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Monday, September 2, 2013

Written by Shamanth:
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Charmadi ghat is around 300 KMs drive from Bangalore. It is a part of Western Ghats and located in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada district. It is a unique place as you can find variety of rare medicinal plants and rare animal species in the world. But for a nature lover, this Ghat is just a package of unlimited natural beauty. The real beauty of Charmadi can be seen only during the monsoon season. My First two day trek with BASC.

The Tempo Traveller reached Madiwala Total Mall around 10:45pm. With all our trekking gears, we got into the TT and settled down in convenient seats. We started off with cheers and enthusiasm. We got introduced to one another and started off with the usual dumb charades. Meanwhile, all of us filled up the BASC indemnity form and handed over them to Patrick. We played until it was 00:30am and we then decided to rest our body. crop 1
We reached mudigere around 6:00 am in the morning and it was too early for a bath. We had to climb down from the place where our TT was parked to see the waterfall. But when all of us saw the water fall, we were ready to get all wet. The water jumps from almost 50ft high and we easily got wet before we could even enter the water. The waterfall was furious making roaring sound and it resisted us getting too close to it. We went as close as we could go and played there was sometime.
After the chill bath, I noticed that one leech was ready to suck my blood, but I wasn't ready to donate any. Chandan lent me salt which I let the leech taste some after which it agreed to fall off my feet.1011567_10201602759009327_964066588_n Later we climbed up, got ready and started our first day trek with mindset of covering at least three peaks.
We started around 7:30 am and as we entered the backwoods, we were welcomed by many leeches; and each one of us helping the other in getting rid off them. We had to walk almost 2 to 3 KMs through a village to reach the base camp. We could find a lots of leeches and as soon as you stop, 3 to 5 leeches easily cling on your shoes. Everyone paused here and there checking for any leeches and getting rid off them.
We reached the base camp, and took rest for 5 minutes meanwhile Patrick was enquiring a villager about wild animals we could encounter on the way. After the starters/sweepers were chosen, we started around 8:30am marching towards the first peak (Ramakallu Gudda). With the help of GPS,  Patrick started leading us all to Peak 1 which is 1467 meters above the sea level.1796_10201602765889499_2085779653_n
                                                                      Peak 1
The pathway was fairly easy but too steep and very tiring too. After trekking for almost an hour and half or so, it was time for breakfast. We stopped at a place where we found tree shade. We rested there for 5 minutes and then started having breakfast. As planned, all of them had got their breakfast and all of us shared it. Rajesh had got a container full of tomato curry which was very tasty and could contend everyone of us.
The peak was covered with fog and we were attracted towards conquering it. Without wasting much time, we started off soon after our breakfast. Even though the weather was cool and pleasant, we were all sweating as our path was getting more steeper towards the peak. Finally we conquered peak 1 at around 11:30am.  It looked like Peak 1 is not explored by many as it was clean and plastic free. We also couldn't find any man made path uphill the peak.
We could see layers and layers of mountains in the far distance and I would say, those who manage to rise high, rise above the clouds, can enjoy the magnificent view of western Ghats. We took lot of pics with different poses and different backgrounds. In fact we could even see Windows XP background look like view on the top. We definitely needed lot of rest here to re-energize ourselves. During the rest period, Akshata gave us all cucumber that rejuvenated our energy. With the group pic on the top, we started to descend down. As mentioned, Peak 1 was quiet steep and we had to carefully climb down. Finally, we reached the base camp around 1:30pm. IMG_20130831_105345 
We walked towards the village and filled our water bottles as soon as we found a tap. It was lunch time and we settled in a suitable place. But soon, it started pouring and one of the villager offered us shelter. We all went insider their home and comforted ourselves. Again everyone of us shared our lunch and the villager offered us ghee. After our peaceful lunch session, we thanked her and left the village for conquering the second peak.
Again with the help of GPS and Patrick's experience, Patrick lead us to Peak 2 which is around 1200 meters above sea level. Again we could find lots of leeches and as we ascended and came out of moist land towards grasslands, it was free of leeches.
                                                                                       Peak 1 with peak 2 & 3 in the background
With little effort, we easily conquered peak 2. We took rest for 15 minutes, took few snaps and finally took the group pic. To conquer peak 2, we had to jump over the forest fence and ascend for almost an hour.                     1240004_10201602769289584_1860928647_n                                                               Peak 2
Seemed like peak 2 too is known only to a few. It was 3:30 pm and we were all exhausted but ready to conquer one another peak. After taking the majority opinion and later convincing others, we started towards peak 3. Similar to peak 2, we had to enter the forest by crossing the fence. It took us less than 30 minutes and there we were on top of peak 3.Had a wonderful feeling of satisfaction after covering 3 peaks in a day .IMG_20130831_160815                                                            Peak 3
After spending a while on peak 3, we decided to descend through the Jeep track. As soon as we crossed the fence, it started drizzling and getting dark too. To avoid getting late and putting ourselves into trouble, we briskly walked on the Jeep path towards the village.
DSC06358                                                      View of  Peak 1 from peak 2
It took us nearly 2 and half hours to reach the place where our TT was parked. Few folks went and took a dip in the water fall while others chose to rest. When everyone of us had arrived at the common point, we started towards Charmadi Village which is around 1 hour drive from Mudigere. Most of us slept while Patrick and Rajesh were busy figuring out the place where we had to halt.
We stopped at a restaurant where we met our second day trek guide. He suggested us a nearby temple where we could spend our night. Few of us stayed at the restaurant while others went to check out the temple. Meanwhile, we at the restaurant refreshed the whole day event and ate chakuli. When others were back, each one of us ordered variety of dinner like Parota, Neer Dosa, Kerala meals and shared amongst ourselves. After the dinner, we went straight to temple. The temple premises was tidy and was peaceful since the temple was quiet far from the village. Everyone started to settle down and rest while Patrick, Rajesh and myself went to checkout the place for fire camp. After finding a clean place for camping, we came back and informed others. In spite of being tired, all were excited about the fire camp. We had taken corn and potato and with the help of camp fire, each one of us helped roasting the corn and potato.
Corn tasted well but potatoes were not that great. We sung songs, danced for sometime and then left to temple to take complete rest.
Second day:
Early in the morning on the second day, we heard something. We heard a group of boys exercising in the temple premises? They weren't the regular exercises, few exercises were being played in the form of games. Along with getting ready for the second day event, we started gazing at their games. It was getting late, but we couldn't take our eyes away. With the help of fuel tablet, Chandan and Rajesh prepared hot vegetable soup and we all enjoyed the early morning hot soup. We packed up all our things and kept them in the TT. After all were done, we took a group snap in temple and went to the restaurant for breakfast. After the breakfast, we ordered pushkar(rice bath) for lunch and took it with us.
We started off from the restaurant around 9:30 am in the morning. This time Rajesh chose lead and Patrick chose to sweep.  We could find more number of leeches compared to the previous day. The path was dense and only little sun light entered. 563488_10201602774809722_1254135105_n
We walked for about an hour fighting leeches on the way and came out of the dense woods to check that lots of leeches on our legs. Everyone were busy removing their shoes and checking for leeches and we found that most of them had many leech bites. Then as suggested by the guide, we mixed coconut oil with tobacco powder and applied on our legs and shoes. 
Then without resting there, we moved again into the thick dense woods. There was no path at all and the guide made some marks on the trees with his machet to help identify the path we came from. While trekking, we heard water stream nearby. Few of us went there, washed our faces and then later filled our water bottles. The water was cool and it contended our thirst.
We trekked for almost two hours and came out of the dense forest region. We were already so tired and the sun was on our head. We rested under little shade for a while here. We could see the peak from here and Patrick now chose to lead us. Without wasting much time, Patrick, Chiranjeevi, ChandanIMG_4334 and Jijo moved towards the peak. Sometime later, myself, Swetha, Shaunak followed them while others rested.
The path started becoming more and more interesting and we could see the other beautiful part of Western Ghats. The peak looked close by but infact it was quiet far. We ascended for almost an hour and half and I was so glad to reach the peak first. We made it through all the obstacles with great energy and enthusiasm. It was 1:30 pm when myself, Chiranjeevi and Patrick reached. One after the other everyone started coming and we started clicking photographs with different poses and different backgrounds.Just got lost in the scenic beauty all around the place.For me it was like a wonderful painting. 1229854_10201602775689744_1028574875_n
                                                    Peak 4 (Erikallu gudda)
Patrick later discovered that we could go towards other part of the peak through a small cave. After having lunch, we explored that and it started raining heavily as soon as we reached the cave. IMG_20130901_142413
We took shelter of the cave from rain and took snaps here. The rain stopped after sometime and it already 3:00 pm. We finally decided to descend and Patrick chose to lead again. We took around 45 minutes to carefully reach the woods. Our guide was waiting for us here.
Few folks who didn't have their lunch at the peak took some time to have it meanwhile others were resting. After their lunch, we entered the thick woods. The path was slippery as it had rained and we had to be even more careful. We climbed down for almost an hour and it started pouring very heavily. We didn't have any shelter there and we had to trek in the rain and it was getting dark too.
Trekking now became more exciting, we used our rain ponchos and walked briskly without worrying about leeches at all. We lost our path once but soon we found it back. We had to keep each other is sight as anybody could get lost and finding path to the base camp would be very difficult. We trekked in rain for almost an hour and half. It stopped raining as we got closer to the base camp and we were all happy to have made it. 556338_10201602779929850_1312685771_n
We reached the restaurant around 6:30 pm and went to the temple we stayed in for an after trek bath. After getting freshened, we planned to go to Dharmastala which is around 25 KMs. Few chose be around  parking.The temple was about to close and luckily we got the dharshan of Sri Dharmastala Manjunatha Swamy.
We had our dinner in a nearby restaurant and left for Bangalore around 10:30 pm. Everyone was tired after fun filled two day trekking and we rested until we reached Bangalore. Around 5:00 am in the morning, we reached Bangalore. After dividing the left over money amongst ourselves, we all departed at suitable points.  IMG_20130901_124552
Thanks to BASC and Patrick  for organizing such a memorable trek and others for making it fun filled and exciting. Finally its BASC the first among all to discover these hidden beauty inside the charmadi Ghats.I assure you that you wont even find blogs about these peaks.
Dates:31/8 & 1/9 2013
Organizer: Patrick.
Participants: Rajesh, Akshata, Kiran, Chiranjeevi, Chandan, Ajay, Shamanth, Shaunak, Jijo, Swetha, Partrick, Arun, Shiva.
Writeup: Shamanth Prem Kumar.
Image galleries:sivaraj,shaunuk , Ajay Somal,jijo
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