Saturday, August 10, 2019

176) Shivagange Trek – Trek into the Clouds: (7/8/2019)

Place: Shivagange (Shivaganga) Trek
Distance: 60 x 2 = 120km
Directions: Bangalore > Nelamangala > Shivagange
Krew: Chinmay (Big Show) > Datta (Daattu) > Ashok (Moms > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Pulsar > Enfield                                                                   
Previous Visit: Ratnagiri Fort Trek
Budget: Rs 337/head

This had to be one of the craziest rain treks done. We had almost turned down the plan and were about to return back, but then decided to begin the climb and pulled this one off. With foggy winds all around and drizzle throughout, it made climbing up and down, quite risky and challenging. But treating every step with importance we pulled this one off. A great chapter to be cherished for some years to come!

Shanthala was a brilliant dancer and her dear friend was Lakshmi. When she performed at Hoyasala king Vishnuvardhana’s palace, the king expressed his desire to marry her. But she insisted she would only on one condition and that was if the king would marry both Lakshmi and herself. King agreed and they got married, Shanthala became the primary queen and Laksmi the secondary. But once Shanthala was not able to conceive a baby and it was custom that only the primary queen’s son can become the heir, she insisted that the king make Lakshmi the primary queen, but the king refused as he truly loved Shanthala. Going into depression Shanthala jumped off the Shivagange and committed suicide. One can find the the statue of the dancing queen at Belur temple near Hassan,

The last visit to this place was very significant with Deefu. So decided to climb this hillock during monsoon. Dattu was in China and we were awaiting his return. Once he returned asked him, once he confirmed, Momz and Chinamy as well did. So with a crew of 4 people, we were set. Plan was simple, Go > Climb up > Come down > Come back.
TIME: 22:00 (6/8/2019)

Yeah I was up at 04:30 sharp, had begun running for 4km everyday and was in good shape. As the meet up was scheduled at kamdhenu hotel, I left my home picked up Dattu and begun our ride towards Kamadhenu.
TIME: 07:00

RIDE 1: (Bangalore- Nelamangala – Dobbaspete - Shivagange)
This was a 60kms ride, on the smooth highway of Tumkur road. But this time it was quite different, it began to rain in the morning itself, it was something new. The rains were not so heavy but we had to slow down. After reaching the hotel, Chinmay and Momz joined in a few minutes and we started a light tasty breakfast.
TIME: 07:45

After the breakfast, we rode back a few meters and took a right deviation and the rain really intensified here. We could see peacocks dancing and flying around in the rain, it was a beautiful sight. But the rains were quite worrying. Shivagange has steps throughout, but it is on a rock face and rains and rock faces don’t go very well. We entered the town and parked our bikes near a bakery near the base of hillock and the rains really intensified.


The Dilemma & 2 hours wait:
Okay, as the rain intensified, the bakery people warned us not to attempt the summit that day as it would be very dangerous. Also they told the monkeys turned rogue and snatched away 10,000rupees from a tourist the day before. I asked if all were okay to cancel the plan and return back some other day or take our chance, wait for few hours and go ahead and climb. When all said lets push it and finish it, we waited for about 2 hours and once the rain had turned into drizzle, with somewhat shaky thoughts we began our trek.
TIME: 10:00

As far as the trek goes, this has to be one of the craziest treks done till date. The fog, the strong winds, the rains made the trek quite challenging and different. We really enjoyed the change we experienced during the trek. And guess what, it took 1hour to climb to the top inspite of all the resistances. I guess we were not slow after all, but that is not the point, we took our time and enjoyed the trek. Like always, I have divided the trek into the following sections:
i) Initial stretch
ii) Battle Monkey Stretch
iii) Final Stretch
So, what do you think. Try to keep up with me, here all!

i) Initial Stretch:
So the trek begun and as be began to gain altitude, a cloud came cruising in and made the view of the base land disappear. And the hillock as such was shrouded in misty clouds as well. So we were basically entering into a cloud and it was quite an experience. The terrain was easy to start off, there is steps throughout. None of the shops were opened owing to the weather. As we reached the Shiva & Parvathi statue the initial stretch came to an end.

ii) Battle Monkey Stretch:
Okay, this stretch was totally covered with mist and we could hardly see 5-7 steps ahead of us. And this was the place we had got attacked by the monkeys. So told everybody to pick up and stick and no matter what, not to freak out and try to run incase the monkeys start an attack. But fortunately for us on that day all monkeys were fast asleep in the cold and misty weather. But nevertheless we kept our guard up and ascended the steep steps with caution.

iii) Final stretch:
In the final stretch, the steps get real tricky and narrow. You have to climb cross-foot and its quite fun. The weather had not faded and the mist of intensifying with every step we took. Once we spotted the Nandi, I was actually surprised we had made it to the top.
TIME: 11:00

The Nandi statue looked so mystifying this time, covered with a blanket of mist he sat peacefully. As we reached the top, the wind speed hit the roof and we were being dragged around. It was too intense, but step by step taking cover amidst the boulders we visited the Shanthala drop and sat near a boulder just admiring the beautiful weather. Never had we experienced such a trek off-late. Then moving near the stupa (pillar) proved to be real challenge amidst the harsh winds. Just the act of standing was a challenge trust me. After spending about 30mins at the top, we decided to venture down.
TIME: 11:30


The climb down was actually smooth, but one wrong footing would have ensured a bad day. The steps were slippery and we had to doubly cautious while descending. As we began our descent, the gang of monkeys were all set to attack us. But then remembering Deefu’s trick, we went on hitting the railings and rocks with a stick and none of them dared to attack us. Momz amazed by the trick said “Deefu has told you WHAT to do, now I shall explain WHY it works?”  All ears were on momz as he took some while before the next statement came out of his mouth. Momz continued “once you start hitting the stick to the railings and rocks, the monkeys think you are blind person trying to climb the hillock and forgive you :P” All of us burst into laughter, and the monkeys kept staring at us wondering what happened. Slowly but steadily we descended, as the rain began to intensify. We made to the bakery and had some light tea, thanked the bakery people for holding onto our helmets and we took off.

We pulled over at a field near by for some stuff stop. We sat in circle amidst the grass fields, floating away in our heads, we admired the mighty Shivagange covered in mist. Simply beautiful she looked. As we felt at ease and slightly afloat, the hunger began to kick in and it was time for some dhaba lunch.
TIME: 14:00

RIDE 2: (Shivagange – Nelamangala – Bangalore)
As far as the ride back goes, it was smooth ride. As we reached Nelamangala, we were surprised that Chandu Dhaba was demolished. But we spotted another Dhaba – Whitty Dhaba next to it. And boy was it a good find!
TIME: 14:30

After spending about an hour at the dhaba afloat and lot of laughter we had traditional rasam to settle down. And we rode back smooth, Chinmay and Moms headed back towards BEL. I dropped Dattu off at this home and reached my home safe to open my pigeon canteen :)
TIME: 16:00

Guys do remember, water is an option but a stick in your hand is a must. And never let your guard down and remove your wallet, camera without looking around!
Until next time, Cheers \m/