Monday, January 14, 2008

Kumara Parvatha

There was certain something missing from past two years as I was unable to make some time off to go out on a long trek. Occasionally I would visit few hills nearby but that never had the zing that Western Ghats used to offer. Last weekend I had been to a place popularly known as Kumara Parvatha. I usually talk about how intense I find Bangalore and how everything in Bangalore is noisy and fast-paced and high-energy, and when I come back home at the end of the day, I feel drained. And it's nice to escape to the relative calm of trekking for a while.

We begin to notice the first time we step into the bus that it was a bad idea to plan a trek in short notice as we ended up with seats at the rear end of the bus. I don't know about other places but this journey was a rollercoaster ride and in all probability we were suspended in mid air most of the time which officially classifies our group to people who trekked Kumara Parvatha right from Bangalore. I was impressed by the casual adroitness with which our courageous bus driver would navigate the maddening maze of pot holes and non existent roads.

Kukke is an extraordinary place in terms of Geographic location, Right from a temple located in the foothills of Kumaraparvatha to the very beautiful river Kumaradhara flowing through the city. It also acts as a base camp for many trek routes to Bisle Ghat, Yedukumeri and KP. I couldn't help but marvel at the mist covered place as soon as I got down from the bus.

There is an unwritten rule for trekkers, if you do not bathe once in three days you are foolish. If you feel like taking bathe every day, you are crazy. I'm not sure if it's worse to be foolish or crazy, but I guess I fall into the first category. We couldn't help but to understand the usefulness of Deodorant as we did not bathe for 48 Hrs. I often found myself complaining about the amount of trash found on the trek path. I wish people to be more educated towards waste disposal. The good thing was, higher we climbed lesser were the waste.

No matter which trek route you select, there is always a nice surprise round the corner. In our case we had never anticipated the vastness of the mountain so were we lacking in preparation which took its toll and forced us to take rest every few minutes. I was rather amused at the speed at which our Glucose powder was depleting. We were relived when we reached Bhatara Maane which is an isolated house on the way to KP which serves as a pit stop to have lunch.

Water streams are rare especially during winter and summer, and where they do exist we need to fill our water bottles. We came across them near two places one near a ruined dolmen (Mantapa) and the second almost near the peak. So I suppose, I could not stop washing my face in the ice cold water in the scorching heat that constantly pushed my sweat buds to perform at its fullest. But there's something about distance and height of KP (2nd tallest mountain in south India) that can wear you out. In fact 2 people from our group were so tired that they ended up losing their way and had to spend the night inside a forest, creepy isn't it. But I was amazed at the speed at which localities used to climb without any difficulty.

So yeah, finally we were almost near the peak and we got to see the most breath taking sunset in all its glory. One moment you would see the bluish sky and suddenly you would be surprised to see your friends faces turning orange and then red. We then started embarking on what is sure to be a risky trek as it was turning darker. So was the trek rather gloomy at the end as we had left behind two of our friends whom we thought were slowly trekking towards the peak.

You say hi to a random trekker and he graciously introduces himself. It's easy to make friends on a trek especially when you are enquiring about your missing mates; they were sympathetic and very helpful. I find it compelling, most of them are from many different walks of life, and are interacting as if they knew us from the day we were born. It was dark and we stopped to cook dinner near a stream. From a distance you could see light from fire spread across the stream and occasional laughter that would shatter the silence of forest. Finally after a small ascend we reached the peak. Pitching the tent itself was a Herculean task. On a peak like Kumara Parvatha it require a bit of courage to sleep as I constantly kept wondering when our tents would fly away. After sunrise we finally managed to reunite with the lost friends and headed back. Taken together you would feel like doing this trek again and again.