Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kalavaara Halli Betta hike

Well after lots of deliberation and many fone calls, this long planned trip to Kalavaara halli betta (skandagiri) happened. We 9 ppl viz Lord Shiva, Anil, Leela, Ranji (myself), Rashmi, Rajini, Amith, Madhu and Ramakrishna started at 3:00 early morning, wondering even are we going to reach this place. Our vahanas, one Swift and a Maruti 800. Reached the foothill by 4:00. Pitch dark, nothing to be seen ahead, and then we started debating whether to venture out, or look for a guide. By the time I and Pachi were looking for a guide, our daring Madhu had alraedy, lead the pack, making his own way along the rock ridden path. Look at the route map to reach Kalavaara halli betta.

All was well and lots of adrenaline flowing, we moved forward, shouting AGE BADO. Tha path was steep at quite a few places. Lots of rock and slush, which we had to negotiate using the single torch we had. After traversing a small hill, we were on another, which had steps carved out for a short distance. A local guide from nearby village caught up with us, to help us reach the top. A group which had started along with us, had moved ahead, while few of us were busy taking short rests, cursing how much we had to tread more. Lots of encouragement, from Lord Shiva, saw myself and Rajini catching up with the group.

........ Tired Souls.............................................................................................................. Invisible Background
Our first pit stop was mid way for refuelling on a slant rock face. We munched on a box of sweets, which was picked up lying at Anil's house. Further climb, brought us to a place where vegetation was dense, and the view mesmerising. Though sun was trying to peek at us throught the clouds, a dense mist covered the whole place. There was also a VHP flag hoisted on plain land, very near to the summit.
On reaching the summit, we were surprised to see a lot of other gangs, who were already enjoing their stay.Visibility was very low due to the mist, and extended to only few meters. After a photo session, we were eying to get on top of a small mantapa which was in ruins. Another 4 member gang were on the mantap, sipping beer, which Rashmi thought was Mirinda cans and she was eying those cans.

Most probably this gang could not bear the cold and hence climbed down the mantap. We very eagerly, jumped to get on the mantapa. Once we settled on the roof, the process of shivering and chitchat started. The sense of hunger also started creeping my brain. If not for the girls, who were sensible enough to bring along bread, jam and butter, we would have had cramps in our stomachs.
Well there were one liners fom Ramakrishna and Madhu as usual, which the whole gang enjoys. Lots of persuasion could not get Madhu to read his Urdu news, which he does with such ease and granduer, making one wonder whether this guy belongs to an arabic nation.

We also had among us a rare species of animal, may be a cross between a human and a horse, which can even sleep while standing. Please refer to the picture.

The clouds, started clearing by 8:00 am, and we had a great view of the adjoining Nandi hills, and the plain lands below. After decidng to climb down the hill, we stumbled upon a well laid, stone formation, which we renamed, as the STONE HENGES of Kalavara halli betta. Then all of us made to the top of these stone pillars.
The walk down hill became adventurous, as we lost path, and were heading in a completely different direction, than the one we had used to climb up. There was no visible clear path, and we had to make path through steep rocks and bushes of thorns.

With little struggle we did reach the road, but realised we were about 2 kms away from the place we had parked our cars.

Well a totally refreshing and fulfilling hike it was. Our timing was perfect, the views beautiful, along with the nerve breaking cold. Had we been even an hour late we would have missed the cold, clouds and the mist. Getting down with the hot sun would have also wrecked all of us.