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One day trek to Jalamangala

“One find so much adventure in anticipation then why do we seek destination”. Be it love or trek… the journey matters. 
With BTC this was my 5th trek and first time in train. 6:45 am was the time we all were asked to assemble at platform number 3 at SBC. I reached there at 6:15 am and found no one. After a while I met Akash. Akash told me that train was at 7:30 am. It was 6:30 am and we both were still talking and other 16 were still missing. But around 7:10, Sreemoyee called up and asked us to come on platform number 6. The remaining group was already in the general compartment. 
I have never travelled in general compartment. So when this event came up I was frantic but, I had no option. It’s like, “Once BTC, Always BTC and With BTC”. I still registered thinking it will give another experience. As I walked into the compartment it was all people and with some focus I could see a some known faces and some more unknown faces that looked like they are in this trek. 
There was no seat  actually there was the upper berth – the luggage berth. I remembered the saying in Hindi “Jab uppar wala deta hai to chappar phadke deta hai”. And this time he gave me the upper berth without a ladder. I removed my shoes and hopped on the berth conveniently and occupied that place with four other. From my previous trek and event I saw Harinath, Simanchala, Geetha, Sreemoyee, Hiren, Neer. All together we were 18 and yet to be introduced. While the train got into move, we eight started talking and it was Shakti (Baptized as The shaktiman) who was the highlight for first 70 minutes of train journey. Amazing person and btw he has just started with his Hindi and don’t be surprised if one day he teaches the same to the Chinese (He works for a Chinese company).
We reached the Ramnagaram station in an hour and walked around another 30 minutes to a hotel to have our breakfast. The coffee was good. We packed our lunch and headed towards the bus depot to take bus to Jalamangala which was another one hour journey. Before the bus arrived we had our introduction finally. The 18 on this trek were Soumaya, Aparna, Geetha, Sreemoyee, Hiren, Ashish, Akash, Simanchala, Harinath, Ravi, Manjunath, Vaibhav, Anil, Ajay, Neer, Sakti, and Vaasanthi.
As bus arrived we quickly got into this typical village kind of bus- the local bus. Again there was no seat. Though few BTCian got seats , others adjusted to comfortable standing place. Another experience on the go for me- on a village bus and standing! I was well standing beside a old flower lady and I remember I had hit my elbow on her back her as the bus put some breaks. I thought I would be badly abused but she still smiled. The luckiest one was Shakti who got his journey seated on a reserved ladies seat and the next one hour he got bullied for the same. The bus was as slow as the Moped. 
We reached Jalamangala starting point at around 11:15 am. After Hiren stated the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’, we took our walk to the hill. All were in small groups following each other. The weather was humid and that was the real worry as the exhaustion factor is more when it is humid. The path is a regular path of the villagers to the temple on the top, so such kind of trail is easy to take. As we walked up, Sreemoyee and me was still bullying Shakti and taking his Hindi classes. He was already given the task that, he needs to talk in Hindi when there is feedback session. Taking pictures is a must and that we did all the way through the trek. At midway of trek there is this kind vacuum structure, on the mountain, call it a balcony stand and I guess during heavy rains there would be curtains of water fall on it. We all went inside it to take picture. Reached the top of the hill in around 12:20 pm and the view was at its best. Huge rock Mountains with green moss carpet, lush green farms and scattered clouds and the breeze, everything just energizes you and your ambience. The tiredness was almost lost in the glimpse of what we looked down. To rest we took shelter under this beautiful Frangipani tree. Nature surprises us, here we are on a huge idyllic rock mountain and amidst this there is this two three full grown tree. Sometimes mountains do bend to the will and strength of a tree roots.
There is a laxmi-narayana temple on this hill. And there was some festival I guess as there were many people coming to temple. Most of them shared the coconut and some traditional Prasad. The more we got the better. 
We relaxed for a while and then it was fun time. As always, we had to play Dum Charades. We divided our self in two groups and the riot started. We knew the week participant as in Hindi language, but the real happiness was when everybody participated and never gave up. I remember Anil and Shakti and others as well were pushed to enact. Anil used his IT skills to make us guess “Hobbit”. He took us through learning as in put up the whole IT structure and network to make us data transfer in our brains to guess the word “Bit” 
Shakti was asked to guess “Shudd Desi Romance “. Poor guy, he had no clue of the movie and not a single meaning in the word other than romance. He first started with romance the easy he thought and made up land in soup. He pulled us till the word love and care with his expression but how can one connect to romance with love and care. We almost passed the limit. Then somehow he got the Desi word into our head and Sreemoyee guessed it right. After all 18, dumb Charades enacted we had our lunch and then there was this tea time. 
Harinath had come with all the tea making ingredients. As he arranged the fire place ,we all sticks and dry woods. Within 15 minutes our tea was ready and it was as good as any other tea. The world remembers the Boston Tea Party and at BTC we will surely script Harinath BTC Tea Party.
After the tea, we did something that was craziest, never ever happened on any BTC. We had a dance session cum class. The first was solo performance by Heer. He showed his best dancing steps and that lifted the spirit of this trek. And then the group joined in with the class. The first step he showed us was “Phal todo aur pheko” and this was followed up by few more and we just followed in any way we could forgetting that we were looked upon some 20 stranger other than our group. Hiren also put in his Garba steps and we just danced as nobody was looking at us. 
Energized again! We started climbing down and we reached the base quickly to trek for another 1 hour to reach the bus stop. 
There is amazing quality with village people they just take you down their simplicity. While walking down the hill I saw the same flower lady who was in the bus. When I responded to her when she acknowledge she was happy. I assume people from the village down this hill climb this one hour trek almost weekly once or may be daily to pray at the uphill temple. As we neared the base we were also asked to join the feast by a group of ladies. These are small gesture but it does make us feel haapy. We in city don’t even smile at the known people. 
We had our feedback session partly at the bus stop and partly in the bus on the way to Ramnagaram bus depot. We then took the bus to Bangalore and this time we all had seat. As we neared Bangalore, it was raining heavily. The group got dispersed to their preferred place to reach home and me, Ravi, Manjunath and Shakti took to KR Market. 
While I write this and recollect the whole day, I see a how I met people with all different background as in language, age and strength and made a amazing day trek into ultimate fun filled and ultimate experience. The first time trekker, or first time with BTC to the experienced one we just didn’t find any difference in any way. 
This was also Sreemoyee first trek as organizer and she just did the best. Keep going girl. Hiren was as always good to work the team. Thank you both to bring in fun, enthusiasm and more adventure. 
To all the 18 people on the walk… you were just amazing and thanks for all the company. Keep the spirit of adventure and long live the trekking culture.

Jalamangala is perfect for a weekend getaway from Bangalore. It is 20 km from Ramnagar. Ramnagar is famous for its hills and was pictured as Ramgarh in Sholay movie. I am part of Bangalore Trekking Club (BTC) and it was my first trip with them. So far I was not able to make it to final participants as I was delaying in responding to requests. This time I was the first one to register and made it to final participants. 

Trip was organized by Sreemoyee and Hiren and they did their job very well. 

We gathered at Bangalore City Station at 6:45 AM to catch "56214/Tirupati-Chamarajanagar Fast Passenger". Train was on time to start at 7:30 AM. Out of 20 only 17 people made it to trekking trip. Most interesting person in the trip was Mr. Harinath. Mr. Harinath defies his age. He is in his fifties but was fit and the most adventurous among all. I was lucky to sit next to him in train. We got upper seats and we six people got adjusted there. It was nice to hear his experiences of trek. I got to know that during trek he makes very good tea with fire lit from dry wood. We were lucky that he came with preparations to make tea today. 

We reached Ramnagar at around 8:15. We started walking towards bus stand as we planned to take bus to Jalamangala. Organizers took us to Mayur hotel opposite to bus stand. Organizers coordinated and ordered breakfast and lunch parcel for us. We carried at least 2 liters of water with us. After finishing breakfast we took bus to Jalamangala. Journey was scenic through the village. I was surprised to see so many Neem and Mango trees. It reminded me of western Uttar Pradesh as siting of Neem and Mango trees is very common in western Uttar Pradesh. But apart from Neem and Mango, I was also seeing coconut trees and rocky hills which kept me reminding that I am not in Uttar Pradesh. It is Monsoon season so I was seeing greenery everywhere. It was a good feeling to breath village fresh air and to see so much of greenery. 

We reached at the foothill at around 10:15 AM. Weather was good for a trek as it was a bright and partially sunny. Organizers gave us some instructions and we started walking uphill at 10:20 AM. It is around 3 KM one way trek. It was tiring to go uphill and we took good amount for breaks for rest and snaps.
We found one rock and most of us climbed on it to get the scenic view and to take snaps.

Some of us already had moved ahead and found one cave where some water was flowing and it was relatively cooler. They sat there and waited for us.
After finishing with rock we walked towards that cave. Although it was slippery but still we all ventured to go onside that cave. We heard later that there are few bears in that region and during day they stay in similar caves. Some water was flowing from top of the hill and it was very cold. I felt like taking bath in this water as it was very hot outside.

We continued our trek uphill and after another 15 minutes of trek we reached at top of the hill. We reached at top around 11:50 AM. It was scenic and we could see Ramnagar also from top. We were seeing hills at distance in all directions. There was one lake visible at distance.

There was a small temple on top of the hill.
There was a tree with good shade in front of the temple and we all sat there. Sitting below the tree was a heavenly relief after uphill trek in a sunny day. We formed two teams and played dumb charades. I was one of the laziest bones and I lied down and almost slept. After dumb charades we finished our packed lunch. It was hot and there was no water available on top, so it is advisable to pack good amount of water for consumption.
Once we finished with our dumb charades and lunch, Mr. Harinath asked us to collect dry woods so that he can prepare tea for us. He had brought utensil, camphor, match box, milk, tea bags and sugar which helped him to prepare tea. Weather became cloudy and it was priceless to have tea in such a nice weather at a hill top. We thank a lot to Mr. Harinath for that.
During tea, we convinced Neer to make a dance performance of him. We found a flat surface where Neer has shown us his dance steps and later most of us learnt dance steps from him and danced along with him. I was at the camera so did not participate in dance.

After this we started downhill at 3:10 PM. We did not find it tough to descend and also did not spend much time for photography again. We reached at bottom of the hill at 3:30 PM. We waited for others and got to know that next bus is at 5 PM from the foothill, but if we walk to Jalamangala 2 KM from here, we could get a bus earlier. So we started walking towards the bus stop, walk was scenic. After reaching Jalamangala few of us took tea and bought water. After this organizers started a feedback session and in the mean time bus came and all of us got into the bus.

Organizers continued the feedback session in the bus and after that we had Antakshari rounds. After reaching to Ramnagar we took bus to Bangalore Satellite Bus Stand on Mysore road. From Mysore road we took bus for Majestic and we all dispersed from there. After reaching Majestic Bus Stand, I had to walk to Railway station as my bike was parked there.

The entire trip expense including transportation and food was only 160/- per person. It is one of the most economical and most enjoyable trip I ever had.

I wish to join more trips in future with Bangalore Trekking Club.

Written By      : Sunita Nair & Vaibhav Rastogi
Organized By  : Sreemoyee & Hiren
Date of event  : 23rd Aug 2014
Place              : Jalamangala
Pictures          : FB Page
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