Archive for September, 2011

Kaptivating Kodachadri!!

Posted in My-Travel on September 20, 2011 by prajwalpai

The Prelude!

Finally it was down to Fantastic Four to set on this epic trek. The numbers had drastically come down but that didn’t stop us. Sushruth has dropped off at the final moment but that didn’t stop us. It was supposed to be raining hard in Kodachadri but that didn’t stop us. We had no clue about our accommodation there but that didn’t stop us.  As far as I remember, This is my first trip with the boys without Sushruth. This was my first trip ever when I had not carried my camera. This was the smallest trek group which we had set on. Maggi, Darshan , Rahul and Me were the final travelers. As usual, We all got together and were waiting for Maggi to join us. We managed to catch 12.30 bus to Shimoga.

Day 1. Shimoga -> Karekatte -> Kodachadri

We reached Shimoga at 5.30 and went directly to Rahul’s place to get freshened up.  I was in shimoga after a year and I could see a lot of transformations. Rahul’s mum and dad were great hosts. Rahuls dad told us what bus to take and where to get down and where to have food. Rahul’s mum fixed us a delicious breakfast to start an energetic day.

Day 1 Breakfast : Awesome Avallakki and Piping hot Paddu. 

We got on to a bus to Kollur. I slept through the journey and didn’t realize that we took close to 4 hours for this journey. The private bus was actually over crowded. We had 2 routes in mind. The first was a long route following the Jeep track. The Second route was through a patch of Jungle crossing some waterfalls. We were hoping to take the second route. Rahul’s dad suggested a third and the shortest route. The bus conductor dropped us off at ‘Karekatte’. We were hoping that we would see at least some petty shop where the trekking starts but we were dropped at a god forsaken land in middle of the jungle. What a change the chirping birds and cool morning breeze of Karekatte was from the shrieking honks and pollution of our Bangalore.

As we started at 11.30, We had a lot of blood sucking leaches to welcome us onto their terrain. I had donated blood at office the previous day but seems I was due for more involuntary donation. This was my worst experience with leeches. The others had been to worse leech infected but this was the worst that I had seen. It was here that I realised that even blood sucking leeches could be seen as a motivator for keep us on our toes, These leeches made sure that we never stopped on our way to even catch a breather and were constantly on the move. At 2’O clock, We had accomplished to reach half way. The trek so far was easy but only for the irritating leaches.

There is a joke which says that When Neil Armstrong had landed on moon, He was greeted by a Mallu who had set up a chai stall there. I now wanna believe that it’s not too far from reality. We trekked for some 5 km into the jungle only to find a Mallu hotel.

Day 1 Lunch : Ideal Idly and Tasty Tea.

After close to rock solid idly and a refreshing tea, We set off towards our destination. We were fresh now and we now had a weapon against the blood suckers. The Mallu guy prepared a mix of salt and lime into a small cloth and tied it to a small stick and finally dipping into neem oil. As soon as the leech gets into contact with this, It just gives up sucking blood. So after we crossed the Level-1. We earned this weapon against our enemies.

Post lunch it was a literally uphill task. The Leeches unleashed a stronger wave of attack but we were well prepared this time. This phase of the trek was the most difficult I felt. This moment we realized that it was a good thing that only we four set on this journey. We could think of many people who couldn’t endure this terrain and stress. Special Kudos to Darshan who did keep pace with us even with a bit of problem in his ankle. The patch through the jungle was very steep but towards the peak we came across the green grasslands. After some 2 hours , we finally were able to spot the Inspection bureau. With a renewed energy, we reached after half hour of more walking. The timing was perfect, Just as we reached a shelter outside the IB, It started pouring. This rain continued till next day noon. We were extremely lucky to have a very trek under favorable weather.

Day 1 Evening Snacks : Awesome Avalakki and powerboost Peda

We enquired at the Bhattru Mane but didn’t find a positive response. We had sleeping bags but still needed a place to crash. Maggs and Rahula struck a deal with the guy at IB. The IB was wonderfull building and there was a tree right outside that building. This was one of the most beautiful tree which reminded me of “Whomping Willow” from Harry Potter. We were told that even though its closed for renovation, It would be unofficially open for us to crash that night. While we waited for that to happen, We unpacked the avalakki that Rahul’s mum had packed and also the Sweet peda giving us a quick boost of energy.

Day 1 Dinner : Mane Meals!

It was raining from the time we arrived, We couldn’t make a trip to the peak to see the Sarvajna Peeta. It was raining so heavily , we couldn’t even go out for a tea at a shop next lane. The bonus of staying here in IB was the night meals and the morning breakfast. The IB guy cooked our dinner at his house. It was a simple rice and Sambar with pickles and tangy chutney. This simple home food was more than what we could ask for having endured a long day of strenuous trek. The night we slept inside IB. We slept with plans to see the peak at early morning and also the plan was to trek our way down. We did a lot of stretching ( Thanks Koli) and I hardly know when the sun rose.

Day 2 Breakfast : Lime and Lemony Lemon rice!

It had rained the whole night. We woke up by 8 but it was still no sign of sun ad-mist the thick mist and the persistent rains. Our plans of trekking to the peak went off the window. We were hungry and I have never loved Lemon rice more than this day. May be it was the abnormally active digestion the previous day, but I took 3 servings of Lemon rice. We were having second thoughts on walking down the hills and the 20-feet visibility only added to our woes. We thought it would be wise to take a jeep as we had plans to reach Shimoga before 4 if possible. The Jeep ride again was the highlight of the day. We were extremely happy about making the right decision to hire a jeep.

Day 2 Lunch : Mane Meals again!

The 4X4 jeep ride resulted in a sudden adrenaline rush. No words would make justice to the beauty of the nature we witnessed on our way down. It was heaven painted green only the angels were missing. We were dropped by the jeep to Sampe Katte. We narrowly missed our bus to Shimoga and so decided to look for a hotel for lunch before the next bus. We came across a place called ‘Hotel Kodachadri’, It was nothing more than a small house with the front room having a table and few chairs. Again we were greeted here with delicious Mane oota. We got the bus to shimoga at 2 and reached Shimoga by 4.15! Thus ended our Kodachadri trek!

Shimoga Tour!

We picked up Rahul’s car and even without getting into Rahul’s house, we drove to Anoops place. We collected our return journey tickets and dropped him to railway station. It was after a year that I was back in Shimoga. The first thing I wanted to do more than anything else was to see the House where I had most of my memories. Half of the house was in rubble. I could hardly recognise the house where I had spent some 15 years of my life. Thats how life is I guess, Things change beyond recognition but you still feel a connection. Many roads have come up and a lot of new bungalows.

Day 2 evening Snack : Meenakshi-bhawan Masale!

 Maggi and Darshan asked us to take them to the place which makes best Masala Dosa in Shimoga. We took him to Meenakshi Bhawan and it indeed were good. We then went back to take a video of my house and a small round of Shimoga. I wanted to see what all had changed. We headed back to Rahuls place to have the much-needed bath and wash off all signs of Kodachadri.

The Afterword

I think this was one of my most perfectly organised trek. The only plan we had was we didn’t have a plan.We had the best of food every-time during this trek. We all enjoyed the food as much as we enjoyed the trek. so, I did a special mention of all the food too.  We were blessed with a good weather. It had not rained the previous night we trekked, So it was not too slippery. The whole day we trekked, It didn’t rain till we reached our destination. We were very lucky to reach our shelter just in time , even a few mins of delay would have got us completely drenched and would have made things difficult for us. We four people were the best coordinated lot. We had no controversy, no objections, no voting,no arguments. We were always together and always in agreement about everything we did. A satisfying experience all in all. Lets hope to have more of these. Thanks Gang!