Srikanth Perinkulam

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Category: Adventure / Travel (page 5 of 5)

The Rohida Trek

This week’s been pretty tiring. Moving over from KT phase to Secondary support, solving stuff which seems simple but turns out to be worse than what it shouldn’t be, filling the same old excel sheets multiple times for reasons unknown even to the person who send it, needless formalities and processes just to send a message across to the person at the other side of the globe…Boy, Am I complaining?

Believe me, I’ve never worked this hard in the past few months! All this, just to make sure my work life doesn’t spoil my weekend. The Kundalika river rafting was planned for Sunday and the DH team had planned a series of treks starting this week. I’d decided that I’m not going to miss even a single trek. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why I got myself transferred to Pune on a short term basis for!

15th June

01:20 hrs: I hit the bed after finishing some personal work. The day’s been real long and eventful and a proper sleep is all I need. The sound of water gushing through gorges and sound of rain drops spluttering all about is all that I hear and in moment’s I’m totally blacked out.

05:00 hrs: The Continental music hoots from my mobile to remind me it’s time I get up. My back’s aching real bad and arm’s aren’t any good either. Yesterday’s 10kms of Oaring is slowly taking its toll. I snooze the alarm and get back to sleep. Fortunately, I realize the pain is only going to get worse if I rest longer. I Jump out of the bed and rush to the restroom.

We had to reach Swargate by 06:30, the latest. Ashutosh, Hitanshu – my roommate and Akhilesh – a friend of his would be joining me from Aundh. Vaibhav, Siddharth, and Rahul Nair, were to join us at Swargate. I call up Rahul and Ashutosh to wake them up. Rahul wasn’t really sure if he’d join us. Ashutosh said he’d be meeting us at Bremar circle. We leave for Swargate by around 5:50 and reach right on time to board a State Transport bus to Bhor. Bhor is about 65 kms from Swargate, so that effectively translates to about an hour and a half’s travel. The ST bus picks the Kolhapur route to NH17 through the old Katraj tunnel and after a kings ride 😉 we reach Bhor at about 08:30 hrs.

With not much scope for a proper breakfast, we hit on a VadaPav stall. A kid about seven years old was running the shop. The way he was handling his customers was an interesting sight. Something I’m sure he would beat most of us at! Had hot tea and Vadapav’s and also got some parceled.

For the base point, we had to reach Bajarwadi, a village about 9kms from Bhor. Vaibhav and Siddharth spoke to a few localites and arranged for a Jeep. We reached Bajarwadi at about 08:45 and started the trek at about 09:00hrs. The destination was visible right from the base and it looked pretty easy a trek. The weather got better the higher we climbed. Intermittent showers and heavy winds were consistent company all through the trek. It’s surprising how Nature keeps ridiculing you every time you think you’ve achieved something, always warning you to stay within your limits and not crossing that dividing line!

By 10:00hrs we reached the fort entrance. The fort had three consecutive entry doors and right at the entrance was a board put up by the Govt. explaining clearly in Marathi, the history of the fort. Vaibhav translates each word of it and then with that gyan we keep moving across the fort’s various points. Plausibly, the fort was built by Adil shah, then moved over to the hands of Shivaji and finally came uder the control of the ruler of Bhor. I believe, Aurangazeb too was involved in control flow somewhere in between. This is the first time ever that I’ve spent so much time understanding the fort’s history , walking across all the Burj’s and exploring each part of it.

We finally decided to stop over at one of the Burj for a quick snack. Just moments after we finished munching, the drizzle started all over again. At about 12:30 hrs we decide to start our descent and get back to Pune. The descent was much easier. At one point, we noticed that with some miniscule element of risk we could find our way to a waterfall. Ashutosh, Akhilesh and I decided to take it up and we did finally reach the cascade. The towering fall was all we needed to remove any body pains! Having had a wonderful massage from the falls, we moved towards the base where Vaibhav, Siddharth and Hitanshu were waiting for us. While we were basking in the waterfall, the other three folks were whiling away time near the Bajarwadi temple watching the village folks playing cricket. Later we got to know that Vaibhav and Siddharth had come almost half way up again searching for us 🙂 !

At about 14:00hrs we got to get into a jeep back to Bhor. At Bhor we had another round of Vadapav ( and not to forget the Spiced up Channa Mix ) and got back to the ST stop to board a bus back to Swargate. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait for long. At about 16:40hrs we reached Swargate and from there boarded a bus to Parihar Chowk. Ashutosh would be in a better position to explain how we boarded the bus 😉 .

The week was tiring, the weekend even more! But I believe, that is what keeps you on your toes and when you hit the bed, pains and aches apart; you know you’ve done at least something worthwhile in life!

Kundalika – White water Rafting

It’s about six in the morning. Just another drop makes its descent on the already created pool right outside our tent. It’s ben raining cats and dogs ever since we reached the base point and there seems to be no sign of it subsiding. Though it’s been just about four hours that I’ve caught some sleep after having reached the river rafting camp at Kundalika, my brain shows no signs of drowsiness – It’s probably the smell of rain that’s spruced up my spirits but I believe it’s more to do with the sense of a tentative accomplishment of what I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now.

About eighteen of us had blocked our slots for the June 14th river rafting batch at Kundalika almost two weeks back. Monsoon had just set in here at Pune and this was one of the best times to give this a shot.

13th June,

I manage to complete my work by 9:00pm and rush to board the 9:15pm service to Shivaji Nagar. This was were we were supposed to board the bus arranged by the organizers of this event. I reach well before time and am actually surprised to find quite a few people already waiting there for sometime now! Soon Rahul chips in. In the team of 18 or so, he was the only one I’d met before. Remaining folks pitch in soon and to add spice to the event, we also have about fifteen foreigners joining us. For apparent reasons 😉 the bus leaves the spot at about 23:15hrs, Four other folks join us enroute and we finally manage to reach Pune outskirts by about 00:15hrs.

14th June

Things get peppy in the bus, thanks to an Anthakshari between the other half of the team – a couple of L&T folks and their foreigner counterparts and us. Soon most of us give in ( Or should I say, the other half gave up 🙂 ! ). Agreed my prowess over Hindi songs is pathetic, but then who cares; I was a part of the winning team! At about 02:00hrs we reach the camp base. One step into the area reminds me of the backwaters in Kerala. The location had been perfectly selected with scores of coconut trees spread out over a vast area of land .

Arun Sir ( The co-facilitator for the event) had already propped up all the tents by the time we reached. So all that we had to do was to divide ourselves into groups of six and hit the beds ( Read plain ground with plastic mounted sheets 🙂 ). Rahul, Jagdeesh, Sunil, Murali ,KP and I pitch into one of the tents. Rahul had fortunately got his sleeping bag and one of us ( not me obviously !) had brought a thick mattress. All set, we hit the bed in a few moments. I was at the receiving end a few times at night, thanks to Rahul and Murali using their damned wonderful feet! Nevertheless, compromises had to be made when you’re camping in a tent and it’s raining outside! The team from Mumbai arrive at about 04:30 am.

At about 06:00hrs, I’m up and to take revenge for the nights trouble, I wake everybody up 🙂 . They do abuse me mentally for spoiling their sleep and finally we come to terms. We walk over to a mini dike that was regulating water to the river body, pull out some water to wash our faces and start speculating if this was going to be the spot where the river rafting was to start. Soon we get back to the camp and join few folks who’d just started playing Volleyball. The rain made things only more interesting and the game went on till about 08:30hrs.

Tea and Poha was provided as breakfast and then started the set of events for the day. Burma bridge to start off was a cake walk. All that was to be done was to climb a tree and walk on a Coconut coired rope tethered at a height of about 10 feet with support provided by two other tethered coirs on either side. Then was the Parallel ropes, wherin one has to walk on a single tethered coired rope with just another coir rope for support at a height of about six feet off the ground. The best event was the Pampered pole wherein one has to climb up an elastic ladder and then bank on to the bark of a tree at a height of about thirty feet. From here all that you had to do was to jump and get hold of a horizontal pole at a distance of about five feet 😉 . Safety wasn’t an issue – the person is holstered to propper gear; It’s the height that mattered!

Not many were able to finish these events as we had to start preparing for the rafting. At about 09:30hrs. A brief introduction of the organizing team was done and detailed instructions on what was to be and not to be done while rafting, navigating and possibly drowning 😉 was covered. Each raft would have eight folks each with life jackets, helmets and oars and a navigator. Just before the raft was put in water, the Navigators for each raft held a detailed session on the instructuction code et al.

Rahul, Murali, Monica, KP, Sunil , two other folks and I pitched in into one of the rafts. Robin, a veteran Nepali Raftsman was our Navigator. Moments after the briefing, the actual rafting was started and even before we could realise the rapids started. Robin was pretty stern when it came to navigating. He would literally tap on the person’s helmet who was faultering 🙂 .

The whole rafting distance is about 10kms with about 3kms of swimmable expanse. There were about six specific points wherein the rapids were real good. Robin did mention names for the rapids, but then when you’re amidst such painfully exemplary surroundings, who would even want to give effort to remembering the names? No words can describe the experience that we had in that two hours stint! The pouring rains, the marauding rapids and the panoramic beauty of nature through the Kundalilka river was simply exhilrating! The swimming phase was just as great! Swimming along the flowing currents is something that I’ve never done till this day and today I’ve realised how difficult swimming in a river is! Rahul too had his day staying afloat in the life support jacket all the way through. Robin did his best in making the rafting experience worth remembering – Be it in toppling Monica off the Raft in the swimming section 🙂 or navigating us through the rapids explaining each part of it vividly. One of the rafts toppled over somewhere mid the swimming section and soon the whole expanse had people floating in their life jackets . I seriously have doubts if this was done by the navigator in reason to make the experience more interesting!

At about 12:30hrs we managed to reach the end of the white water rafting stretch. Post all the packing of the rafts to the TumTum’s and Sumo’s we were asked to walk for about a kilometer to get to the spot where a bus would pick us up. The moment we reached there, we found Aditya serving Hot soup and Poha to everyone. Boy, that’s the best soup I’ve ever had till date! We helped ourselves with one more serving and hunched into the bus.

A couple of L&T folks ,foreigners, Rahul, Kajal and I got on to the ceiling of the bus. Initially the driver didn’t want us to sit atop but then later we( read someone) managed to pursuade him and there we were! It was an absolutely wonderful experience sitting atop the bus on the way back to the base camp. The speed of the bus and the torrential rain brought about the experience of a thousand ants biting us all over! On second thoughts I feel this experience was much better than that during the River rafting 🙂 .

We reached the Base camp at around 14:30hrs. There was a brief rain dance for a few moments and then people who had not completed the Burma bridge, Pampered pole and Parallel ropes got back to it. After a quick lunch and again some Pampered poles , we started packing up and left for Pune at about 17:00hrs.The scenery on the way back was just fabulous! The streaks of cascading white water falls on the towering mountains, the clouds apparently cuting across them, the splintering rain and the chilly climate made a stuendous panoramic view! Nothing to beat Mother Nature’s recipes.

We reached Pune at around 19:00hrs with stinking pants and bags. At least that was the case with me 🙂 . One of THE best weekends ever spent in Pune till date in my brief six month stint here. But wait, this weekend’s not yet done! There’s a trek to Rohida planned tomorrow. All depends on how fit I’m at 04:45 am  🙂 .

Katraj-Sinhagad Moonlight Trek: Take Two

It all started with a mail from Shiva asking me if it would be a good idea to plan a trip to Mahabaleshwar sometime during the coming weekend. The Hydventura team had not been for any treks for more than a fortnight now! The anxiety was quite understandable! But then a trip to Mahabaleshwar during this hot summer would do no good. Instead I suggested they come down for the Katraj – Sinhagad trek that I was planning to do the coming weekend.

A flutter of mails and calls, a week of pooling in and pooling out and all was set! The HydVentura team was all set at a head count of 18 despite a ‘Statutory warning’ e-mail from Adi ( You’ll know who Adi is, had you read my post on my first trek to Sinhagad ). Two days before The Hydventura team arrived I enquired with Abhishek, Abhijeet and Ravi ( The Deccan highlanders Anchors ) if anyone from DH would be interested in joining us. Friday evening, Abhijeet says he had a volatile head count of 20 from the DH team. Boy , this is gonna be real fun!

17th Morning – Saturday.

I barely manage to open my eyes and have a look at my watch. Damn! It was 07:45 hrs already. Two days back, i arranged for a Tempo Traveller for the Hydventura team. The driver was to pick me up from my house at Aundh at 8:00 hrs. Right at 08:05 hrs I get a missed call from the Driver. I get ready in a haste, pack my bag and make sure I have at least 2L of water in my bag. Well, you learn from mistakes…Just one month back on the slopes of the sahayadris we were stalking like dogs for water. Every drop of water was like elixir then!

We make it to the station by 08:45 hrs and I while away my time till the Mumbai Express crawls into the station. The team had finally landed in Pune! Gourav, Reshma, Aishwarya, Kirthi, Jemshed, Animesh, Yeshwanth and Venki had been for a few treks along with me. The new faces were Siddharth, Ranjan and Trishna. We moved over to Infy Phase I where they refreshed and had a decent breakfast. Munni and Deepika joined us there. Prasanna was to join us directly at the trek base point – Old Katraj tunnel. It was already 12:30 hrs by the time everyone was ready.

At 13:00hrs We moved over towards Bunshi Dam. Not that we expected to see much water, It was only accommodated to keep us busy. We reached the Dam at around 14:20 hrs and idled some time there. Sat by the lake and under the trees not because it was really inviting but just because we had nothing else to do. The water was murky by the banks and the only thing appeasing was that the water was cold. At 15:30 hrs we started moving towards the vehicle when we spotted a guy selling lemon juice and ‘Kala kutta’. ( ‘Colored Katta’ is basically Frothed, Shaped and packed ice dipped in colored syrup / sherbath) .Knowingly or unknowingly we spent almost three fourth of an hour here and spent about 250 Rs. Just for the ‘Mineral water’ Ice’d cream and the lemon juice ! It was worth every rupee! Reshma and Ranjan had their slurps from literally every ‘Colored katta’ that came from the vendors hands! I bet, He must have closed the shop and gone home after all the profit that we gave him!

It was high time, we moved over to Katraj. Besides we hadn’t yet had Lunch! At about 17:00 hrs we had our lunch at a roadside dhabha and moved towards Old Katraj. A small accident on the Satara highway caused us to be delayed by a few more minutes. It was almost 18:30 hours by the time we reached the Katraj Muncipal Bus stand. Prasanna, Vishnu, Hari and Pavan joined us there. Gourav and I went on a shopping spree for Chocolates and Biscuits while Animesh and Venki ran about for water bottles. It was a literal shop loot in both the shops. All in all we bought about sixty Five-stars , sixty dairy milks, forty Goodday biscuits and about Sixty five Mineral water bottles. All set , we reached the base trek point at around 19:30 hrs. The DH team had just arrived there a few minutes earlier. Abhijeet was still put up at the city outskirts as he couldn’t find proper transport.  He turned up too a few minutes later on a tractor!

After a quick distribution of chocolates and Water, the 36 strong team splited into six teams. Suhas and I were the only two people in the team who had been to this trek recently. So the onus of guiding the whole team on the right path was on us. Moving a bit ahead we realized this modus operandi would simply not work. So once we reached a tableland , we regrouped ourselves into four teams. Each team would have a lead and a sweep. Abhijeet opted to be the sweep of the last team so as to keep a tab on the movement. We had quite a few noobies in this trek and no compromise on safety could be made. I was the lead of the first team and Suhas the sweep of the first team. Abhishek, Nitin, Gourav, Animesh and Zohar took up respective responsibilities of lead and sweep for different teams.Though being a huge team, after a reordering of people, we noticed the team picking up speed. The first hill was definitely a solid motivation to the team. ( That was after they got down from it  ) . I wouldn’t comment on the trek path now because I’ve already covered that in my previous post. In fact this was a bit more challenging to me as I had seven 1litre water bottles in my backpack! Reshma couldn’t continue with the 2l in her bag post the first hill. So we shifted them into my bag on condition that she’d carry the Emptied bottles. Surprisingly, We’d covered about seven hills before midnight and the spirits were still high. But for Trishna who had cramps developing on her legs not many had their energies low. But, Later in the morning it so happened that Trishna was in the leading team .

18th May – Sunday

I thankfully had not much problem recollecting the trek route from my past experience. Being in the first team is always advantageous. You have the discretionary power to set the team’s speed and at the same time you get to rest more frequently than the other teams.

I missed the track twice during the trek. First time fortunately a Hanuman temple indicated we were in the wrong path. I rightly remember not coming across any temple during my previous trek. Deepika, Meenu and Ranjan helped me track back to the right path. All in all we could have saved about an hours time had I led them in the right direction. Nevertheless, this only added some more thrill to the trek! The second time i missed the track was at the fag end. But then a few other folks were pretty quick in tracing back to the right path.

We reached the last hill at about 06:30 hours. All we did once we reached the final hillock was to rest on the Gravel. One view of the sunrise on this peak is enough to rejuvenate you. The soaring sound of the chilled wind, Dew settling on those lucky few shrubs and the rays of the sun slicing through the clouds – Can anything match that feeling?

We stayed on the peak for a few more minutes and started moving down the last hill to reach the Sinhagad fort base by 19:30 hrs. Not many of the team members were interested in climbing up the fort. So based on group decision the plan was dropped. Balaji, The TT driver picked us up at around 09:00 hrs and we managed to reach Infy at around 11:00hrs. I got dropped back at Aundh and the Hydventura team left for Hyderabad at around 14:00hrs after refreshing in the Infy Campus.

All in all , it was one wholesome experience to trek with such a big enthusiastic group. This time surprisingly we didn’t use much water. In fact my bag still had three full water bottles!

Stats/ Details :

Team: 36 ( 18 – Hyd , 18- Pune )

Distance: Approx 10Kms

Start Point: Old Katraj Tunnel

Direrctions to reach Basepoint: Pick a Rick/Bus from Swargate and reach Katraj Muncipal Bus stand. From there try pitching a lift from someone to The old Katraj Tunnel.

Precautions: Always carry a Torchlight! You never know when the clouds would shroud the moon even if it were to be a Moonlight trek! ( As it happened in our case ).

Complexity: Low

Endurance : High

Estimate time : 7hrs.

The Moonlight Trek that was not!

04:30 Hrs in the morning and we’ve still got about four more hills to cross to complete the trek. The destination in the form of an Indicator tower seemed to be farther , the closer we approach it.

Damn! It was a pathetic mistake; To underestimate the trek, to decide to trek off season and more so to drag people who’ve hesitated to walk even a couple of kilometers during normal days! The Katraj – Sinhgad trek is supposed to be a cakewalk. At least, That’s the impression I’d got when I first heard about it from a few people who’d been there already. I always do some ground work before going for a trek to any place. I didn’t care to do it this time for no apparent reason! How I wish I did!

April 19th:

Adi was really particular that we have a fast lunch here at Mac’D. Ayush joins us after his regular TIME class. The temperature’s soaring and the brief respite that we have here is real enthu booster. After a light snack Ayush and I decide to move over to Orange province at Jagtha Diary where the rest of the gang stays. Adi decides to get back home and catch a good sleep. He had to! Tonight would be his first ever trek.

The moment we reach the place, I slowly bring in the trek idea for which I’d sent in a mail a few days earlier. Finally after an hours coaxing all but Sarfu take the bait . The ‘Girl factor’ did the trick ! Anmol decides to join us after his classes at 20:30 hrs. Moments before we leave for Aundh to reach the common meeting point , a small issue rises in Orange Province and most of them were compelled to stay back. Animesh, Tiwari and Kamran drop their plans. Anmol quite oblivious of what’s cooking back there is fortunately still hooked with the trek. Finally it’s just the four of us – Adi, Ayush, Anmol and I.

Ayush and I reach Breman circle at about 20:10hrs and get some Burgers and light snacks parcelled. Adi and Anmol soon catch up with us at about 20:45hrs. We had to reach the Gharware College at Deccan. This was about 6kms from Aundh and with the traffic we manage to reach at about 21:20 hrs . A whole twenty minutes late! Varun, one of the organizers directs us to the place where the rest of the team were waiting for us. Boy, you should have seen the expression of our faces when we realised we were to travel in an open truck to reach the Base start point -Old Katraj tunnel. Not that we’ve not traveled in trucks before during our engineering, but we were frankly expecting a decent Bus! Anyway , all of us – about 30 folks jump into the truck and manage to reach the base by around 22:30 hrs. The group majorly comprised of Engg. students , about seven kids, A couple and about Five girls.

Just as in any trek, At the base we were divided into a couple of groups and each group was given a trek lead. The directions were pretty simple. Take a left a bit ahead , walk along the path then walk around the Transmission tower ( Or whatever that was ) and then just keep walking further till you find a Tower with the red light blinking. Well that’s the tower at Singhad. For about half a kilometer we didn’t find sight of the red light and finally when we did, we realised what was ahead – About eight huge hills to traverse !!

The first hill was the best! The climate was pretty cool and the chilled wind blowing through the face was pretty much invigorating. But then trekking is not just about enjoying nature as if you have all the time in the world. It’s more about reaching the destination in the pre-set time.

April – 20th

We kept moving ahead and soon it was time to get down the hill! Phew that was steep! real steep! We moved hesitatingly downwards and this by itself took us about half an hour. At the base, we had Suhas to remind us that we had only seven more hills to cover! We moved, ran , rested, hiked, howled, teased around and finally reached the place where we decided to break. A soup was on the way . Taste mattered the least here! Half an hour of break after covering about three hills and most of the folks were already down. I’m sure Adi was pledging to screw me royally once we were back home! All i could read from his mind was that Hell seemed quite close atop that Hill!

We leave from that place at about 04:30 hrs and someone again reminded just five more hills to traverse to reach the destination! The hill after that was done quickly and then started the real fun. Energy levels were real down and we didn’t even have water! Down slopes were steep and the pebbles there made things more difficult. Adi couldn’t get down the slope anymore. His phobia of heights loomed in again! He literally started scraping his ass on the slopes. His weight made things worse. The pace was miserably slow. We were the last few in the group. We were mid way and there was no turning back.There was no one to blame but me! I shouldn’t have got them to the trek in the first place. In fact at times i was wondering if they’ll even make it to the destination in one piece! Boy, Adi was miserably down.

We saw the sunrise in one of the intermediate hills and kept inching towards the final hill. Adi soon had company. Hemant just couldn’t move his legs. All our massages and motivations were just not working ! At about 08:00 hrs we had a glimpse of the road. As Anmol rightly put it – the road to Salvation! Just two more hills to go and that meant two more miserably painful downhill traversal for Adi. The Sun was adding fuel to fire! Hemant fell flat at the last hill. He had no energy to move further. Varun and Ankul managed to arrange some water . Sanjay gave him a proper massage and suggested we keep moving. They stayed back for a few more minutes. The moment we reached atop the last hill, I was more than elated! They’d made it! All were in one piece but for bruises here and there.

The moment we reached the destination there were a couple of folks supplying water . Man! Water never tasted that sweet till date! We had some Poha and jumped into the truck. The way back was another pain. Hot sun looming over our heads and we had literally no energy even to talk. Reached Aundh at around 11:30 hrs. Gulped four glasses of lemon juice, about two liters of water, four oranges and two apples! Had a well deserved bath and hit the bed only to get up after a solid seven hour sleep!

What was supposed to be a Moonlight trek turned out to be a nightmare with the Sun high above us. The Katraj – Sinhgad trek is something that I’d never forget and I’m sure neither Anmol nor Adi would even venture for another trek with me!

The Indian Grand Canyon !

I’m woken up by a jerk as the Travera winds its way up the circuitous roads. The moment I open my eyes all I see is stratified rocks, like those of the Grand Canyon. Well, I’ve not really been to Colorado as such but then some things just get etched in your mind the moment you have a look at it and subtle things such as this remind you of the greater vacuum you need to fill! Probably it’s not too long before I trek the Grand Canyon! 🙂

Last weekend was one hell of a weekend! In fact this was my first ever outing after having reached Pune. I initially planned to go for river rafting at a place close by but then backed off because of the cost involved and besides, I had no company! Just before my glorious weekend plan loomed to doom 🙂 Ayush pitched in saying he was game for any outing! All it requires is two to start something! Both of us decided to explore some good place in Pune irrespective of anyone else joining us. We in fact wanted to do a totally unplanned trip. But it so happened that soon Nimish , Aditya and Namrata chipped in and we were compelled to have an arranged ‘tourist types’ trip! Something that we wanted to avoid for no practical reason 🙂  . But later we realized, this was one good decision we made! 🙂

 6th April – Sunday

Ayush and I spoke to a travels guy close to Aundh and finalized on a Travera. We could accommodate three more people in it but then no one else was even ready to join us. Lazy bums! 🙂 We finalized the trip for 3 grand given that he shows us places in and around Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. We asked him to pick us up at 5:30 in the morning the next day.

7th April – Monday

Wonder why it happens all the time! This jerk with a tuft turns up at 6:45 and gives the same excuse – flat tire! I was reminded of the Sangamam trip in Bangalore when the driver turned up three hours late! ? Anyway Adi, Ayush and I got into the cab at Aundh and directed him to Jabtha bheri where we had to pick Namrata. Nimish was staying at his sisters place( believe somewhere close to Shivapura ) so he punched in a while later. It was about 9:00am by the time we reached a roadside restaurant –Joshi Wadewala. Had a sumptuous breakfast here ( Wada pav and Missal Pav is what they call standard BF items here 🙂 ! ). This is just a few minutes after crossing the New Katraj tunnel and is a well known stop point for frequent wayfarers on the Pune – Satara route (NH4).

We take a right somewhere after we cross Shirwal and from there starts the winding routes to Panchgani . Moments before we reach Parsi Point, we notice a group of trekkers scaling up the hill to our right! They must have had a ball of a time scaling up the peak all night! We reach Panchgani by around 9:45 am. Parsi Point is the first alight point for visitors to Panchgani. It’s nothing more than a small park with kids play equipment. The view point from here overlooks the Krishna valley and waters of the Dhom Dam. We idled some time on the ‘Only 13yrs and above’ slides 🙂 and soon left for Mahabaleshwar.

Our guide cum Driver suggested we first finish spots in Mahabaleshwar and then get back to Panchgani on our way back. Mahabaleshwar is about 15kms from Panchgani and is known for the various Viewpoints which give a birds eye view of the valleys, besides the Panchganga Mandir . We cross the Mapro gardens in Panchgani and reach the first set of viewpoints. There are about seven to eight points that are described at the entrance. As you walk through the hill down the path a couple of points turn out at the corners. You end up watching quite a few scenic spots but the crowd at the place happens to nullify the actual effect. Nature is best enjoyed when alone! More so on high peaks such as this!

 The Kates point again gives you a spectacular view of the Krishna Valley from a different angle. The Elphinston point a few paces ahead gives a spectacular view of the Koyna and Sahyadri valleys! Down south to this point is the the Hunter’s point which gives a splendid view of the Koyna Valley. Move down a bit more and you come across something called the Arthur’s seat. This is the place that clearly demarcates the Konkan and Deccan territories in Mahabaleshwar by the barren deep Savitri valley to the left and a shallow valley to the right. To the left on Arthurs seat you have a series of steps that lead you to Tiger springs. This is where the River Savitri is supposed to emerge. We spend some time around these points and then move over to Monkey point and Savitri point. Savitri point is one beautiful place to be! Infact I found this to be quite appealing – very little open space, not much crowd and then the DEEP valleys were just inches from where we stood! A few minutes later we realized this to be a wonderful echo point! You get a resound of your voice after about five seconds! 🙂

 We leave for the Mahabaleshwar town and then visit the Panchganga mandir. This place has it in the hindu mythology that the five rivers Krishna, Venna, Gayatri, Savitri and Koyna show their appearance in the form of five close springs and make their presence here. Water from this place falls into a decently big cistern sorta built enclosure and is considered to be pretty holy! All that mattered to me though was that the water was pretty tasty and really cold 🙂 . Besides we also had a couple of women get into the water and start wailing the moment their feet touched the water. Superstitions abundant! Would still love to know the funda behind their impromptu wailing 🙂   🙂   !

We then had a sumptuous lunch at a restaurant in the town and then got back to the cab . The driver then drove us to the Venna lake where boating is pretty famous. We opted for the Rowing boat. None of us knew rowing so we took a guide along with us! Was mighty fun rowing the boat for about half an hour. Just beside the Venna lake is a vast barren land where Horse riding is allowed. This Is something that you simply should not miss! Ayush and I had infact started racing after five rounds! It was like we were perfect Jockeys. The horses here were well maintained and mighty well trained. All we had to do was to keep our ass on the Horse while it madly ran across the land and keep thumping it to keep the momentum 🙂  .

 It was 5:30 pm already. So we decided to start moving towards Panchgani. As we were falling short of time we had to forego visiting Table land, lingamalla falls and Tapola lake ( The mini Kashmir in the west) . On our way back we dropped by Mapro gardens. Mahabaleshwar is famous for Strawberries! And this is one place where you get damn cheap strawberry Jams, squashes and fruits as such. They also had a Bungy jumping types event organized wherein you are tethered in between two poles with elastic ropes and a person controls your elevation and descent. The base is a very elastic mat and is about 60m dia. With Pneumatic control you are jettisoned up into air and the elasticity of the ropes controls your ascent and descent! Jumping up and down in the air to a height of about 60 feet by pneumatic and elastic control is one hell of an experience! 🙂 🙂

 We finally moved over to the last destination where Parasailing and Paragliding is supposed to take place. Unfortunately a mishap had occurred just before we arrived there and the event had to be closed. The open land, the meek drizzle of the rain and the deep valley a few steps away made the ambience even more spectacular! Spent about half an hour there and finally left back to Pune. We reached the city outskirts by around 8:15pm where Ayush and Nimish got down. Adi and I got back to Aundh at around 8:45 pm after dropping Namrata at her house.

All in all it was one memorable trip!! The place gets even more inviting during early monsoon. Probably we’ll be revisiting it sometime again and this time we know what to plan for! 🙂

The Chronicle of a sleepy moron’s trek to Kalvarhallibetta

This is a chronicle of a two day eventful and highly physically exhaustive outing undergone by a sleep deprived moron. And there goes another bang on the keyboard as he types this post from a remote desktop. The reader is suggested to have a couple of caffeinated drinks on his/her desk to avoid the same.

Statutory Warning: Caffeine is bad for health! 🙂

At the end of the day, when I hit the bed, there’s one thing I always try answering. What is it that I’ve done different that day? I’ve never had satisfying answers most of the time. But this 15th night when I managed to catch a quick nap on the floor of a mazda, that question never popped! The whole day by itself was so very eventful; it’s an irony that question never popped!

It all started with, Suma asking me to get the Hydventura folks meet people from Adventura , sometime when she’d come down to the Hyd DC on official work. That day during lunch we laid down action points and as days passed, things slowly got hard lined and a trip to Kolar was planned for the second weekend of March. The initial count was just 9 and right when we were thinking of canceling the outing, people slowly started piping in. Surprisingly, the response soared so fast that we had to freeze registrations for the trip by 10th evening. The final count was twenty one – seven girls and fourteen guys!

On 14th evening, all of us met at the Gachibowli Y Junction and boarded the semi sleeper to Bangalore. Out of the 21, five of us ( Nayan, Reshma, Aishwarya, Gaurav and I) had been together for Hydventura’s first outing to N’sagar and Ethipothala. To break the ice we had a brief introduction of each of us and to make things interesting Srikanth AKA Jiddu suggested we add a tagline to our description. Fortunately the crowd was a bindaas cult! To while away time we had various activities like Dumb C and Anthakshari. At around 9:00pm we stopped at a dhabha for dinner. Most of us hit our seats by 10:00pm but nothing to beat the spirits of Jiddu, Vikranth , Aishwarya and Animesh! They kept singing till 11:30 at night sitting on the bus floor at the rear end.

Parasailing , Rock Climbing and Cave Explorations – Hoskote, AntharGange(Kolar)

15th Morning at around 5:30 pm I lose my sleep. I wake Gourav Baduri and Shiv up. We then decide to wake up the remaining eighteen folks. Baduri does what he’s best at, Hops around in a jiffy and even before the bus traverses another 100 yards everyone’s up! Did I mention, the three of us occupied the first row of seats and hence had a wonderful sleep all through the journey 😉 ! Literally swearing on us they soon get back to their spoiled slumber and even before they’re able to catch a good nap, by 7:30 we reach AnandRao Circle. This is where we were supposed to meet Sashi, from Adventura . We freshen up at the Yatri nivas in the Majestic bus station and leave for Hoskote in a Mazda . By around 11:00 am we reach Hoskote where we meet the rest of the Adventura team! Suma and Vishal da along with the Adventura team give us all a huge hearty welcome and with a brief introduction we have a wonderful breakfast of idli, upma and sweets and bananas !

 

The team from Adventura had reached Hoskote way before us, so they’d started the parasailing activity. It was almost 12:30 by the time they completed their flights. Meanwhile, Suma, Vishal, Sashi, Kedar and a few other folks shared with us their experiences from their previous outings. It was about 4:30pm that the hyd team finished their para-sailing. For most of them, this was the very first time they were flying. So they did have a wonderful time! Mudit, Ankur and Manish were really ecstatic after their flight. Last time I’d been for para-sailing I regretted not having taken a camera along with me up there in the air. I sorted it out this time 🙂 !

The Adventura folks had already left to Kolar for rock climbing and rappelling. So by the time we reached there, we had ample time to move around and finish our part of the activities. Rappelling was much easier and seemed pretty simple. I’m not sure if it was the height that made us feel that way or that we had higher expectations. For a few, climbing the rock to get to the peak for rappelling down seemed more challenging 😉 . Neha felt otherwise though! She’d accepted she had a phobia of heights but proved herself wrong by finally rappelling down with a bit of coaxing! Jiddu on the other hand, took the tether guy for a ride by rappelling with his back on the rocks, rather than his firm feet!

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We had a very late lunch after this and then moved over to explore the rocky terrains around the place. Shashi took us out to a couple of interesting rock formations. It was real fun hopping from one place to another maneuvering through the volcanic formations! Snehith, Nayan and Shashi had a tough time trying to get hold of people’s feet 😉 and grooving them in the right spot for a safe descent form a steep rock. It was already 7:00pm by then and Suma had made a call for all of us to return to a central meeting point for us to further decide on the course of action. By the time we reached the meeting spot, Ruchi, Meera and couple of others were cutting Watermelons for us. It was a feast for everyone having walked and climbed a bit on slippery terrains.

Finally when most of us made it to the spot Suma and Vishal da suggested we explore the caves around the place and then get back to the same spot by 9:00 pm the latest. Having got a consent from each and every team member, we were divided into four teams – Each having one leader, one sweep and six other members. The leader had to keep a watchful eye on the surroundings and guide his team, the sweeper had to see to it that his team members were together and that the team following him wasn’t too far from his team. Every ten minutes the leader of each team had to whistle once and shout out the team name in succession. A dual whistle would mean that the team wants some rest and a successive three pronged whistle would mean danger lurking and a state of high alert. White Snakes, Black Hawks, Sholay and Ghost Riders were the names each team decided to have. Besides this we had Suma, Vishal, Sashi and a couple of other Adventura members patrolling across each of the teams to ensure that everything was fine. All through the trek, our main guides where Munni Raj and Girish – two village kids 🙂 ! I being the lead of White snakes – the first team, by default became the victim of their non stop chatter. Munni Raj would never move forward without the consent of his teacher ( read Suma ) and always kept his 10th class friend ( read me ) at a ears distance with his chitter chatter 🙂 .

We walked through a couple of barren lands whistling and shouting back instructions, before we reached the rocks where we could start our cave explorations. To start off, the rocks looked pretty simple to squeeze across. But with passing time, we soon understood we’re being taken for a ride by nature! Wriggling and Squeezing soon became the order of the night! At a certain spot the crevices between the rocks became so narrow that, it became quite difficult for a few people to get across. Aishwarya got stuck in between and it took almost an hour of coerced efforts by Jiddu and a couple of others to get her out . Looking back, this made things only more interesting 🙂 !

It was already 10:00 by then and we had not yet covered one fourth of the planned exploration. Shashi, Vishal and Suma took stock of the situation and soon decided to cut short the whole exploration with the group’s consent. Shashi and I moved a bit forward to judge the path and were thankful enough to find a path very soon. We waited for a few more minutes for the remaining teams to arrive at a common spot and then started moving towards the base spot finding our way. The way back was just a routine walk back but the whole episode of wriggling, long jumping, and navigating through the rocks with Bottles and torches in our hand, in a deserted land is just something unforgettable!

Back at the Anthargange base, we had two options – To camp there and move towards Kalvarhalli betta the next day morning or move right away to Kalvarhallibetta base and start trekking up the hill so as to watch sunrise early in the morning at the peak. The whole group was ready for the latter option. Suma had warned us that it had rained heavily the previous day and the rocks would be slippery,. nevertheless it was safe to trek upwards and we could always decide to camp at the base till the next day morning if at all the rocks were that slippery. In another ten minutes we jumped into the Qualis and Mazda and drove to the Kalvarhalli betta base. We reached the base at about 00:30 in the morning.

The Kalvarhallibettta trek

Once we reached the base, we had no reasons to deny our bellys the long needed nourishment. Vishal had brought a stove and quite a few Heat 2 eat dishes. Had a sumptuous dinner and then decide to start trekking to the peak. Meera, Kedar and Martina decided to stay back and get a good sleep. The rest of us regrouped into teams and started the trek guided by Vishal , Suma ,Supradeep and Shashi. Trekking was something that I perceived as a walk across a barren terrain with lots of trees and shrubs. Till yesterday, I never related it to climbing rocks and marshy lands atop a hill 🙂 . As the altitude increased , the trailing teams soon lost track of the frontal teams. Being the first team again, we had the privilege to halt and wait for other teams to pitch in.

Trekking at nights on a hilly terrain comes with it’s own advantages. One being that altitude is never a hindrance. All you need to do is watch your step and stay concentrated. The darkness of the night keeps fear of height at bay! The Kalvarhalli betta trek has taught me to love myself better! At one point of time, Shashi, Irfan, Ruchi and a few others moved from the teams behind and formed a new team – Team 0. We, the white snakes were to trail them. But it so happened at one point of time near the peak that I lost track of their path. Idiotically Sensing the path myself I led a couple of others on a path which I realised later, that I shouldn’t have. I’d diverted to a very small extent away from the path. But then that could have costed us our lives. Prasanna ideally decided to stay put at his position. The rock was pretty slippery and with moss all around, getting a hold was very difficult. Even before I realised my mistake I lose hold on my grip and start skidding down the mossy rock. Fortunately I could get hold of some sturdy grass and gained back control. All I did then was to stay put at that spot till someone came across me along the right path. A few minutes later Suma fortunately came across and led us in the right path. I realised the seriousness of the situation only during the trek downhill. Had I not caught hold of the shrubs at the right moment, things would have been totally different today!

The trek uphill took us almost two hours to complete. We reached the peak at about 5:15am. Most of us tried catching some sleep but the frost and the chilled atmosphere made things only worse. All we did was to listen to the soothening guitar strokes by someone who’d come up there well before us. People from other groups soon joined us at the peak.

By around 6:15am at the break of dawn all our eyes popped to the east, eagerly waiting for the Sun to rise. But as luck would have it it turned out to be a cloudy morning and getting a glimpse of Sunrise at that height on cloudy morning was something that nature would just not sell! Nevertheless, the frost, mist and the very altitude of the peak made the view breathtaking. Water dripping on your body, head and chilling wind sizzling across you at that altitude is probably one of those several ways by which you are reminded of your helplessness and stature, however high your position in social life be! Till today I was under the impression Pictures speak better than words, Pictures bring out the thick and thin of an event. But today I’ve realised there’s something else that pictures just cannot replicate, something that they would fail to evoke that the human eye captures in a jiffy.

 

At 7:30am we started our trek downhill. Downhill trekking was much more difficult than uphil! Thanks to the daylight , consistently reminding you that one wrong step would mean you wouldn’t be where you are now. Aching knees made things worse! Not even quarter way through downhill, I hear a sound of a female singing in pristine glory – rumbling rock on the way, give way. No second guesses of who she is – Suma! Later when I meet her about half an hour later at the base she tells me she’s created a record for herself- down the hill running in fifteen minutes!

Suma, Snehith, Ram , Ruchi, Sashi , Irfan and I reach the base well before others. Down at the base when I look at the height we’d covered, it makes me wonder how we tend to limit our own capabilities by the sheer first hand vision of a problem. I’m pretty sure, had we seen the height of the peak at night we would have taken longer than the two hours!

We reach the base location by 8:00am and fresh up at the close by ashram. It’s almost 9:30 by the time everyone gets down and gets fresh. We then have a sumptuous breakfast which Vishal, Ruchi, Jiddu and a couple of others have prepared and plan to leave for Bangalore. The Nandi hills plan is dropped as not many people are interested in visiting it. We Hydventura folks bid adieu to the Adventura team at around 10:15 am and leave for Bangalore city. Snehith , Surabhi , Shuvam and a couple of others leave by a qualis. The rest of us leave with us in a mazda. Kedar joins us in the mazda and is back to form in a few minutes snapping shots of people sleeping 🙂 . Due to time constraints, Animesh suggests we change the plan and decide to take the Hebbal route to bangalore. Vinayak and Rashmi get down at Mekhri Circle. Aishwarya and Neha leave for their relatives place at Malleshwaram. The rest of us hop into a Pizza hut and have a long deserved pizza! We reach the Yeswantpur station by around 3:00 pm and there begins our 1 hour wait for the train back to Hyd. Aishwarya, Neha, Nayan, Surabhi soon join us at around 3:30pm. Reshma, Jiddu and I manage to get some tight sleep moments after we board the train. At around 7:00pm Devyani, Surabhi and Pooja join us for dinner. We chat for sometime and as they continue playing Cards I hit the berth by 9:30pm.

17th March

Morning at around 4:45 am the train chugs into the Kacheguda station. This is when Devyani realises she’s lost her w710i and we get to know that Prasanna had lost his digicam the previous night. Real sad the two day eventful journey had to end at this note!

8:15 am and a couple of us are back to office!Rest follow soon…

All in all, it was a stupendous , unforgettable trek that I’ve done so far! Kudos to the Adventura teama and the wondeful participation from the Hydventura team!

 

 

 

 

Where are my feet?

I’m off to B’lore this weekend on a fast paced adventure trip 😀 . This is going to be HydVentura’s second outing, majorly organised by AdVentura folks in collab. with a few other professional groups in Bang. So it’s gonna be mighty interesting :-)!

Twenty one of us from the Hyd DC would be reaching Bangalore tomorrow morning, where we’d meet up with ppl from Mysore and Bangalore and move to Hoskote for a Parasailing stint. Once that’s done, we’d drive down to Anthargange for cave exploration, Rock climbing , Rappelling and brief treks en-route. In the evening we’d move over to Kalvarhallibetta base for a night camp 🙂 ! Sunday morning – 1:00am to 4:00am we’d trek up the hill to catch a glimpse of Sunrise at the and then we’d get back to the base and move to Nandi Hills as the final destination before we board the train back to Hyd from Yeshwanthpur. All of this in just two days :-)!

This is the first time, Hydventura folks would be meeting Adventura folks ( The Bang. adventure club) officially before we merge with other similar groups in India ( Pune, Chennai, Mysore, Jaipur, Chandigarh et al) to form one single entity – AdVenturaIndia :-)!

Just hoping, I don’t get that expected mail from the HR asking me to report to Pune on Monday ! And, there’s also loads of work to get done before EOD 🙁 .

Wishing for the best! 🙂

Nagarjunsagar and Ethipothala

My cell rings at about 5:00am . As I’m already awake by then, I recognize the person at the other end to be Gaurav Saxena. Just a wake up call he says! Gaurav’s been one of the most active members of Hydventura and today morning he’s taken the responsibility of spoiling everyone’s sleep just to see to it that things go as planned 🙂 ! A few minutes later I get a call from him informing that he just had a bad fall and would not be able to join us for the trip. A pity that that he couldn’t join us!

The earlier day we’d planned to start off from Infy campus by around 5:45 am. Nayan and Gaurav had arranged the Swaraj Mazda and Venkatesh happily donned the responsibility of being the treasurer for the trip. The group had decided on the route that the vehicle would take to pick up people as close as possible to their residence. As planned, everyone was ready at their respective pick up point more or less on time. We reached the city limits at about 7:15 am and from there started the three and a half hour journey to Nagarjunsagar.

We’d arranged for a quick breakfast right in the bus to avoid getting delayed any further. Gaurav and Co. had made arrangements for Bread-Butter-Jam, Frootie packs and Water. I’d got Chips packed from Hot Chips. We also had Haldiram’s namkeen and biscuits doing rounds 🙂 . Having spiked our energy levels we decided to have a brief introduction. We were 15 of us ( Gaurav having dropped ) , and not many of us knew each other prior to this. It was quite surprising to know we had an amateur photographer (Gourav Bhaduri ), Ace advenurers ( Abhishek Tiwari , Aishwarya) et al in our group.The only outfoscion 🙂 in our first Hydventura trip was Chaithanya – Sushyamala’s bro. As with any group outing we decided to play Dumb charades. Sandeep Sarda made the whole activity lot more peppy with his gyan and out of the blue 😉 thinking . By the time we’d reached Sagar, it was almost 10:45 am.

We’d decided to finish the NagarjunaKonda visit before lunch. The next launch ferry was at around 11:15. The launch was a Diesel boat capable of holding about 300 people. The close to 45 minutes ride and the beating sun did go a long way in helping the vendors sell cool drinks and other snacks. The ride was more or less monotonous and at times it was frustrating to move at that slow a speed. Yashawant and Nayan had a different experience though.They had kids who’d come for an excursion teaching them telugu! Reshma was no less in getting gyan from kids on the other side 🙂 . Things travel teach you 🙂 !

We reached the island by around 12:30pm thanks to the delayed start of the launch. Being given 1hr to get back to the launch, we started walking towards the Museum. The stupas and the Altars were pretty impressive. I’d been to the Museum a few years back so it wasn’t really that enthralling to me. But it is a must watch , for first timers. It gives you a brief glimpse on life in the early ages.

Done with this we moved over to the strategically placed canteen. From here you get to see the vastly spaced out reservoir totally devoid of any urban representations. The blue waters, seemingly flowing onwards to meet the blue hued sky and the rocky lands at a distance is a sight you need to see with your own eyes to admire. Truly breath taking! With a brief photo session here by our ace photographer,  we hunched back to the launch point.Again a 45 minute ride on the reservoir waters and we’re back to the main banks. About 2:30 pm now, All we needed was some food ( For thought 😉 ? ) ! We walked towards the closest hotel and ordered Thalis for everyone. I’m still not sure what to give credit to – the relishing meal or the gnarling rats in our stomachs. But whatever be the case, we did have one good sumptuous meal 🙂 !

It was about 4:00 pm now and we decided to move over to Ethipothalla falls. The 12kms drive took us about twenty minutes to get there. I was initially very keen on visiting this place but only the moment I was there did it loom on me that I’d actually been to this place before. The water then in the falls was pretty murky and the whole experience was pretty bad. But believe me, this time it was far far better. The flow was pretty good and the waters much cleaner. Varun , Sandeep, Abhishek Ramakant and Abhishek tiwari had brought their shorts and hence moved over closer to the falls. The stones were pretty slippery but why fear when we had an 80 year young lady to help us cross it 🙂 ? Most of us finally made it close to the falls when Suyshamala slipped over the algae and got her dead cells on one of her toes chipped out. It wasn’t a big hurt but then she couldn’t continue standing in the waters, so she had to get back to the other side. Just a few moments after we finish cleansing her wound, Aishwarya took the next seat 🙂 . Thanks to the old woman who stepped on her feet while she was getting back to the safer side 🙂 . Venki got so tempted by the crabs there that he asked the woman if she could catch some for him. How good would it have been had the woman accepted!

This falls is truly a must see if you’ve come to Nagarjunsagar. But wait! There’s more to Ethipothalla than just the falls. There’s a very small temple right beside the kutcha path to the falls. Next time you’re there be sure to catch a glimpse of goat and bird legs hanging by the tree branch at about your shoulder’s height :- ) . Divine Sacrifice huh! All of us finally got back to the vehicle with two hopping females giving company to the ever present monkeys there 🙂 .

We now had to find a small clinic to nurse Suysh’s wound. About seven kilometers from there we did find one and got the wound dressed. All of us had tea at a small tea stall and then moved over to the Broken bridge of Nagarjunsagar. But the moment we were there , we realised they’d blocked entrance to the bridge and we couldn’t move any further. Fortunately we found something else much more interesting. There was a temple right beside it and the path down the temple was really inviting! It was a rocky terrain and finally when we managed to reach the bank, it just loomed on us what good a decision we’d taken to come down there! Venki, Sandeep, Varun, Gourav Nayan and Yashwant tried their hands on Stone throwing while Vairav, Chaithu, Aishwarya , Reshma and I ventured into the slippery knee deep water flow.Slippery it pretty much was but not really dangerous. Chaithanya and I ventured almost half past the river flow. The sheer force with which the waters gush across you sort of revitalizes your fatigued body. Vishesh soon joined us along with the other folks. Spent quite some time here and finally left for the city at about 6:45pm.

The way back was pretty funny and interesting. We decided to play Truth or Dare to while away time. The peppy questions being put forth and the more so the answers made things all the more interesting. Chaitu with his cat walk, Gourav becoming a goat, Yahswant farting like an elephant and I enacting a cabiree were a few of the dare events 🙂 . Thanks to Nayan, Vairav and Reshma took revenge on each other with their mock proposals 🙂 All in all it was a wonderful time ! We then stopped over at a roadside restaurant at Ibrahimpatnam and had a decent dinner. It was almost 11:30 by the time we reached the city 🙂 .

The trip was definitely worth the money spent. It was great getting to know people and we did get to have a wonderful weekend! Do have a look at the pix in my Picasa.

Hydventura!

A day to remember!

We officially launched the Hyderabad Adventure Group – Hydventura today in the Infy Campus 🙂 . This is something that was ‘In the pipeline’ 😉 for quite some time and now after some dilly dallying the group is finally out! We’re 70 + now and will soon have our first outing sometime Feb-end or early march. We’re planning to expand once we get a foothold in organising outdoor events.

Activities not constrained to Trekking, outdoor survival, Biking, site explorations, Rafting , Rock climbing, Para-sailing would soon be planned. Hydventura would try to do it’s little bit in bringing out the importance of outdoor recreational activities and at the same time spread awareness in the public the necessity to keep a check on exploitation of nature.

P.S: Hydventura is a club started by a group of Infoscions in their own interest. The company is no way related to the activities here-in and all activities would more or less be Dutch outings!

Enduro3!

If you’ve always been wondering that there’s something that you’ve not done for the past few years but just aren’t able to figure out what it is, probably I may be able to help you out! 😉

Pack your bags and get your gear. It’s high time you moved from the cozy environs of your home! Ditch that LCD monitor for a couple of days and you’ll soon be in better state of affairs!

The National Education Foundation along with the National Egg Co-coordination committee is organizing an All India Adventure Race , called the Enduro3 Adventure race. It’s going to be held on the 8th and 9th of Feb at Pune. All you need is hell lots of determination, good strategy and to a certain extent good physical stamina. It’s an open competition and anyone can join. Click HERE for registration and other details.

Watchya waiting for? Form your teams, get your cycles and unscrew yourself! 😉

Up in thin air! – Parasailing

There are so many places and occasions where you can sit back, relax and rethink on your strategy and future course in life. I wonder why it’s always the other way round for me. Above 450m from the ground, where you have no control on yourself and have vested your dear life to the hands of some unknown person is definitely not a place to plan you next move!

I’d been to Bangalore yesterday and it turned out to be just for Para-sailing! 🙂 I left from Hyderabad on Saturday evening at about 3:30 pm. I was fortunate enough to get tickets by the state bus service, which by itself was quite surprising given the short notice that I had. Sheku, Shilpa and Vairav were to join me in Bangalore. Reached B’lore on sunday morning by about 6:00 am and made it to the Infy Ecity campus by around 7:30 am. Vairavan had come down from Chennai the previous day and could arrange some accommodation. He, his friend Sharada and myself left for silk board by 8:00 am. Sharada had to pick up some stuff from her house so both of them got down midway and promised to get back ASAP. I’d asked Shilpa and Sheku to be there at the Silk board bus stop by 7:30. Poor sheku was well before time 🙂 ! You should have seen the reaction on their faces the moment I was there! Not finding the other two added just some more adrenalin in their bodies 🙂 . I’m not to be blamed for that 😉 !!

Sheku, Shilpa and I left for KR puram. by a 500D bus service and reached the cable bridge bus stop in about half an hour. This is just a few stops after Marathalli. It was already quarter past nine and both of us were desperately looking for a hotel to grab a bite before we left for Hoskot where the Para sailing was to take place. All we could find was a guy selling hot idlis on a push cart. Each got a plate and gobbled all that we could. I bet even a three star hotel can’t beat that taste!

None of us really knew how to get to Hoskote, so we placed a call to Anand who was handling the event that day and got the requisite directions. We had to board a 317 bus from the KR puram cable bridge bus stand and get down at a bus stop called Koti. This place is about 12kms from KR Puram and you get to find quite a few buses. The most prominent landmark ( atleast all of what I noticed 😉 ) of this place is a BP Petrol bunk and a Punjabhi shack dhabha on either side of the road. We thought it would be wise to wait for Vairavan and Sharada and then move together .

They did end up coming in about twenty minutes and all five of us started walking to the main parasailing area. You need to walk over a short bridge, take the immediate left and keep walking in the direction where you get to see Parasails in the air! – These are the directions that was given to us by Anand. Hell! I don’t blame him. That was the best he could provide! 🙂 . Topographically , locating our destination was pretty interesting! 🙂 The river bed was almost dry and we had beautiful black and white buffaloes to guide us all through the path. Reached a place where the path ceased to take us any further. Fortunately this is where we caught a glimpse of one of the Parasails in the air and in a matter of about ten minutes we reached the place where the the remaining folks from AdVentura were seated.

We had to fill declaration forms before we could get the gear on us and shoot up in the air. Well, that’s just a formality that comes with any adventure activity. Shilpa was the first to get hooked with the sail. She’d done it before so she was pretty cool with that. Then was my turn. I’m not particularly afraid of heights, But then butterflies somehow manage to create a flutter once a while. That’s where the real thrill is! 🙂 There’s nothing to be afraid of , given the expertise of the team that was conducting the event but then emotions is something that is under your control! Anyways, this is how it works, you are given a proper gear to hook yourself up with the para-sail. A long strong chord is tethered to the sail to which you are hooked and the other end is jacked on to a car. Once you’re all set, the guy accelerates forward and your up in the air even before you realise what’s happening! 🙂

The real fun is in living every moment of your flight! Keep your eyes wide open , stare into the sky, look at people down there , shout even if you are not scared or the best thing to do would be to fancy having to jump from that height if nothing else scares you 😉 ! The initial tug that you get when the vehicle accelerates is just fabulous! The very feeling of helplessness and total sense of your surroundings at a height of about 400m is something which just cannot be explained! You need to experience it! Once in air , it’s not much of a scare. So as i told you, the best thing to do would be to visualize the chord to suddenly break loose..the rest is your imagination! 🙂 . Vairavan, Sheku and Sharada soon were done with! It was real fun to watch Sharada . Poor female, real light that she was, had lotsa trouble trying to come down. Heavy gusts of wind added to her misery! She was defying gravity in the real sense! 🙂

The journey back home to Hyderabad was as much good. Subash managed to get a ticket booked for me. It happened to be one right in the front. Watching the driver zip on the roads at high speeds, skillfully maneuvering through the night traffic was just great. It kept me awake for the most part of the journey. I’ve traveled quite a few times by bus but was always seated somewhere at the last.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. Thanks to Adventura, Anand and Suma in particular for organizing the whole event. One thing off my checklist of things to do. Gotta try river rafting next!

Shall upload the pics and videos as and when Vairavan or Shilpz zips them to me!

AdVentura – Bangalore

There’s this wonderful group called Adventura for adventure freaks that operates from Bangalore. So if you are into trekking and stuff and stay somewhere near bangalore it’s high time you enroll yourself in this group. They arrange treks in and around Bangalore almost every weekend. Even if you haven’t really been on a trek and are pretty much a novice, you can still enroll yourself. Each trek outing is classified as Beginners, Intermediate and the like and I believe they’ve got gears for beginners too.

Join the following group to enroll yourself: [email protected]<dot>com

I haven’t really been there out with them as I’d been in Bangalore only for a brief span of three months and odd. I wonder why we don’t have any such active group here in Hyderabad. Or do we?

A couple of my friends and I plan to start one. Nothing has materialized though. Shall let you know in case anything props up.

Mekhedaatu

Should have posted this quite some time back but for some reason or the other I’ve sort of procrastinated it.

I’d been to a place called Sangam a few weeks back when I was in Bang’lore. Next time you visit Bangalore,make it a point to visit this spot. It’s about 80 kms from the main city and believe me after having gone that far, you wont regret your decision! Sangam is in the Kanakapura district and is the confluence of the Cauvery River and the Arkavathi river in Karnataka. The river in its southward bound flow sqeezes down through a narrow gorge to reveal a breathtaking sight. The thundering sound of water and the sight of it gushing down in all might is something that I’d never forget! . This place where the river passes through the rocks is called the Mekhedatu. (The reason for it being called so still intrigues me. Mekhedaatu in kannada, literally translates to ‘Goat jump’ . Though the rocks were pretty close , A goat definitely couldn’t have jumped across the gorge. Anyways, names are names! 🙂 ) .

The road to this spot is a winding path through the scenic rural parts of Kaarnataka. You need to take a turn somewhere at the end of the Kanakapura town and navigate through the narrow paths. You’d come across several villages en route Sangam. Most of these villagers eke out their living by adopting sericulture. You get to find silkworms being bred in almost every house!! Once you reach Sangam, you need to take a boat ride to the other bank to get to Mekhedaatu. ( I heard people could walk across to the other bank by easily wading across the waters of the Arkavathi river dueing off seasons! ) . The boats used for ferrying, are not like the normal boats. These are circular in shape and their base is layered with Tar to keep it afloat. A guy ferries you across to the other side of the river for about forty bucks. Midway he swirls the coracle a couple of times giving you those few enchanting, thrilling moments of drowning! 🙂 . A bus worthy of being sold as an antic awaits you on the other bank! Pay him another 40 bucks for a rickety ride down the kuccha road to Mekhedaatu. Oh did I mention? The bus has got no headlights . The route is mesmerizing and the driver leaves no stone unturned to make the ride less comfortable! A few things are always good the bad way-You’d remember it for a lifetime 🙂 !

Once you reach the spot where the bus can no longer move forward, you’re supposed to walk down a narrow rocky path. A turn round the corner and you get to know what exactly nature is!! I bet you’d never want to get back from there! The magnanimous force with which the water gushes through the gorge has led to the rocks to have developed extremely deep pits in the surroundings! One wrong step and you’d go up all the way to Heaven in all pristine glory! 🙂 .

Who says trips need to be well planned? I’m pretty sure had we chalked out a plan and pre decided everything we wouldn’t have enjoyed as much! Weekends back in Infy bangalore were pretty somber. But for the visits to the labs and probably a shuttle to the city now and then, most of the days were spent lazing in the rooms. Probably all this drove us to nuts to such a large extent that we suddenly started planning a trip to Coorg. But then other folks out here wanted to go to a place that was close by to avoid getting really tired by the time they get back on the Sunday evening. So we decided to go to Nandi Hills. Why we cornered on Nandi Hills, we still don’t know but where we ended up going turned out to be a stupendous location.

For no apparent reason, the Java stream trainees invariably have a test every monday. So most of their weekends were as such spoilt. Fortunately the last weekend was one of those lucky ‘ends when both the streams, Java and Mainframes were relatively free. But then it was already a friday and we had no much time to chalk out a plan and do things meticulously. About 20 of us were game for a trip to Nandi hills. None of us had been there before but we’d heard sunrise thers was just great!

We’d arranged a Mazda for the next day and planned to leave at about four in the morning to be there on time to watch the Sunrise. We fell for the assurance given by the Travels guy and were all ready by 3:30am before Gate 6. This was where we were supposed to wait for the Mazda. But as things would go, there was someone who wanted to doze in glory that fine morning and Unfortunately it happened to be that heavenly soul who had to sit behind the wheel and drive us to the hills! That screwed nut ended up at Gate 6 only at around 5:30 am 🙁 !! We had to settle down for a sunrise view on a section of NH7 and kept moving towards Nandi Hills. The way up the hills is very narrow and given the ghat description, is pretty dangerous. A couple of us hopped on to the roof top of the Mazda. There are very few things more thrilling than sitting atop a vehicle roof when driving uphill a ghat 🙂 ! We Reached Nandi Hills about 7:00am and kept hopping by and posing for snaps on rocks labelled ‘DANGER’ ! 🙂 . Nandi Hills is no wonder a scenic spot, but then I’ve been to quite a few places at high altitude and probably because I had extremely high expectations on Nandi Hills, I failed to really take in the scenic view of the place. By 10:00 am most of us were sort of bored being in the same place. People were of the opinion we’d get back to the city and while away time. It was already 12:00 before people came to a consensus . This was when fortunately Shubz came up with the Idea of going to Sangam! Had a sumptuous lunch in a Roadside Dhabha and defying the drivers requests not to travel that far, we got to sangam by around 5:00pm. We Couldn’t spend much time at Mekhedaatu because we had to get back to the boat ferry before dusk for fear of travelling in a bus with no headlights!! We managed to leave Sangam by around 7:00pm . The way back to ECC was pretty long. With all energy exhausted none of us were in mood to chat. Not one of us spoke even while having dinner!!

You’d find a couple of pics of the outing in my flickr. Got to upload others. Will do that when I manage to find some more time.

Speed and Sleep…

I love travelling!Though, it hasn’t got much to do with my  tendency to fall asleep in moving vehicles , to a very large extent that’s been the prime factor!!They’ve been quite a few days when I’ve picked up a day ticket in Hyderabad, got into one of the city buses and dozed off to glory only to be woken up by the Conductor telling me it’s the last stop and I better get off the bus and find a richer place to sulk!! 🙂 Even on regular days, I’ve  overshot my destination stop quite a few times, thanks to my innate ability to achieve  sub conscious levels in a matter of minutes. 

It’s been around twenty years and I still don’t get the  Motion and Sleep relationship that’s evolved in my body. Fortunately my holy brain doesn’t activate the clause  when I’m at the wheel! I love Speed as much as I love Sleep in motion. It’s just the feeling of escalated sense of enormous brain activity that drives things in me. I remember ramming into a wall and falling into a small gutter, just a few days after learning to cycle. I was actually trying to match speeds with a guy on a moped who’d sneered at me. Being a pretty short tempered guy then, I had all the adrenalin pumped to sort things out . Lost my wits,  lost my senses and finally ended up losing my control. Dr. Hakunamatata once said ‘You never lose in life! Everyplace you lose, you gain something really worthwhile. It all depends on how you look at things.’ Ah! and here I’ve gained bruises and blessings from my bro for having brought out the cycle without telling anyone at home  ! (By the way, Dr. Hakunamatata is a virtual Doctor who resides in me 🙂 )

Few things that I’ve learnt to abide when the adrenalin rushes in my body-Firstly,There’s something that you’d want to doubly ensure when you’re speeding beyond norms-Stay IN control. Secondly,There’s someone present around you,who knows what’s what and the repercussions of every minor flaw that may occur .Thirdly-Follow your instincts (only after you follow the above two rules 🙂 )

Trekking and Adventure sports is what I’m looking forward to be into , five years down the lane; Paragliding and Sailing to be preicse. But it’s all a function of money , time and more so the right training place. I’ve Cornered on a few people who’ve been in the field for long and are really experienced in their respective fields. Now it’s a function of Time and Money both of which I have no say on, given the bounds of life 🙂