Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shivagange Trek


This is a stony hill near Dobbaspet, Tumkur and is about 60KM from Bangalore. Its an ideal place for a day's trek.

We started at 4:45am from Bangalore. After wading through the really hopeless stretch of NH-4 till Nelamangala, it was a breeze driving on the toll stretch of the highway. We reached the small village at the foot hills at 6am and started climbing at 6:15am. This was a really good time to start climbing, as the sun was still mild and it was cool. We reached hill top by 8am, in spite of taking a lot of breaks for photos, water, refreshments, etc. The last 20% of the climb is the steepest and there are railings for support. Beware, though, as the steps are very narrow and of uneven heights.

We were lucky, as the hilltop was covered with clouds! We were walking around in the midst of clouds. Even though this is summer, it was darn cold up there! We went into the Giri Gangadhareshwara temple and chatted with the priest there for a while. We ate some snack bars and biscuits. We went to see "Shantala drop" where some queen Shantala had jumped down from. We could not see how steep it was, due to the thick cloud cover. We just lied down on the rocks, in absolute silence, gazing at the skies, with clouds moving all over us, and the winds eerily howloing away. Perfect settings to forget everything, clear the clutter in your mind and get refreshed.

We started back at 9am. And it was to be an eventful descent! The monkeys had all woken up by this time and we had learnt a lot from others' experiences to be wary of rather aggressive monkeys. We spotted one or twon monkeys, but they seemed rather mild and did not bother us. Mind you, all of us had bags of snacks and water with us. Our only defence against them was my tripod! Half way into the descent, having not seen any trouble from monkeys, we thought that the monkey trouble here was hyped up. We clibmed atop a big boulder and sat down for a break. We never thought that the monkeys would try to pull off a covert operation! One monkey stealthily crept up behind us and wanted to snatch one of our bags away. We spotted it in the nick of time and managed to scare it away. Turned out that it was one of the foot soldiers and it called for more backup. Then came one of the commando monkeys - unnerved by our presence, unflinched by our weapon, it singlehandedly started to corner us! We had to jump off the boulder one by one. The last man to jump was always going to be in trouble, for there should always be one of us trying to keep the monkey at bay while the others jumped - Murali did a brave job!

After that encounter, we decided not to take any more breaks and got back among human civilization by 10:15am. We started back, taking a different route through Magadi and reached Bangalore by 12:15pm.

Tips

1. Start early! This definitely saved us from monkey trouble during the ascent
2. Having a big group helps
3. Carry minimum amount of food/water - take only one bag. You can protect it better
4. Do not forget to enjoy :)

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