Thursday, September 14, 2017

152) Jenukkalu & Deepadakallu Betta Trek: (8,9,10/9/2017)

Place: Jengal & Digal betta trek
Distance: 250kms x 2 = 500kms
Total Trek Distance (time): 20-25kms (6-8hours. Ours came upto 5hours)
Directions: Bangalore > Kunigal > Hassan > Sakleshpura > Hanbal > Jenukkalu & Deepadakallu
Krew: Prashanth (Pach) > Sukesh (Banda Bro) > Nitya (Don) > Sujan (Suz)  > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Enfield > Pulsar (2)                                                             
Previous Visit: Nidagal Betta trek
Budget: Rs 5500/head

Alright, this was an amazing trek to start things off in Western Ghats. Jenukallu and Digallu are known as the twin peaks of the western ghats and can be covered within a day. Crashing at a super duper homestay with good’ol friends made our 3 day trip a very memorable one. I’ve kept the article short and concise, so here goes nothing!

With Nitya returning back to India after a year from Switzerland, it was only right to plan a re-union of our batch mates. Initially a 2 day trip to Horsley Hills was planned but since we couldn’t get rooms we decided to head out to the Western Ghats. Pach, Sukhi, Nitya & Suz were on the confirmed list. Monday (4th Sep) we found a nice home stay, applied leave for Friday and froze the plan. We were little worried about the heavy rains that was shaking Bangalore.
TIME: 22:00 (7/9/2017)

Yeah I was up at 04:30,  peaked outside – no rains, whew!, did a few push ups & situps, had a cup of coffee and sat back listening to music for some time. Woke everybody up, and once the sky was clear we left our respective homes to assemble at the Hassan deviation from Tumkur road. Greeting each other, we took off from Nelamangala. 
TIME: 07:30

RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Nelamangala  - Kunigal – Hassan – Sakleshpura – Hanbal - Jengal)
This was 250kms ride mostly on highways. As we left Nelamangla, we cruised at a decent pace to pull over at a new hotel Annapoorna hotel at 8:30AM, right next to Golden Breeze for yummy breakfast. After which we rode pretty much on god mode to reach Hassan with 2 intermittent stops.

The Hassan-Sakleshpura road was a total nightmare to ride on as it was filled with potholes and rash buses. We cruised our way and rode past Sakleshpura at noon. Here we took a call to skip Manjarabad Fort and settled in for lunch at 13:00.
Post lunch, the search for homestay began. We reached Hanbal and the one by one, our phones began to lose signal. Using a BSNL phone, we called up the owner and asking for directions from locals we reached the awesome place. Oh yeah, we bought some juice on our way to the place :P
TIME: 15:00


We arrived at the homestay and good thing no other visitors were present. We had the entire estate stay to ourselves. We freshened up and as we didn’t have any other plans we opened the bottles and crashed in the corridor outside embracing the cold that had begun to set in. Kushan who was appointed as our care taker became more of a friend among us and provided us with snacks on regular intervals.  The homestay is about 110years old and is located amidst thick plantations. With no phones for 3 days we knew we would have a wonderful time.

Evening we went down for a campfire, and continuing the session we spoke to Kushan about the Jenukkal trek. He said he had been atop once and many years back, so we requested him to tag along us with his dog Pintu. Kushan also told we could go for a small trek to Aarekallu gudda within the estate itself first thing tomorrow morning as a warm up. After a few more rounds we had dinner and crashed.
TIME: 23:45


DAY 2 – The Reckoning Day!
No prizes for guessing who was up first. Yup, was up by 4AM, and realised it was raining outside. As it continued to pour outside, I began pouring inside and went out and sat in peace. With others awake after 3hours we were set for Aarekallu trek.
The trek was a decent one that begins with an initial walk through the estate and then involves a rock climb beside a stream of water. This was quite challenging as the rock phase was slippery. Once on top we got a wonderful view of the Jenukallu peak and then I realised I was wrong in thinking that Jenukallu was a small hillock. The thing looked freaking huge and this only got my energies up and thoughts calm at the same time. We returned back to the homestay to find a few leech attacks, with a leech repellent arranged, we had an awesome breakfast and with the lizard’s spirit burning bright within us, we were all set to conquer the mighty peak.
TIME: 11:15

Alright, the trek proved to be a thrilling one. Non-tiring but intense and super. It took us all 2hours to reach the top of Jenukallu, “us” here includes the people and the 3 estate dogs hehe.  One of them was that short but long one, he looked the most innocent but damn funny.

As we left the estate, we tucked our pants into our socks applied the leech repellent and began the walk through the plantations. Slowly the plantations faded and we found ourselves getting into thicker forest. We could spot a few streams and had to cross them.  The forest came on us dense, and as wild boars and elephants resided in them we were cautious in every step we took and with dogs ahead checking the way, we did our parts to ensure we were an awesome team.
TIME: 12:15


The forest left us into an open grassland were got a clear glimpse of the peak. Mist shrouded peak looked wonderful but sent mighty chills down our spines. Then we began a steep ascent holding tight onto the grass, the air was so fresh, I think I was high. The steep ascent in the grasslands helped us cover good ground in terms of altitude. We could see a beautiful waterfalls afar, a breath-taking scene it was.

The trek continued through pleasant grasslands and finally ended up at the final ascent. Here we all sat down and relaxed. The view was simply exhilarating, the poor short dog came and sat beside me, when I tried to pull it near, the poor thing felt like an over-heated processor. Taking advantage of its height it sat amidst the dew holding grass to cool itself down. (if u ask me this was the funniest and best part of the trip hehe!)

As we began the final stretch, the misty winds began to cover the top as though welcoming us to the peak. It felt quite dangerous at this point of time. The path turned narrow and we proceeded calmly amidst the howling winds to reach the top of Jenukallu peak.
TIME: 13:00

At the top, we sat down. It was a small footprint, there was a small nandi well buried into the earth. The dogs had little water at this point and we were surrounded with a blanket of mist and nothing was visible. The outline of Ethina Bhuja appeared for a few seconds before being swallowed up by the mighty fog. We realised it would be suicide if we stayed any longer at the place, we decided to venture to Deepadakallu from Jennukallu – peak to peak!
TIME: 13:30

This was descent trek, more of a walk, it took us 45mins from Jenukallu to Digallu. But to start things of we had to descend Jengal severely in terms of altitude to reach a flat land. This was insanely steep and the misty winds made it horror show. This part we executed with extreme caution and holding on tightly to the sturdy grass.


Once we reached the flat land, the mist began to disappear as though again saying tata to us hehe! The sun was up and the weather turned pleasant. The walk was a long one, our energies had begun the downward journey and we finally touched the Digal peak. The peak covered in mist began to fade with the sun’s rays fallin over it. It was the opposite welcoming hehe! We sat here for few minutes, had few chocolates. The dogs gave us startling looks wondering where all these bafoons were taking them haha. After sometime we decided to head back down as it was via a different route and was getting late.
TIME: 14:30


The descent like said earlier was via a different route. This was a pleasing stretch. We kept looking back at Digallu and it looked amazing as we kept taking a step farther away from her. The view all around was lit with only one colour – green green green. And finally Ethina bhuja made her appearance afar. Promising her a visit in the coming months we marched on further.
Finally reaching flat lands we entered back into the forests and 3 dogs were running all around us, who were walking like zombies. We found a nice stream which had super cold and fresh water. We relaxed here for sometime and then proceeded as out tummies had begun to growl. After a long walk we finally made it back to the homestay and the owner welcomed us with a yummy lunch.
TIME: 16:15

He told us that we were the first batch from his homestay after the re-opening in 2012 to climb the hillock. Even though we were tired, two horns shot up our head and we wore a proud wicked smile to embrace the compliment. After which, we went back and had a nice hot bath and slept for a while. Wait, hang on, I got up in like 30mins and began pouring again hehe.
Late evening it started raining making the weather ideal for a good long session. As everybody were tired, some crashed early, Kushan, Nitya & me sat outside until 11:30PM and decided to crash as well as day 3 would be hectic.
TIME: 00:15


And the award for the early bird goes to? Yeah, was up again at 4:30, went on pouring and trying to awake others. Finally went outside and sat staring deep into the woods. It was a liberating experience. Finally when Kushan arrived at about 6AM, we sat and spoke for an hour or so, when others started waking up. We had a round of coffee, freshened up and went for the breakfast. Once done with breakfast we cleared the amounts and thanked Madan (owner) and Kushan (friend) for taking care of us like family and said tata unwillingly to this wonderful place.
TIME: 10:15

RIDE 2: (Jengal – Abbi Gundi falls – Sakleshpura – Hassan – Kunigal – Bangalore )
This was a decent ride back. We were only worried about getting caught in the ruthless rain that had shattered Bangalore for the past two days. As we left Jengal, we rode into Abbi gundi waterfalls for a short visit.

Once out of there, it was a no non-sense ride until Sakleshpura. Then on it was a damn tiring and irritating ride to Hassan considering the traffic and the road conditions. As we reached Hassan which happens to be Sujan’s hometown as well (remember the Shettihalli church!?)  we met his mom and then proceeded toward Bangalore.


The ride was in full flow, when our tummies began yelling at us. So we pulled over at Murali Military Hotel for some yummy lunch at 2PM. Then on the ride was paced well, but our bodies had begun to falter. As we approached Solur dark clouds came all over us and showered us with some light rain, nothing serious. We actually enjoyed the rain, but only worry was, if it intensified. But as we reached Nelamangala, the weather turned very pleasant and the sun was up. We all pulled over at the NICE road junction on Tumkur road. Nitya departed directly, we 4 took the NICE road and reached our homes respectively.
TIME: 17:00

This will be one of the most cherished chapters. It was a great re-union and loved the way we started the march into the Western Ghats. Twin towers captured! And not only the home stay and its location but the care takers were amazing. Loved every bit of the trip! \m/
If you are planning to head out this side, drop me a mail or message so that I can hook you up with the same home stay.
Website link:
Mr.Madan: +91-9481668233

Until next time, Cia \m/