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Two Days Trekking to Mullayangiri and Baba Budangiri : Dec 19,20 2015

I signed up for the weekend trek organised by the Bangalore Trekking Club to Mullayangiri and Baba Budangiri on a whim. When my cousin and fellow-hostel mate joined the bandwagon it dawned on me that it was actually happening. I was slightly apprehensive but more excited. Looking back, it will always remain a weekend to remember. The group met at Shantala Silk House on 18th december at 10:30pm. 
Once we boarded the hired tempo traveller, our organisers Ramya and Kumar helped the group(of 12) quickly break the ice. We were each asked to introduce ourselves by enacting our names. The initial inhibition soon dropped and we soon bonded over dumb-charades of movies(ranging from classics like 'Invictus' to the inane like 'khoon mein tale hue samose') to antakshari of food names. The stars were a spectacle and kept us company till we dozed off.

Our first destination was Amritapura which is a temple town in the chikmaglur district. We reached there around 6am and spent the next hour exploring the Amruteshwara temple. It is a shiva temple with exquisite architecture depicting indian deities and scenes from the Mahabharata(recommended). Next we made a stopover at a roadside restaurant and enjoyed some coffee and breakfast before heading out to the Kalhattagiri falls near Kemmenegundi hills.

Our accomadation was at the government guest house located adjacent to the Veerabhadreshwara temple located at the base of the falls. We quickly dropped our bags and made our way up the waterfalls. The climb was a lot of fun. We did it barefoot and on many instances we were on all fours making our way through the mud trail and up the rocks adjacent to the falls. Now, if you ask any member of our group about this trail you will hear one of two versions as the highlight, either that of the wild orange tree(with the 'sweet' and juicy oranges) or of the rainbow and coconut tree at the top of the waterfall. Reaching consensus seemed impossible: nonetheless, it was a great start to the trip and group came together as we extended hands and helped each other and pulled each others legs(this only metaphorically).

After lunch, we made our way to the Kemmengundi hills. We trekked up to the Shanti falls. It was picturesque sitting tucked away among the hills: the water was delightful. Our next destination was the more popular Z-point to watch the sunset. However, Ramya suggested that we take another route that took us to a higher point to enjoy the sunset. The next part of the trek was challenging but incredibly rewarding and well worth the effort. We trekked up 5 hills which had terrain ranging from rocky-steep to virgin grasslands. The sight and silence atop the last peak is something that can't be described satisfactorily with words. It is just something worth experiencing. Aided by the cool wind and drooping sunlight I dozed off to the best 5 minute nap. The trek back was pleasant. The sun was not as harsh and the beautiful sunset colours and excellent singing company made it a memorable close to an adventure-filled day. On our way back we made a stop again at the Shanti falls. The water breathed some life back into us. Next, we happened to pass an abandoned play area. It didn't take much to get us up the jungle gym, at the see-saw, trying our luck at the slide or busy doing 'ghas-phus' ki photography. The sun had set and we decided to stop for some coffee and bajjis before boarding our tempo back to our guest house. Our agenda for the day was done, but the fun wasn't. Everyone cooled off and soon made it through a couple of rounds of UNO before and after dinner. We wrapped up for the day since we had a long day ahead.
The next day we planned to trek to the peak of mullayangiri and baba budangiri. We started early stopping only for breakfast(highlight was mangalore bans- hybrid of vada and bread - must try!!). We hired a guide to help us with the trek. The terrain along the Mullayagiri was a beautiful narrow path. The resting spots along the way were just as awesome as the peak. This was my favourite trail! We spent some time at the cave and temple at the peak. Also, we could see our next destination - the Baba Budangiri peak. The walk back was just as challenging and I ran into in a funny situation along the way - my shoe sole ripped off. However, Kumar saved my soul(both literally and figuratively) and Ramya was very helpful on the trek back to the tempo. The guide took us along another path that led us to a blue checkpost where we enjoyed some lunch and some not-so-veg tomato chutney. 

The post lunch trek was a real challenge. The path was rocky and the heavy lunch and sun didn't help. We trekked all the way to top of Baba Budangiri peak. It was mid-day and the moon was out and I spent the walk reasoning how that was possible and collected pearl shells along the way. The walk was really nice. We even found a porcupine spoke. Our last stop was the manikyadhara falls. This place had a lot of religious significance. The water was delicious. We walked the last stretch of 3km down the mountain to our TT. It was nice closing to an excellent weekend. Everyone was laughing, chatting and savouring the last few hours of the trip. We stopped for some dinner at Hassan and reached Bangalore at 2am. 

All in all, it was a first experience that exceeded all expectations. I was surrounded by great company, was away from the hustle and bustle of the city and trekking some beautiful mountains. Can't wait to do it again! 

Meet the group:
Laasya, Phani: These guys were always up and ahead, nothing seemed to tire them
Shashank, Tejas, Girish: our photographers,really good trekkers so they kept pace easily and helped everyone
Kumar, Ramya: were our organisers, they were super helpful. They encouraged the entire group to do a lot more than expected. Will never forget how Kumar kept saying "Run run" and Ramya was always there to ensure no one was left behind
Me(Gayathri): Chatterbox(I think)
Vaisakh, Nagur, Renu, Annapoorna: always up for a laugh, great company(the moon is always up in this part of karnataka,orange tree vs coconut tree,secret pipe from mullayangiri to budangiri, zurm ko mitakar raak kar denge etc),  they kept the spirits up :)
Our doggie: Kumar's best friend, we met him at mullayangiri and it took care of us till budangiri! 

Written By     : Gayathri Garimella
Organized By : Ramya & Kumar
Date of event : 19th & 20th Dec 2015
Place              : Mullayangiri
Pictures          : BTC FB Page

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