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The Double Durga Trek

“Climbing is as close as we can come to flying.”   — Margaret Young, aviator and alpinist

The trek to Channarayana Durga and Devarayana Durga justified every single bit of this quote. As I’m writing this post, my head is filled up with nostalgic memories from the trek: the people, the journey and the brilliance of the hills. This was my first trek with Bangalore Trekking Club (BTC) and I was dubious if the trek would be fun since I was going out with twenty complete strangers. About twenty enthusiastic BTC members started out to Channarayana Durga at 7:00 A.M from Shantala Silk House on a Tempo Traveler. To break the ice, the organizers of the trek suggested that we play dumb charades. The atmosphere lightened and everyone started having fun. We had a short stopover for breakfast (those huge idlis!) at Dabaspete and got our lunch packed there. We resumed our journey and the game.

Devarayana Durga
The Devarayana Durga hill is quite famous for the hilltop Narasimha swamy temple. It was called Anebiddasari during the reign of the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara kings. Following its capture by the Mysore king Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar of Wodeyar dynasty, it was renamed as Devarayana Durga. The temple, built in Dravidian style, is believed to be built 2000 years ago during the rule of the Mysore Kings. Devarayana Durga is one of the favorite destinations of pilgrims and trekkers alike. To reach the hill we had to travel amid rocky hills and lush green forests, a sight to behold.  The day we travelled, pleasant weather was the cherry on the cake.
Before going up the hill, we had an introduction session and BTC rules read out for first-timers. By then, the group didn’t look alien to me and I felt like I was with a group of old friends. There were a lot of newbies and a lot of experienced trekkers too! We had to take a few (not really) stairs till the temple before we could take the trail to the top. The trail was quite narrow and set between boulders occasionally. We had to crawl from under the bushes a good number of times. Atop the hill, we were welcomed by howling gales. It seemed like I was flying high with the wind while being dazzled by the scenery below. Since we had to reach Channarayana Durga for the trek, we did not spend much time at Devarayana Durga. The journey to Channarayana Durga took roughly 1.5 hrs.
Channarayana Durga
Channarayana Durga hill stands home to the fort once occupied by the Maratha rulers. It was originally built by Channapa Gouda, a feudal lord from Madhugiri, in the 17th century.  Until acquired by the British army, during the third Mysore war, the Wodeyar’s held the fort. The height from sea level is about 3700 ft. At around 12:30 P.M we began the stretch at Channarayana Durga. The initial part of the hill was rocky with an inclination close to sixty degree and we had to go on all fours at some points. We would stop every few minutes to get some rest. As I went up, I watched the view change, getting only better each time. We reached the first fort wall thinking 50 percent of the trek was over. We walked out from the wall only to realize that it almost began all over again!
While on the way, I found out more about the people around me. It was an eclectic mix of people: IT professionals, doctors, Stanford grads, fellow BITSians and more. The only commonality that we shared was the passion to travel and explore. We could spot numerous structures of the fort on the way up. Most of them were in ruins, thanks to the treasure hunters. The steepness reduced and the trek got simpler as we proceeded. The trail was now amidst rocky areas with long grass and few trees. The weather was erratic, sunny once and cloudy the other time. Just when we reached an almost ruined shelter, it started raining. When the showers stopped on the hill, it started raining at few places close to the hill. And it was sunny at places far away from the hill. What I saw when on the hill at that instance is beyond description.
The trek got really easy while we were close to the top. We were really excited when we got to the top. Except for the gusty winds, it was an imperturbable tranquility. There were myriad hillocks, ponds and villages below, all looking as tiny as they possibly could. This really seemed the closest one can get to flying. After a long photo session for Facebook DP’s, we proceeded to have lunch. We gobbled up the lemon rice, brinjal rice and cucumbers. A little while later, a few villagers came there to collect some herbs of medicinal value. They told us that the herbs when fried and consumed stopped wheezing in children.
At 3:00 P.M, we started our descent. We followed a different route this time so as to see the pond that we noticed while going up. The pond had a small temple close to it and was fringed with mangroves. We sat by the serene pond for a long time. The water was cold and flowing gently. We started down again, posing for pictures whenever we could. We had to tread slowly because of the inclination. At around 4:30 P.M we were on our way back. We stopped for a short while to have chai. We were back in Bangalore (Majestic) by 7:45 P.M.

Want to go there too?
While regular trekkers would find the trek a cakewalk, it could be slightly difficult for newbies due to the inclination. But the place is spectacular, especially from the top, and is worth the visit.                                                                                    

Route: Bangalore-Dabaspete-Urdigere-Devarayana Durga-Urdigere-Koratagere-Channarayana Durga                      
Distance: Roughly 100kms (one way)                Trek Distance: About 5km                                                                            
Cost per person: Rs 400 (Including food) *There were 20 of us. The mode of transport was Tempo Traveler . We had breakfast and got our lunch packed at a dhaba in Dabaspete.  

Here is to a wonderful experience: meeting new people, exploring new places and the fun we had!
Picture Credits: Ritu Parathody

The Double Durga Trek.

Being late for a trek wasn’t my forte.. Well, not until the 31st of August, 2014..!!
It being the last week of the month, the work load at office was at its peak. Not that it could stop me from registering to trek to 2 other peaks. 
All said and done, I dozed off while working Saturday night and with no alarm to startle me, got late to leave for the trek. Informed the organisers to leave if all else was on time, but did make it by 7 o clock, just in time to leave for the double durga trek with 20 others.
The bus journey started off with the traditional game of dumb charades and continued on to plans of making a leechy soup for Sucheta out of the stock that might be stuck in abhi’s tent..!!
After chatting over a hearty breakfast and coffee at dabbaspett, we continued towards Devanarayana Durga.
Post the introduction session, the group continued to the peak of this comparatively small hillock. Though the best part was going all the way barefoot. The feel of the soil under your feet just after a morning drizzle.. Not many things beat that. We made it to the peak in 2 legs, soaking the chill in the wind, the freshness in the air and the greenery all around us from the 2 view points at Devanarayana Durga. Once on the peak, everything around kind of came to a stand still for everyone. Ignoring everything else, people just sat there in the wind, gazing into the endless span of greenery that lied beneath & ahead of us. Though some of us will never grow up. Hence, it was time for the Prank-estein in Vikram & me that tried to scare the silent ones sitting on the egde of the peak. Vikram even celebrated the success with a Pole dance..!!
Though our plans of making a Monkey sit on Sucheta’s shoulder didn’t bear fruit, we were pretty quick to descend and in no time were on the way to Channanarayana Durga.
Passing a group of villagers playing colours, we started to climb the steep slopes of the foothills of Channanarayana Durga. The slope took its toll on everyone and the group soon split into several parts, all moving at their own speed. Vikram & I had to give up the idea of racing to the top soon after we started to race. Everyone devised their own plan to climb to the top, like: walking backward, Walikng criss cross or walking for 2 mins & resting the next 3..!! The walk to the summit was interrupted for a while by a drizzle, though we continued soon after.
Once on top, we just spread around exploring the remains of the fort. Not much remained but we still managed to look down the fort walls, climb up a watch tower for a photo-shoot and sit at what looked like a cannon window letting the wind blow away our tiredness.
This was followed by lunch and cucumber and allowed us plenty of time to lie around and rest.
All this while, we noticed some villagers plucking loads of grass. Upon enquiry, it turned out that the make a mix of it with milk and feed it to malnourished babies for weight gain. And inevitably, all eyes turned to me..!!
The last act at the summit was the group pic. With the group perched on a 10 ft high wall, the successful pic was finally clicked after Vikram & Hiren literally pulled me up from below.
Halfway through the descend, we took a stop-over beside a lake where we dipped our legs in water and lazily chatted for around half-an-hour.
The last part of the descend was pretty much quick, owing to the gradient of the hill and the energy all had soaked in at the lake-side. We managed some quick fun-photographs and in no time were en-route back to Bangalore. As always, plenty of food items ranging from fruits to biscuits, and Chocolates of-course, were passed on in the TT.
The all positive feedback was conducted over a glass of lime soda (ujala-soda, Listerine-soda or cocktail soda for those who opted), and after a good 2 hour sleep watching, the group finally bid good bye to each-other at majestic with the same old promise to keep trekking, and keep meeting on treks.
And Lastly, Photo Credits for the clear and good photos go to Ritu and Sundeep, while the blurred ones are thanks to me. :P

Written By         : Harini Panda & Ankit Maheswari
Original Blog      : Channarayana Durga and Devarayana Durga Trek By Harini
Organized By     : Deepthy & Hiren
Date of event    : 31st Aug, 2014
Members Count : 20
Place                 : Tumkur
Pictures             : BTC FB Page
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