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Nijagal Betta - Experience Unveiled

You know we all have these moments when we feel that we won’t make it to an event on time, but it turns out wrong? This was one of those for me. I left home at 6:00 AM. I got a ride to the bus stop from my father. The sun had decided to wake up late. It was super dark and was just my watch that supported the fact that it was morning and not late in the night.

Luckily, I got a bus to the Majestic Bus Stand without waiting for long. I boarded the bus with much enthusiasm, looking forward for an adventurous climb with a bunch of (hopefully fun) girls. Unlucky me, the bus driver did not share my enthusiasm. The speed of the bus clearly indicated that. To add to my agony, I had no knowledge of how to the get to the Majestic Railway Station. I am a Bangalorean, yes, yet did not know the route (True story!). The team was scheduled to meet at 7:00 AM, and I knew none would wait as we were to take the train. I thought “What will I do if I miss the train?” There was no answer to that. I could not think of anything at all. And the bus driver made no attempt to make me feel better!

I got off the bus as quickly as possible at Majestic and made a telephone call for directions. With no courage to take a glance at my watch, I took the path. When I reached the meeting spot at the station, I couldn’t find a single girl who even remotely looked like she was going on a trek. Shocked! What now? Now I had to gather courage to at least see by how much time I missed the girls. The time was 6:45!

The train started on time—7:45 AM (I was unaware of the 45-minutes wait period. Actually nobody did, except for the organizers). We had an extremely dramatic start. Thanks to the ninth and the last member, (the very romantic) Archana aka Corporation, who climbed onto the running train with (our hero) Sreemoyee giving her a hand. You can run a DDLJ or Jab We Met scene in your head. It was exactly like that. The journey was short and extremely talkative ;). All the ladies felt free to introduce themselves to each other. Actually, we more than introduced ourselves to each other. A lot of talk happened—some serious, mostly fun, and some seriously fun!

We got off the train at Dobbaspet and once were done with the hurried-excited group photograph with the moving train, that we almost missed to capture, took an auto to the foothills of the Nijagal betta. The mountain welcomed us with a beautiful stone gateway. As we entered, the trail up the mountain was seen. It was a path made of well-set mud with granular sand all over. This path was tough to climb, not only because of the sand, but also the steepness. This led us to a trail that was made of haphazardly arranged small rocks. This equally challenging path ended at yet another stone gateway. On the other side of this gateway was a Hanuman temple—the temple of Nijagal betta. The Hanuman structure was carved onto a huge rock. From the looks of it, one could say that pujas were conducted frequently. Beyond the temple began the rocky climb. At a short distance, we arrived at a landing with a large flat surface. This landing not only was a perfect spot to rest, but also served other purposes. When we looked down on the left from here, there was a beautiful view. Of the remains of a temple, of a large pond, and of the village and the roads. The top view of the temple remains gave us an outline of the temple. A significant portion of the structure was not there anymore. A small part of the area was occupied by the inner sanctum with the Shikara (gopura) intact. The remaining portion had just the walls and the pillars. On the right, above us, were the remains of the fort walls along the path uphill. Apart from providing us these spectacular views, the spot was ideal for photography of the walking-talking part of nature—ourselves! J
We got back on track and began to move upward. We came across a cave darga that was almost enclosed by three huge rocks one of which served as the path to the peak. After a short stop at the darga, we climbed the rock.

I have to elaborate on this rock. This is one steep path. Looking at it, the last thing I could imagine is the possibility for someone to climb on it! It was one huge creation that was lying there with every intention of taking anybody’s life if they just managed to slip. (At least that’s how I saw it!) I chose to keep my opinion to myself. One by one the girls began to climb. Very carefully. When it was my turn, my heart beat, God knows, must have reached 200/min. I didn’t want to stay behind that, I guess, was the only reason I chose to keep going. I took calculated steps, stopping each time just to check if I can proceed safely. And finally, when I reached the other end (alive) there was relief, excitement, a sense of achievement and a terrific memory to take away! J

Ahead of this spot, we came across a couple of stone rooms. We guessed that these could be watch-places for soldiers during wars or other times. On reaching the peak, we were surprised to see that the peak actually is a cave-like spot with the surrounding huge rocks providing enough shade and making way for enough light. It was a perfect place to relax. We got engaged in some lively games. One of them, we played with a bunch of kids who had come to visit the darga. This was followed by “Chidiya udi.” And when samosas got fried in blood and chaddi badmaash huyi, we reached another peak—the peak of fun! ;) (To all those who didn’t get this part—unlucky you!:P)

Archana, Divya, Kulsum, Namratha, Ramya, Shoba, Sreemoyee, Sushma and I settled down as it was time for refuelling. We had the transformed rice for lunch—vegetable rice that was packed in the name of tomato rice at the hotel at the foothills. Since we had a National Karate Champion in our tem, we had to do some stunts and get them photographed! We captured our muscle power at the peak before descending. 
The downward walk was relatively easy. We stopped at just one spot. A short detour from our path led us to a darga. This was a modern-day structure just opposite to the huge pond that we saw earlier from the landing. On the darga’s right is a temple—Siddeshwara temple. This is a modern construction too. At a short distance, toward the left of the darga, lying on a huge rock was yet another ancient temple.  This structure was intact as compared to the remains of the temple seen before. On reaching this piece of architecture, we found a Shiva linga in one of the two inner sanctums, covered in layers of sand. The other sanctum was empty. In fact it had been dug. The stone pillars had many intricate carvings. Such a beauty it must have been in the 18th century for sure!
 In the next 15 minutes the nine of us were packed in an auto heading toward the railway station. Since we had an hour’s time till the train arrived, we took a detour to the bus stop. The bus to Bangalore arrived without much delay. The journey back was peaceful and not so talkative ;). And all the WOWsome ladies carried home adventurous, architechtural memories!

Written By     : Jeeva Lakshmi
Organized By : Sushma & Sreemoyee
Date of event : 17th Jan, 2015
Place              : Dabbaspet
Pictures          : BTC FB Page

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