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.

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Savanadurga Trek/ Manchanabele Dam/ Big Banyan Tree

Places Covered: Savanadurga, Manchanabele Reservoir and Big Banyan Tree
Total distance: ~120 Kms
Time: ~12 Hrs
Mileage: ~3 ltrs.
Previous Trip:  Shivagange Trek

This was one pending trip since a long time (as always :)).  So finally on 6th January 2013 I plotted a plan to trek Savanadurga.

Went out for grocery shopping the night before the trip, loaded my bag with snacks. Filled up the tank, cleaned the bike, fixed my navigation setup, reconnected the mobile charging unit, tuned carburetor for performance… and bikey ready to burn some rubber :).

About:

Savanadurga is among the largest Monolithic Hills in Asia. There is Nandi idol at the Hill top, which is 1226 meters above sea level.

Manchanabele Dam is just  a few clicks from Savanadurga. It’s is a small reservoir, build across the river Arkavathi for irrigation purpose. Place is quiet and peaceful enough to spend some time, though lacks tree cover for shade.

Dodda Alada Mara (Big Banyan Tree) is a giant Banyan tree located in the village of Ramohalli, spread over 3 acres and is supposed to be atleast 400 years old.

Route:

Trip:

The group consisted of 4 people and 2 bikes (again), I seriously miss riding without pinion :(, will pakka plan a solo trip in future :).

Back to the log, we left my place by 0400 hrs, stopped around 15 km before Savanadurga for a Coffee break, don’t remember the place name, bas Google bharose hum to.

Roads were fine throughout the trip, except in the village limits. We reached Savanadurga foothills by 0600 hrs, parked our bikes in front of the Temple and started the hill climb.

It’s nearly a 300 meter climb and can be done in around 2 hours. The view from the top is insanely awesome. There are no steps or supports to help you out, except a chain of arrow marks for direction.

Be sure not to visit on a rainy day or night. Also it’s best to start the climb early in the morning, by 6 AM is good enough. Carry food and water, there is nothing available on the top.

It’s a perfect place to plan a ODT when clubbed with “Manchanabele Dam” and “Big Banyan Tree”, which are pretty close-by.

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Shivagange Trek

Places Covered: Shivagange
Total distance: ~100 Kms
Time: ~10 Hrs
Mileage: ~3 ltrs.
Previous Trip: Frozen ride to Talakona via Horsley Hills

This was one super short trip (100km round). Nothing much to write, will still provide as much info possible. Will let the photos do the talking .
My recent relocation to Yelahanka (Bangalore) presented me with an opportunity to strike-off the remaining places nearby Bangalore.

List of pending places nearby Bangalore:
Shivagange
Savanadurga
Madhugiri
Nijgalbetta
Bilikalbetta
Melukote
Hogenakkal
Shivanasamudaram and Talakad

Most of these place are relatively close-by, first 6 are trek locations and last 2 are waterfalls.

Shivagange is one of those many trek spots I missed, inspite being real close to Bangalore. So on December 16th 2012, I finalized a plan to Shivagange. 1400 meters above sea level being the highest altitude at Shivagange.

Route: Yelahanka > NH4 Highway (Tumkur Road) > Nelamangala > Dobbasapete > Shivaganga (have to take left from the highways, Shivagange is around 6 km form there)

We (4 friends, 2 bikes) started by 4:30 AM in the morning, took a coffee break near Nelamangala. We reached Shivaganage by 7 AM. First thing I did is took the below snap of the Hills.
Shivagange Hills

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Frozen ride to Talakona via Horsley Hills

Places Covered: Horsley Hills and Talakona
Total distance: ~580 Kms
Time: ~23 Hrs
Mileage: haven’t calculated, must have burnt around 12-13 ltrs.
Previous Trip:  Trip to Dandeli/ Karwar/ Gokarna/ Murdeshwar

Not literally frozen of-course, its Andhra Pradesh. I guess the unexpectedness of the level of cold in AP made me feel even colder :).  The temperature throughout the ride was just above 10 degrees, coupled with 60-70 kmph riding speeds is good enough to result windchill in negative.

About Horsley Hills:
Horsley Hills is like  an  Appetizer at 4100ft, blessed with loads of trees (especially Eucalyptus, Jacaranda), 3-4 hair pin bends, awesome climate, peaceful, away from the traffic/ Janta and no pollution makes it a perfect getaway for relaxation.
There is nothing much to do here other than pure relaxation.
Also if you are lucky, you might get a chance to spot Sambar Deer.
Awesome breakfast buffet at APTDC (Rs 90 per head, includes dosa/ idli/ pongal/ coffee/ tea).
Trekking and some adventure sports (run by APTDC) are also there, haven’t done that.
There is a small park and a small zoo opposite to APTDC Hill Resort.

About Talakona Waterfall:
Talakona waterfall is around 100 km from Madanapally. Waterfall is in Sri Venkateswara National Park.
With a 270 feet tall, it is the highest waterfall in Andhra Pradesh.
There is also a 250m long canopy rope walk.
The water here is believed to be rich in minerals which flows through herbs and has healing properties. Talakona was declared as Bio-Sphere Reserve since a variety of herbs and plant species are available.
While heading towards Talakona, one can see the rocky side of Tirumala Hills.

Route:
Hoskote> Chintamani Bypass> Madnapally> Horsley Hills> Madanapally> Talakona (Tirupati Road)


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