Monday, December 12, 2016

Kudremukha Trek

Kudremuka. The name Kuduremukha literally means 'horse-face' (in the Kannada language) and refers to a particular picturesque view of a side of the mountain that resembles a horse's face. However, we will not be able to see the horse face view from the trek path. 

The sun is still overhead as we arrive at Rajappa Gowda's house. As I breathe the hot air in and out, my mouth becomes as dry as dust. We decided to stay at Rajappa Gowd's house so that we can wake up early and start the climb.

Note: There are two houses meant for accommodation (Either Rajappa Gowda's house or Satish Gowda's house). I would suggest go for Rajappa gowda's house if the accommodation is available. Better among the two. 

The smells of chilli, garlic and ginger were sharp and powerful. Lunch was ready and I found it bland, insipid, uninspired. "This is . . . very nice," I said, referring to the meal. I can't complain while on a hike. To be fair, I loved the breakfast and the pakodas that they prepared with the tea.

We started the hike at 7AM. Rajappa gowda took care of the permit and the guide. Luckily weather was cold and I could feel my feet tread on the damp grass and the sky is almost cloudy. I move forward in a daze. The ground gets wetter and wetter. Through the green grass ahead I glimpse the peak. Hurriedly I drop my pack, pick my camera and walk through the grass and start taking images.

A while later, we came across a cold sweep of water. There are 10 such streams on the hiking route. Let me plunge into your waters! Trying not to fall and sink into the mud, I stamp to the shore, throw myself down and scoop the water into my mouth. Its potable, clear, cold and even tasty.   

 After an hour's ascent we reach the plains. A welcoming committee of Pond Herons meet us at the flat lands in their finest breeding plumage. What we saw were patches of land that was being cultivated. The rice paddies are now replaced by wild weeds. A quick dash on the grass would startle the pond herons. It was beautiful to see the white bird take a flight amidst the red weeds.

 A horseback rider wouldn't have too much difficulty getting past the blisters and eruptions that scarred the sholas and forests here. Stories of how Lobo came on an horse and built his house and cultivated the lands are still alive. We passed the abandoned Lobo house to realize nothing lasts forever. 

Breasting the regular swells of land, on a dirt track as true as a line of longitude, we were like a boat at sea. Finally we reached the first pit stop after many pit stops to reach Onti Mara (The Lonely Tree) 

The breakfast was simple. Idli with leftover sambar from yesterdays dinner. On a regular day, we would have complained. But not today.  

 But the land was still bad enough but the views were magnificent. Is it a ragged mallow ? I'm not sure but the yellow flowers were everywhere.

Suddenly it dawns on me that distances can be deceptive. The peak that from the starting point seemed so near could be few kilometers away.

The ruined walls of an abandoned church was a testimony to natures resilience. Nothing is permanent. Nevertheless we got some surreal backdrops for our portrait photography. 

As the sun climbed up, the peak reappears at last, lying still at the edge of the sky. I am on course, but my legs can barely hold. At nine in the morning the sun was already hot but the clouds were in full flow. Must say, this is the most photogenic peak in Karnataka. 

We soaked up the sunshine and listened to the silence, silence broken only by the occasional gust of wind through the grass, or the call of a pair of eagles that floated in the sky. All too soon, it was time to packup and head back. After customary refreshments, we headed back. Its unfortunate that the camping is not allowed on the peak.  

Hiking is earthy, soul enriching and character building, and there can be few such satisfying moments as having completed a trek and the smoke rising from your campfire as the golden sun sets on the horizon--even if it's just for a fleeting moment.

Here is a link to our trek video put together beautifully by fstopro

Monday, February 22, 2016

How can I grow sandalwood tree in front of my house or backyard ?

This is a small effort by us to push people towards gardening and planting trees.

Instructions to plant the sandalwood seeds that you received.

1) Soak the seeds in water for 3 days.
2) Select an area with good sunlight, free without plants ( as much as possible)
3) Dig a pit, for a  10 cm deep. Clear the hard rocks which might obstruct the plant.
4) Get some wet mud and cover the pit.
5) Take your seeds and press them into the mud ( General rule: Your thumb depth would suffice)
6) Give it water or plant it during the monsoon
7) Enjoy

The packet also contain seeds to grow a small-space edible garden. Growing vegetables can bring out the farmer in you. You till the soil and tend the plants, then reap the rewards when the plants bear fruit. Even if you don't have much sunny ground, you can still experience the pleasure of harvesting your own vine-ripened tomatoes and other crops. We hope your experience will be positive and start a full fledge garden at your home.

Following are some links to get you started:

Info on Urban gardening:

The Seven Easiest Vegetables to Grow for Beginner Gardeners:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Better Sore then Sorry

Good things comes to those who sweat, literally and figuratively. After a brief stint in working out, told I felt like I should start working out again. Was going through some of images I took before starting a work out plan and after 3 months of intense work out. The transformation is phenomenal. Fitness is not about being better then someone else but being better then you used to be. And the best project that you will ever work on is YOU.

When I was young I was lean and was doing YOGA. Later included swimming every week. Some of things that I realized with experience is, Yoga is for flexibility and it is essential to build strength and stamina along with flexibility. Irrespective of what you select, it is essential to stick to your exercise plan no matter what. Its all about managing your time and not to blame others  for not sticking to your exercise regime. 30 minutes of intense work out is just 2% of your day or 10% of your facebook time.

It has been very long since I started updating my blog. There are many important life updates and was buzy managing multiple things at a time. I fell in love, got married. I'm looking forward to spending time with my daughter. I'm sure it will be hectic but realized I should be fit to match the energy levels of my baby. Together, there are lot of places to see, explorer and learn every thing all over again. It will be a very interesting phase of my life and  will try to make it count as much as possible.      

Just around the corner

Yesterday, just had my real taste of drifting while was I was heading back to Bangalore on Shiradi Ghats. In this case, the maneuver was not intentional. I had to come down a slope and had to take a hairpin left turn to proceed with a steep climb. I was on third gear and was confident that my car would make it on third gear, only to realize(no road sign) that it was not just a left turn with gentle slope but a hairpin bend with a steep up-hill incline. A Renault duster was tailgating my car and I felt it would not be safe to slow down to a manageable speed. I was over confident that my car would manage the climb on 3rd gear. I had to over-steer causing loss of traction in the rear wheel. The rear wheel started to drift right while I was in control from entry to exit of a corner. This are time when you realize how important a sedan is over SUVs. As my previous article was about the review of Honda Amaze, I just wanted to add this experience so people looking for firt hand experience about drivability can understand what an amaze is capable of. My car and the boot was loaded and with this load the car is capable of handling most of the curves on 2nd gear. Existing 165mm with stiff suspension is an excellent combination. I recommend a tire upgrade to Michelin Energy XM2. In summary, 120 kmph on highway should not be a problem. Touched 150 kmph for a brief 10 secs. But for a car without ABS, I strongly recommend 90 kmph for a good mileage and better control on highway. In city have the tire pressure set to 30 psi for better mileage. For hilly terrain from now on i'll reduce the pressure to 28 to 29psi. In rains, on highway, 60 kmph would be an ideal speed for a car without ABS.