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A 2-Day Chapter in WOW History

Visit to Kushalnagar Monastery; Trek to Brahmagiri Hills & Iruppu Falls
Prologue:
Baithe baithe kya Karen,
Karna hai kuch kaam,
Shuru Karen ek aur blog,
Lekar WOW ka naam :P

So, jab WOW ka much-awaited
2-day trek hua announce,
Sabse first enrollee tha main
Grabbed it like some Tiger ka pounce :D

Phir jab aaya, Captain Ajju ka,
‘to-do’ and ‘must-carry’ mail,
Work-life balance apni patri se
Hui boori tarah de-rail!

three-days continuously jab kiya,
Head-scratching and treasure-hunt,
Tab jaakar finish hua
‘Luggage-packing’ ka stunt...

Aage ki kaahani hai - ek ‘weekend-long’ story, Jo ban gayi hai ab WOW ke, 2-day event ki History….

Dear Readers,

Even before I start this post, I warn you of the length of this blog. My first overnight event with WOW and I wanted to pack as many memories as I can in here. The stupid poem above was all about what most of us shortlisted girls went through :P; just a few days before the event. And our actual journey starts here…

November 8, Night
The Journey begins..

The 13 shortlisted girls, assembled near Shantala Silk House waiting for our TT. For some strange reasons, we all met one another like some long-lost friends and instantly started cracking jokes until the TT arrived. Thankfully, the TT had a music system that made it a perfect Friday dance party night [yeah..’perfect’ because the TT  had some disco lights also :P lag raha tha humaare liye hi specially yeh bus bana hua tha :D]

Time flew with Shree’s ‘vegetable-chopping’ moves, Ritu’s ‘literal-translation-of-lyrics’ moves, Yogita’s ‘jatka-matkahs’; Krupa-Vini’s ‘side-bend’ dances that turned out to be total fun [and of course, howling and bugging Captain Ajju for a ‘song change’ every 2 minutes (which she did patiently!!)]. The jig continued till midnight, until we got a STRICT ‘good night’ call from the organizer as it was gonna be a long day ahead (of course, none of us slept, just pretended :P)]

November 9 – Day 1
Morning – Kushalnagar : The Tibetan World

Somehow, we reached way too early to our destination Kushalnagara (monastery); so we decided to spend some time strolling in the surrounding locality. While walks and jogs in Bangalore are most of the time for weight loss / fitness and a thousand health purposes; I loved taking this walk, just for the sake of it – no purpose, just a mindless wander. 
Wandering aimlessly - enjoying the misty morning.
After spending some time in the Tibetan colony, watching a very humble-culture of the place; in the beautiful misty morning weather; we took a heavy breakfast and then entered the Monastery gates (that were by now, opened for tourists)
Monastery
The trip inside the monastery was as peaceful and knowledgeable. Got to know some history behind the Tibetan settlement and their religious beliefs via the Architecture inside. Though it was quite a calm and peaceful place, ‘that special feel’ was still missing [yes. The place had set some kind of an expectation in me – not a great enlightenment sort of a thing, but I was looking out for some unique experience / vibes to be felt from here]. Did nag to Ajju also about it, and we ended up blaming the ‘insensible’ tourists who kept disturbing the silence (and hence the vibes) of the place by making noise (as if it was some picnic spot). Nevertheless, the quest was still on…

**Respect the monks' personal life, so refrained from posting their pics here.

WOW’s ‘Luck’ streak:
So, here was I, in search of a ‘unique’ experience within the monastery.

Just a while later – Joe, Vini and I came outta the temple of Goddess; when we saw a group of monks with a cart full of a kind of ‘prasadam’. Initially we thought the ‘prasadam’ was not for tourists, but something kept me waiting and watching this group (as if they were just gonna offer us!) think I even thoughtlessly blurted out to Joe – ‘I want that’.

Lo and behold!  A couple of monks called us and offered us ‘plates-ful’ of the rich prasadam and a Tea of their specialty. We trio literally ran as if some kids - lured by some delicious goodies would - and received all that they offered us. Looking at us run in this way, the rest of the WOW followed suit, and we all had the tasty, rich Tibetan offerings. This even gave us a chance to interact with the monks, who were answering our questions with no tinge of irritation [generally they prefer to be on their own, and not bother tourists]. What more – we later realized that the ‘prasadam’ was indeed meant for internal purpose (not for tourists). There was a Students’ function going on in an auditorium and the Final year students had prepared this dish for the rest of the students and staff!!

Was it a timing, or was it that the quest for that ‘unique-experience’ was real – WOW just got lucky to have been offered it With the ‘excitement’ feeling of the whole experience, it got much easier to gulp down the ‘prasadam’ that was rich in its contents , despite a heavy breakfast :D

Afternoon – Shopping, lunch, travel to Homestay:

The Monastery visit was followed by a shopping session in the afternoon, which, towards the end, turned out to be an arduous task for Captain Ajju :D the girls inside the bus kept escaping for a ‘second-round’ of shop (whenever ajju was not in sight); and finally Captain decided to stand guard at the bus ka gate, until all of us were shoved inside :P. Soon, we had our lunch and then headed out for our Homestay. Spotted an elephant and a Mahout training camp on the way…and…with this, we were now getting into the adventurous groove...
Mahout training Camp
Yayy! there was spotted a Tusker in the wild 
Evening: Iruppu Falls:
Dropped our luggages at the homestay and set out for Iruppu Falls late in the afternoon. Personally, to me, I have never come across such a unique place. The surrounding was splendid.(the path to the falls reminded me of some Takeshi’s castle set up – this was a natural set up). Climbed for some time until we met the water-falls. Landed our feet inside – freezing chill water!!
Iruppu Falls
Some of the WOW girls even dared to drench completely in the cold water (the Dare devils throughout the trip were the duo - 'Geetha & Preetha' :P), while the rest of us felt it good enough to dive till neck depth. Enjoyed the fresh waters till the chill became little intolerable. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the naturally conditioned air around the Falls and then climbed down back to get to our homestay (of course, after a kaapi-bhajji break at the entrance of the place)

Night: Homestay – ‘Comedy night’ of WOW:

By evening, inspite of the tiredness, our big mouths were all in a ‘charged-up’ state as soon as we entered the homestay. The evening later turned out to be hilarious, when some of us went totally freaky. Right from Ritu’s ‘keep-the-floor-clean (by letting the snacks remain on ur clothes)’ talent to Shree’s maha gyaan on ‘keep-your-hand-at-the-right-places’ during a massage – it was all laugh, laugh and keep laughing to the extent of hurting our tummies [dint spare even Captain Ajju for that matter :P]. and this was a true ice-breaker (if there was any between us:P)

Post the comedy-circus, we took a small walk in the dark evening just outside the homestay and then returned for dinner. The next day’s plans were announced over dinner and we were all geared up mentally to take on the challenge. After dinner is when we realized that we had not slept for more than the last 24 hours and one by one started laying our beds and went in deep slumber…..

End of Day 1….
November 10 – Day 2
The Grand stretches of Brahma Hills - Brahmagiri

We took our breakfast (prepared with full love by Ajju and Monu) and started for the Brahmagiri trek. The Forest trek path starts at a deviation enroute the Iruppu falls (which means that the entrance for the Falls and the trek base is the same). [Brahmagiri trek being a Wildlife trek – you need permissions from the Forest officer]
Trekking somewhere inside the deep forest..
We followed the guide. Least did I know that I would encounter these tiny little creatures that loved me the most – LEECHES! We were asked to continue walking and not bother them, but at one point of time the leech bites became an uncontrollably irritating feeling and I had to halt and take off my shoes. Only to find them happily rolling down my shoes after having done their blood-sucking job! [this was my first time ever Leech experience]. But this was not a priority (touching the Peak was!) and we continued forward.

All about the Trekking path, and the climb…

A major chunk of the trek path was on a narrow ‘one-person’ path; with a hillock on one side and valley on the other side of the lane. As we walked deeper into the forest, a peculiar calmness dawned in. The sounds of stream waters dashing through the pebbles and rocks, was a pure bliss to experience. On the way, we also saw fresh elephant dung (which meant there was a possibility of encountering one). Taking this hint, the guide picked up few larger sticks from broken branches and asked us to keep some as well (just in case)

We halted in between near a stream that is apparently the origin of the Iruppu falls – relaxed for a while, did some feet clean up (the count of leech bites on my feet had increased by then); and then continued for the trek. At the end of the deep forests, we reached the wide dry grasslands of the hill. Here, the view turned totally Spectacular – only hills, greenery and rocks around.
Origin of Iruppu Falls
The wide grasslands and view from the top
We walked further on this plane and reached our destination – the Narimale Guest House [we were supposed to stay here the previous night, but this place was apparently destroyed by elepahnts few weeks ago; and thus it turned into our peak destination for today’s trek]. Took our lunch outside the destroyed structure and then prepared for the descend
Descend and WOW’s History:

Just at the start of the descend, we heard few elephant grunts from a distance. But, fortunately or unfortunately – we did not encounter any. Descend, as usual was comparatively easy and more fun, rather than thrilling. By now, we started making little noise and continued our ‘comedy-circus’ from where we had  left it, the previous night. Created weird and unusual love stories between humans and animals [Krish 3 ko bhi abhi release hona tha. Our imaginations went wild:D ] Thanks to the marshlands, they did a great deal in dirtying our shoes (could not figure out if one was the pair of the other :P)

Finally, late in the afternoon (arnd 3.30pm) we made it to the base – successfully creating WOW’s history of a 2-day event – happy, safe and with a proud feeling.

Iruppu Falls: take-2:

As its been always so far, we completed our trek, well on time (still had some time to kill), and so we decided to visit the iruppu falls again. Just before few of us could make it to the falls; Captain Ajju and Krupa (blissfully ignorant) were upto something at the downstream, without noticing a huge water-snake right beside them [until Yogita realized and saved them by making them AWARE of its presence!]. we chucked the idea of going downstream,and maintained the main Water falls as our destination.

An advise for tourists: Please do not visit on a Sunday, since the crowd wont be pleasing enough. Since we already had had enough fun the previous day, we dint mind giving up the dip today (due to the crowd). All I wanted to do was to let the blood on my feet clot in water (obviously due to the Leech bites).

And here, I was, unwillingly, declared the ‘Winner’ of a supposedly ‘Maximum leech-bites competition’ (with totally 18 bites), beating Shree and Krupa (3 each) {yeah..i left no margin for competiton:P}. Wonder how the rest of the gals were not attacked even once!!
Leeecheeessssss!!
Well, as they say..all’s well that ends well and safe..It was time to leave the place with a mixed feelings - of Victory celebrations, and that of nostalgia. We headed out for our homestay, did our final packing, took a photo session with the BTC sponsored gifts :D.. and then started our way to Bangalore…

What followed during the return was:
  1. Dinner and some more shopping @ Madikeri [with more sessions on ‘comedy-of-errors’].
  2. Surprise Bday celebrations for Shree in the midnight in the middle of some road [this was equally awesome. Never done such a thing before with an all-gal gang!] and some more dance.

Midnight B'day Celebration
We were also lucky for having got such a sensible cab driver, who stopped by,at his own house in the midnight (at around 2.00 am), so that the girls could have a recreational break. The family also offered snacks to the gals. Such a treatment was not at all expected, and we were humbled to have received such a kind of hospitality (touch wood). Like Monu says - ‘WOW events are more about the ‘Experiences’; than mere trek

A Big thanks to Captain Ajju, and the extended organizers group for having planned a safe, and an amazing trip.

Congratulations to all those who were a part of this History…:D Proud!!

And finally (phew), I close this post by just saying that –

Ever since I returned from this journey, I replay that beautiful forest walk often in my mind, and get a sense of pride…

Written By          : Swathi Iyer
Original Blog      : Out of the Box
Organized By     : Ajita Madan
Members Count  : 13
Date of event     : 09th & 10 Nov, 2013
Place                 : Brahmagiri Trek & Iruppu Falls 
Pictures             : BTCKirubadeviMonishaRitu
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