Friday, August 17, 2012

58) Makalidurga – Railway Trek: (13/7/2012)


Place: Makalidurga – Railway trek.
Distance: 70 x 2 = 140kms.
Directions: Bengaluru – Yelahanka – Doddaballapur - Makalidurga .
Particiapants: Deepak (Deepu) > Karthik (Nr) > Kushal (Kaushi) > Datta (Dattu) > Ashok (Ashokey 350) > Karthik (Sp).
Bikes: Zeus > Discover > Pulsar 150.
Budget: Rs200/h.

IN LESS THAN 50 WORDS:
This was one terrific trek which drained the life out us totally. It had elements of danger & fun well balanced. As far my knowledge goes only a few had reached the temple at the top. And yeah an extremely under-rated trek, it surely is as good as Skandagiri trust me!! Standing at 4430 feet, taller than Savandurga(the largest monolith in Asia) had to be one tough gun to conquer.


INTRO & PLAN:
Well the last time we trekked was 2.5 years back – Kabbaladurga trek, where i barely survived. After that we didn’t really do much of hardcore trekking. Then I stumbled upon this place, actually very long back itself. Makalidurga not only being a climb but a railway trek got us all excited and decided to get it under our belt. This place became famous after the tragedy that occurred on October 31 1991, when a boulder rolled down the hill to hit a passing train killing about 30 people.

ASSEMBLE:
Yeah I was up at 05:00 hrs, it was Dad’s birthday. Wished him, had a cup of coffee, did a few push-ups and left my house at 06:00 hrs. Oh yeah, just before I left I grabbed a 1litre water bottle. Trust me, I didn’t have faintest idea how important it meant. The assembling was scheduled at 3 places, first at Nayandahalli, then it was Mahalakshmi layout and finally at Sankey tank. After all 6 had assembled we departed Bengaluru.
TIME: 07:15 hrs

 

RIDE 1: (Bengaluru – Doddbalapura – Makalidurga)
Well this was 60-65kms stretch. We did stretch at a slow pace, with only one stop. We rode slow through the city, once we got out of the city we continued again at a slow pace to reach Doddbalapura. After which the roads turned real good, so we cruised along at a decent pace to reach the Makalidurga Railway station.
TIME: 09:30 hrs

 


MAKALIDURGA TREK:
Alright there are two ways to reach the foot of the hills
i) Ride our bikes 1.5-2kms further to the foot of the hills. OR
ii) Park our bikes at the railway station & walk 3kms on the railway track to reach the foot hills.

Yeah, we chose the obvious one!
Parked our bikes at the station, called out the station master & requested him to look after our bikes. Then the trek started as we departed platform of Makalidurga.

3 Km Walk:


Yeah the trek started of with lot of talks and jokes. We walked on the track, jumped around here & there. Then we sat on some bund talking about school days and incidents worth recollecting. It was not long before we spotted the first train, only a few minutes latter the second one zoomed past us. 

 

Then for the 3rd & 4th train we kept coins on the track and took them back as souvenirs. Finally we covered the 3km on the track and reached the foothills. As the sun was up, we did finish half the bottle at foothills only. We had no clue what the other half meant.
TIME: 10:30 hrs

Initial Stretch:


The initial stretch was pretty easy. The terrain was very similar to Skandagiri with a lot of grass & boulders. We took sufficient breaks & kept ascending at a good pace. After about 30 mins we encountered steep boulders, which we climbed carefully one after the other. I had a helmet in my hand and a tool-box, water bottle and lots of other things in my bag which began draining the energy out of me.
TIME: 11:00 hrs

3 Point Contact:

 

Trust me we were kinda lost right from the beginning ha-ha. The plan was simple, keep climbing up, until we reach the fort at the top. Alright, so… the number of breaks increased and we were getting dehydrated and fast. (Me being the worst due to the luggage)

As we took shelter below a small canopy of thorn filled bushes, Kaushi & Nr decided to head back as the steepness had started to become maddening. So the 4 us decided to continue further.
The boulders at a few places were literally 90 deg steep & climbing them was a real challenge. Check out the snaps, I’m sure you’d wonder how mental we are :P ha-ha!


Last Stretch:
The steepness did decrease, but not much. We were so dehydrated that we finished off the water. My shirt was drenched in sweat and I do not know why, but I refused to give my bag for others to carry. Deepu being the most experienced led the way until we reached a place where we had to sit down almost collapsing. After a short nap, we continued further to finally spot the fort walls. We looked for a breakthrough and reached the top :)
TIME: 12:00 hrs

 

The Flying Fortress:


Whew!! Reaching the top was a huge relief. The cool wind rushing at my face, as sweat kept running down the same is something I recollect very clearly. We spotted a few ruins on the top such as granaries and other storage places.

 

We also spotted a small pond, into which I badly wanted to jump into. Thankfully I was stopped by the others as it had dirty water. Finally we spotted the Nandi temple at the top which marked the end of the trek. We being the only ones at the top, walked like zombies one after the other, extremely dehydrated to reach the temple.

 

Nandi Temple:


Once we reached the temple, we literally stormed the place hoping to find water. But unfortunately we didn’t find any. The inside of the temple was damn cool and pleasant. We did a Pooja by ourselves, and slept off knowing that was the only way we could re-instore our energies.
TIME: 12:15 hrs

 

After about 45mins of deep sleep, we woke up yawned... I didn’t even realise where I was ha-ha!! But yeah water levels were still down. Just before we left the temple, I spotted a small packet of tea powder, put it in my pocket. Wearing back our shoes, we decided to head back down.
TIME: 13:00 hrs

Descension:


Deepu lead the way down again. And Dattu & Ashok were pretty okay after the rest. As we descended we took a totally new route, which had us lost right from the beginning. The sun being right on top of us made matters worse. After a few mins of trek down, we were caught in a place which had steep boulders again. We sat on them & descended carefully.

 

After 30mins we were back on grass & boulder terrain. Then I found 1 halls in pocket ha-ha :P. We broke into 4 pieces and ate, that wasn’t it. I ate the raw tea powder as well. Trust me... never eat it raw unless you don’t have any other choice. As we rested all we could see is huge trees and thorn filled bushes in front of us. The word “route” was kicked totally out of the dictionary that day. 

 

Crawling through the thorny bushes, jumping about the boulders and trees we made it out of that stretch to spot the railway track at some distance. Whew, well we just walked straight through the thorny plants without giving a damn about the bruises being caused on our faces, hands & knees. Finally we reached back the railway track.
TIME: 14:00 hrs

Last Stretch:


We had ended up about 0.5-1km further, so we had a total of 3.5-4 kms to walk back. We walked back on the track like zombies, head down, and arms hanging so dead from our shoulders. After about an hour we reached back the station. These 60 mins had to be the toughest walk of my life. We washed our faces at the station and went to a bakery near-by and drank a lot of fluids.
TIME: 15:15 hrs

RIDE 2: (Makalidurga – Dhaba)
Well having said tata to Maklidurga, we rode at a decent pace to reach dhaba on the highway. We ate decent meal, not to heavy and decided to head back as it was becoming cloudy. We didn’t want to miss riding in the rain.
TIME: 16:30 hrs

 

RIDE 3: (Rain Ride - Heavy)
As we left the Dhaba we prayed that it would rain. As we reached the airport road, the clouds burst open and down came the rains. We enjoyed riding thoroughly till Bangalore where we split our ways. After I reached the ORR with Kaushi behind me, the clouds burst open big time and the road was filled with rain water. But we didn’t stop continued at a decent pace, smiling at the all the other 2 wheelers who were taking shelter. Dropped of Kushal at Nayandhalli signal and reached back our bakery.
TIME: 18:30 hrs
  
EXTRA’S:
Ha-ha that wasn’t it. It was Arun’s farewell to IIT Madras, so went out had an excellent dinner. Trust me there I was in the hotel holding a glass of cold water in my hand, staring at it, realising how important it was under given circumstances. After a nice heavy meal we went back home.
TIME: 22:00 hrs


CONCLUSIONS:
Well this had to one of my best treks till date along with Skandagiri, Kabbaladurga & Pearl valley. The level of dehydration we went through is something which only could be felt, hard to describe. So a word of advice for people going after reading this article, take a lot water, snacks, and first aid kit.

Until next time Cia \m/


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Friday, August 10, 2012

57) Vani vilas Sagara Dam (Marikanive) & Chitradurga Fort: (20/6/2012)



Place: Vani vilas Sagar Dam & Chitradurga fort.
Distance: (220+ 20) x 2 = 500kms.
Directions: Bengaluru – Tumkur – Sira – Hiruyur – Chitradurga..
Particiapants: Chetan(Zethu) > Karthik (Sp).
Bikes: Avenger > Pulsar 150.
Previous visit: Yelagiri.

IN LESS THAN 50 WORDS:
This was another excellent cruise to the ancient fort of Chitradurga & to the beautiful Vanivilas Dam. The cool weather made the fort tour a pleasant one. And Marikanive dam, well as usual like last time nothing short of heaven.

INTRO & PLAN:
Well as far as the planning goes, Zethu wanted to join us during the last visit but couldn’t. So it was him who initiated this run and I gladly joined him. As the monsoons had begun, riding in the heavy rains is something we both wanted to do badly. After confirming the timings we crashed.
TIME: 23:00 hrs (19/6/2012)

 

ASSEMBLE:
Yeah I was up at 04:00, had a cup of coffee, did a few push-ups & was all set for a long day on road. Left my home at 05:00 & cruised along the Outer Ring Road (ORR) at a slow pace to reach the BP petrol bunk on ORR. After a formal greeting we departed Bengaluru.
TIME: 05:30 hrs

RIDE 1: (Bengaluru – Tumkur – Sira – Hiryur – Chitradurga)
This was a 200-220kms stretch. So as we started off from Bengaluru, we cruised at a slow pace. We had a tea break on the highway and then set in and hit the road at decent pace to reach Tumkur. After reaching Tumkur we decided to skip breakfast, so we continued another 60-70kms to reach Sira. Took a small break and hit the road again to reach Hiryur, I kept a constant look out for the Arch, where we had to take a deviation to VaniVilas Dam. But unfortunately I couldn’t spot it, so we continued further to reach Chitradurga.


As we reached Chitradurga, the wind speed increased drastically & trust me balancing the bike became a challenge. We zoomed through the city and reached the fort entrance.  We parked our bike in front of the mighty fort and were all set for another tour.
TIME: 10:00 hrs

 

CHITRADURGA FORT:
Well this was my second visit to this huge fort, the last one being almost exactly 1 year back (23/6/2011). So this time we didn’t need a guide to take us around the fort, also this saved us some money as well :)
So… like last time i’ll be giving a fort tour like last time, hope you enjoy it, Cheers!


Ticket counter: If you don’t have a ticket you wont be allowed to enter the fort: P, so a place of very much importance. If your pay Rs 5, you’ll have an awesome ticket in your hand and now you shall enter the fort.


    1) Snake Inscription: This is right behind the ticket counter; the whole fort was built on this simple design.

    2) Gates: There are 7 main gates, and many secret passages. Each gate had several gun points to defend the fort.

    3) Kamana Bagilu: The path way is at right angles to each other, it helped immensely to counter the enemy attacks as there were gun points on each of the corner. Oh yea it would also not allow the enemies to take a run up if they were planning to break the doors open with huge logs of wood or elephants.

   4) Enne Kola (Oil Storage): This is at the entrance only, huge rock storage tank, oil used to be stored here. There is also a small tank next to it along with a cave for the guard. 


   5) Cannon ball shots: All along the fort wall you can observe the deep grooves due to the cannon balls. Hyder Ali who was the enemy had done some hard work for sure ha-ha!!

  

   6) Bombe Mantapa: Place where they used to bury the animals which died in war , or during construction.

   7) Deer Drawing: Early men’s inscription of a deer on a rock.

   8) Raja’s Gym: The place where the King used to work out, the door of the gym was very small. This was because in case the enemies attack him at the gym, only one at a time could enter the place.

   9) Ancient art of Rock cutting: They used to make holes in the rock with a chisel, stuff wood into it, and allow water into the holes. The wood would expand and cut the rocks.

   10) Ganesha Temple: This temple was built for a reason, the huge boulder which is right behind it looks exactly like an elephant.

 

   11) Weird Rock formations: The weird rocks & boulders to watch out for are Fish shaped , Ship shaped , Toad shaped , Alligator Shaped, Turtle Shaped, Shanku Shaped …

   12) Hidimba Temple: Hidimba the famous demon in the epic Mahabharata used to terrorize village people, staying on this hill. So a temple in his memories.

   13) Huge Swing & Lamp post: The goddess idol was placed on the swing during the festivals. And the king would climb up the lamp post and light the lamp.



   14) Ghee Storage: This is one of the main attractions of this place. If you had to be in the Chitradurga army you had to climb this hill, and as you did, they would start pouring ghee from the Ghee storage tank at the top. If you made it to the top well you were appointed in the army: D. ( Place where Ramchari played by Vishnuvardahan in Nagarahavu movie, falls off the cliff & commits suicide)

   15) Bank & Safety Locker: Place where they used to mint coins. They used to bury the coins 15-20 feet below the ground; a small temple was constructed on the surface. Cannon ball shots are seen on the temples of this place too.

   16) Akka Thangi Kola: Two small water bodies where the king’s wives committed suicide once Hyder Ali won the war.

 


   17) Temples: There are many temples which can be seen from Akka Thangi Kola ( the place where you are standing now :P), Some of them are Gopalswamy, Hanuman,Nandi,.Ganesha temples.

   18) Tanniru Doni: Place where cold water flows all through out the year. This is also the place where Obawa (wife of a guard) spots the first of Hyder Ali’s men, so she went back to the Kindi and killed the others.

Ps: There is a fish inscription on a rock nearby, which suggested water’s available nearby. Obawa’s grave is also situated opposite to this place.
19) Okkali Honda: Place where the town people use to play with colored water. Coloring of water was due to turmeric and other auyervedic ingredients.

 

20) Obbavana kindi: Here is the main attraction of this place for all tourists.ThisPlace is where food & other groceries were brought to the soldiers from the from,But few of the soldiers leaked this info to Hyder Ali’s men as it was the easiest way to invade the fort. Obawa whipped the soldiers at this place as only one could squeeze through.


   21) Gali Mantapa: This was the place where the king was worshipped during festivals. There’s a huge swing           and a lamp post here.

   22) Siddeshwara Temple: Nice ancient temple, where you can get a pooja done.

   23) Murugha matha: This was a residential school for young kids of chitradurga, the interior of this place is just brilliant. The cooking place , study halls , dining halls etc..



   24) Pataabhisheka : A huge platform where the king was given the pattaabhisheka, they used put gold and silver flowers, this was a common tradition during those days. This was also done if a person would live to see his 4th generation.(Thanks dad for this info)

   25) Monkey man: And you guys thought I forgot him eh , ha-ha… Introducing world’s second fastest climber, man with the amazing skills to climb the fort walls, huge lamp posts mentioned earlier, the huge swing, the man who learnt his skills by observing monkeys – The Monkey Man (Kothi Raja) . During this visit, unfortunately he was recovering form a fracture so couldn't climb.

 


Well that was our view of this magnificent fort, hope you enjoyed it. The cool breeze made the tour superb. We fooled around the fort for a few more minutes & decided to leave Chitradurga.
TIME: 12:00 hrs

RIDE 2: (Chitradurga – Vani Vilas Sagara Dam)

 

This was a good 60kms stretch. As we left Chitradurga, we cruised past the beautiful windmills and reached the highway. We continued for another 30kms to reach Hiryur. After reaching Hiryur we found that the Arch(our sign for the right deviation) had been pulled down, but fortunately we recognised the deviation and continued further, another 25kms to reach Marikaniva Dam.
TIME: 13:30 hrs

VANI VILAS SAGARA DAM: (Marikanive)


Alright I couldn’t wait to get the first glimpse of this reservoir, over the huge bund that stood firmly in front of us. As we started climbing up the stairs I started jumping around in excitement, a few minutes latter, down I was down with an ankle sprain. Damn it hurt badly, but we continued reach the top of the bund. Momentarily I forgot the pain, due to beautiful view of the reservoir that stood in front of me. 

 

Limping across the entire bund, we found a neat spot to sit. We sat there for about an hour, sipping water and enjoying the cool breeze.Vani vilas is one of the most beautiful reservoirs I've visited till date. After giving my ankle some time, it was a little better. So we decided to hit the road back to Bengaluru.
TIME: 14:30 hrs

RIDE 3: (Vani Vilas dam – Sira(lunch break) – Tumkur)


This was about 80-90kms stretch. As we left Marikanive, we did the next 25kms at a slow pace to reach back NH-4. Then on it was smooth sailing to reach Sira. (15:30 hrs)
At Sira we had the first meal of the day. But we ate really less, and decided to ht the road to Tumkur. After the light lunch we cruised along at a decent pace to reach Tumkur.

RIDE 4: (Tumkur – Bengaluru)

 

This was the last 70kms of this run. As we left Tumkur, dark clouds formed above us. We looked at each other in gave a thumbs up. Oh yeas, this was something we were waiting for the entire day. The clouds burst open & down came the rain. It was real fun riding in the heavy rains for a good 50kms to reach back Bengaluru.
TIME: 19:30 hrs

Ps: As Zethu headed towards Malleswaram, I took the Outer Ring Road(ORR) and zoomed till Nayandhalli traffic junction. Then I put my bike’s centre stand, wiped my bike, took a nice nap & went back home fresh ha-ha !!:P

Until next time Cia \m/


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