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Makalidurga- A Feast

“It is 1:30am already and I have to wake up at 5am to reach the assembly point on time. If I miss I would be banned, better don’t sleep.”
After missing the train to Makalidurga once and dropping out at another instance, this was third opportunity to trek Makalidurga. I didn’t want to miss it the third time. 

It is a different story that I wanted to miss it again, that too wilfully, and wished to head towards airport. Oh yeah! Just in case if you visit BTC website and just in case if you end up reading first three paragraphs of this blog…. Too much of probability… let me get back to reality
I reached cantonment railway station quite early; and before meeting my fellow trekkers, I had had a job in hand: to say ‘no’ to those constant questions of autowallahs “bhaiya kaha jana”. 

On this trek, there were thirty eight trekkers (eventually it turned out to be more than 200); a few had planned to board at a different station. Gaurav, our organizer, had sent a detailed mail enlisting each and every minute detail that included carrying small denomination notes (the smaller the better).
At Bayapannahalli, those who didn’t board train at cantonment joined us. We had kept one side of a bodgie for us. After our introduction session, it is a ritual, we settled down for antrakshi and then some other games. Sagar Patil started singing those SRK songs. He copies SRK’s pose every now and then, rather tries! 

Wow, this is tasty, this is tasty too! Srikanth had brought rice flour upma and Radika had brought poha (bitten rice something), and I was eating those, one after another. It was followed by biscuits, wafers, more biscuits and others. Stomach is like a balloon, and the beauty is that it doesn’t burst!
At cantonment, I saw three photographers in our group and another joined us at Bayapanahalli. After knowing them, I didn’t dare take out my camera.

There were around two hundred guys from some college who had too planned to trek Makalidurga on that day. Our organizers were busy making plans on how to keep our group separate, whether we should go ahead or wait and let them go ahead.
The trail of Makalidurga trek begins from Makalidurga railway station itself (if you include the train journey, it begins from cantonment). For around a kilometre, we were required to walk on the railway track and then start climbing the hill on the left.

I was trying to walk on one of the rails, isn’t it fun to try balancing!

We all gathered, before we began to climb, at the base. The upward trail was a constant hike and was fully of small and big stones, at times boulders. There was a family trekking with us with their two kids. On the way up, the sweet little girl child started climbing with me. It was amazing talking to her. I would lift her at times if she needed help, and then she would end up saying, “I could have done that. I actually didn’t need help”. Intelligent! 

It was a little difficult to keep an eye on our group in that crowd. At so many moments, I was confused, whether she/he was from our group or not. 

After climbing for around three quarters of an hour we reached at the peak. Those who reached before were waiting for others in one of the corners. In about ten minutes everyone had reached. It was certainly crowded at the top. 

From the top, we could actual see the railway station from where we started. There was even a lake at another side of the base. A few of us roamed around, others planned to relax. The photographers were busy capturing scenic beauty.
It was lunch time and there was enough food for all us. Let me try to recall what all were there: Tomato rice and Haldiram’s bhel(family); bhel(Gaurav); Khakrda, red chutney and other gujarati dishes(Premal, Su bhai); a huge box of egg fried rice; sandwiches (Ashish & Deeksha); potato curry with chapatti(Urvi’s?); idlis; aalo paratha(Meghal); oranges, bananas, apples; and so many other dishes. I remember because I had eaten more than what I mentioned. 

In the meantime, Gaurav thought of showing us some magic. How to find out whether an Indian currency note is real or not! It turned out to be a prank. 

After a few more group photographs, it was time to start descend. Even other 200 fellows too had had the same plan. They too had planned to catch the same train. So the story remained same while descending. There was too much of human traffic on the trial.
The beauty of a trek is that you meet people from various regions, having varied passions in the same group. On the way down, I caught up with Mr Saroj Baniya, a professional photographer based out in Bangalore, and we started discussing about Nepal and the issues concerning the country. In future, we can plan a trek in Nepal; it is a beautiful country. 

Eventually we all reached the base and thus the mission was accomplished! 

At the railway station, another BTC ritual awaited us: feedback session. As I keep repeating the same three words, “It was awesome”, from next time I will keep a recorded version and play it when required.

I vividly remember the surprised look on the face of engine’s driver when he saw such a huge crowd on such a small station. We boarded in one of the bodgies and tried to make ourselves comfortable in whatever space we got. 

How could I forget the trek cost! It was rs50. Can you believe? Even those protesting today for minimum wage will faint.

Managing 38 people on a trek is not an easy task. Thanks to all the organisers: Gaurav, Raksha, Srikanth and Veera (bro you read the whats app messages finally) for such an awesome trek. Keep trekking guys!
Before I sign off, the following line came to my mind when I reached at the top:
Raksha ki suraksha me Makalidurga!”
Written By      : Ishan Deep
Organized By  : Gaurav, Veera, Raksha & Srikanth
Date of event : 28th August, 2016
Place               : Makalidurga
Pictures          : BTC FB Page

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