Gandikota - A camping adventure at the Grand Canyon of India


Location
Bangalore > Pulivendula > Jammalamadugu > Gandikota
Auto Charge from Jammalamadugu to Gandikota - 180Rs
Bust Timing : Gandikota to Jammalamadugu(10.30 am)


Main attractions
Sunrise at Pennar gorge
Midnight exploration inside ancient structures
Camping with Jackals
Madhavaraya Temple
Jama Masjid
Granary
Ranganatha Swamy Temple
Jail
Rayala Cheruvu

Accomodation   
You can camp wherever you want, but we suggest you to camp inside the compound of Ranganatha Swamy Temple, so that you can keep your tent and other belongings safe from Jackals and Stray dogs. If you do not want to sleep under three billion stars then go for the three starred Haritha Hotel( 073822 37380)

Fee
Nill, but it is advisable to contact Mr Ramdu Gandi (Mb:9010451050) who is a local gaurd of the fort before you start pitching your tent



          As OSHO once said, we should not read manuscripts as it is about those who are already left the real world, we should read our own manuscript to achieve bliss. 

Sunrise at Gandikota(Pennar gorge)
Gandikota is a small village on the right bank of the river Pennar, 15 km from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh, India. So yeah, with the hustle we reached, stepped onto the place when the sun almost set and it started getting dark. But when the auto driver told us to set down by pointing towards the entrance of the fort, we were actually confused! Gandikota, that’s it? I asked the driver again and again to confirm it isn’t a wrong place because the place isn’t like got to know at all, two shops on the right side of the entrance road. People are going in and coming out from the entrance and the devotional song was playing in the background, Dafaq! In an awestruck, we sat for a while under the tree. As per our knowledge, Gandikota fort is an abandoned kind of spot, where only a village is existed called as called as Gandikota! We didn’t know almost the entire village is also inside the fort! Anyways, we are here. We entered into the fort through the entrance, it was strange. 


Gandikota Entrance

We couldn’t find any ticket counter outside, but we read a board which mentioned Gandikota fort as second Hampi. We were excited to see what’s in it this much. We couldn’t find anyone or anything that could restrict us from getting in. So we just started walking. We noticed the first few parts of the fort has being used by the villagers. They used some space to build their little houses and some shops are also there inside! We moved ahead, few people looked at us in vain and others ignored as three invisible ghosts. Passed through it.


Camping & Cooking at Gandikota

In the beginning we started roaming aimlessly in the fort in pitch darkness. Later, Google Map directed us near to the view point. We were in search of the view which actually brought us to this place, but due to the darkness it wasn’t visible at all and we had even come to an absurd conclusion that there is no water flowing. We hurried to settle down somewhere with no idea of the place. We started searching for a spot to pitch the tents. As soon as we got one, we were in a hurry to cook for ourselves. The hunger and thirst struck us from the morning. It was kind of hard to put up fire as it was windy. But, due to the efforts and good will we saw FIRE! Now that we know the difficulty involved in putting up fire outdoors, a lesson well learnt. We had to find tinder, gravel and wood to light it up. To be honest, seeing the fire light up and build is pretty satisfying, which it’s nowhere available. 


 Pennar River- Gandikota

Our dinner was delicious, at last we had something. The mind was peaceful, the atmosphere was filled with an addictive feeling. It’s a kind of feeling completely different from the mundane life that we lead, completely free, free from rules and the regulations. Instead of dozing off into sleep as normal, the thirst of something more, pondered us. Yeah, exactly! We started feeling alive. In the spur of the moment, we left our belongings behind and ran off into the darkness, in search of the unknown. 


Madhavaraya Temple- Gandikota


Basically, the knowledge we had about the place just through the internet and as you know it was limited. We felt the moonlight isn’t bright enough today. The torch light was not helpful as it was very little wide and the rest of the view was blurred. The wind in the air was a bit nippy, which carried the leaves around by producing creepy sounds. Sometimes we felt somebody was following us. There are temples inside the fort and we reached in front of one, we realized it when the flashlight of the torch struck on a half closed gate. Fortunately, we entered into it. The construction of it was in such a way that the wind outside the temple was not even entering through anywhere. It was calming and relaxing. 


Ranganatha Swamy Temple - Gandikota

Nobody was inside, we were walking ahead. It was haunting, Haha, the bats flew out above us. It was enough to scare the shit out of us. We spent a little more time and we returned to our camp site, hoping to put a fire and warm ourselves a bit. To our senses, we realized that we’d entered someone else’s territory. Collecting the woods wasn’t the challenge we’d expected. It was amazing to notice that we became so happy when we started the fire when the world is tumbling over bigger yet smaller solvable problems. It is a primal nature when a necessity arrives, we become animals. When we were savoring the moment, we heard a growl just behind us. These occurred in a moment of three seconds. We looked back, the shining eyes staring at us. It started to move towards us, Terrified! It was a leash of Jackals, around six or seven, circling us. It was at that moment, we saw the white blind light. As primal we are, we sought for things to carry in our hands. As one of my fellow traveler was searching for things to carry, pulled out the wood which was kept for burning. The leash ran away, but we didn’t stop throwing things at them. But the fact still remains that the territory is not ours. It belongs to them, the Jackals. 


Ranganatha swamy Temple - The pillars
We had no choice but to pack our stuff and run to the temple. We locked ourselves in, no Jackals can catch us now, Can they? The walls of the temple were built very high and that gave us a good feeling. We pitched our tent and slept, hoping that we’ll wake up in one piece. Gandikota


Gandikota- The Village

It was 5.30 AM in the morning. We woke up simultaneously, give or take a minute. There was nothing to worry about. We didn’t have to iron our clothes, we didn’t really have to brush, we didn’t have to clutch to our books and hurriedly put them in our bags. It was quite settling, we were on our own. This was settling, and away from the satire life. 


Jama Masjid- Gandikota

We could see the stars, vaguely, as we waited for the sun to rise. As the light shone on the shadowy figures, turned out to be rock boulders, and historical monuments. We approached the view point, gazing into the horizon. Nature is cunning, beautiful and admirable, that’s what makes it mysterious. It always has something to offer. The views, the slight breeze, the stairway to imaginations. Nature is nature within itself. It is perfect! The reflection of the ravines on the still water, are we dreaming? The sun rose, fully bright and majestic. We stood there in the moment, waiting for the time to reverse and go through the feelings, the emotions, all over again. The pleasure never ends, it never does!


Maenam Trek, A break away to the Himalayas

Location
Sikkim->Ravangla

Nearest railway station
New Jalpaiguri(NJP),West bengal,since no railway service in Sikkim

Nearest airport
Guwahati

Transportation
From NJP or Siliguri,you will get either bus or shared vehicles to Ravangla.You may not find any vehicles after 8.30 AM in the morning.Try earlier as possible.

Main attractions
The best short trekking experience in sikkim.
The majestic views of Mt.Kanchenjunga

Sunrise from the peak is mesmerizing
Camping is arranged by different agencies -We were with the agency Epitome adventures which provides you camping with fooding.

Trek starting point
From the forest check post office beside of the Budha park which is 10mins walking distance from Ravangala main market.

Trek difficulty level
Medium level (Altitude difference makes it a little more difficult).

Trek distance
Trekking up and down till Maenam peak is 15 km which takes almost 3-4 hours.
Valedunga is another spot which gives you the different views of Kanchenjunga which is 5 km away from Maenam.

Total trekking distance will be 25 km including Valedunga.

Trekking fees
It depends upon the guide you choose.
Including camping the normal rate is 500-700 per person(bargaining will work out)

Permission
Your agency will arrange everything.

Camping
If you are leaving to the agency they will take care of it. You will even get resting shades where you can gather and make campfire.

Must read!
*If you are a beginner,better take a guide with you.Even a kid roaming in the Rabong market may be able to accompany you as a guide.Better choose it by comparing.
*Diken from Epitome adventures was our guide who will accompany you with a fair price who can provide you even camping.
Contact no-07584813732 or 09775442464
*Wear sweater kind of thick cloths.
*Don't forget to carry gloves which is mandatory!
*If it's possible try not to miss the sun rise from Maenam,which would be an unforgettable experience.
*If you are doing one day trek,try to start the trek early as possible.
*Beginners are advised to take a guide with them, where at the peak, due to altitude difference your body would be hardly able to cope up with your mind


Rollers - Buddha Temple, Ravangla
We all humans, all we living beings are products of a process called evolution caused by mutations, simply put 'Changes'. They are inevitable to maintain the equilibrium in the nature blah blah blah... Please don't complicate your grey matter, it's just a travelogue right? Here I mean by change is nothing but in terrain. Yeah! A change from the south Indian thirsty green hills to the freezing high altitude Himalayan beasts where even your ass gets frozen!
If you are an adventure junkie who is looking to get started with your journey into the trekking world of Himalayas, I'd suggest Maenam, It would be a perfect choice for you. Maenam, 11,000 ft above sea level is 13 km up from Ravangla which can be visited by foot. It is know to be a traditional meditation place for monks and also a vantage place for spectacular view of the 3rd highest peak in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga. The peak is surrounded by family of peaks namely Pandim, Simvo, Kabru Group, Kokthang, Rathong, Kumbhkarna so on. The entire trek passes through dense forests and huge canopies of oak, hemlock and sub-alpine rhododendrons occupying the majority of the trail and running parallel to the length of the trail. The amazing diversity in the entire flora of the region is a sight to behold. And also The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural habitat of the Red Panda, Himalayan Black Bear, leopard cat and black pheasant cat. As some say paradise is not that far away.


Buddha Park - Golden Buddha

Maenam trek was the most awaited event of my Sikkim expedition. Our mind was wrapped around an idea to start the trek early in the morning. But the severe cold in Rabong reminded us of the high altitude effects and had to abandoned the plan. Despite even thinking about touching the water was difficult but somehow we managed to refresh ourselves. We got out of the hotel and rushed into a tea shop to get warm our body a little bit. At the same time Diken, our guide was waiting for us in the hotel. We met him and the first advise from him was to have a heavy breakfast. But so as to adjust to our budget  we had to replace the heavy breakfast with biscuits which later we felt it was a worst idea for the day!
The trek begins from the forest checkpost of Maenam wildlife sanctuary, next to the Ralang monastery.
 The Ralang Monastery is one of the major attractions of this region. This monastery houses a huge statue of Gautama Buddha in the center with the entire range of Kanchenjunga in the backdrop. An out of the world sight to be seen and felt!
Buddha Park - A glamorous view

The sun was not on our side. It was a cloudy atmosphere when we left the forest office. We started moving into the wild at around 8'o clock.The trekking trail is a mix up of downhills in the beginning which becomes much steeper uphill when we approached to the top of the peak. There are two resting points on the way to the top. The climb gets difficult from the second rest point. The trail gets a lot more abrupt with 60 degree steep with gradual increase in the altitude.
Maenam Trek - Extreme weather, no leaves
As soon as we passed the second rest spot, the altitude differences were starting to take an effect on  me which I couldn't notice myself. Diken called me and showed me the goosebumps on my hands and the runny nose which even I didn't even realize for a while! He made us to sit for a while and started explaining about the acclimatization processes we should take care during higher expeditions. For all of us runny nose was irritating. But felt happy that runny nose during the climb shows how healthy a person is. After a while of conversations we started moving up again. It would have taken another hour to get over with the forest area. We reached where the sky was visible above our head with no sign of the sun, still! It was cloudy and the pin-drop silence was giving the climate a chilling experience. There was no wind in the forest, which would have been much more difficult for the ascent.
We met a crew who were returning from the peak after camping the previous night. They greeted us by telling that it's much more colder on the peak and they left us by warning they saw the footprints of a bear on the way! In awe and frightened by that, we three sat together. By thinking the possibility of us three v/s the bear, we had to decide whether to proceed further or not. After a long talk, we agreed to face the challenge that put forth by mother nature and started up further.


Maenam Trek - A view of the trek
The remaining climb was not that steep. But the altitude difference and the reduction in temperature made it much more worse. We were able to see the ground slowly gobble up by the snow. There was a spot where the snow even covered our feet. I felt my mind was getting narrowed. I was not able to think of anything else other than pushing forward. Suddenly I noticed the camera in my hand. I tried to record a video of the mates, but I was not even able to turn on the camera. My fingers were numb. Despite that, I was not even able to close the zip of my camera bag but somehow I managed to keep it back inside. As in a manner to escape from these effects I tried to make an abrupt conversation with other two, which struck me that I was caught up by the altitude change very badly. When I opened my mouth I could feel my teeth shivering due to which whatever I was trying to convey to them was a complete gibberish. The fear of meeting a bear in such a situation quickened us to reach our destination.
    It was 11'o clock when we arrived at Maenam peak. The temple up above the peak had no regulations of who devotes to the god, usually the natives do it. It's not strictly maintained, so climbers can even use it as a rest room.


Maenam Trek - A peek into the peak
Our hands were numb. We were able to feel only the cold breeze passing in the air. While we were not even thinking about a movement, Diken, our guide, who was not even wearing a pair of gloves throughout the journey set up a small campfire. We couldn't figure it out whether his climbing experience or the inborn skills of a northeast resident who came to our rescue at that moment. It helped us a lot to regain some strength and energy. Luckily for us, we found some food left over by the team who descended that morning. And also Diken found out some potatoes, which he fried and gave us. After a long time, I thought of taking out my camera and clicked some shots! The weather was getting foggy with a slight drizzle. As long as the weather was not clear we decided to abandon the Valendunga trek. It is a 5 km trek from the Maenam peak which gives the best views of Kanchenjunga.

                 
We chose a different path for descending. The one opposite to the temple. It was a little trickier than the previous one. Even this part of the mountain was covered with snow. This time it was descending through the snow. We fell almost every time. Most of the time we had to slide down on the snow. By the blessing of Maenam hills, we were able to feel the slight snow fall just before leaving into the forest part.On the way back, Diken was explaining about the majestic views of Kanchenjunga if the weather was clear. Then I remembered , "To gain something, we should miss something. Be patient, that is her secret!"

Kottiyoor- Palukachi hills trekking

Location
From Bangalore>Honnenahalli>Bittangala>Irutty>Chungakkunnu>Neendunokky town>Palukachi foothills                                     
From Kochi>Kannur>Kuthuparamba>Nedumpoil>Neendunokky town>Palukachi foothills
     
Main attractions
Scenic hillocks,Cross of St Thomas,Scattered Idols of Shiva, Parvathi, Nandikeshwara, Ayyappa and Ganapathi, Thick forests

Trek starting point
Foothills of Palukachi

Trek difficulty Level   
Easy

Trek distance  
Total distance:3KM (one side)

Permission
Not necessary, but  required for camping

Trekking fees             
Nil

Must Read
*It is likely to lose the way near the Cross of St Thomas. Remeber the statue of St Thomas facing towards the direction of your trekking route.



On the top of  Palukachi hills
         

Palukachi hillocks are located near Kottiyoor shiva temple, known as the 'Kashi of the South'. During the occasion of "Vaisakha Mahothsav" tens and thousands of pilgrims congregate here. On this years festival season I and my friend planned for a trekking to the less explored Palukachi hillocks of Kelakam village. At 9.30 am we reached Neendunokky, the nearest town to Palukachi. From here motorable road will take you to the starting point of the trek. With Jeeps it is possible to cover another 1.5Km of the trail. We began walking through the path adjacent to the cashew plantations. There were unburned fire crackers lying on the trail used by farmers to scare elephants.

 Palukachi hills trekking trail


 The whole atmosphere was scented with ripened smell of Jack fruits. After covering a quarter distance, my friend became extremely exhausted and he gave up the trek ahead. Thereafter I had to  walk alone. The good thing about solo trekking is that you will never miss anything in the forest, I mean all of your sensory organs will be alert. I spent some time at the crucifix of St Thomas by climbing rocks and clicking photos, But from here I lost the way and headed towards Santhigiri.


Cross of St Thomas at  Palukachi hills

   Fortunately I met two natives who were collecting fire woods and they directed me to right path. On the way I met a group of Sasthra Sahithya Parishath members who were on their way to the crucifix of St Thomas. 


Flame of forest tree
They provided water to fill in my empty bottle. The actual trek to the dense forest starts in front of the crucifix of St Thomas. On the way you will pass by a temple of a Self-styled godman and many scattered Idols of Hindu gods, most of them are damaged and found to be headless. Suddenly my eyes got attention on the coins lying above a rock. I assumed,  people who had visited this place before put the coins there for the blessings of God.Being an atheist myself I took 10Rs and later gave it to the beggers at Kottiyoor temple. The final stretch of trekking trail consists of dense forests on steep terrain.


 Palukachi hills


 Finally the most anticipated and exhilarating view unveiled infront of me. I screamed as loud as I can..!! I was surrounded by hillocks belonging to Brahmagiri, Wayanad and Aralam Wildlife sanctuary. Unlike from our previous trekked hills there were no grasslands on the top of Palukachi, It was a kind of a rocky terrain. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Where ever we trekked there always remained the trace of Humans, Plastics. I descented with the blissfulness of completing my first ever solo trek.

Pushpagiry-Kumaraparvatha trekking

Location
Mangalore>Subramanya->Kumaraparvatha
     
Main attractions
Camping, View point, Standing above the cloud level,Bhattara Mane, Midnight walk to view point

Trek starting point
About 2 KM away from Kukke Subramanya Temple

Trek difficulty Level   
Medium(Steep climbing, Crossing water falls)

Trek distance  
Total distance:22KM
Day 1 :Starting point -Bhattara Mane(10KM)
Day 2 :Bhattara Mane- Peak (6KM) 
          :Peak-Beeda halli(6KM)

Permission
Required,Can be obtained on the spot from forest office near Bhattara Mane
(*After the occurance of wildfire in 2016, the treking is restricted by the  authority,it is avisable to contact Mr. Jayaraj,forest range offer, 9449475506, 9141226784 before you plan the trek.)

Trekking fees             
200 Rs per person

Camping
Allowed near Bhattara Mane (Allowed neither at the foothills nor on the peak)

Must Read!
*You can trek first 8KM without permission,till reaching Bhattara Mane,located at the foothills of kumaraparvatha
*Bhattara Mane is a Brahmin's home,located 8KM inside the forest where you can get water,food,homestay service..etc.It is the first pit stop of your trekking
*A lunch from Bhattara Mane will cost around 100Rs/-.You can either prefer home stay or go for Tenting
*Do not trek with out permission from bhattara mane to Kumaraparvatha,You will be asked for receipts from the forest office at Beeda halli,We barely saved from being caught

*Carry enough water and food.Try to start trekking as early as possible
*You can have a midnight walk to the view point and enjoy the starry night
*A bus service from Beedahalli to Somvarpet is available at 4 PM


What’s wrong with us? A rhetorical question. But, seriously, what is up with Homo sapiens. The only category in the mammal family with no concern over the other. We are the new face of the universe, UGLY! The question is simple, Are we full? I guess not. The reason I’m pointing out these little feelings I’ve got lately. Politics, terrorism, communal disputes, the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’, to me it’s absurd. Deep down the anger, an explosion of humongous amount pain, I’m not happy anymore. But this journey was a lesson, the one where I figured that change in people is really chaos. Even though my urge to travel was triggered mostly due to the amount of pride I get when people see me different, now, it’s not for pride. It’s because I repent.
 I’ve lost hope on mankind, for I’ve sinned. But I will travel. We will travel. My mind is wrapped around you.





  This time, it was to Kumaraparvata. The birth place of Kumaradhara. It’s a part of Pushpagiri peak, one of the highest peaks in Karnataka. Not far from the famous temple, Kukke Subramanya, Subramanya. The temple overlooks the peak, the mist covered view is a moment of euphoria.We reached the temple at around 8, had our breakfast and then we were moving, quickly. When I just covered about half a kilometre, I noticed that the place was well placed away from the buzz of the temple, Separated from the poisoned civilization. The air was calm, blissful. To reach the starting point of the trek, we had to walk about 2 KM. Then the trek starting point is fenced by the forest department and a sign showing the norms and regulations with a lot of spelling and grammatical mistakes. Don’t worry, I’ve corrected most of them. If ever you happened to see it, just remember me!


               

The place is warm, I mean, it’s humid as hell. You’ll need water, a lot. The trail is a 10 KM walk, which would take about 4 hours more or less. But we finished the trail in about 2 hours 45 minutes. On the way you’ll find a house(Bhattara mane),A house at the top of the hill. With families, I was in awe about their lifestyle. Pretty awesome. It’s a pit stop for many, they provide shelter, food. But we didn’t want any shelter, we had tent. We had lunch and had a nap. To my left the peak, green and beautiful. Then we put up the tent and we headed to the view point at night.


                 

The mist was approaching us slowly, the white veil. We just couldn’t miss it at all. I stared in to the whiteness and wondered if the mist had something to say and take me away with its journey to the unknown. But this is reality. Then we headed back to our tent, had a campfire. We hardly had food supply and we saved a little for the next day. The night was cold.



The next morning we woke up and lighted the camp fire again for the heat. We wrapped our tent and then we were walking again. All the while walking, the view of the peak was right in front of us. The trail was steep, we managed to reach the Kallu chappara, the first checkpoint. Then Akshay was looking for a trail which would lead us to the top, he found none. Instead he made a new one. Sleek! It was tough at first, but the grass provided a good grip to climb. It was a detour but later we actually found the original trail.



When we reached the Almost-top, we found 4 fellow trekkers climbing down. We had a chat with them and we learned that they ascended from the other side of Pushagiri, from Somwarpet, Kodagu. The other three insisted on completing the trek in Somwarpet. I resisted at first, but who’d miss that opportunity. We had a few from the previous said trekkers. Then after walking for a while, we saw a board by the forest department. It showed directions, 2KM to Kumaraparvata (KP). Then we reached at the entrance of the forest. It was dense but different from the trek up. 
We saw none on our way. We had no food, Madhu and Prinand were psyched about food. Then after walking for a while, we saw a board which showed the direction to Beeda halli 4KM. We walked and saw paths made by the forest department. It later transpired to us that we were at the end of our trek. We started seeing more and more trekkers. The one thing which struck me was that we helped them and them in return. We had no contempt for each other.
On reaching the end of the trail, we were greeted by the Forest department authority with enthusiasm, I explained to them about our journey. To reach Somwarpet, it was 26KM. We asked the guard to call for a jeep. He called for the jeep. Seeing our situation, they provided some food. We are truly, really grateful to those authorities. Thanking is the smallest possible thing we can do for them. We saw many visiting this place while on their way to Madikeri, Kodagu. They talked to us, we told about our website and they supported us. We really appreciate their support. Then this journey came to an end in a different way, always for us.



       Like the word goes, “Everything has to end”, but it was not the end though.
                                                 “Stop thinking

Nilgiri trekking


 I woke up into the light, Life had diminished for me. The mundane, repetitive life made me feel numb. The numbness in the mind made me weak, the potential to do more than what I can was beyond my control. I was starting to realize my eagerness in life seeping away. But then the thought of sprouting, the smell of earth was just too much overwhelming for me to quit.



Ooty is a place for lovers, the chilly and bright weather is a haven for every ethnic cultures who've found new love or has already found. What makes Ooty different from other honeymoon destination is that the accessibility and wide array of activities hustling up in the small town. To be honest this place is not for us, Trekkers. But the interesting thing about this trip was that we made it feel like trekking.

It was a 3 day trip. We boarded a train from our hometown to Coimbatore Jn. It was a 10 hour journey as we picked a fast passenger as our carrier. The train had less people traveling in. It was quite a pleasant journey. We were astounded to see that the other part of our state was so beautiful and we could see peacock's nearby the track like domesticated ones. Finally we reached Coimbatore Junction. The station was vast and clean. I became a fan of the infrastructure as soon as I saw it. We got out of the station to see a different world covered by people of different thoughts, tradition, ethnicity and finally the “language”. We were like sitting ducks, there was no trace of English. It was better for us to reach Saudi Arabia than this. I started asking for directions in my broken Tamil. And we found different opinions on reaching our next destination, Mettupalayam.




We were to go to the New Bus stand to catch a bus to Mettupalayam. We waded through the ocean called Coimbatore. Finally, god forbid the place we reached the bus stand and we stopped to have food. Then Inquired about the buses to Mettupalayam. We freshened ourselves and hopped on to the bus. It was about a hour journey to the place. It was about midnight when reached and we asked a security guard about the whereabouts of our next journey to Udhagamandalam (aka Ooty).

The security guard was a malayali and he helped us about getting to Ooty. The fun thing about traveling to Ooty is that we get to travel in a Toy Train. In literal sense its not a Toy train. Its so named because it can seen in many cartoons. The Loco was a steam engine, An X Class Steam Locomotive. The journey in it was reminiscent, a million dollar journey. The train travels around 10 kmph. But time flies by so fast because the view en route is amazing. We were exhausted by taking pictures on the way. There was brief stops on the way to fill water for the engine. Then there was a 20 to 25 minute stop in Coonoor.






Then we reached Udhagamandalam.

The procedure to get tickets to Udagamandalam is sleepless attempt. First We are to be queued next to the Station Master. First come, first get policy. Then the Station master gives a token for number of people willing to travel, in our case it was four. Then we are to buy the tickets producing the token. The fare is unbelievably small, 15 rupees per person.

But the journey is worth more.

After we reached the destination, we were chased by brokers to hook us up with Hotel rooms (not a good bargain). We weren't sure where to start. The list of places to visit was “big”. We then entered a cycling arena. There were tracks and the experience was awesome.

                 
   Then we saw Thread Gardens and the Ooty lake on the way. Then we decided to visit the Doddabetta Peak just 9 KM from the Ooty bus stand. We boarded a bus and then we reached the bus stop. To reach the peak we had to walk about 2 KM. We started walking and found company. Two people Shivam and Pankaj, they were on their way to the peak as well. We introduced ourselves to each other. We became friends and started to walk. We took a diversion on the way. To the jungle, It was dark, and we saw footsteps of unknown animals. We move forward and found ourselves in a dead end. The other side of the jungle was a cliff and a different place. We retraced back and moved along road and reached peak entrance. The place was swarming with shops, mainly eatables. We walked past them and then reached the ticket counter. The entry fee was 5 rupees. We walked towards the end of the fence and the view was good and our heart was filled with immense overflow of emotions. The idea of trekking was a god gifted one. From the telescope house we could see the Avalanche peak, Ooty town, Mukurty Peak. After staying staring in to oblivion our hands were numb and cold. We ate a lot. We had to eat to keep ourselves warm. Then we hired a car to Botanical Garden.

The Botanical Garden is a home for different types of flora and the place is well maintained. The place is perfect for a good evening walk.Then We exited the garden at around 7 PM. Then we wished luck to the two people we met. And we were off to Coimbatore jn and then to our natives.

Never wish to die, we have a lot of ground to cover.  

Chembra peak trekking

Location
kozhikode->kalpetta->Meppadi->Chembra
     
Main attractions
Heart shaped lake,Tea gardens,Watch tower,Amazing scenic views

Trek starting point
Chembra peak foothill

Trek difficulty Level   
Moderate(inclined climb,Rocky trekking trail)

Trek distance  
4.5Km (one side)

Permission
Required,Can be obtained on the spot
from the forest office  at the foothills of chembra

Trekking fees             

700 Rs for a group of ten people(Accompanied by a guide)+100Rs for camera

Camping
Not allowed

Note
The best thing about the place is that the localities are concerned of the cleanliness.So do not smoke,drink and must keep the plastics away


        Why does my mind circle around you? That's a stupid question. Mind is an object intended to change, but philosophers went nuts over the matter definitively. I'd rather free my thoughts flaunting around the humming lights that I see. I believe that every objects is created to fulfill a purpose. For those you will recognize, The Enunciation of Truth. Yes, I see everything around me as an object, because I'm an Artist. I don't draw over a canvas with regret. I don't write for reason, I write to Transcend. Why does my mind   circle around you? It does. My mind swirls about the idea of Survival. Exploration, for a reason. I realize that I'm not part of a machine, The World. I understand the idea of Promises. Soft Wild Promises, I believe myself.



The next trip was to Chembra, Wayanad. The place is a mist covered beauty.
Its home for one of the best tea in Asia. The weather is slightly cold, but for those who enjoy the view, would forget the chill. The best thing I experienced was that, no matter how much we walk, we weren't tired at all.
We went to Kalpetta first on the first day of the two day trip. We boarded the Kalpetta bus which was destined to Thirunelli. Kalpetta, to be honest is very cold. When I got off  the bus after a cozy sleep, I felt the chill crawling my legs. It was damn cold. I had to wear a pair of pants over my shorts, and a sweater was mere helping. We  slept in the cold in a bus stop nearby. We halted there in Kalpetta for the day. It was a cheap accommodation, but the price of the food would burn a hole in your pockets. The very next morning we boarded a bus to Meppadi which is 15 KM from Kalpetta. The place not much developed. But we weren't interested in that much. The Chembra Trekking Starting point is just 6 KM away from Meppadi. We walked as fast as possible.




The place is covered with tea, nice view too. At the Starting point, The authority was seated in a small room just at a watchable distance from the gate. The fee was remitted and we were told about the time taken to reach the point and back, also some safety precautions. The fee was 700/- and its worth the money. We started our exciting trek to the Chembra peak Heart lake, which is  4.5 KM from the starting point.


 But the trek wasn't easy, it was an inclined climb and it took us about an hour to actually reach the bottom of the peak. The downside of Chembra peak is that people can reach 3/4th of the peak using a vehicle.






We found it boring and walked. We were watched by every passerby. At the entrance of the peak we bought fruits, took some photos. Then we were to surrender any plastic related items as its a plastic free zone. The best thing about the place is that the localities were concerned of the cleanliness, which is a perfect example of mutual understanding. We walked past a watch tower. And the climb was not easy, it was fun though to find out ways to climb because of the soil being loose.





We heard people scoffing about the lake, that it wasn't worth the climb. But I thought “ It is not what you see up there, what matters is how we reach there.” Whatever the view be, when we reach the destination with much difficulty, the view is more fabulous that it really is. The lake is a perfect Heart. Its so beautiful to see it, the artistry of nature, a bit of an irony too. The peak continues a bit more, but is restricted due to wild animals. But our eyes glistened thinking about the idea of trekking there. The view from the lake is astounding. Tiny houses, trees, and the breeze carried a certain fragrance of Earth! We sat mesmerized by the panoramic view of nature. Then we we had to retrace the path. We climbed down pretty faster than we were told. Then we hired a rickshaw to Meppadi. We asked around for directions and best way to reach back home. It was  almost midnight when we reached back.
                  
         


Osho once said that memories of the past had to be erased, because there's a lot more adventurous, nail-biting experiences are yet to come our way.
Stay Tuned..