Monday, August 29, 2011

Savanadurga trek - June 4, 2011

This was a trek I was reluctant to go because of rainy season. However, when my junior, Srini, requested me to come, I couldn't resist. Plus the fact that this one day trek with BMC had also included rappelling and some fun activity in water.

As is the norm in recent days, the tempo from BMC arrived late. Srini and his friend Satish had boarded at wind tunnel road stop leaving me alone at the Domlur stop. At around 7:30am, the tempo arrived, my mood resembling the dark clouds hovering above. However, I was soon gearing into trek mood talking about the nuances of trekking with Srini and Satish. We reached Savanadurga at around 9:45am after having breakfast on the way. Towards the latter half of our journey, Savanadurga teased us, playing hide and seek, going left and right to our view as a result of the rather twisted highway.

Savanadurga and the temple at base

Right at the base of Savanadurga is a temple lending grandeur to the location. The hill at around 1200m high was daunting. It seems, rock climbing enthusiasts can enjoy grades 1-7 on this hill. After customary photo session, we started towards the forest. Our first task was trekking through forest and caves followed by rappelling. When inquired about fun activity in water, we were regretfully informed that it won't be possible due to some reason. So much for bringing along changing clothes for a day trek.

Muthu from my previous Sakleshpur trek along with Rohit were the guides for the trek. Infact Muthu was a localite from that area. Starting around 10am, we reached the entrance of caves in about 20min. The forest path wasn't much interesting, with thorny flower plants covering most of the way. The same thorny plants would become a nuisance later in the afternoon. Once inside the caves, I was immediately reminded of the Antaragange caves. The look and feel were eerily similar, though this one was much darker inside and turned out to be more adventurous. There were trees growing inside the caves using which we climbed a petty steep rock.

The flowery plant with thorns

After about 40min, we emerged outside and reached the rappelling spot. Reaching the top of the rappelling rock was another challenge which was more frightening than enjoying. On the way, however, we climbed onto another rock and spent good time enjoying the awesome view of the hillocks enhanced by the cool climate and wind. Because of the danger in climbing to the top of rappelling rock, I missed bringing along the camera. I hope someday I would go again and capture the beautiful view on camera.


The caves - tricky and fun

Rappelling was fun, though scary for a newbie. One has to climb down perpendicular to the rock with the help of rope which is tied firmly to a tree or rock on the top of the rappelling rock. When my turn came, I was making sure that I was tied securely. But just before climbing down, Muthu informed me that he forgot to put the helmet for me! We nevertheless continued without the helmet. Only initially, it is scary to get our position perpendicular to the rock. After that it is just a matter of continuing to move down with the help of ropes. It was fun.

Rappelling rock

That's me doing the rappelling! - notice the absence of helmet :(

For about an hour or so the activity continued, some of them doing it twice. Afterwards, we trekked back to the temple at the base of Savanadurga. For lunch, BMC had arranged with localites and brought to us in an auto-rickshaw. The food was awesome, each item tasting good and filling our hunger and more. After lunch we resorted to some rest and photo shoots. As it was already around 2:30pm, there wasn't enough time to climb Savanadurga and be back. Added to the concern was looming rain, which never came.

So we settled for a walk through the forest behind the temple and facing both the peaks of Savanadurga - Karigudda (Black hill) and Billigudda (White hill). Like in the morning, the path within the forest was surrounded by thorny bushes, only that this one was worse and gave scratches to many. After about 40min, we emerged out of the forest path and onto the rocks. There was an abandoned temple which can serve as an excellent camping spot. Soon after the temple was a wall constructed near the edge of the rocky platform. Must have been part of the fort which was about half a km to the left of temple.

The illusion of 2D

We rested awhile there gossiping. And then took another round of photos trying to jump high in the air and using 2D illusion to show as if one was jumping from the fort wall to the other side. We started again to complete the rest of trek on rocky base towards the road. On the way was the fort along with a rather very extended outer wall. There was a small pool too formed conveniently between rocky base and small hill rising.

With few more breaks, we finally reached our tempo which had already arrived there. Muthu had cleverly led us on a path which ended close to his home. Thus ended a trek which promised a lot but was compromised because of various reasons. Hope to go sometime again to fulfill my wish of climbing this hill.

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