It seemed the long run on Saturday was not enough, so we took off early on Sunday morning as well, but this time in a car instead of on foot. We headed towards Anthargange. Supposedly, it is a spring (source of water) which explains the name. We were interested because the place is filled with volcanic rocks and countless caves.

To reach Anthargange (from Bengalooru), get on Old Madras Road and head towards Kolar (which is around 65 km away).

On the way, we saw a beautiful sunrise.

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In the first weekend of this month, my trekking gang and myself went to Mullainagiri and Bababudangiri for trekking. We’ve never experienced a “monsoon trek” / “rain trek”, so this was our chance to go for it. I’ve done the Mullainagiri trek before and I was quite looking forward to it again. I remember my favorite moment of trekking and suddenly realizing that clouds were below me…

To reach Mullainagiri, start at Chikmagalur bus stand, walk down a few hundred feet and have amazing idly and vada for breakfast at the Soundarya hotel in the main road, and then take a local jeep (next to the bus stand) to the Mullainagiri starting point. We took the jeep option, and as usual, we eventually got on top of the jeep. We had to make sure the jeep driver took us to the small iron arch where the trek is supposed to start.

Breakfast at Soundarya
Top of the jeep
Road
Jeep-skiing
Starting point

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Some weeks ago, 8 of us yahoos went to Tadiyandamol for trekking.

Directions to reach Tadiyandamol : Take the bus from Bangalore to Virajpet. Catch a local bus to Kaikamba, which comes before Kakkabe. From there, you can ask the locals for “raja mane” (King’s house) and you can start trekking. To book food at the Palace Estate, you can contact Prakash at 98804 47702.

Old Tower

Fields
Pink flower
Red flower
Yellow flower

The scorching heat was a problem, especially for the first-time trekkers, but we pushed them on.

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Last weekend, my trekking gang and myself went to Kumara Parvatha – the place I had heard so much about – “the toughest trek in Karnataka”, “the 2nd highest peak in Karnataka”, and so on. It turned out to be all that and much more.

Unlike many of our previous treks, this trek was preceded by a lot of preparation – from amount of food and water to take, the sleeping bags and mats to the bus seat booking and also getting permission from the Forest Department to trek to the top.

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Our plan was to climb up from the Kukke side, reach the top, sleep there in the night, and then get back down from the Somwarpet side.

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Rama Devara Betta (literally, Lord Rama’s Hill) is located just behind the Siddaganga mutt on Tumkur Road, and is about 60+ km from Bangalore. A couple of friends and myself went there yesterday to trek. There was a trail that led to the top of the hill but we didn’t take it. We basically “made our own road” and zig-zagged across the hill trying to reach the top.

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I’m writing this a few days after coming back to Bangalore, because I had to get over my holiday hangover. It seems unfair to gain so much, make so many new friends and have so much fun, and suddenly let it go, and that too, back to the daily routine life.

The trip was centred around attending the YHAI National Himalayan Winter Trekking Expedition, although it turned out to be the Dalhousie picnic because the trek was easy, but that little dampener didn’t stop us from having a great time.

It all started a couple of months ago when Niara and myself wanted to go to the Himalayan trek organized by YHAI in December, and we started planning.

Then, I remembered that I had inquired about the same trek last year and had got my friend Abishek (who is into making movies and graphics) interested but he got an offer to do a Nokia ad and he said he didn’t want to miss the opportunity. So, I had to shelve my plans that year. So, I soon started reading up the official YHAI website and was glad to be planning for it this year. We did plan a lot, and WriteBoard came in handy so that we could coordinate ourselves, from booking train tickets to getting medical certificates.

The trip started on the evening of Christmas Day of 2005, when we boarded the Rajdhani train to Delhi. It was going to be a 36 hours journey.

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From riding on the roof of the jeep, to walking 10 km, to diving in freezin’ cold water, to feasting our eyes to lush green hills, to loads of laughter, we did it all.

Over 300 close family and friends in your home on one day + followed by Ramanagaram trek on Saturday + Savandurga trek on Sunday => me happy

Ramanagaram

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Savandurga

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After Saturday’s long Python talk, we returned to the guest house in the evening and I simply crashed on the bed and had a great sleep.

On Sunday morning, I was woken up by Dilip saying ‘Hey, its 9 am. We have to go trekking!’. In an hour, we were on a jeep travelling 34 km to Thusharagiri. The weather was good, not too hot but with a bit of humidity, after all, this is Kerala. We had a look around the place and saw the boards which said there were 5 waterfalls. The first three were ‘nearby’ and the last 2 were 5 km and very far away. In fact, they are restricted since the area is prone to wild animals. So, we decided to go for only the first three waterfalls.

So, the four of us – Dilip, Praveen, Pradeep and myself started on our ‘walk in the hills’. Praveen had been to Thusharagiri before on a NSS trip and was our official guide for the day. That guy has amazing memory! He knew every turn and even once mentioned that one particular tree had more flowers when he had come last time.

(Update on 2008 Jan 27: Since the demise of Yahoo! Photos, the photos are now available in this Flickr set)

Waterfalls
Resting
Moment of thought
Sucked in by the hollow tree

This place was the most unpolluted place I’ve ever been to in my life. I simply loved it!

The noise of water happily flowing was the only sound we could hear. We hardly saw any other instance of humanity (yeah, bad geek joke). The pure fresh air made my lungs tingle. The slippery paths made our walk difficult. Mother Nature in her true beauty made it all worthwhile.

Open source, open minds, open trail
The trail
Water flowing
Scenery

We came across plants and trees of all sorts of species, including a coffee plant. The coffee flowers were beautiful, we plucked and chewed on the coffee seeds… we came across a tiny branch of the tree which was sort of what Tarzan would’ve used to swing from tree to tree. We had our own turn to achieve the same. Needless to say, I was afraid I would pull down the tree, so I didn’t pull too hard :lol: … we saw a jackfruit tree and what we suspected to be a ‘ganja’ tree as well..!

The walkers
Praveen swinging away
Tarzan has competition
Jackfruit

After a few more miles of walking, we came across some beautiful flowers… we were soon at the second waterfall. There were a few other college kids there as well. On the other side, we noticed a snake below… one of us shouted ‘Python Python!’ but Pradeep corrected saying it wasn’t a Python since they don’t have long tails….!

Pink flower of my dreams
Coffee flower
Scenery
Water wallpaper

Clouds
Resting
The snake
Coffee beans

In the midst of nature, totally in the wild, I am so happy that I’m far away from all the pollution, the honking of cars, the traffic of the city…. and suddenly the mobile phone rings! Dilip had a BSNL phone and it actually had network coverage in such a remote place as this. Welcome to a networked India!

By now we were really really tired… we had walked nearly 6-7 km on a tough terrain! It was 3 pm and we were really hungry and in this long and amazing trek, we talked a lot and it was mostly Pradeep and myself talking about life in an IT company and the career. We were trying to give them advice and help them get a perspective of life… I think we ended up scaring them! :twisted: … ok, seriously, we had a good talk about everything… as usual, Pradeep and myself got philosophical at times as well… I blame the breathtaking scenery for that ;)

BSNL connectivity is amazing
I am sweating!
More waterfalls
Last falls

We finally reached our destination… the other 3 went and just fell on the bench there… I was distracted by the beautiful garden and took a lot of snaps there.

Can I propose to a flower?
Garden variety
Pink Flowers
Blue Flowers

Red Flowers
Rose
Flowers

We then got back in the jeep and headed back to the guest house. After an hour of deep sleep, we packed our bags and headed for Calicut… we entered one of the bakeries, tempted by the specialties we practically bought half of the store leaving behind a smiling shopkeeper… we got on the train, bid goodbye to Dilip and Praveen (a big thanks to you two for a great time!), and on the way back, Pradeep, myself and Atul Chitnis had a great conversation and we talked about so much stuff… from Indian politics to open source (of course)…

We reached Bangalore on Monday morning, I had taken the day off from work but I still didn’t stay at home. A very close of friend of mine has come down from Mumbai and we spent the whole day doing lots of things… after 3 amazing non-stop fun days…. how can anyone get back to office and actually work!

Note : See my Yahoo! Photos for the complete set of full-size photos. There are lots of wallpaper-quality stuff in there :cool: