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Nijagal Betta: We went, We Saw and We Conquered !!!

28th October: Another eventless day was coming to an end and all that was needed to cause a stir was a mail announcing a trek to Nijagal Betta!
29th October: WOOHOO…shortlisted for the trek!!!

2nd November a.k.a. D-day:
Early morning, bright eyed and raring to go, all the shortlisted participants gathered at Bangalore City Station for a train to Dobespet (I am sure nobody looks as fresh when they go to their workplace :P). But hey, someone was missing and here came Madhuri, running and out of breath. It seemed the train was waiting just for her, for it started soon after that. It was the first event for Gaurav as an organizer and for Piyush as a trekking event organizer. Sonali went around greeting everyone but only after confirming that they were indeed from BTC. With all the fun and leg pulling, no one realized how time flew and we reached Dobespet. Alighting at the station, an introduction session was held which revealed that there were 4-5 freshers amongst us. Shruti, Shweta, Sonali and I fitted ourselves into the backseat of one of the tum-tums waiting for us and chattered away as houses, vehicles, trees and farms went past in a blur. After a breakfast of hot, steaming dosas, idlis, vadas, tea and coffee and packing lunch, we left on the mission of the day: to conquer Nijagal Betta!

At the start of the trek was a hurdle…a puddle of water for which everyone had to show off their jumping skills while Srikanth went about throwing stones and splashing water on others! Thus, starting on a jumpy note, we were out on a path surrounded by Jowar fields. Soon the ascent began while the scene around started to change and the air cooled down.  On the way was a carving of Hanuman smeared with vermillion which took the fancy of photographers. The trail to the peak was like a steep staircase with some wobbly support. It led us to a flat landing with a mesmerizing view all around. One could see the highway and railway tracks from there, curving their way through the landscape and as someone remarked, the farm plots looked straight out of Farmville! Now with such a beautiful setting, who would miss out on obtaining a prospective profile photo :P.  Solo, group and some candid moments were happily captured with the swaying grasses in the background. Suddenly, drum beatings emerged from somewhere in middle of all the rocks and then we discovered a small hidden temple.
 And then came probably the hardest part of this easy trek…a steep boulder, to climb which, we had to bend quite a lot. In spite of all the hardships, people posed for photos in that position!  On reaching the top, everyone got into exploratory spirits and set out in different directions. Top of the hill was dotted with rocks, boulders and some stone structures.  With hidden cave-like spaces, it was like an explorer’s delight. A huge, almost sheltered enclosure was formed by the boulders.  Passing under some of them gave one a feeling of being in the Stone Age. It was as if Nature had known all along that a day would come when trekkers would explore the landscape it had so beautifully arranged.
One of the stone structures had carved pillars and a ‘French window’ as well.  Ashish decided to turn to his original form of a ghost and gave a tour of his “home” :P. As with almost all tourist places, the place was ruled by monkeys. Some of us (read Arvind) underestimated them and had to lose some valuables (read chocolate) which shocked them (again read Arvind) to no end! Next one of them targeted Ankit’s bag (probably because of all the chocolates inside???). One could also see Shivagange at a distance with the Nandi temple at top. With a view of the hills around, roads, railway tracks, farms and coconut trees, the top was a photographer’s paradise.  A precarious boulder jutted out from the rest and when everyone climbed onto it, it resembled scenes from the Lion King and Jungle Book.
 Gaps under some of the boulders served as ideal spots to retreat for a power nap. Energized, it was time for some more fun and how can a BTC trek be complete without dumb charades!  The most controversial movie this time was ‘Zulm ko mita ke raakh kar dunga’…only Bollywood can come up with such names!  All the laughter and teasing increased our hunger pangs. Armed with their parcels and an eye out for the monkeys, everyone finished their lunch of spicy Pulav. It was now time to descent, which as always, is much faster than the ascent.

As promised at the start of the trek, Gaurav and Piyush had a surprise planned for us which was that we would be walking along the railway tracks to Dobespet station. Just the idea of railway tracks led to more ideas for photos! The long walk began, along which, acquaintances were made, thoughts and memories shared. On the way, we came across some tall grasses with white, bushy inflorescence which actually turned out to be seeds ready for air pollination. I am sure we helped in the pollination part what with some of us carrying them till Bangalore. Ashish also had the idea of selling them in Bangalore for a high price! The honking of a train in the distance generated some excitement in us as we tried to decide which track to stay on :P.
 The station was soon in sight and since the train was late, a feedback session was held. As suggested by many, the climb and peak of Nijagal Betta would be ideal for a night trek. Gaurav was appreciated for his efforts as a first-time organizer. And as the meteorological department’s prediction of a thunderstorm didn’t come true, the trek to Nijagal Betta went perfectly!  As it is said “Old habits die hard”, Gaurav tried to fool everyone again with his “fake note” trick but, alas, with less success this time. While waiting for the train, everyone sat at the edge of the platform, taking in the serenity of the place. The train arrived soon; everyone marched inside and perched themselves wherever they could, weary by the day’s activities.

It was soon time to say goodbyes with promises to remain in touch and meet again soon. As with all BTC treks, the day was filled with fun and excitement. It gave us lot of memorable moments, new friends, a supply of profile pictures and a lot of notifications on FB for the next week! Hope to catch up with the new friends soon in another trek.

Till then, Hasta la Vista!

Blog By          Nasreen Choudhury
Organized By : Gaurav & Piyush
Date of event: 2nd Nov 2014
Place             : Dabbaspet
Pictures         : BTC FB Page
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