Live interaction with BASC Team & Members - 2nd May 2020

Monday, June 27, 2011

“... Maheshwari-ge namane... blah blah” blared the stereo systems of the white bus at 5 am on the 25th of June 2011, rudely and deafeningly shaking awake the 22 souls who had settled for a deep sleep inside it. We had reached Kalathigiri informs the driver, with considerable glee (from having jerked us out from our sleep, I presume :| ). And hence began the two day trek in Kemmangundi...
Kalahatti falls is very beautiful, all the more so if you visit it in the June-July season when the coffee plantations (interspersed with tall trees) that you need to walk through come alive after the ceaseless drizzles  that the place gets in this season. The trek to this beautiful falls begins from the Veerabhadra temple, a legendary temple supposed to haveIMG_2603 been built during the Vijayanagar times. We followed the water stream that flows in front of this temple uphill for a few kilometers to reach the Kalahatti falls, which is made by waters that flow across the supposedly medicinal Bhadra forests when they fall from a staggering height of about 400 feet from the ground. The falls is quite unlike any other that one may have visited in the sense that it has the water falling in a weird way, quite like streams of watery needles being shot down.
We trekked in fairly good time, considering that most of the 22 member team were near novices. The climb was fun, but falls was certainly the cream of it all. Most of us got into the water despite the bone-chilling temperature of the water and the sharp rocks that the water fell onto. Nithya and Vinay, I remember, never got into water. Guys, you really missed it! Trust me! Jinu had forewarned that going shirtless was a bad idea, but there were many brave guys who experimented that all the same. The small fishes in the pool of water below, the rainbow, the winds that increased the pressure of the fallDSC02606 s, the beautiful green spread of trees in the front... Well, bless nature!
We took an alternative route downhill and since it was slippery, most of us slipped and slided, much to the amusement and entertainment of the rest of us (I saw Sravanthi fall and do a small slide down... was hilarious :D )! And then, a few of us folks (Mahesh, Vishnu, Yogesh, Sreeni, Sravanthi, etc) who were going ahead happily got lost and took some other route and ended up reaching the base earlier than the others. I heard the other team again got split and all of them came down in different batches. A heavy tasty lunch (and multiple cups of tea, in Mayuri's case) later, we found ourselves on the way to Kemmangundi.
Kemmangundi dormitory. Looks fairly like a cross between ancient cottages and recent guest houses and is covered with so much moss, one could say it was nearly camouflaged! We reached the dorms at around 3 pm, and I suppose most guys just hit the bed. Sra, Jinu and I went for a casual stroll, and it was fun. We were just in time to start to the Kemmangundi Horticultural gardens, or, to be more honest, to their canteen!
We reached the canteen (with Jinu shuttling many times, unfortunately) in time for a nice evening tea / coffee. And then it started raining. The rain never stopped. That was the end of our plans for the evening, or so we thought until some blessed creature suggested we could play dumb charades!
I bet the canteen guy would've thrown us out, had we not been keeping hsi business up by ordering those yummy hot spicy chilly bajjis and beverages every now and then! The amount of noise we made!! And the sort of movie names people came up with!! (I'm looking up that Salim langda stuff x-( , Ashwini, really!!) With Bernard trying to get us spit out an Albert Pinto, Hasnain trying to get his team say Julie-and-Julia and Amith doing that ridiculous Jal-bin-machli-Nritya-bin-bijli sending us into splits of laughter, I'm sure the dumb charades is what really broke the ice between us. And then there was Phani with his Lemony Snicket's!! I think he could have gone on forever had it not been for Nithya and Ashwini! And yeah, while we were at it, the eskimos (Suresh and Vinay, I suppose) and a few others went out with Jinu to see the gardens. I never asked them how it was! How was it, guys?
The plan was that we would wake up early next morning, say at 5, check if it was raining and then continue sleeping if it was or go to Z-point if it wasn't. Thankfully for us, it wasn't.DSC02663 So, Z-point it was. After an early morning tea / coffee session and some spicy news about Phani's 'Who-let-the-dogs-in' episode, we left for the Z-point. Z-point is about an hour trek from our dorms; it is an extraordinary sight in this season with the powerful gusts that are sure to pin you down if you don't sit down (like Jinu got tired of saying to many people including Faizal, Nithya, Vinay, Karthik, Suresh and so many others); it is a leech-predominant territory (much to leech-terminator / leech-yamaraj a.k.a Bernard's delight and to Nithya and Phani's dismay). The trek was beautiful, with those jeep tracks giving way to the narrow slippery paths (where the priority abruptly shifts from saving your feet from leeches to saving y our ass from falling off the cliff, hence the name of the write-up... *brain-wave courtesy: Vinay :D ) and the valley-filled-with-clouds view everywhere. The Shanti falls that comes halfway through the trek looked great though we never halted there. But the sad part was that due to the winds and the dismal visibility we never negotiated the Z-point fully. However, the tradeoff was fair, I suppose, because the sensation of being overpowered by the winds was worth anything! I wish Yogesh hadn't got fever, for I'm sure he'd have loved this trek! Bad luck, buddy...
After returning to the canteen to consume a breakfast of hot idlies and vada, we rushed back to the dorms to pack up and move out. While SanjaDSC02687 na was busy negotiating and nursing a nasty leech bite, the rest of us got the luggage stocked up in the bus and we geared up for the Hebbe with as little to carry as possible (with the exception of packets of salt and snuff, maybe :| ). Most of us even chose to get drenched over carrying rain jackets or umbrellas! Led by Jinu, a pack of dogs and us started out for Hebbbe. A 13 km jeep track exists to Hebbe, but we took a couple of shortcuts that effectively reduced the distance to about 7-8 km. The fog was thick, the wind was chilly, the rain was persistant and the spirit of life was flourishing everywhere. Even the dogs seemed as excited as us! So were the innumerable leeches that got to feed themselves. Nithya's phenomenal leech dance, leech breaks and leech weapons were put to the best of use, I hope...  The trek was downhill and was fun. The few of us who survived to overcome the panic Jinu tried to create about his mysterious 'alternative shortcut'  took that route, and I must say, I'd pin this decision down as one of the best decisions of my life! :D Beautiful slope, and the perfectly lined plantations made the sight picture perfect.
Hebbe is breathtaking. It must be, considering it falls in two stages (Dodda Hebbe and Chikka Hebbe) from a height of 551 feet! A majestic piece of aquatic work placed in the serenity of a lush green backdrop... That's Hebbe Falls for you. The pool of water below that the Hebbe leaves is not very deep in most regions affording everybody the luxury of safely climbing right to the foot of the fall. And those who could swim made the most of their skill here! Feeling the force and the pressure that the falls exerts is quite an experience in itself. I'm sure the puppy Faizal managed to 'help' agrees, eh, Faizal? :D
Climbing up was not quite as easy as climbing down the hill, as most of us found out later. And the fact that the water had made starved hungry folks of us didn't quite improve the situation. The tea-break near the base of the hill which we were supposed to climb was splendid. It was probably here that Suresh gained his 'Leech-Brahma' title when he repeatedly tried rescuing the poor creatures from the torture unleashed by the terminator. Anyway, eventually all of us made it uphill (taking Jinu's steep route this time). And then the hunger started.
The bread-omelettes never could taste better. Neither could tea. The packets of snacks from various people's bag were emptied in a matter of seconds and if anybody were to make a documentary showing similaritieIMG_2858s between hungry wolves catching prey and hungry people eating food, then this is where they should've shot it! Corn mixture, groundnuts, chips packets, kodubale, kobri burfi, Perk, dry fruits, EVERYTHING, ANYTHING!
The fog at any given instant of time in this season make sure you lose track of time. Morning  5 am looks nearly the same as 12 noon or like 5 pm. But the visibility was getting poor. Much poorer than normal, and that meant serious concern for the bus driver. He suggested we should start immediately and that's exactly what we did, started back without halting for lunch in Kemmangundi.
The return journey started with a ungodly chorus of antyakshari. Special mention must be made of Ashok for the wonderful songs he sang. Amith, Vishnu and Nithya were on a roll... I think somebody even gave a brief lecture to poor Vijay who tried to catch a few winks of sleep. The drive was going with perfect sanity until somebody started with teasing Sreeni for something. One thing led to another and to be very brief and not very explicit, a lot of people ended up getting a lot of nick-names including ISI bombers, chemical weapons, ISI agents, Osamas and Obamas, TV9 reporters, AXE effect, etc. This went on till the bus driver decided it had gone far enough and played the “Hale patre, hale kabna” song.
We eventually arrived at Chikmanglur, which was a welcome news as it meant food. A heavy dinner followed by the Mysore Pak that Jinu bought us was all one could hope for at that hour. A bumpy slow ride with a few breaks brought us back to namma Bengaluru at 3:30 am. Majestic bus stop was not deserted even at that hour! People are sure busy in Bengaluru... Anyway, thus ended the Kemmangundi trek.
IMG_2808 I don't know about others, but I enjoyed the trek thoroughly. So I may probably be excused for the abnormally long write-up as well. (And just so I may add to Bernard, Amith and Sreeni, I as good as volunteered for write-up :D ; Not for carrying non-existant ropes and not for some other random volunteering stuff). Thanks folks. Brilliant trip. Refreshing company and a gentleman of an organizer! Cheers to all! :)
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Written by: Aparana
Event organized by: Jinu John
Image Galleries:
Jinu, Suresh, Vishnu, Bala, Faizal

1 comment :

  1. These are some amazing photographs...very well articulated.... I trekked to hebbe falls and loved it...