Much awaited dayoff..
Hmm.. It was thrilling, sensational, adventurous trip to Chikmaglur, the last outing of year 2009. But I am sure there are many more to come in future. This was my second visit to this place - blessed with Mother Nature, surrounded by the mighty Sahyadri hills. But it’s worth visiting any number of times... All that you need is a good company. First time I had been there with my colleagues and this time with my good friends who were my classmates.
The journey begun on Friday night 25th Dec. I boarded the bus at around 9’o clock night at our small KSRTC bus stop. I opted the route Udupi – Hassan – Chikmag’r as I was not that comfortable with Ujire – Dharmastala – Chikmag’r. I don’t have any problems with traveling, but I prefer not to change buses in between. It was night journey, so obviously, I was little concerned about my sleep. You see, my friends’ say I get sleep anywhere! That’s true. Once I get sleep, I am like that kumbakarn in Ramayan. After inquiring about estimated time to reach, set my alarm to 3.00AM, with headphones on singing some tracks from APKGK ,I slowly laid down on those push back seats.
The bus picked up speed and soon we were on the highway. Unfortunately bus broke down near Suratkal. One of its rear tire breaks got jammed. It didn’t move. So, we had to wait. It was actually a much needed delay for me, otherwise I would have reached too early in the morning. They made arrangements for another bus and we were on the wheels again after half an hour... I don’t remember what time I dozed off. When I woke up, the bus had reached sakaleshpur. Since, I had no idea about Hassan stop, got panicked for a while. But that was the next stop. I got down at Hassan half asleep, it was damn cold and nobody was there in the bus stop, except few dogs wandering. I got into another bus and within an hour, I reached my destination. All my friends reached just 2 min later.
We were all looking like Eskimos wearing sweaters and possibly covering all part of our bodies to get some warmth from the chilling Saturday morning. I was not used to such weather. But, I am quiet adjustable. We had booked 2 luxury rooms in a lodge named Woodlands. Let me tell you guys, if you are planning to visit chikmaglur, never ever book a room in here. It was neither clean nor as the name suggested luxurious. But we had no other choices. Looking at those other single bed rooms over there, we felt much better as they were horribler than ours.
Let me just summarize on the crew we had on that day... Shomith, the organizer somehow booked a Mahindra jeep for our transportation while we were having tea. He is very good in such things and a master when it comes to bargaining. Kitta on the other hand, was a typical “amchigel mam” who is too generous and prefers compromising when it comes to any problem. Perhaps, he is very good in settling things when something goes wrong, that’s why the name suits him very well ;) Gajanan –well what I can say about this creative person. He’s like a charm to our group, who loves making fun and keep things lively. A get together without this person will be so boring, can’t even imagine. Pavan – we call him “chardu” (child) coz of his size. (If we talk about the size in ascending order I will stand next to him) But don’t judge this person on his size, I mean he is like a chota packet bada dhamaka. Good sense of humor and a great photographer ;) (You know what I mean). Puneeth, this guy speaks little, or well may be swallows some words while conversation ;) but has his unique way of entertaining people. Nagendra and Devi are two of our “ajjibettu” members who couldn’t make it to the trip due to some other plans. If you guys reading this, let me tell you fellas, you certainly missed the fun. There were three new members that day, damu, avi and mithesh.
That’s the crew including myself, on mission ‘exploring chikks’ (I mean chikkmaglur ;) ). Our first destination was Mullayangiri. The hig hest peak of Karnataka. Our cab driver dropped us at the root of that huge, mighty hill. When I had visited this place earlier, we had taken the short cut. From that point I thought, well this is going to be very interesting. I and mithesh took the lead in those zig zag muddy path, which must have got formed due to the trekkers or whatever. But it wasn’t a direct way up. We had to make our way to the top, climb up the rocks, through the slippery edges. One wrong step and man, you are gone. As we climbed for about an hour, we were not even half way through. Even after several pit stops, we were quiet tired. The morning cold had far gone as we moved up. We took several pictures through the digi cam that shomit had. And I captured thousands of sites in my eyes all along. It was worth spending 2 and half hours of steady, risky trekking. The view from the top was just awesome. When we saw the point we had started which looked as if so small, we all felt great and proud to achieve something we had never done before. Mission accomplished. There were some caves, a small temple over the top of that hill. We regained our energy after settling down for a while and then we started again. This time we took the shortcut. After walking several miles, we reached another temple where our cab was parked and the food was awaiting. Like a streak of hungry tigers, we attacked the food and in minutes, everything was emptied.
Our next destination was baba budan giri, manikdhara falls. Well nothing much to say about these places, except the dusty ride in that jeep. For that moment I felt like a herd of goats, tied inside a narrow space. This followed by a huge disappointment coz we were not allowed to get inside that baba budan giri temple. And, manikdhara falls was a disaster. Err! Was that a falls! I mean, like a small stream of water falling from not more than 20 ft, with a strange custom of abandoning clothes after having bath in there!? Give me a break! We came back to another so called falls, which was flowing through some steps down to a place which was not at all clean. We decided not to take bath and that’s the time when one of the tourist informed about the falls nearby, which can actually be considered as "falls". This certainly took our attention coz at that moment, a bath under the natural shower seemed so essential. We hit the road again, then walked a couple of miles inside a coffee estate owned by some anonymous and then.. Whoa man that was amazing!! We had only one thing to say, “This is what we have been looking for whole day”. We forgot all out tiredness’, jumped into the water with our swim suits ;) The water was so damn clean (I hoped it did, but who cares) and so damn cold, freezing. We were all shivering from cold but none of us stepped back. It was about 40-50ft high, surrounded by bushes and coffee estate. A perfect place to enjoy and spend some time. All our tiredness, pain vanished away and we were fresh again.
After the successful Day 1, we came back to the town, had food in not so good restaurant and soon slept off. The energy level was so down that people planned to cut short the trip and go back home the next morning. Day 2 started with planning, arguments and finally, all agreed not to go kemmangundi where we had to walk again. We decided to go to Belur, halebidu. A heritage place, symbol of creativity, intelligence, delicate work of sculptures and art. It is the heart of Karnataka, which explains the beauty of our history, about the kingdom of Hoysalas. Two temples one in belur and the other in halebidu. Both looked similar and equally beautiful. Sad part is, lots of sculptures were damaged, may be during some war or may be due to the time. I had not visited this place earlier and I liked the creative work.
After that, we had come to an end of our one and half days of outing. As usual, I was kind of upset, as it happens with me when such joyfyl dayoff comes to an end. May be this time, I was even more turned off due to the fact that I had to travel so much, without knowing whether I will get the bus’ or not. Plus, I had to go alone. We checked out our rooms and reached chikkmaglur bus stop. As expected, no direct buses to mang’r or udupi. I chose the same route again. Reached Hassan at 6 but only find no bus's to udupi till 11.30. Then I got into a bus to mang’r. I was tired so dozed off pretty soon. It was 1AM when I reached mang’r. As there were no bus’s to my place till 5.30, I had to pass the time or find some other ways to get back. Thankfully, I found an innova waiting outside for people like me. That fellow was going to panaji. He agreed to drop me near udupi main entrance. I thanked the person and thanked god, I need not spend 4+ hours in that boring bus stand. Then it struck me – “I’ll reach udupi at around 2.30 how do I go home?”. And in few minutes I got a call from my dad. Phew, he had asked some auto driver to pick me who actually waits for passengers near railway station at mid night. You see, that’s the time when people give anything they ask for. I didn’t mind that. It was 3 AM when I reached Udupi main entrance. Within minutes, that rickshaw fellow came and I was at home where I found my dad smiling near the door in that early morning. Quiet odd time to be awake. I felt bad for spoiling his sleep but then was totally exhausted to think anything else other than sleep. I had taken a day off from office, so woke up late that morning.
True trekking, falls in that coffee estate, great art in belur halebidu, reaching mang’r at mid night and then reaching home in an unexpected manner... Last but not the least, having spent time with my wonderful buddies – all in all it was a wonderful experience in deed.