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Night Trek to Kaurava Kunda - 15th Feb 2014

About Kaurava Kunda:

Kaurava Kunda is doublet hill, which is named after the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Both the hills are easily approachable from Hariharapura, which is a small hamlet in the village of Chikkaballapura and it is known (as much as it could possibly ever be known) for these twin peaks. The peaks are at a distance of about 75 kms from Bangalore and about four kms from Chikkaballapura. The grassy hilltop of this lush hill rises 250 meters high and a flight of sandy steps lead to the top. Partly midway lies the shrine of Lord Shiva, who reigns over the lustrous mountain, scaled occasionally by daring mountaineers and friendly dogs alike.
Le trek:

After a rapid but frenetic packing process to not miss out anything required on my first night trek, especially the torch (which the organizers had made a point of highlighting in red lest we wished to be ditched), I was ready to start on the journey once more to the ‘unknown land’ with the group that BTC has always been benignant enough to assemble for all of us!

I must say this trip was a little newer, a little expectant and a little pristine as it was my first night trek and I also wanted to take my mind off the tumultuous things of the week. We all assembled at the meeting point (which was none other than the Kempegowda bus station) at 8:30 pm, where a lot of familiar faces greeted each other with bright and wide smiles. People kept coming, as did the buses, until the motley crew of 14 had assembled, with a last-minute dropout, which was just funny, the way he’d dropped out.

Dumb Charades!

Half contemplating on boarding a running bus (which Chana was steadfastly opposed to), we stood there for quite sometime until we found a bus by 10 pm, willing enough to take us. It seemed like the entire bus was reserved only for us, though that thought stood only for a few seconds, as people began to ascend and fill out the bus. We all sat together near the front and started on the now-usual Dumb Charades, but with a little toned down volume, so that those asleep would stay asleep. I would have normally called this an ice-breaker, but there wasn’t any ice to break with THAT group!

As time flew by, just like the movies that were being enacted, we reached the small village of Chikkaballapura at around 11:15 pm. We descended and had a quick intro-session on the pavement not far from a passed-out drunk. And guys, you should probably come up with a better way (an acronym perhaps?) of calling me and my namesake as Raja1 and Raja2, or Raja and Raju or whatnot!)

It begins!
Now, it so happens that in order to reach the lush mountain base, a 5 km walk through the plains of Chikkaballapura is mandatory (as mandatory as the red-highlighted torches). Treading though the almost-darkness was definitely fun (or a little annoying), with Vignesh who was bursting with excitement as he beheld his new shiny weapon – a mercury torch, and made it a point to unleash its flare on the sleepy fellow trekkers, as well as into the shadowed houses of the village, until Chana intimated us to keep it low until we reached the mountain. Either ways, we were all wide awake by the time we reached the base.
Then came the dogs! Wow! What a scene! Until that point, we had no idea Sucheta was scared out of her wits of dogs. At least a dozen must’ve been barking at us the moment we reached the base, however 3 dogs stayed with us, led the path and perfectly acted the part of man’s best friend. Then came out all the torches since from this point onwards, there wouldn’t be any light sources to point the path and no houses to remind us of the proximity of civilization. And obviously this meant we could start shouting and no longer had to ‘tone it down'.
We ascended through the darkness, along the trail now lit up the torches, with the idea of gathering firewood alongside to build a bonfire when we reached camp site. The trail was easy and straight, and with our four-legged friends strutting alongside us, what would we need to worry about! Veera whizzed past all of us for the entire trek, being the professional trekker that he was, closely followed suit by Mohsin (with his cap) and of course, the young-doc-in-the-making, Sneha, while others were dredging for dry sticks and wood for the bonfire.

Vantage Point

Meanwhile the views as we performed the climb, were dumbfounding every time we turned to gaze upon the horizon. Thousands of lights scattered across the terrain made the arduous climb spectacularly worthwhile. I’d even started feeling bad on not pulling my best friend alongside with me on this trek. Soon thereafter we passed the temple which was the mid-way point and the ascent continued along the now-missing-stone-hewn-steps. Nevertheless, the relentless group transpired and after a few stops and a lot of mouth-gaping views, we reached the top of the mountain – the peak!

At this point we realized we’d been making the journey along the leeward side of the mountain, since the wind from the other side started chilling our bones when we reached the top. Taking in the full spectrum of nature’s sights, we set to making the bonfire out of the sticks we had gathered along the ascent. Soon the flames built up and so did everyone’s fire, so we huddled close to the fire and started with (rather continued with) the dumb charades, until after a while, we switched to Antakshari!
The three Indian Idols – Shamanth, Mohsin and Sneha, gave their blazing performance till 4:30 am and kept everyone laughing or singing or both. But if it came down to it, Shamanth would win hands-down, what with his penchance for noting entire lyrics of most songs and keeping the mob alive and kicking! While the dogs were scrounging for food every time we opened anything (apart from our mouths of course!), the rest were still deep in gala state, unmindful of everything else around us. Except for Sucheta who freaked every time a dog came too near!

Snake alert!

Only when we started to run out of dry wood, we found something truly mesmerizing. Huddled on a bunch of twigs in the midst of a shrub not far from where we were frolicking, lay a small unmoving green snake. Channa said it was a poisonous viper that sprang forward when it attacked and warned us to stay away, which we promptly obliged. But even that couldn’t pause us from getting back to the Antakshari, which continued till 4:30 am.
Later, we all huddled in our sleeping bags, bed sheets, etc. to keep us warm and slept a little, some more than others. However the highlight of the day was when I woke up only to be asked if I wanted bed coffee, it was the best wakeup moment ever! It was soon followed by Deepthy’s bread toast, toasted on the lingering bonfire and the rotis Channa had brought along with him, and was kind enough to share with the ravenous trekkers.
After a rather scrumptious breakfast, we started the descent, swifter this time until we reached the bottom where we bid farewell to our guide dogs and walked upon the 5 km path, which (as we could see now) was interlaced with brilliant flower farms (forgive this term!), which made us want to stand rooted and take in the bright colors and the peaceful nature that the village seemed to be hurtling at us.

Adios Amigos!
Then we reached the bus stop from which we boarded the bus to Bangalore, but none could have their eyes open for the journey back to the city. Soon thereafter, the night trek came to an end, we reached the city bus stand and for all of us, the one thing we needed most (other than a comfy bed and a warm blanket) – a welcome relief and get away from the monotony of the usual ‘city’ life was no longer a dream! We, then, bade farewell to our comrades – both old and new and started on a newer more interesting journey called life..!

Travel Guide:-
Bus:
  1. We can go in KSRTC buses from KBS Terminal 3 - Platform 10, 11 till Chikballapur.
  2. Take left before Chikballapur bus stand.Go ahead & take 2nd right (which leads to Govt hospital).
  3. From there, it is straight road of 5kms.
  4. At Sign board which shows "Harihapura" village 1km, take left & go to village.
  5. From the village only, way leads to hill base (any villager can tell you base steps way).

Written By        : Ezhil Raja
Organized By    : Deepthy jagadish and Channabasappa Nad
Date of Event    : 15th Feb 2014
Members Count : 14 (11M, 3F)
Place                : Hariharpura, Chikballapur
Pictures            : Channa and Deepak
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