Sunday, October 16, 2011

Revanasiddeshwara Betta Night Trek - 2nd Sep 2011

I always wanted to do a night trek once the trek-bug had bitten me more than a year ago. But for some or the other reason I couldn't go for one and on one occasion I had booked for the trek but got cancelled. Finally on 2nd September, 2011, I did make it to Revanasiddeshwara Betta night trek organized by BMC. Even this one was after some difficulty as my friend who was supposed to come along cancelled at the 11th hour. I went ahead nevertheless.

Kiran, whom I met in Thirumaleguppi trek, was our guide. Being Friday evening, I was tired but excited about the night trek. I slept now and then until we reached a spot near Ramnagaram. Kiran, as is his wont, had suggested that we do a short forest walk before we climbed Revanasiddeshwara. We reached this spot around 12am. There were small hills around and temple at the base. The forest started pretty close to the road and the temple.

Kiran giving us the prep talk

Armed with torches and cameras, we set forth for the walk. Many of our group were first time trekkers and most certainly all were coming for first night trek. Kiran started with his usual warning that there could be snakes and sloth bears and what not. We had no option but to be careful. The entire walk took us only 15min including a short break in between, but it certainly seemed much longer. Nevertheless, with the night atmosphere, bushes, uneven surface with stones and skiddy mud at certain places, it was worth it. There was a large rock onto which we climbed and rested. We did introductions, some chatter and returned to the tempo. The way back seemed even shorter than 15min. We collected some wood near the temple to use for camp fire.
Halt point inside the forest
Starting for the climb at Revanasiddeshwara Betta

By 1:45am, we had reached Revanasiddeshwara. Stuffing the sleeping bags, we started the climb. The climb was first on road which had some mending work and then for some distance on mountain rock along the outer edge before the steps started for the final climb. Revanasiddeshwara is famous for temples - there were some at the hill base, one along the way and one at the top. It started drizzling slightly by the time we reached the steps. We had to remove our shoes, for the religious aspects, but that helped in our climb too. The slab based steps were only a connector from relatively flat surface to the steep slope towards the peak. Steps were carved on the mountain rock all the way to the peak. There were iron railings to support the climb and we really needed them due to the slope coupled with the rain and wind.

Atop the peak was the temple surrounded by bare rocks. Kiran led us to a spot around the temple where the steps started again, only this time they were leading down. The steps led to yet another temple, not surprising us anymore. This one had a well built veranda and some construction material near the edge. The place was sort of a cave with two big rocks intersecting. It also meant that we had a safe place to rest away from the rain. The climb had taken us about 30-40min or so.

Kiran immediately set about arranging for the camp fire. The construction materials meant we had a good spot on sand and the bricks helped in protecting the fire from wind. But still, we needed diesel to get the fire started. The coconut shells strewn around were also helpful. We sat around in a circle around the fire to enjoy the warmth as it was getting really cold. Kiran as usual narrated some anecdotes from his treks, some of which were familiar to me. Sometime later, people brought out snacks which were consumed with relish.

Preparing to sleep
The wind blew hot and cold, sometimes even putting out our fire. The wood and diesel ran out soon enough and most of us went to sleep. It must have been around 3:30am. Kiran woke us around 5:30am only when there was light just enough to walk without using our torches. When we reached the peak again, we were treated with a pleasant view of hills and lakes all around. Rain had stopped, but the wind still made it difficult to climb down the steep slope. After reaching the road, we had a short break. And when we started again, Kiran took a good look of the rocks around and gave us a basic course in bouldering.
One of the lakes around
Memento (The hill behind is famous for bouldering dares)

By 7am, we started to Bangalore. For breakfast, we stopped at Bidadi and had the famous menu of the region - tatte idly. After which most of us slept peacefully until we had to get down. All in all, a nice outing :)

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