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WOW Trek to Shivagange

One can't help but be apprehensive about going on a trekking trip with a bunch of strangers; especially if it is with a gang of girls because the possibility of having a cat-fight is always lurking around the corner. So you could hardly blame all 19 of us being on our best behaviour when our Bangalore-Hubli Express started to pull out of the station. 

It was a two-hour journey from Majestic to Dobspet but within the first half an hour, all our attempts at being coy flew out of the window as the crazy stories started pouring in. From being tales of previous BTC treks to the various accidents that people had faced while riding cycles, we never ran out of stories to share.
After we reached Dobspet we hired a couple of autorickshaws to take us to Shivagange and whatever little ice was left among us was broken between waving at random strangers from the auto and later at breakfast of steaming thatte idlis and vadas.

Our conquest for the day was the Shivangange hill, 800 metres above sea level and two kilometres to the peak. This a huge Nandi, carved out of stone, at the base of the hill and another at the peak with a handful of cave temples along the way. We began with much enthusiasm, but soon the heat and the steep ascent of the hill got the better of us. We had to stop for breaks every time we reached a shady spot or a food stall. Thankfully, due to the steady traffic of pilgrims on the route, there were a quite a number of stalls selling refreshments. However, our attempts at eating were foiled by the monkeys.
The monkeys have been such an integral part of our trekking trip that they deserve a special mention. From water bottles to scraps of tissue paper, the monkeys would try to snatch away everything that they possibly could lay their hands on. One even landed on one of the girls' head, possibly trying to take her backpack away. But even though they were mischievous, they weren't aggressive so we all escaped without being bitten or scratched.

One of the temples that we visited along the way was famous for a well it had. It was said that only ones that are pure at hear could bend down and reach the water. And sprinkling the water on themselves would mean being blessed by the deity. The idea was not very encouraging to most of us as we thought that being on the shorter end, our hands would never reach the water. And we were right. After desperate attempts to reach the water level of the well, we finally had to give up when people in the long queue behind us, started shouting at us. Nevertheless some of our tall friends came to the rescue and not only did they manage to scoop out some of the holy water but they also sprinkled it on us. Hence, thanks to our tall trekking-mates, now we are a step closer to nirvana.
We were done with almost two-thirds of the trek when Sushma told us that the last stretch is going to be the toughest as it is the steepest. And boy was she right. The ascent was almost completely vertical but thanks to the railings we somehow managed to haul ourselves at the top. Seeing stone-carved Nandi at the peak was a relief but it was the view from the top that proved to be worth all our efforts. We plopped down on the stone base, clicked hundreds of photographs, shooed monkeys around but before we realised it, it was time for us to trek back to the base.
Our journey back too had been eventful. We were ambushed by monkeys more than a couple of times as they tried to snatch away most of what we bought from food stalls; one of the girls hurt her foot but she still managed to keep up with the rest of us. When we reached the base of the hill there was hardly any time left for us to eat anything before we left for the station but Sushma and Swatz had the presence of mind to make sure that the food was ready and packed so that we could carry it away with us.

As we waited for our train at the Dobspet station, we wolfed down our lunch and once we had managed to finish the food, Sushma and Swatz attacked us with the feedback session. This session was in stark contrast to the introductory session that we had during the beginning of our train journey. We had begun as strangers willing to have a great time together and at the end of the day we were friends looking forward to more trips together. 

On a last note, I doubt if our trekking trip would have been so great had it not been for our super cool organisers - Sushma and Swatz. It is one thing organising an event and it is another to actually take care of all the girls and yet making sure that we all have a great time. Not only did they do a great job of managing the whole trip but they also took good care of us. Ensuring that we take ample number of breaks so that we do not get too tired, tolerating our poor jokes, always keeping an eye out for danger, helping the ones hurt to make it to the bottom of the hill, all this without showing even a hint of impatience just proves that we can trust them implicitly whenever it comes to planning more such events.

This trekking trip has been one of my best ones so far and I look forward being a part of many more such WOW trips to come.

Written By       : Ankita Sengupta
Organized By   : Swathi & Sushma
Date of event   : 17th May 2014
Members Count: 19 (19 F)
Place               : Dobbspet
Pictures           : BTC Webpage 

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