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Meeting Kudremukha: A Green Horse

“I am eagerly waiting for the shortlist of Kudremukh trek. When will it come? Oh, my name is not there. Let me try once more. Let me send mails to the organisers. They are not selecting me. Dejection is at its peak!”

After almost a year…..

“This mail is from BTC, subject line says ‘kudremukha’. Scroll down fast and find the registration link. Click on the registration link and register within a blink. Registration completed. Now it is time to read the mail. I am not bothered about the shortlist this time. ”

The time had come to scale Kudremukh. This time, the peak could not elude me!
Here goes the story of my trek to one of the most beautiful landscapes in western-ghats: Kudremukh.

Early morning, 10th of September:

Defying early morning sleep we all came out of the tempo traveller. The sun was shying away behind the clouds, showing up for a moment now and then. The landscape was lush green all around. From there, we had to go to a homestay which was at a distance of about 6km. Usually jeeps are preferred to cover this distance, but BTCians always walk to reach the homestay. After a few rounds of photography sessions we planned to start walking, I would prefer to use the word: trekking.
Hey Ishan, how are you?
I am good. May I know who are you?
Hahaha! Wait for one more day, we will meet”
But…….
Bye bye!”

The path was concrete. If someone would have come here for the first time without researching a bit about the trek he or she might have thought: “Is this what you call a trek?”
On both sides of the path were flowers of various colours, and our dear photographer was busy capturing the colours of nature.
The concrete path was followed by a muddy patch. On that narrow lane, we used to stand at the edge to give way to the jeeps. On the way, we were mostly discussing about other treks or were listening to the experiences of those who had trekked in Kudremukh.
Before reaching our homestay, there was a small water fall on the way. Some of us went to fill our bottles and even I was planning to do the same when……

Hey Ishan, Won’t you put your head under the fall?
You again…
Oh yeah! Don’t think and go ahead.
But, my shoes will be wet and socks……
Come on………
Cool… Let me do that…. (Ah… my ritual over)
But how do you know about this?
Patience brother patience… we will meet tomorrow.”

After walking for another 20 minutes we reached the homestay. Breakfast was ready. We helped ourselves with food. Once we were all done, it was time to have a little fun. The day’s plan was to trek a hill nearby and then to visit a waterfall in the evening.
                                                                             ***
The hill, named Bamikonda, was lush green. The blade of each and every grass was uniform. As the day was cloudy, it wasn’t tiring to trek. In my school days, I had studied about step agriculture (it is practised to hold water), today was the day to see it. The farmers had planted rice on each and every step. Most of the cropped areas were barred; may be to keep straying animals away. On the way, there were two small streams.
After trekking for about an hour and a half, we reached a platform made up of bamboos. The platform was huge and strong enough to accommodate all of us. Everyone was in a hurry to put his or her bag down and sit at some corner and enjoy nature. We decided to let it be our last point and to return back from there.

Suddenly lunch became our topic of discussion. Some wanted to have it at the platform, others wanted to have it beside stream and a few wished to have it at the homestay. After a few rounds of discussion, we agreed to fill our stomach beside the stream.
After reaching the stream, the one on the way, we found that there was not enough space for all of us to sit. Moreover, the fear of leech bites shrouded our thought process. Eventually, we all agreed upon having our lunch at the homestay.

Once we reached our homestay, we had had our lunch. The good thing was that we were served with coconut chutney too. After quickly filling our empty stomach we rushed to the stream.
Though it was a small stream, the flow was good because of layered structure. We decided to sit inside the water and relax for some time.
Breath, close your eyes, move your head inside the falling water and then open your eyes. Wow, what a feeling it was! It was so relaxing. You cannot see anything expect water and you cannot listen to anything expect the sound of falling water. As the light was bidding us bye for the day, we followed the way back to our homestay.
Sandeep and Gaurav brought a game for us. We started playing it while devouring bhajjis and other eatables. It was followed by dumb charades till dinner was served. Dinner was so delicious that it could not be explained it in words.

After the final round of instructions for the next day, we went to our bed. It was my second experience of sleeping in a sleeping bag. Thinking about the one who I had to meet the next day, I slept in no time.
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Early morning, 11th of September:

At around 4:30 am I woke up to find Sandeep sitting beside me and doing something. I asked him, “Is it late?” He replied, “It is just 4:30am, so sleep.”

It was 5:28am in my mobile. It was finally time to wake up. I tried asking Sandeep what he was doing. He said that he was not able to sleep.

After having breakfast, the time had come to trek to Kudremekh peak. I was more than excited to meet the one.
Monisha, Sandeep and I were sweeping the group. As ours was the first group going to trek that day, we were instructed not to make a noise. It was to make sure that the wild animals did not get scared and hampered our changes of spotting one, if any.

The trail began with a small patch of forest which had a flowing stream. After trekking for some time in the forest, we were out in open – in a grassland. Here too, each and every blade of grass was uniform. We knew that it usually took four hours to reach the peak, so the plan was to increase our pace at even surfaces and to slow down while climbing.
On the way, there was a bamboo forest (so named by one of the organisers). The bamboos were interlaced among themselves, covering the trail, as if welcoming us into their kingdom. It was truly their kingdom and we were visitors.

We were again out in the open. The whole landscape was like a painting. Dark and light patches were evenly distributed. From a distance it could not be made out, but the dark patches were forest cover and the light patches were grasslands. Behind us, there was a clear line of demarcation between a hill and the cloud. The whole of surrounding had had blue sky, white and grey clouds and lush green surface.
The peak was in our sight and there was just an even trail left to cover to reach the peak. There was one small and the last stream to cross before we reach the peak. We thought of filling our bottles and relaxing for a while before covering the last stretch. I was wondering whether I had been dreaming the whole day yesterday.

“Welcome brother, we are just a few minutes away from meeting.
Where were you since morning today? Please don’t fool me.
Hahahaha…….
Can you please stop laughing?
Fine… fifteen more minutes to go…
Why fifteen… let me run and cover the distance in five minutes.”

I started running and almost covered half of the left distance but, then I was out of energy. So, I preferred to cover the remaining distance with tortoise steps. It took me ten minutes to reach the peak.
“Welcome brother, I am so happy to see you.
Thank you, but I cannot see you.
See towards your right.
Where?
The board……… I am the board on which Kudremukh is inscribed. I have been waiting for you since last year.
I thought you are some person.
No brother, I am inside you. I belong to the mountains and you love mountains. Hence, we are brothers.
Is this some Mathematics? And you are proving the result.
It is relation. You remember, you found one brother in Hampta.
How do know about that story?
Because I am inside you, I am you.
Hmmm… But please don’t steal my belongings this time.
Hahahaha…. Don’t worry, I will not.
Let me take a photograph with you and then I have to go back to my group.
Sure.”

While having lunch, the clouds moved towards us and within a few moments we were among the clouds. It started raining. I covered my camera with all the protections I had brought for myself, and I started enjoying the rain.
Because of rain, descending became a bit tougher than climbing. It didn’t rain at all places, so after about an hour the trail was dry.

As planned, we thought of taking rest at the “single tree” spot. While resting, many had had their photography requirements (angle, background and don’t remember what else) and Sandeep obliged to all. A few of us had got leech bites. I too thought of checking and yes, I got one.
Somewhere on the way, we spotted one peacock with open feathers. Nature bestowed us with this too.
For me, it was jogging, running, walking and resting till I reached the homestay.
All of us, none debilitated, were ready to visit the stream once more before bidding goodbye to kudremukh. After stuffing ourselves with bhajjis and drinking coffee we followed the way to the stream.

It was refreshing. As we had to travel back to Bangalore the same night, we didn’t have enough time in hand to spend at the stream.
It was time to bid goodbye to Kudremukh and to the family which took care of us for two days; to the little girl who became a fan of Monisha. She was so sweet.

As it was dark, we took jeep till the place our tempo traveller was waiting for us. Some were talking to the driver and I was like, “please let the driver concentrate. The lane is too narrow and the jeep is swinging left and right.”
                                                                              ***
It was time to travel back to Bengaluru with loads of memories and with a wish to visit this place again.

Written By      : Ishan Deep
Organized By  : Gaurav & Monisha
Date of event : 10th-11th September, 2016
Place               : Kudremukha, Western Ghats
Pictures          : BTC FB Page
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