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The Southern Kailash

It was Friday eve, the group of energetic trekkers started together from Bangalore towards Coimbatore.  We started late as it was not necessary to reach so soon to our destination. So once we started hitting the outskirts of the city, there was informal intro with the group where we enacted our names with a brief intro. We had a stop where our driver had his dinner. Post that there was some mummers for some time post which everyone went to sleep.  Early in the morning even our driver too felt sleepy so he parked out TT in the exit of Salem and slept. Safety First! . We resumed our journey around 5AM again and reached Coimbatore around 8 AM in the morning where we had hot tea.
Our first spot was Kovai Kuttralam, we reached there by 9.15AM but the opening time was 10AM. So we enquired about the options for food and placed order for our crowd. There was place to refresh as well, so we refreshed there and had Upma and coconut chutney for breakfast. Impressed with the taste, we preordered lunch in the same place and went through a baggage check for plastic items because it was one of the sites recognized by UNESCO for the diversity in flora and fauna. So we were taken in the forest department vehicle till some point beyond which we need to walk for some distance. We started hearing the sound of the waterfalls as we were nearing it. Then we changed and started enjoying getting into the water fall. It was so hot and humid even in the early time of the year. The water was really cool and calm (was not at its maximum flow though). We drenched, took some pics with the falls, tried the slide into the shallow waters for more than an hour and then changed to dry clothes and came back where our lunch was ready to be served hot.  After finishing the lunch we decided to go to Isha Yoga Center and rest sometime there. Everybody was keen to sleep as we knew there was a sleepless night trek ahead of us. 
We reached Isha Yoga which was around 10kms from the waterfalls. We quenched with few sugarcane juices before entering the yoga center. Once we entered, we were astonished with the vast area and architectural beauty of huge constructions. We then saw the map and got an idea for the places that were to be covered there. Our first sight was the huge artificial pool with the two Shiva lingas placed inside it and some devotees taking bath and worshipping there. Then we went for the main meditation center where there was a huge linga in the center surrounding which a huge mass can meditate peacefully for 15 mins. After the heartfelt experience we started to the base nearby where we planned to take rest till night breaks. But only a very few slept over there as there was poojas going on in the temple and it was full of loud devotional music. A few went to the temple and others explored the surrounding till evening. 
Once it we lost the daylight we gathered again for overview of our plans and went to have dinner. Post dinner we had the general BTC instructions with tea. Then we prepared ourselves with filling water, buying bamboo sticks for the support and we started climbing around 9PM. Knowing there were 7 hills to be hiked, we hiked slowly. There were steps for climbing the first two hills. After climbing around 1 hour we reached the natural water source where we filled the water bottles and took some rest. There was so many other devotees climbing along with us bare footed, though they all had the latest smart phones from 21st century , most played songs that were classics from 80’s-90’s (including some item numbers :P) and a few devotional songs .  Then we were 
Ascending…. and resting 
Ascending…. and resting 
Ascending…. and resting 
In the middle we thought we were climbing third hill and there came a shocker while the fellow person informed us that we were at the middle of second hill, that’s when we decided not to count the hills anymore! The night view of the city was getting better and better as we went gaining altitude. Post third hill it was flat terrain for a couple of hills later we descended the sixth hill and decided to camp there till early morning. Though people were continuously climbing to and fro. We found a shelter where few of us can sleep for a while. Few dare hearts decided to sleep out in the rocks with the body temperature they gained from the ascend. As time passed they came in the same place as it was getting damm cold outside. Thanks to Lokith, our organizer who managed to get a blanket from the tea shop owner. It was really a life saver! We initially planned to start @ 5AM. But no one was ready to wake up and face the cold winds outside, so we finally started around 6 in the morning. As we were climbing the last hill which was the steepest we witnessed the stunning sight of early dawn and went to the top to catch the sunrise. 
The actually temple was located in the peak which was a little stretch from the place we rested for sunrise. So we went and stood with the crowd in the top which moved in slowly. It was awesome sight to see the first rays of the days falling on the temple. The priest put holy ash on our foreheads and we took some clicks. Then we saw the beautiful Swayambhu Lingas (which are formed by nature itself). We came down the sunrise spot again and rested for some time viewing the beautiful mountain ranges that were playing hide and seek with the clouds. Then we started to descend, it was skidding for one hill as it was steep and then we started to descend in our own speeds. It took around 3 to 3.5 hours to reach the temple at the base. So we rested there for some time before we started to the city for our lunch exclusively where we found good full meals  thanks again to Lokith who got us all yummy ice creams to beat the heat!  Then we started our travel back to Bangalore. 
After all we cherish the memories of playing in the waterfall, freezing sleep at the top, beautiful sunrise in the temple at the peak, amazing natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and not the pain Thanks to the officials who take immense care to get rid of all plastics from everyone who climbs the mountains. Though it was taking out a little bit of comfort, it helps to maintain the sanity of the place. But there were plastic wastes throughout the trail because of the shops which still sell contents in plastic container on the way up. Guess that’s the power of localitie sellers prevailing there still ;) 
But there was not enough awareness with the devotees not to litter there anyways. 
“Let’s not take the planet for granted, I’m not taking tonight for granted. Thank you so very much” organizers for organizing this amazing trek. (Someone already give me an Oscar :P)!

Written by :    
Organised by: Lokith and Ameer
Date of event: Mar 19, 2016
Place :            Velliangiri
Members:        12

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