Wednesday, May 02, 2007

One night on SkandaGiri


All week long I tread the customary life… I crib, I swear, I binge, I ogle, I flare and during this weekend, I FORGOT.
At 2:30am, as my feet firmly perched the loose mud and rock, even as the backpack slipped down to the ground, I forgot my mediocre life, some 800ft below me. My limbs forgot the strain of the 3 hour trek to the top. I forgot my orientation as my eyes closed, leaving my bare chest to brave the gust of wind, threatening to blow me off the cliff. I forgot time, I forgot pain, I forgot myself and I, was at peace.

Back to Basics is the informal group of ‘Mafoi’tes, ex-Mafoites and friends who attempt to get back to basics over weekends. As a friend of a ex-Mafoite (read Raghu), I got invited (I have this feeling thou, that it was my bullet that got invited, Raghu needed the ride more than the rider).
At ground zero, confusion was rampant. The meeting time changes from 6pm to 6:30, the meeting point changes from opp Columbia Asia hospital to Sanjay Dhaba, the no. of trekkers go up to 22. And with a group as large as 22, even a dinner stop at Sangeeta dhaba meant crisscross of calls among the 2 bullets, 3 bikes and 3 cars, stoppages and more stoppages. Roti, daal, egg burgi and fried rice were served in buckets at Sangeeta dhaba.
To reach Skandagiri, proceed on NH7 towards Devanahalli and Chikballapur, take a left turn (at the Vishveshwaraih statue) towards the Town Police station. About 1-1.5 km take a right turn at the municipal hall, another 5-6kms will take you to Om Kara Jyothi Ashram, in all about 60 odd kms from Bangalore.
We reached the ashram at 11pm. Bhaskar struck a deal with a localite Govinda to guide us to the top. The group was an unusual mix of fit and not-so-fit guys and gals. We were trekking in the night with torches and moonlight. A small sub-team of Bhasker and others lost their way and could only join us because of the mobile network.
The trek itself involved climbing up mud and loose rock and some serious steep rock climbing too.
I was kinda irritated with the behavior of the larger group, chattering loudly and polluting the soothing silence the hills have to offer. In stark contrast to my previous trek to KP, where we made it a point not so much as to even speak, the campfire was not considered at all.
I took off ahead with the ol’ guide for a brief stretch and fell back sometimes all in an effort to find the silence back. As the night grew on, an ancient fort came into view. We trekked around the fort to the top, to a temple, the breeze welcomed us. I stood for what seemed like a infinite length of time taking in as much as I could. My shirt was off by now, with my arms outstretched, I only needed a pair of wings (or better still, a Kate to complete the scene a la The Titanic).
Leaving the others to fight out a campfire, Raghu and I settled into our sleeping bags to make most of the couple of hours left for sun up. (I like the sound of ‘sun up’).
I woke up at 530 hoping for a cloudy sunrise. With my chotu tripod and the Nikon S10, I captured some good pics of the sunrise. Cameras snapped to frame the spectacular landscape; we started the descent at 7am.
We descended following a steeper, shorter route. Raghu, Divya, Ssomething (right, I forgot her name too) and I were together for most of the climb down. We managed to find our way down, amidst shrubs, thorns, dead ends, strained calf muscles and broken toe nails.
Raghu and I had a quick breakfast of bread dipped in jam and took off quickly to cover the 70kms home. My butt settling on the leather of the bullet’s saddle was the most pleasurable feeling in all morning.

Fotos are available at: http://pics-by-manoj.fotopic.net/c1269363.html

3 comments:

Naveen Javarappa said...

Manoj,
Good to read about your escapades. Do you ever spend a weekend at home? I bet you dont! Good going, dude.

santhosh said...

hi there,

good post..hey i heard that they are not allowing for a night trek now a days..do you have any information regarding this please let me know. if incase you have any contact number that might help please pass it on.

Regards,
Santhosh

Stone said...

yeah we are planning to trek up there and catch the morning sun...any idea if we can still trek at night? your help would be greatly appreciated....