Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ma Kali aur Durga

MakaliDurga - Come, Experience the stillness

A Saturday  - On the railway track, Within the boulders that leads to an ancient temple in a ruined fort. This was our 1st family trek. Myself, Wife and our 7 year old daughter Chandana along with Ajay, Ashutosh, Santhosh, Anupama, Patrick - went for weekend trek organized by BASC.

Thanks to Santhosh/Patrick who sent emails, handled tickets, breakfast/lunch and other logistics.

Sat 9th Feb 2013 7AM - KSRTC Bus Stand Platform 12 -

All of us met, introductions followed and we boarded a bus. The bus stops at a place near Doddaballapur where we had yummy south Indian breakfast and packed our lunch too.

We got down at the famous Ghati Subramanya ( a well-known pilgrimage centre ) junction and walked towards a railway track. It was a delight to watch 2 trains over a short period of time pass by us so closely. We used the left side dirt road to reach the foothills of Makalidurga quickly.

Makalidurga is 60km away from Bangalore and 10+ km after Doddaballapur town. This mountain is filled with date plants, lemon grass and and cactus plants. The landscape is dotted with small, big, steep and slippery boulders.

Climbing Makalidurga under hot sun with limited hydration/nutrition will drain energy/dehydrate.
Lesson#1 : Reach early/start climbing with min 3 liters of water.

Not much shade, but will be able to find small canopy of thorn filled bushes here and there.
Lesson#2 : Caps/Pocket umbrella's and sun screen.

This granite hillock nestled amidst a chain of mountains is at 1350 mt and is next to railway station.
Lesson#3 : Alternate public transport if you don't prefer bus.

There are 2 huge lakes around this hillock each spreading more than 6km radius.
Lesson#4 : Carry spare clothes/towel if you like to swim.

Mind you, there are no shops or stores in and around the foothills.
Lesson#5 :  Ensure to carry enough nutrition and hydration.

Also note that there are no clear cut paths or steps to reach the top.
Lesson#6 : No pain No gain.

Daughter started feeling the steepness of the indomitable boulders and at times i carried her on my back and jumped across the boulders. I was not worried about carrying extra weight or about the fatigue - I was more worried about spraining my ankles or twisting my feet.

After some time I gave her a snicker's chocolate and with some water as well as short breaks she managed to complete the climb. The Garmin GPS watch say's that the climb was around 3 km with an elevation gain of 320 meters.

Lesson#7 : Enjoy the Nature Feel the Wind Forget the numbers.

Once we reached the top we found a fort in ruins and a Shiva temple. After spending some time enjoying the wind blowing across the hills we took pictures of the sun burnt herbs/shrubs around the dilapidated fort. We had our lunch sitting in the shade of the deserted temple. Drinking water was wasted for washing hands and this proved to be fatal during the descent.

Lesson #8 :  Carry hand sanitizers or wet tissues.


None of us threw plastic covers here and there. All the plastic covers were brought back.
Lesson#9 : Never carry food packets/anything in plastic covers

We underestimated the descent - I kept telling my daughter that it's easy to go down than climb up. But the slow and steady descent due to the uneven surface under the hot sun was too much for her. With absolutely no water and not keeping others in sight - it was a struggle for her till the end. Finally she managed to reach the base and by the time we were down - it was only me and her. Others got down before us and were taking rest in a temple below where an old man offered them drinking water. Patrick came back running with a bottle of water and my kid gulped it quickly.

At the temple, after some rest Santhosh, Anupama, Patrick and Ajay as well as Ashutosh decided to get into Gunjur Lake. Swimming is something that i am still learning, I stayed back to take care of my daughter. But i ended up taking a power nap as she was playing around the temple.

Lesson#10 : Learn to swim and don't miss open water opportunities

Around 5 pm, others returned and we all packed and took a detour to the main road. We stopped a moving bus to Bangalore and on the way expenses were settled.  

Thus we ended a simple economical weekend trek where we experienced stillness and solitude by being one with the mighty nature than riding in car and mingling with unruly noisy crowd throwing plastic and tantrums everywhere...

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