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The Mystical Land of Nagala

“In every walk with Nature, one receives more than what he seeks” – John Muir

If I could describe our experience of our trek to the majesty called Nagala, this would be it. 

Located in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, Nagala is indeed a lost world unknown to many (at least to me until I got the registration link for the trekking event on my BTC App). What made me more curious was the fact that non-swimmers were welcome to be a part of the trek too. Now, what would someone like me who has never stepped inside water have to explore in a paradise for swimmers? With all these questions in mind, when I registered for the 2 day trek with the title “Swimmer’s Paradise - Nagala”, little did I know that I would be exploring Nature at its best architectural skills.

With a mind full of curiosity and a soul full of excitement, we all set our journey on Friday night with enough people to fill a MiniBus. We started with an initial dumb-charades session of enacting our own names with introductions, each of us having a roar of laughter every time someone guessed a wrong name. This served as a very good ice-breaker to know each other even before starting our trek. We reached Nagalapuram early morning with extra energy after a short nap and a colourful sun welcoming us with a bright smile :) 

Savouring the hot Idlies with tangy tamarind chutney, we packed our lunches and set our journey to what we knew, would be a temporary home for us for the next two days. Led by our guide Giri and his partner, we ventured into the wilderness. The trek was mostly on flat trails with a canopy of trees shading us from the rising heat. We took a quick stop at a tree with natural swing, testing the strength of its branches with all of us on board.

The next stop was our first pool with streaming water, so pure and pristine that it can calm anyone down in seconds. The beauty of our first venture, was that almost 75% of us were non-swimmers and most of them started owning the water with their life-jackets on, in no time.  Aasiyah, Bala and I took some time to get over our initial phobia before we joined the rest – Thanks to our buddies with all the encouragement and assurance that they’d save us if we’d drown even with the life jackets on :P What followed was magical. All of us took jumps from different heights – Tier1, Tier2, Tier3 as we called them and even managed to rename the Tier3 jump ;) With the “never soooo satisfying” lunch of lemon rice and snacks, and our faithful companion “Basanti” behind us, we started to the second pool (Almost an hour of trekking). We chose a different spot than the cave which is chosen regularly, as our camping spot and left to the Magic Pool or the Sliding Pool.

Now how do I describe this place? Streaming water spa? – check…Natural Sliding Pool? – check… Nice view of the Mountain and the sky? – Double check…You name it, we had it there. We let the flowing stream soothe our feet and body, followed by an epic water battle among the armies trained by Vinyaas, the chief warrior with all water weapons possible :P The cooking team (chef Vinyaas, chef Sunitha, chefs veggie cutters and torch bearers) led by MasterChef Vijayalakshmi, managed to cook Tomato/Veg Biriyani-ish rice bath served hot, which all of us delished in platefuls. With a blanket full of stars above us and a Full Moon (Yes !! Full Moon !!) sneaking in from the edges of the mountains, we decided to break the Ghost Stories session by a game of Ping Pong. Now, this was FUNNN- remembering our new aliases and reacting on time was indeed a challenge – although it brought out many hidden dancers into the limelight – Divya and Kavitha stole the show ;) We all settled into our sleeping bags rather quickly, with the beautiful blanket of Full Moon with his stars soothing our eyes into a deep slumber.

Day 2 started with the same energy as the previous one. With an initial magical session of water sliding, all captured live in action by the GoPro guy, Shrish…we started to our last pool in plan, the ‘Dead Pool’ (I kept pronouncing it ‘the Ryan Reynolds’ way all the time ;) ) Getting there was a tricky path full of natural boulders and streams flowing between them. The highlight was the natural pressure bath under the tiny water fall followed by yet another daring jump off a cliff. We spent most of the time in water there, ate all the remaining food like hungry lions and descended our way back.

Each step we took back to the base camp, just made me feel humbler- just lucky to be there at all – even for a very brief amount of time. Drinking waters off streams, with trails of greenery leading each of our ways – just made it all the more difficult for us to leave the place. There was some magic – we all came back with the same energy with which we all had started for sure- but something had changed – we were no longer the strangers who had to enact their names out the previous night – we were this small group of friends who now shared a common history of our temporary home under that Night sky…We posed for photos crazily, sang all our favourite songs, played Ping Pong all the way…. Not to forget the yummy tummy Pooja in the hotel on our way back…

Thanks to the organizers Arun and Ameer for organizing it so well that we could let go of all the worries and just BE.

Personally, this was my first 2 day trek ever and I was lucky enough to start it off with such a beauty. What I realized was that Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden our hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace inside us… and I’m sure each one of us found a different dimension of ourselves which was long hidden inside this treasure :) :)

Written By        : Sunitha
Organized By    : Arun Kumar & Ameer Khan
Date of event   : 15th-16th Oct, 2016
Members Count: 20
Place               : Nagalapuram East
Pictures           : BTC FB Page
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