
Mini bus from Manjuguni to Gokarna         5/-
Total Expenses

833/-

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Written by:Ramprasad                                                                                                          Organized by:Ramprasad                                                                                                     Image Gallery:

Satish, Balaji, Sashi, Ram, Ajay, Chandan-1, Chandan-2, Adarsh