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Night Trek to Makalidurga

About Makalidurga
Makalidurga is a hill fort situated at the village by the same name. It is 60km from Bangalore and 10 km after Doddaballapura. The fort at the summit has an old temple of Shiva with Nandi and it is believed that Markandeya Rishi performed penance here. Source: Wikipedia
I was excited as well as bit nervous when my name was shortlisted. Abhishek then mailed the plan and  list of items we need to carry for the trek with reason(s) why those items are needed. The most important item he mentioned was torch(He did warn us, we’d be sent back home in case we don’t carry it).

The Day of Trek: Dec 14, 2013
trainI had originally planned to leave home before 4 PM so as to reach Majestic  in time. I didn’t want to spoil the first impression by being late and missing the train. But life doesn’t always go according to the plan. My friend called up to join him in morning as we’d to order few things in Basavanagudi. By the time I returned to Koramangala, I realised it was already late. Caught a bus at 4:30 from Koramangala hoping  I’ll reach railway station on time(Abhi had set meeting time at 5:45 PM and also said train departs at 6 PM).  At Every signal I was cursing the bangalore traffic and praying it clears soon. It was 5:55 by time  I reached majestic and had to run to catch the train. Almost thought I missed it. When I reached platform around 6, realised train was at 6:10. Abhi and few others were waiting for me on there, while some of them were seated inside. We all boarded the train and thus began my awesome journey.
We had a round of introduction  , followed by dumb charades. We did continue it till makalidurga and I realised only in middle that (almost) everyone in compartment was watching us. We were all surprised  a tea vendor tried to guess the movie name from our dumb charades.  The game was fun, and we all enjoyed the travel.
We reached Station around 8 and its tradition of BTC to take a snap with village name. That marks the start of trek . After the train departed station, we started walking on the railway track towards the base of hill. All of us had to move away from track when we heard a train approaching us. We continued walking once the train crossed us and reached base around 8:45. Abhishek (Organizer) warned us not to talk loud as it would disturb the village people. So we maintained a low profile till we crossed their homes. After walking some distance we found a trail toward right side. But weren’t sure if that is the right one. Abhishek and few others went ahead to check if there is any other track. Since they couldn’t find any, we took the first one and hence began our trek.
After walking on that trail for sometime,  we saw directions marked on few rocks. We knew we were on right uphilltrail and followed it. Somewhere in between we lost the trail and took a different trail exploring a new path. Some times there were no clear trail and Abhishek did go ahead to find out if there was proper trail ahead. Only after his confirmation did we move ahead. There were some boulders too steep where I found it difficult to climb, but other members helped me climb it and go ahead. That is one thing I liked the most about BTC. Even though I was new to group (It was my first trek with BTC), they never let me feel that way. After all the tough climbing, we reached the watch tower and had our dinner there. We did spend some time there and continued walking towards Shiva temple which was our destination.Since we couldn’t find proper place to sleep there, few went to find another place to sleep and have a camp fire.

Camp Fire
The place they found was perfect for campfire and for sleeping. It was huge flat boulders, with little/no grass on them. We started a camp fire on the rock expecting it to keep us warm for few hours atleast.  But the wood burned out in some half an hour and we had to get more sticks for another camp fire. Once the camp fire was on, we spent time plucking grass that had stuck to our shoes and socks.  . Through out the trek uphill and during camp fire, Girish was pulling everyones leg (pun intended) and we had loads of fun. We kept on chatting till 2 AM and then slept. Few noticed shooting stars throughout the night and I didn’t notice any till early morning(I saw 3 in morning) after I woke up.

Sun Rise
We did wake up around 5 AM to see the sun rise, since that was our main intention.  We waited till 6:30 AM for the sunrise and it was definitely worth the wait. The view was breath taking. After the sunrise we did dry our sleeping bags as it was covered in dew. and started trek down by 7:45 AM. After trekking the uphill at night on difficult trail, the downhill seemed like walk in the  park. We reached the base soon and had a group feed back on the trek (Again a tradition of BTC). We all did congratulate Abhishek on conducting his first trek as organiser successfully and taking a lead when we lost tracks. A special mention should goto Sonali who successfully drained two DSLR batteries  in half a day!

Then we started walking towards main road and took a bus from there to Majestic. And I was surprised when the cost of trek was announced as Rs. 110. This was my first “Night Trek” and the experience was the best. The risk during trek , satisfaction of reaching the top and beauty of sun rise and clouds has to be experienced and cannot be explained.

Looking forward to go for more treks with BTC :)

“Night Trek to Makalidurga Durga and Awesome Sunrise amidst sea of Clouds by Nikhilesh Alapati”

It was 6.15pm. As the train started, “Hey whats your name? and where are you from? Colombo? that’s awesome man. (Well it was actually Anirudh from Kolhapur). You look like Jayawardane !!“ so yelled Giri. The overenthusiastic me peeped to take a look and OMG, it’s so true. And soon everyone started calling him “Mahela Mahela!!”. :P

Then started the intro session;  we have some freshers coming in for a trek, and some said it’s their first night trek (well that’s how they said) and then corrected saying that it is their first ever night trek.(:P). and Abhishek said that it is his first night trek too and also first as  organizer; he is all excited about it and so are we. It’s a one and half hour journey to Makalidurga & since we do not have much singers, we proceeded with Abhishek idea and kick started with Dumb Sards arts.

A strong team for dumb Shards led by Abhishek(that’s how they  said) on one side and a team led by Giri is another. “We are very strong team yar, we have people who can guess very good& some who can act very good, maybe we should change some people” said the Abhishek’s team. “This is not true people, we are going to win this and prove them that we are a better team than them”, said Giri with a thumping voice that ignited the spirits & inspired his team. As the game progressed, it was a movie Vs movie, action vs over action & challenge vs craziness. The game reached to an extent that the teams started sledging each other for the win & to enact a movie name, members from the teams started showing signs of Masala Dosa, Parotta, Bhindi Masala&Chicken noodles. :P After a nerve cracking battle that is full of twists & challenges, finally it’s the team that the others called amateurs& underdogs emerged as the winners. (& I belong to Giri’s team, **proudly** :P). As we are so much involved into the game, Anirudh & Saravana started capturing all the fun in their cameras. And yes they are the photographers of the trip. And in no matter of time we arrived at Makalidurga station and it was 7.30 pm.

After taking a pic at Makalidurga railway station, we started walking towards the hill. Walking for a mile on the railway tracks, and posing for pics all the way, we reached the foot hill in a half an hour. After avid trekking for the next 2hours with some occasional breaks and posing for pics, we reached a small plane where rested for a 10 mins, posed for some pics again and continued with our journey.

How did I forget to mention this most important person of the group, “Hey take pica na! No No No That wasn’t so good, may be you can take it from this side, and one more from left, and another from right, OK now I will come to your right and you take this one. ” don’t get me wrong, Ms. Sonali was testing the photographers’ skills all this time. She volunteered to ensure that the photographers are doing their job correctly throughout the trip. So don’t be surprised or don’t misunderstand when you see her in more pics. :P And she did a wonderful job.

After walking for a ten more minutes, we reached the fort wall where we sat down and had our dinner that Abhishek has brought for us. The delicious lemon rice  was no short of a Biryani for us then. After having the food, now it’s time for us to settle in a nice place and take some rest. We trekked up till the temple and stood there. A quick search by Abhishek & Ashrafi has got a nice place for us where we had spent the entire night till sunrise. The first thing that we did after settling here is to spend some time on clearing the Ghas Phoos(that’s what Sonali said, we know that Ghas is Grass and may be those sharp things are Phoos :P ) from our shoes and tracks. 

At this important juncture came the Dialogue of the trip. “Ok guys, let us rejuvenate ourselves with the peacefulness of this place” said by excited Abhishek, leaving the busy people plucking Ghas Phoos in confusion. On requesting to repeat his dialogue, then came his second one, “Golden words are not repeated.” !! :P Then we lit the firewood and twigs that we grabbed on the way. Thanks to Sharad, his Camphor had really come in handy.

Now we had another intro session, a more elaborated one this time, followed by a HR interview by Sonali Patnaik Ji  and a group discussion and debate & QA session on each other’s experience of life. And now it’s time to pose for some more pics again and it’s around 2 am now.  We can see the clouds all over us and the beautiful moon on the top. It was spine chilling cold and we wrapped ourselves into the sleeping bags and quickly slipped into sleep.

"Hey, get up!" screamed someone. As I got up and looked around, I was the only lazy fellow lying there. Everyone was busy in looking around and checking the place. Quickly I jumped out and joined them. Watching the beautiful view of the many other small hills around with clouds on top, the lake at foot hill of Makalidurga and the Skandagiri at a far distance in a mild sunlight is definitely worth visiting this place for sun rise.

Now it’s time again for some more pics. ”Finally the hot one that we are waiting for has arrived”, said someone from the back . We are lucky and fortunate that no clouds were there during the sunrise and the photographers made no mistake. Soon after the sun rise, we had some biscuits and snacks for breakfast. and we started descending the hill. In less than an hour, by 8.30 am we reached the foothill. After the feedback session and wishing Abhishek on completing his first trek as an organizer and thanking the people who supported him in organizing (Giri & Ashrafi) & the people who made this made trek a memorable one(every one of us), we walked towards the  railway tracks. Crossing the tracks, walking down the road for a quarter hour, we hit the main road. Soon we got a bus and we are lucky that everyone has got a seat to rest, much needed this time. Every one of us slept ( I believe, since I did the same) and we settled the accounts as we were reaching Bangalore. Exchanging the contact details and bidding a bye we left happily. A big Thank You for Abhishek on organizing his first trek superbly and waiting for the next trek now!!

Written By       : Sharad Dg & Nikhilesh Alapati
Organized By   : Abhishek Biradar
Date of event   : 14th Dec'13
Members Count: 14
Place               : Makalidurga
Pictures           : BTC FB Page
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