Monday, February 14, 2011

[Trek] Skandagiri

It has been a long while since i attended any trek .So after a tough schedule in January thought of trying a trek - skandagiri. Couldn't get enough members from Citrix. Finally a group of 5 people - Myself , Bharathi , Rajesh , Sushar & Nandhakumar decided to proceed . It seems night trek was the specialty of this mountain range.Since none of us had done it earlier ,we decided to opt for day trek inspite of hot climate - not a optimal option though.
We started in 3 bikes at 5:30 AM. Bangalore was sooooo cold.Riding at 50-60 kms/hr on highway ,chillness in air was so intense that i felt as if am wearing a cotton shirt. Sweater & a sports Tshirt was no enough to this climate.Hands become numb as if i a surgery can be performed without anesthesia.Luckily got a glove from sushar.We rested wherever possible to have hot cup of tea.

From Skandagiri Trek
On the highway

Route was along NH7 high way, cross new airport and proceed to chickbalapur.Had breakfast in a restaurant opposite to large park at the center of this town.From this point take left ,adjacent to the park and proceed for around half a kilometer where a road proceeding to left has a arch.Turn on to this road and proceed in whatever direction that this small road takes you. Lot of fields , settlement ,brick factory are on the way and finaly we will reach a dead end and we need to take right from here.This road lead to pagagini mutt.
There were not caretakers for parking by the time we reached there ( around 9 AM) though few cars and bikes were parked there. A worker in the mutt told that sun would be very hot and there would be no water at the top and asked us to get back. After gaining his confidence by spending thirty rupees ( same strategy to follow either in parliament or in a street corner ), he agreed to take care of our bikes.
From the mutt there is a path , as large as needed for a car to travel ,some 750 meters , till the starting point of the trek.This point can be identified by a large stone with some instructions written on it. Unluckily we didnt hit this road and instead took a small path directly towards the hills ( ஒரு ஆர்வம் தான் :-) ). We kept on reaching dead end ,backtracking and choosing a different path in a cyclic fashion .

From Skandagiri Trek
Searching for paths

From Skandagiri Trek
Returning back after meeting a dead end

After a hour of intense encounters with steep rocks and thorny bushes i could feel that we were lost.But unluckily there were no one to seek help from.Finally a local person called us down ( we were almost 1 KM up in the wrong path) and told us that we were on the wrong path and offered take us in the right path for Rs300 ,till half way of the trek after which path would be clear one. In reality it was too high a price for guard for 50% of the trek, but its was seller's
market and we couldn't do any bargain.
He took us to the correct road.In hindsight it was a blunt mistake that we couldn't stop laughing at our self.The path so well laid that it was more like a path to a hill top temple , albeit with small hiccups.It took around an hour to reach the spot where guard would depart us. There was a medium sized rock on the right and a steep path leaves on the left.From here the path was turning into a jungle track.Initial trek had a greenery. We had to cross five remains of fort walls.

From Skandagiri Trek
One of the fort wall

We had enough loads of water ,chocolates,dates & glucose to energize us to proceed.We took a slow path resting for every 20 minutes all along the way for photo shoots and snacks.There were dilapidated remain of rest places which should have been used by soldiers.

From Skandagiri Trek
Remains of a soldier's cabin

From Skandagiri Trek
Yet another fortwall

Last stretch was steep and had little green cover exposing us to the hot sun. In-spite of sun , chill winds were blowing at these altitudes giving us a feel of entering a AC car after wandering in hot sun.Finally we reached the top at around 12:30. There was a small temple , which morphed into a miniature hotel selling bread omelet , maggi and water cans.

From Skandagiri Trek

Finally at the top

From Skandagiri Trek
Waiting for lunch

items were ridiculously priced . ( one break omlette at Rs 20 , Maggie at Rs 25 and water bottle at Rs 40) .Since we carried bread with us ,we bought omlette for our lunch.After about 30 minutes of rest ,we started climbing down and was a easy job as expected.

From Skandagiri Trek
Breathtaking view from the top

One of disturbing scenes all along this trek was the litter , mostly water bottles , polythene covers of snacks ,beer bottles and what not spewed all over the path and mostly the top.In all the treks one of motivating fact is the unadulterated environment , but here the litter gives feeling as if it was market corner.Forest department should take control over such sites and control such menace to the environment.

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