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FROM MAJESTIC TO the MAJESTIC KUMARA PARVATA

And another, add another to an other; adding a step to an other; how would I even presume to finish off the KP trek before I joined BTC. This must be the time I guess, I must thank BTC for making me dream of KP trek; making it my top priority this year. All the treks that we were part of all this time, our trekking strategies [:D] needs to be tested, somewhere, sometime. The control you have on your breath, the consumption of water vs non-availability of water vs the speed of your trek vs the mental strength are all put to test in this part of the karnatakan region, kukke subramanyam in Madikeri district, 280 kms from Bangalore and it surely lived upto the hype created around it; one of the best treks I ever did – the Kumara Parvata.
The meet of the 12 gang members happened on time at the BTC checkpoint in Majestic; our very own Shantala silks [:D]. As most of us were previously involved with many treks with BTC, we were very much acquainted with each other from the time we met. We had to board our Tempo by 11 PM and everyone were on time, Sushma being last to reach the spot (carrying her apartments [:P] must have slowed her down).
It was Friday evening and amidst the settling pollution in Bangalore, our Tempo roared its way through the buzzing vehicles and soon we were hitting the outskirts.
And as we hit the outskirts; something happened that never happened before in any of my treks. Almost everyone slept, except the guy next to me, Satheesh. We talked about few treks and disturbed few [;)] around finally giving up the thought and letting ourselves snore in sync alongside that of Channa’s [:D] (Sorry Channa, had to introduce this topic because its coming back at Battaramane [:D]) .
So, our driver was testing his vehicle or so or he must have been competiting with his previous best timings (just like the Olympians do), but the tempo was halted 22 kms before the kukke subramanya temple and it was like the movie show; the tempo hit the spot, drifted and it threw us out of it.  I was damn hungry and as soon as I spotted hot dosa in one of the stalls, I very soon ran and drank it( I was fast, you see [:P], so it seemed as if I drank that dosa). We very soon hit our spot, kumaradhara by 5 AM.
Visit to the Kukke temple:

The temple visiting hours were from 5 30 AM and after few of us had bath in the kumara dhara river, we ran towards the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Subramanyeshwara. Words of caution, no half pants allowed and guys, we have to remove our shirts, so stay fit [:D].

After an hour long process of worshipping, we headed out to neo mysore café, just outside the temple and we almost had our brunch [:D]; neer dosa, masala dosa, idly, vada, etc. Then we bought Rasna with glucose, jam for the 5/2 packets of bread and few dates, etc..
Start of the Trek:
It was about sunrise time around 7 AM. We started trekking and we never realized we were not on the actual path until the moment where we were to pass through the home at the corner [:D]; so, we soon retraced our steps to catch Naresh who took the right track and was waiting for us at the entrance of KP.
We very soon entered the forest and as we trekked, we could see humungous trees with the roots deep, thicky webby webbed structures of spiders, and yeah, a hanging tree [:D]. The next main stop was at Battaramane which was ~6 kms and is the stop for our lunch.
For the next 4 hours, all we did was to pass through that thick desert which doesn’t even let the air to gustle. We were sweating hard amidst the beautiful trenches to our sides.
Unlike many other treks, where we have to find a proper trail to reach the top, kumaraparvata causes lesser pain in the head [:D] showing off the most often used trails and anyone following the trail would lead right to the pushpagiri peak. But you know where it trolls on us right; the one way distance is 13 kms till the pushpagiri peak and its continuous uphill; almost most of the time.
We just kept following the forest trail until we hit the grasslands. The grasslands take you on top of one of the hills from where the trail gets flat and the path gets divided into two; if you follow the path to the right, you will soon have to climb uphill for few minutes until you see the wireless repeater tower to your left; and few more metres of walk will lead you to forest officer’s place of stay. The path to the left takes you downhill and in no time, you hit Battaramane; where the lunch buffet is served. We reached the spot by 12 30 PM and we still have half the way to cover.
Battaramane:
Battaramane hotel in the middle of the trek; in the middle of nowhere, these are the guys who serve us hot lunch. We have to wash our dishes and glasses to get hot rice, sambar & pickle along with the butter milk. And water, yes, the source of tapped water from the start of the trek is finally here. And knowing the struggle they had to put to get the ingredients to cook, the charge is a meagre 150 rs. We had tummy full of the buffet and decided to rest for half an hour till 2 30 PM.
 
We then headed towards forest officer place next to the battaramane. There is an interesting thing about his place of stay. The rooms were built with cement slabs and rooftops; iron rods to hold the ceiling and knowing that this place is 6 kms from the base; all the items were procured from the base by the workers. One can really sense the effort they put up in building up a stay in the middle of nowhere.
We were to obey the orders of the officer to camp at his site and not on top of KP. It was because of the forest fire put up by few on Dec 25 2015. The impact was such that they had to ban camping over the mountain top. It was 3 PM and we have to camp overnight here.
So, we camped there. We occupied the tent positions and had to kill time and whats better than staying in the shade [:P]. Well, I required shade and so I stayed outside the officer’s place. Few left towards the tent positions next to the officers place and started playing UNO, U and I know that its damn addictive. And so we played it till 5 15 PM until we headed towards first view point which is to the right side of the wireless repeater tower. We hoped to witness the sunset until the clouds covered up the entire atmosphere. It was surely getting cooler but without breeze, it surely is had to feel it. Such was our situation.
We were soon headed to collect wood to camp and Channa got us the big vessel to start preparing coffee, soup, noodles, thepla and cook “ready to eat” items before we burnt the dry roti’s with the banana leaves and the bamboo sticks. Everyone grabbed handful of dishes from the wide varieties that were offered [:D] and very soon, we finished our dinner by around 9 PM. We now had to wait for it to digest, and so, we danced.
Maari, ringa ringa, etc. beats followed via the Bluetooth speakers which was, in regular intervals, got connected to Channa’s phone just to hear some kannada song, a slow song, hampering our mood to dance. And so, we have to get Channa to dance. What soon followed is circling the campfire and dance in every possible way to kill the time. It was 11 PM and we had to wake up by 5 AM tomorrow.
My tentmates, Channa and Hiren, finally decided to sleep outside the tent as there was no wind. And we very soon slept between the noises that came from various sources. It was 1 PM, everyone asleep; I shivered like hell; Channa stopped snoring and Hiren got himself covered up. I cocooned myself into the sleeping bag only to wake up by 4 30 AM. We realized there were 2 teams who already started their trek from the forest office at 3 30 AM.
We very soon started our trek by 5 15 AM, the Sunday morning. My timer was ON. The only source of water was the next pit stop near Kallumantapa and then we were on our own. I carried the breakfast. What soon followed was the full moon trek until 6 AM and Naresh along with Aravind, started towards the sun rise point just before the last stretch towards Shesha parvata. We all gathered at the spot by 7 30 AM. This particular spot introduces you to the sea of clouds. We could feel the wind gushing through our ears and as I slowly went on to the other peak to gather calmness, was stunned with the beauty of nature I was looking at.
On one side, were my fellow trekkers, my friends who were taking snaps having great fun and one the other side, was this one and ONLY tree, the big tree that offered us shade during our return trip and we could still not get eyes onto the pushpagiri peak. All we were seeing was the face shared cliff, the shesha parvata.
There was this one last stretch that we have to cover to reach shesha parvata and this stretch was doing nothing else than mocking us with the ascending steepness that made us more wanting to reach the top of the peak just to have our breakfast. We had to stop in the middle to catch up with our breaths and also to our ever-trending pics with Hiren finally letting his go-pro do the rest. We trekked our way viewing the boards indicating the distance we have covered so far. 2 more kms till pushpagiri peak.
The scenaries were breath-taking. We had to cross several hills and from the top, we could observe the forest officers place as a blue dot.
It was 9 AM and we reached the shesha parvata’s top. I was the last to reach the spot and my breakfast bag was already taken by Naresh and he was the first to reach the spot 20 min early. And what followed next was, khakre’s and bread crumbs; mostly in sliced form and rest in powdered form, which was better eaten by Naresh himself [:D]. We licked the pickles inner walls until we got the feel of the spice and, you guessed it right, no water.
Pushpagiri:
It was 9 20 AM and to reach pushpagiri, we have to keep heading in the same direction but it’s a downhill through the forest. It didn’t take much long; actually, it took 25 minutes exactly for us to reach to pushpagiri peak. On our way to the peak, saw few guys making lemon rice (seriously [L], I was so much wanting to eat but … ) and we hit this boulder that offered us good check to our shoes grips. Every one of us started climbing up this boulder elevated almost at 60 degrees. Lots of looks were exchanged between Mr. and Mrs. Channa when Channa crawled up the boulder as Mrs. Channa got herself another route around the boulder that took her 5 more minutes to get to us. Our action Jackson was in the middle of the boulder stretch, and yeah, he was trying to fill up water from just a very small water stream seeping through the walls of the boulder. We reach the pushpagiri peak by 9 30 AM.

We decided to start descending by 10 AM and snaps it is. We were also saluting the Indian flag that came all the way from Bangalore inside Channa’s bag. We hit the shade and rested for a while and passed ourselves few looks and talks until we reached the view point on the top; the highest point in our trek. Sea of clouds and we were in the middle of the clouds; the cool breeze that hits us as the clouds pass by us; the far off mountain view covered with it and the scorching sun that hits us without any barrier still not letting us feel its hotness; these are experiences that belongs to our heart.
Descend:
On our descend, we saw the other way towards pushpagiri peak via somwarpete. It is believed to be a bit easier trail and one could finish off the entire stretch, to-and-fro, in a day; we should better give another try later. But now, we descend via the same route we started. This time, we all waited until we quenched our thirst near that action Jackson water spot. We slid on the boulder, reached shesha parvata and headed towards that ONE tree that I mentioned before near the sunrise spot.
We waited for all of us to gather to gain some energy and to hit the rest of the spot with energy, we had dates, ORS and Rasna with glucose mixed up with the bottled water we were carrying. I have used up one litre of my 2 litres of water that I was carrying since morning.
It was 12 45 PM sharp, I turned my timer off which was showing up 0735 hrs of the entire stretch from Forest officer’s place to the kallumantapa to sheshaparvata to the pushpagiri and all down to the forest officer’s place.
It was a wonderful timing, I must say and we all were pretty much content. None of them gave up, not even uttered that “I can’t” sentences; because we know that we are trekking the tallest peak of Karnataka.
We were thrilled to know that all that is following is another 6 kms stretch to mark the end of this beautiful trek. We reached battaramane to have our lunch, again. The menu was same. No difference. But we had our own deadlines which gave us another half an hour to rest before starting our trek by 2 30 PM.




On our way back, we got lost a bit to find out the way into the forest that will lead us to the entrance of the KP trek. In such moments, all you have to do is move around the hill; cover up 360 degrees and you will definitely find out the way. We did just that until we found forest officer along with his two other colleagues wanting help to turn of forest fires.
The mission: Putting off the forest fires
Our guys very soon rushed towards the officer to find out the assessment about the situation. We were given green plants and had to hit the ongoing forest fire with the greens to turn it off. Every one of us had the fresh big stems and were taking turns to put the fire off, until we realized that the wind is helping the fire in easing its motion to the other parts of the hill. We were successfully able to curb the fires on the top of the hill and as we realized we had very few hands to help, all we could do was get back to shade to rest, and with the little left over energy we had, had to start our descent after a thank you note from the officer for helping them. Feeling sorry for the situation and at the same time, learning not to take anything lightly; a small cigarette stub was the reason behind this and as we realized that this Kumara parvata trek might also be on the blacklisted treks; on our way back, all we can see were the glimpses of grasslands turning black. We just were able to curb the fire on that particular hill top but the fires were burning the dried grass on the mountain. 


All we can do is hit the forest trail and wait for everyone to gather. We were sweating and breathing hard. It was a wide awakening moment for all of us; don’t mess with the nature, coz’ when it shows its true form, you realize how helpless you are. But again, that being said, if we had lot of volunteers on the top, we could have definitely curbed the entire forest fire from spreading.
The final 6 kms stretch:
We gathered all our energies and soon hit the forest trail. It took 2 hours for all of us to gather at the base. It was 5 30 PM; the trek concluded with flying colours. None injured; but few lost their hairs to the forest fire [:D]. Channa called the tempo traveller till the entrance of the KP trek and we had to have the holy dip in the kumara dhara river. Now, unlike last time, every one of us was willing to have the holy dip [:D][:P]. The relief when our bodies were inside water, our souls have exchanged words of thank you’s to the bodies [:D].
Dharmasthala:
Dharmasthala is considered, a very sacred place for all the Lord Shiva’s devotees and its 70 kms away from the kukke subramanya swamy temple. And hell yes, we are going to visit that place too.
And you must have known about our driver by now; we reached dharmasthala before 7 PM. We very soon rushed into the rushy flow of devotees and yes, again, no half pants allowed and guys, no shirts.
We followed and followed and followed the queue; there were stalls for drinking water put up; you could imagine the amount of time we took to seek the Lord’s bessings; it was almost 90 minutes as we finally got glimpses of the mighty Lord’s statue.
It was 8 30 PM and Naresh had seen the documentary on NGC, the largest kitchen, Dharmasthala [:D]. Dharmasthala offers free food service to all the devotees and it was another long queue, a queue that would make you forget that you were hungry, the queue that will have your senses turn blind on you; but Naresh didn’t give up. We ran along with him into the queue and after another half an hour long wait; we were served the dinner. Hot steaming rice, rasam, sambar, aloo masala curry, butter milk; we finished it off in 5 min and the everyone in my row finished and started leaving in 5 min; seriously, a dinner in just 5 min; you gotto be kidding me. But that’s the fact. We very soon, reach outside the temple; conducted our feed back session and chit-chatted until it was 10 30 PM. And it was time, we had to leave to our tempo.
Everyone were exhausted and now, we were only dreaming to reach home and sleep; but its Monday morning, the next day and one must realize that all the dreams won’t come true that very often. Our tempo started and halted. Reason: Puncture. So, the repair went on for next 90 minutes as our driver didn’t had the proper wrench and amidst all the calls to get the Stepney fitted; all we could do is just prey that we start early.
It was almost past 12 AM; the engine roared just to provide us with that thrill feel for one last time before we woke up at yeshwantpur at around 6 AM.
We very soon dropped Sushma and her apartments were all intact; and got ourselves thrown out at the Majestic. The journey had come to an end.
And as I boarded the bus towards tin factory, all I can think of was, the 11 friends and the jokes that we cracked, the nature’s beauty and its true form, the disturbing forest fire. As I realized that none in the world cares about anything happening on the planet except the environment around them; whether the route that I take to my office has any issues, is the extent to which our thoughts can go in the busiest work life hours, everyday, and pray that, people will wake up to take up the responsibility to make sure that everything they do, is in the best interest of preserving the world that we live.
This thought was very soon trolled as I got hit by the smoke from the two wheeler; that black bustling smoke coming from that 2 stroke engine; what would you expect me to do, plugged my earphones, closed the broken window of that bus, and I slept. I got to sign off, you see. Happy trekking guys; until next time, stay healthy & stay fir [J]


Team : Sundeep Agarwal, Sathesh Shanmugam, Prakash Reddy, Naresh, Channabasappa Nad, Hiren Jobanputra, Sushma G S, Poornima, Ananya C, Aditya PV, Jackson Menezes, Mukunda

Written By     : Aditya PV
Organized By : Channabasapa Nad & Hiren J
Date of event : 23rd & 24th Jan 2016
Place             : Kumara Parvatha
Photos           : BTC Facebook
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