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D Trek to Shivagange

Shivagange betta is a mountain peak situated 8 km from the town of Tumkur and 54 km from Bangalore. Located at a height of about 1370 meters, this hill is dedicated to Lord Shiva and also provides a jolly-day-out destination for those who’d like to lose the monotony of everyday life and jump into a little adventure, while getting sprayed with a pinch of religious faith as well.
The sacred mountain resembles a Shivalinga and a small spring flows nearby which the locals call "Ganga", thereby giving the place its name. It is also known as Dakshina Kashi (Kashi of the South) and is adorned with various temples such as Gangadhareshwara temple, Olakal Teertha, Nandi Statue, Patalagange, etc. (Now, ain't this a perfect touch of religion alongside some fun!)

After a rather elongated break from my regular weekend trekking regime, I was bustling with excitement to resume the action once more. And enter the trek to Shivagange, with its skyward peak and bunch of new buddies to swing with! Who could resist!
The perfect day started with my best friend dropping me at the station, only to be greeted by another! After the organizer’s over-cautious maneuver of having the eager trekkers assemble at the meeting point (which was the City Railway station), a full 45 minutes before the train’s actual departure, the group of 20 disembarked on their illustrious journey to the mountain peak of Shivagange.

In all of my treks with BTC, this was the first time we had an ice-breaker event – the dumb-charades, kudos to the organizers Deepthy and Sushma for kick-starting the trip with such an awesome ice-breaker! (Kudos to me for suggesting it!) Though we never got to know each other’s names until the intro-session at the destination platform, we were already chums, laughing thoroughly and face-palming at some embarrassing guesses. The lucky fellow passengers in the unreserved compartment of the Bangalore-Hubli Express saw 20 amusing travelers playing Dumb-Charades, and the moment was so feverish that they couldn't resist being pulled into the game as well. I daresay that from the curiously-peeking lady (who couldn't resist a chuckle of two) on one side of the compartment, to the muslim guy (who couldn't help trying to guess the movie names along-side us in the back), the entire compartment was playing with us!

After a disillusioned 20 minute stop at some interim place, the train reached the due stop, Dabaspet (aka Dobbspet) at around 9:40 AM, where the 20 persons were strewn into two autos and made their way to the little town of Dabaspet to finish their quintessential morning ritual – the Breakfast! We had thattu idlis and vada, topped with some spicy chutney (which everyone seemed to create quite a ruckus about!) and sugar-syrup optional. Oh wait! Did I say sugar-syrup? Maybe I meant the tea/coffee…
Again, we wedged ourselves into 2 autos and made our way through the fabulous countryside with its spawning views of the mountains and not-so-fabulous roads. 8 km later, we reached the base of Shivagange.
Soon after the group-click, at approximately 11:05 AM, we started the trek via the regular steps, which later became little clefts cut into the stone, after which we started the ‘actual’ trek! On our way, we encountered intricate and ornate sculptures on the withering Mandapas reminiscent of ancient history. Time for photographs!
Soon thereafter, we reached a point on the trail where the trail bifurcated (rather to say, there was THE trail with regular steps and regular shops with regular walkers, and there was another mountainous path with not-so-regular options). Naturally the vibrant youth split into two – Deepthy, Asha, Guru and Hiren went on the regular trail while the others started on the other not-so-regular trail. And they weren’t disappointed!
During the ascent, we passed by a small statue of Nandi cut into a single rock (only a smaller version of what we would later encounter at the top), but more importantly, that small shrine offered us a cool place to relax after the sunny climb. Aditya and I later ventured on another trail (this is getting confusing, right!), which led to a small hillock with breathtaking views of the countryside. After some daring rock-climbing and chickening-out, we retraced our step back to the group we split from, and rejoined the expedition.

At this point, I cannot, in good conscience, miss the monkeys! They were a bunch of daring vagabonds, who were our motivators, heros, villains, pain-in-the-necks, what-not! Never have I seen braver souls! One came along and tried to snatch Aditya’s bag right from his shoulder, another walked right by our feet too close, and another…. this could go on! But what is something that we all can concur upon is, the trek wouldn't have been the same without them! Even the pervert monkey who tried to snatch Hiren’s watch and later made everyone double up with peals of laughter! One wonders what it was pointing to! Sushma kept complaining about how these monkeys never have any discipline – for heaven’s sake, they’re MONKEYS!

After we finished ascending to the top, we waited for the group which had taken the regular path. After what seemed like ages, and a lot of failed attempts to get a connection to Deepthy’s cell, we could see Deepthy and Hiren making their way towards us, followed later by Guru. As they ascended, the group already at the top cheered them on! Once at the top, the bird’s-eye-view of the plain valley stretched across beneath us, was absolutely breathtaking, and we all sat gazing with wonder at the marvelous point from which Lord Shiva was governing his terrain! There was the famed single-rock-cut Nandi statue at this point, which indeed reigned in its own supremacy and magnanimity.
We went to the other side of the cliff where we found a lone rock waiting for guys like us, to be shot pictures with. Notwithstanding the urge, we obliged and soon, we were on the rock taking snaps and enjoying the breeze and the views. Had it not been for the monkeys, I reckon we would've had our lunches there.

Soon after, we began the descent through the REGULAR trail (PHEW! Enough adventure for a day!) and soon met up with Asha. Treating ourselves to some delicious fruits and cucumbers, the descent continued which was again ordained by the monkeys. Sneha was vibrantly jogging onwards, and was the first to reach the base (as well as amongthe first to reach the top), while her sister was at sweep-point. Coming to think of it, the doctor-sisters (sister-doctors?) were at both the spear-point and sweep-point during the ascent and descent! How convenient for the trekkers indeed!
After the descent was completed, and this time making our way back to the Dabaspet station in THREE autos, we were actually happy to find that the train had been delayed by another 45 mins. It gave us more time to eat our lunches, wade across to the tamarind trees and get/eat some raw tamarind, but most importantly, it gave us more time with each other! Finally, we had the feedback session, recorded completely by our very own photographer of the day – Gaurav. (Wouldn’t it be cool if the link was added to this blog?) Praveen gave an excellently noted full description of the day and his views regarding it, and amidst the awesomes and the suggestions – which Deepthy and Sushma patiently answered and ascertained until satisfaction, we boarded the train, scavenged for seats, while most of us men preferred to stand and talk covert affairs, no seriously, we were just discussing random stuff, until someone came by and bid ‘goodbye Darling’ to Praveen, we went our own ways, only hoping and wishing to reunite at another trek. Thanks to you BTC!!!

Written By       : Ezhil Raja
Organized By   : Deepthy & Sushma
Date of event  : 1st Feb 2014
Members Count: 20
Place              : Dabbaspet

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