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Kodachadri- A hiker’s paradise

On 20th November, 10 BTCians overcoming incessant rain and traffic of Bangalore city gathered at Majestic to head for Kodachadri over the weekend. We were led by Ramya Raman who was organizing her first weekend event. It took us while to get out of the city, but once we cleared Tumkur we settled to natural rhythm of weekend getaway. 

Discovering our names via dumb charades was great fun, which later proved to be very effective in knowing each other. While much of the night was spent in slumber, Ashwin, Eshwar and Ramya stayed up late sharing interesting anecdotes about their past hiking trips. I didn’t catch too much sleep either, for I was excited and eager forget the humdrum of everyday life.

We hit city of Shivamoga at 05:30, our destination was further 80km away. We breakfasted at Kathinahole and started our hike to Guest House at 0800. Our guide Ramu displayed great enthusiasm, courage in leading the way and as well as offering help to our team during difficult stretches of the trail. I would be ungrateful, if I were not to mention our new companion, a brown labrador who was going to be with us all the way till the base.

The trek to the base camp could be split in three parts. The first leg of the trek was to reach the site of waterfalls through dense forest route. The weather was beautiful and pleasant with no rain and the forest was eerily quiet as if it were still sleeping. We traversed many a hills, deep valleys, fields of paddy, sugarcane and banana plantations with a small fast flowing brook. Leeches made their presence felt every now and then. 

We had great time at some of the shorter waterfalls before the majestic Hildumane falls. One had to trek cautiously over the slippery rocks to get there. The near ice cold flow was not going to deter us since quite a few of us spent a lot time directly beneath the falls including myself. I must admit the force of falling water was so strong that I was pinned down at that very place. I’m left to only wonder what the falls would be like during monsoon. 
Now the next part of the trek to reach the jeep trail began as we emerged from the forest to open skies with steep ascent on a dry terrain. Gently rolling hills with green cover dotted the landscape all around. On the far left backwaters of river Sharavati loomed with interspersed islands. The November sun made it looked like a large glacial mirror. Farmlands through which we earlier made our way came into view.Very soon we could see jeeps threading their way over the hills which meant that our second part of the trek was drawing to an end. Our first glimpse of the guest house left us stunned. Nestled among the tallest hills in the surrounding, the house was sitting pretty in the middle of nowhere. Our final stretch of trek was to reach the now visible government guest house. 
We had our much awaited lunch and break before starting to sunset point at about 3:30. It was further an hour away from our base. The trail was filled with splendid views all along the way with rain making its presence felt every now and then. We took a slight detour to elephant cave and took some shots from inside the caves. Once we reached the top, we were greeted with a shy sun hiding behind the clouds. There’s a small temple dedicated to Shankaracharya. Our guide commented that the temple now has very few visitors in contrast to his childhood days. He lamented of the great tradition being lost by each generation. One couldn’t help but to sympathize with the unfolding event. 

We were forced to wait a long time before the sun broke free from clouds to mesmerize us with its charm. We basked in its fading glory for as long as possible. Towards the west, one could see the sun rays leaving the top of lofty hills with long shadows drawing in. The banks of Sharavati river burned bright with reddish brown hues like a sword just forged from the bowels of furnace. We made our way back before night crept in. After sumptuous dinner we spent some time playing mafia and twenty questions game beside the bonfire on a cold chilly night. The long adventure filled day finally took its toll and we settled to rest before deciding to visit sunrise point next morn. 
I woke up quite early to have a glimpse at the night sky. The stars appeared much closer and seemed to be in more number than usual. Meteors made quite few appearances. Jupiter was low on the horizon.The red gaint Aldebaran and Orion loomed overhead. Any man with a telescope might forget sleep and might spend the entire night lost in the admiring the grandeur of the night sky.

The guide came in at about 05:30 to receive us. Most of us were jacked up in winter clothing to keep away early morning chill. After about half an hour of trek mostly on rocky terrain, we were among the first group to reach there. The sun was deeply embedded in thick layer of clouds. We finally got our chance a little while later and took some really wonderful images. 

Breakfast with tea proved to be too good for a morning’s meal and we departed guest house at about 08:00 and we decided to stick to Jeep trail for it was quite easy after yesterday’s heavy hike. The guide took us through different routes, allowing us to mesmerize the beauty of this vast undulating terrain even more. We started for Bangalore, as soon as we had some refreshments at the base where our Tempo was stationary. Quite soon, near the town of Nagara, we made a pitstop to visit a fort built by Shivappa Naik in 18th Century. The place was in ruins and nature had reclaimed most of it. Restoration work seemed to be underway near the entrance. Much to our delight on what was turning out to be a hot afternoon, there was an ice cream vendor nearby. We were overjoyed to find pepsi, a version of ice cream in long packets. For just five bucks, we couldn’t resist but to have many more. This also provided a nice opportunity to share our childhood nostalgia. I must admit this weekend getaway was turning out to be more than what I had bargained for. We headed to the town near Shimoga for our lunch before continuing our way to Bangalore. 
Brief spells of rain made their appearance as if keen to remind us how much they missed us. Apart from halts for Tea and Dinner at Tumkur we made steady progress to reach Bangalore on time. We hit thick traffic on outskirts near yeshwantpur and reached Majestic at about 10:30 pm. We bade farewells and expressed hope to meet on some other treks. I consider myself to be grateful to have been in company of such like minded, enthusiastic people and will endeavor to be part of more such fun filled BTC events.

Written By   : Srinivas
Organized By : Ramya Raman
Date of event : 21st & 22nd Nov, 2015
Members Count: 10
Place         : Kodachadri
Pictures     : BTC FB Page

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