Monday, July 24, 2006

MM Hills

22nd, 23rd July 2006

This trek was organized by YHAI, Bangalore. The plan was to trek from MM hills to Naagamale and to Gopinatham. My friend Ananth also joined me in this trek.

We started from Bangalore at 10:30 PM on Friday night. It would have been an uneventful journey till MM hills but for the driver who dozed off for a second while driving. It was on the hopeless stretch of Kollegal to Hanur at 3AM. The Tempo traveler which we were traveling went off the road and the front wheel went into a small ditch. Nothing major, but a small dent onthe front of the vehicle. The next one hour was spent on the efforts to bring the vehicle back on the road. People from other vehicle also helped. The journey started again at 4 and we reached MM hills at 7 in the morning.

We started the trek at 11AM, after obtaining the permissions from the forest department. The forest department charges exorbitant rates for the trek. The routes in this area were opened for trekking recently after Veerappan’s death. The trekking group will also be provided with a guide. Details:

The first day of the trek was from MM hills to Naagamale. This route isdotted by a number of villages and a number of pilgrims visiting Naagamale temple. There are also a number of shops providing tea and some light snacks. We finished our packed lunch at one of such shop.

One of the stops on the way to Naagamale.

A village on the way to Naagamale

After lunch, we passed through a patch of forest which provided some nice views. The guide also told some of the violent activities committed by Veerappan. In this trek and journey, we came upon many places which had witnessed the human slaughter by Veerappan like beheading of DCF Srinivas, a place near Gopinatham where he killed 4 Police officers, blast near Palar which killed 22 policemen etc. It was very difficult to believe that these silent places had some of the bloodiest past.

We reached Naagamale at four in the evening and took one of the rooms provided by forest department. Naagamale is a small village that can only be reached by foot. Naagamale temple is on a hillock.

Naagamale hill

We decided to see the temple on next day. We spent time resting and collecting firewood for campfire. After dinner, we played Anthakshari. It was amazing to hear a good collections of Kannada songs from our organizer, Shashidhar. Also, couple of people who were on a pilgrimage to Naagamale temple added to the maasala by singing some songs on “Malai Mahadeshwara”. We also came to know about lot of things about Malai Mahadeshwara from these people.

Next day morning, we went to Naagamale temple. Footwear is not allowed on the hillock where the temple is situated. There is also a watch tower on top of the hillock. We could see the backwaters of Mettur dam.

After the breakfast, we started our journey to Gopinatham. This was the toughest part of the trek. The trail was continuously downhill but the area was completely dry with no water sources along the path. It tested the stamina and patience of each team member. We also ran short of water. Finally, we reached Gopinatham at 3PM. We went to a hotel and emptied all the soft drinks in a few minutes. Finished our lunch and started our return journey to Bangalore. Pit stop was at MM hills to visit the Temple and Hanur for snacks. Reached Bangalore at 11PM.

For more photos, click here

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hogenakkal falls

9 July, 2006

This was the trip I was waiting for a long time. Started from our home at 7:15AM. Since it was Sunday, very less traffic on Bangalore roads, but still took me 1 hour to cross electronics city. The golden quadrilateral stretch till Krishnagiri was superb. After Krishnagiri, it was a two lane highway, but it was in a good condition barring a couple of kms where there were huge pot holes.

Roads near krishnagiri

From Dharmapuri, we took the deviation to Pennagram. Surprisingly, this state road was in a good shape. After Pennagram, the ghat road begins where we descend to the Kaveri valley. We reached Hogenakkal falls at 11:15AM.

Ghat road after Pennagram

Hogenakkal is a series of waterfalls. But this place is totally commercialized and there were huge crowds. Also, this place is quite filthy with people frying fish, washing clothes, taking oil massage and bathing everywhere.

We took the coracle ride and went to the top of the waterfalls. Since the water level was more, the coracle couldn't go to the bottom of the falls. We crossed to the Karnataka side and walked for a while and then again took the coracle to reach the top of the waterfalls.

The water was in full flow and the falls looked great. The Kaveri river forms the boundary between Karnataka and Tamilnadu. This place is also very near to MM hills and Gopinatham,Veerappan's place is just 13 kms.

Route: Bangalore->Hosur->Krishnagiri->Dhramapuri->Pennagram->Hogenakkal falls

Distance: Bangalore - Hosur : 40kms
Hosur - Krishnagiri : 51 kms
Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri : 42kms
Dharmapuri - Pennagram : 30kms
Pennagram - Hogenakkal falls: 16kms

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Shivanasamudra and Talakad trip

This trip was done in 24th June 2006. This was my third visit to these places.

Gaganachukki falls at Shivanasamudra

Enjoying the waters at Shivanasamudra

Time for playing football

Kaveri river at Talakad

An excavated temple at Talakad