Camping under the stars @Horagina Betta

It was nearing the weekend and I needed to finalize another place for us to get lost (again), to explore, to camp, to witness something new and have a yet another much needed brain idling session.

This time I finally decided to get lost @Horigina Betta, its been stuck to the pending list for far too long.

Reaching Horagina Betta/ Nandi One:
Take the road toward Nandi Hill via Devanahalli, head straight on the mud road at the T-junction after Karahalli Cross. Left goes to Nandi Hills, right to Skandagiri from the T-junction. Trail from there is pretty simple one, easy to locate and follow, should take an hour to reach the suggested campsite. Follow the one on Google Maps or use this – “KMZ

Start of trek - Horagina Betta

Like always, we carried a short supply of dry wood with us as a backup, collected a lot more at the top.

Dipper hunt :).

Find the dipper

Camping under the star lit sky on a cold windy night, this probably is the best way to spend a weekend.

Woke up at 0330 hrs, woke the campfire, heated some water, drank and slept again :).

Camping under the sky @Horagina Betta

Woke up again at 0530, restarted the campfire, turned the music on, switched the camera on and had some serious fun :).

The morning views at Horagina Betta were great, but nothing can be more awesome than the view you get from Skandagiri.

And the roads to Nandi Hills turns alive again.

Boiling water for Green Tea, plastic bottle won’t melt but water will surely turn toxic especially if kept on a direct flame. In a survival situation its fine, all I had was Frozen water with me. I had wrapped frozen water bottle in old newspaper and carried along, even after some 18 hrs it was mostly frozen.

Boiling Water for Green Tea

Three of us were still hungry enough to carry on with the stage two of the trek, around 5 Kms round trip :). We (mostly) followed the trail on Google maps again.

Nandi Hills

No, that's isn't a Peacock. It's a dry wood, looked like a peacock from far

Reaching the top was fun, camping here wasn’t an option though.

As if star gazing wasn’t enough :D.

Reached the campsite safely, packed up everything and carried the garbage along with us till the base.

Took a bunch shortcuts on the way down, saving atleast a km.

Info in short:

  • Camp midway to the hill – loads of dry wood, clear ground, loads of stones to help build campfire/ support tents. Pegs won’t help you much, carry long guy-lines instead
  • Nights get chilly, windy, improperly pitched tent might fly-off
  • Follow the trail on google maps or KMZ, although it’s more fun to take a detour
  • Overgrown grass all around, difficult to judge the trail ahead, avoid night trek
  • Prefer full sleeves
  • Vehicles can be parked near the restaurant at the T-Junction
  • Top secret tip for better campfire, use an additional rock slab as a platform to build campfire on, this will make the fire run hotter.

Gears/ gadgets I carried :D.

Gears and Gadgets

Bed of Cloud – Checked

Getting lost – Checked

Stargazing – Checked

Next – Fusion of long ride, camping & beaches… Until then

Ride safe, trek safe.

The day we got lost in the wild @Aandi Gundi Betta

1830 hrs: Getting lost in the wild can sometimes be fun, not this time though. We are hungry, thirsty and dog-tired. We are surrounded by jungle, long grass and more importantly the darkness at some 1000m above sea level @Aandi Gundi Betta. We are short torches and all the geeky devices we carried are starting to show the signs of starvation. This exact moment keeps reminding me of the movie “6-5=2” (it’s a Kannada Horror movie – related to trekking with a supernatural topping, a must watch).
1845 hrs: Luckily I had recorded the trail while climbing, replayed that and somehow with the help of Ashok and Ramesh we got back on the correct trail.
1915 hrs: We reached the checkpoint, but decided to find another way since the trek further involved descend through some really steep and wet rock face.
1930 hrs: We are lost again, but this time in a Raagi field. This somehow remind me of all those Scarecrow horror movies I had watched; like Jeeper Creepers, Husk, Messengers etc.
1940 hrs: Battery is almost dead, and with just a couple of minutes juice left we intersected the initial trail.
1950 hrs: We could spot our vehicle in a distance and breathed a sigh of relief.

I was running short of camping spots around Bangalore, so decided to do a day trek and scout for camping spots on the coming weekend. Finalized on Aandi Gundi Betta/ Handi Gundi Betta (Coordinates – 12°43’35.8″N 77°18’59.3″E), Prasad created the Whatsapp group to continue further discussion with the team. Initial plan was to go for the Sunrise, but that got swapped with Sunset after the discussion.

 The day arrived, PK started from Electronic City for Domlur, parked the bike at some bakery with is key plugged to buy some snacks, only to find them missing when he came back. Me and PK had done a dozen of awesome trips earlier, and we were going to add another to the the list after some 2 years. Unfortunately he had to skip the trip and tow his bike back home.

Anyway, the final team got downsized to 8 from 12. We all met at the Nice road – Mysore road junction, and started towards Aandi Gundi. We stopped @Thirumala Green Palace near Wonderla, good enough place to have a lunch.

Reaching Aandi Gundi:

  • Be on a lookout for “Basavanapura” board on left around 4-5 kms from Rasta Cafe.
  • Take left, cross the Railway Crossing, and keep going till you find a large tree in middle of the road.
  • Take Right there, and left after some 30 meters (it’s a mud road, and will have small rock pillars on both side)
  • Continue on the mud road for a half km, park and find a trail towards left (Google map has a trail marked, or use this – KMZ GPX, use MyTracks, GPX Viewer or similar apps to view the trail on most smartphones).

Starting of the trail

View from the 1st steep climb

View of the 1st steep climb

First break after a steep climb.

Random pic

Hiding in the grass

The climb

View from the 1st steep climb

Second photo break.

Ramesh enjoying the view

Group pic the 2nd photo break

View of Aandi Gundi betta Steep face

View of the remaining climb

Panoramic View of the surrounding hills

Some random clicks on the way to 3rd photo break.

 

Selfie moments @Aandi Gundi

Sunset @Aandi Gudda Betta

By 1730 hrs we started descending, and somehow we starting offsetting from the initial trail and soon we reached a point where there was huge drop. I opened my “My Tracks” app and started moving back to somehow intersect with the initial trail.

A little before 2000 hrs we reached the parking, took a short break and started the hunt for the dinner dhaba on the way back.

Found a place near Bidadi – Cafe Coffee Day, Green Palace or something (was too tired to read the name :D).

Location, seating area, food were excellent, service was a laid-back though (and they don’t accept cards).

Anyway, Aandi Gundi trek was a success and we returned home perfectly safe, I am sure none of us will ever forget the experience of actually getting lost.

Hoping to go back to Aandi Gundi again sometime, but to camp at the top and witness the sunrise.

Will end the post with a checklist for whoever plans a trek, especially if it involves the darkness :).

  • Multitool/ lighter/ a small bottle of Surgical Spirit to start a fire
  • Extra water/ snacks
  • Full length pant/ full sleeve shirt/ jacket
  • Focus lights
  • Powerbank
  • Record the trail using “My Tracks” or similar

Ride safe, trek safe.

Wayanad Getaway to Claim Independence

There comes a time when you need your energy level replenished, mind cleared, new ideas etc.
Sometimes Independence can just be the freedom from pollution, traffic and the daily life ; that’s exactly what this trip was about.

Invisible speed breakers; ride through tar, mud, rocky patches, jungle & ghats; stroll with the leaches, trek to the heart shaped lake, life of the breathless fire, the talk, the tingling taste buds, and a yet another card holding the proof of life.

Woke up at 0200 hrs, took bath, checked the bike and mounted the bag behind. All geared up I left for Wayanad by 0300 hrs from home, joined the rest of the biker gang at the Banashankari bus stop. We cruised through the Mysore roads

Gopalswammy Betta Temple

Weather was just perfect when we reached the top; cloudy, misty topped with cold breeze. We decided not to spend too much time at the top as the return off-roading journey will turn insane once it starts raining.

Weather was acting absolutely deceitfully once we entered Kerala border; moment of shower, sunny, cloudiness just kept their NPr going.

A fun filled long ride lead us to our homestay by 1230 hrs; with a small detour through Gopalswamy Betta.

Got fresh and headed towards the Lakkidi View point followed by a visit to Pookode Lake.

Hair Pin Bend - Lakkidi View PointView from Lakkidi View PointThamarassery Churam Ghat Section, Lakkidi View Point, WayanadView from Lakkidi View PointView from Lakkidi View Point

Spent some 30 mins at the view point,  walked around, with a few digital & biological memories we left for Pookode Lake. It started raining by this time, we were still having a time of our life.

Decided to skip boating and instead we took a stroll around the lake. At some points this turned a bit scary – weird voices, drizzling, overflown lake flooded pathways, slippery & unstable rocky terrain with flying frogs, colorful snails, and of course leaches.

Pookode Lake

The next day hits-off with an incredible breakfast – Appam and Moong Dal Curry @homestay.

Chains hanging from topGreen Room - Summer Villa Homestay, Kalpetta, Wayanad

Phase one of day 2 plan was to trek Chembra Peak till the heart shaped lake. Parked our vehicles, paid the trekking charges, booked a jeep and we were off. The jeep ride till the start of trek point was amazing, so were the view of the tea gardens.

Loads of people opted for the anti-leech socks, some just replaced them with polythene covers in the jugaad style, we just tucked the bottom of the pant inside the socks (I must say it was definitely effective).

Tea Gardens on the way to Chembra PeakOn the way to Chembra PeakJeep ride till Chembra Peak start pointStart of trek, Chembra Peak, WayanadClose-up of leaf - Chembra Peak, WayanadBeautiful Colorful Snail - Chembra Peak, WayanadChembra Peak, WayanadHighlights and SHadows - Chembra Peak, WayanadHeart Shaped Lake - Chembra Peak, WayanadChembra Peak, WayanadChembra Peak, Wayanad

As usual “camera waale” were a bit slow, with loads of photo-shoots & breaks we finally arrived at the heart shaped lake.

By the time we reached the top the weather starting acting weird again. We started descending as fast as possible, midway the weather turned sunny; adding to the trouble the terrain turned slippery. Somehow we reached the trek start point, where we were supposed to wait for the jeep pickup. We chose to walk to the bridge till the jeep arrives.

Close-up of flower - Kanthanpara WaterfallsKanthanpara Waterfalls

Headed to homestay, got fresh and went for a walk in the city. Had an awesome local cuisine for dinner. In the meanwhile bonfire was setup by the homestay owner.

The next day I woke up at 0430 hrs, finished processing all the photos I had captured, sat out on the porch while listening to music with camera in one hand.

Had Idiyappam with Chana dal curry for breakfast.

Banasura DamBanasura Dam, Wayanad Banasura Dam, WayanadBikers posing for a shot while speed boatingBikers posing for a shot while speed boatingBikers posing for a shot while speed boatingBikers posing for a shot with life jackets after speed boating, Banasura Dam, Wayanad

Boat ride at Banasura Dam in Wayanad was fun, charged us Rs. 750 (5 person) for some 15 mins. Water was very clear – with a bluish tint everywhere.

To our surprise Meenmutty Waterfalls was open to public, and was just 2.5 kms from Banasura Dam.

There are two routes, one goes to the top to the start of the falls and the second goes to the bottom where once can take a dip.

Wayanad is blesses with many waterfalls, some being too dangerous to reach have already been closed (banned), some closed for the season, some are blesses with Entry – timings. So in short one would be on a real tight schedule if looking to cover them all.

Banasuramala Meenmutty Waterfalls, WayanadWooden Bench @Banasuramala Meenmutty Waterfalls, WayanadBanasuramala Meenmutty Waterfalls, Wayanad

We headed back to homestay to freshen-up, pack up and leave for Bengaluru.

The return journey till Mysore was fun, drizzled throughout. Once we reached Mysore it started raining heavily, roads were all flooded. I got separated from the group after the dinner, kept riding non stop most of the time. Rain almost stopped once I crossed Kangeri and to my surprise it looked as if it just drizzled in Bengaluru this whole time. It was 0030 hrs by the time I reached home; completely drenched, atleast the bag and the stuff inside were completely dry.

Rambutan

Bought Rambutan – a lesser know cousin of Lychee somewhere near the Kerala RTO check post. Tastes like Lychee, a bit bigger in size and more flavorful. Everyone at home loved it, wish I had brought more.

Oh! forgot, I killed the bike battery some 40 km before reaching home, forgot to disconnect the charging cable from bike, got wet, shorted and TADA! – no headlights for the next 10 kms.

At the end, it was an insane trip, worth all the troubles we had gone through. Wayanad is truly God’s Own Country. Never trusted the saying but they just don’t call Kerala ‘God’s Own Country’ for nothing.

Thanks to Sreejith, had an amazing foodie experience in Wayanad (I can still feel my taste buds tingling :)).

Not to forget the hospitality offered by Mr. Pramod during our stay @Summer Villa, Kalpetta.

Places Covered: Wayanad, Kerala – Chembra Peak, Pookode Lake, Lakkidi View Point, Gopalswamy Betta, Kanthanpara Waterfalls, Banasuramala Meenmutty Waterfalls, Banasura Dam
Distance: ~700 kms round trip
Stay: Summer Villa Homestay, Kalpetta, Wayanad

Journey to the land of flight masters – Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

The frozen controls, the macro vision, birth of the breathless fire, the golden shower, journey to the land of flight masters, overworked friction generator, sun-baked hot leather saddle, sweat drenched homosapien, roar of the mighty inorganic powerhorse, and a (yet another) card holding the proof of Life.

Boredspiration:
With loads of boredstorming and boredspiration over a span of 2.5 month evolved boreductivity. Okay, so this is how much I got bored of using the boring bore-less words that I had to get evolved by reading through the boring edition of the Urban Dictionary :P. In brief this is how screw loose packed trips are evolved.
The Plan:
– Start early, witness the sunrise @Kanva Reservoir
– Breakfast @Maddur Tiffany’s
– Visit Dariya Daulat Palace
– Shoot some birds @The Land of the Flight masters – Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
– Head back home, have lunch on the way back.
The Trip:
With a delayed start of an hour we reached Kanva Reservoir by 0630 hrs on March 16 2014. Built a campfire, opened snacks and relaxed.
View of the Moon behind a tree. - Taken on Mysore Road

View of the Moon behind a tree

Sunrise @Kanva Reserrvoir

Sunrise @Kanva

Kanva Reservoir

Roads to Kanva

With a delightful breakfast @Maddur Tiffany’s (poori, masala dosa and Mangalore buns :P) time neared to shoot some birds @Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary via Dariya Daulat Palace.

Dariya Daulat Palace, Srirangapatnam

This was my 3rd visit to Ranganthittu bird sanctuary, and was a delight to spot these Painted Stocks as soon as I entered the place.

Flight Masters @Ranganthithu Bird Sanctuary

Painted Stocks @Ranganthitttu Bird Sanctuary

White Stork

White Stork

Sun-Dried Bats for sale!

Indian Pond Heron or Paddybird

Indian Pond Heron or Paddybird

Painted Stock

White Stork - Flight Masters @Ranganthithu Bird Sanctuary

Run, Stork, Run

Catch me if you can

Shortage of Gator-ade on a lazy Sunday morning

I saw you giggle Mr. Gator

And.. done
Headed back home.