28/04/2012 – 29/04/2012
Day 1 of 2
We decided to go on this weekend trek just a day prior that we left and thought we’ll decide upon the trek route to explore in Majestic (place where all the state government buses start from). As usual after many last day dropouts it was only four of us
We carried the map for couple of routes in western ghats forest and also at the same time kept our options open to go down south towards Tamilnadu and explore any new trail there. While most of the routes we thought of required prior permission from the forest department, we dropped those and finally decided to go to Coorg (also called Kodagu), a place known for Coffee estates, Ethnic population and some of the beautiful hiking trails in southern India.
Plan was to accomplish two well-known hiking trails:
- Kotebetta – Day 1
- Tandiyandamol – Day 2
We took a bus to Coorg from Satelite bus stop at around 12:45 AM which apparently was the last bus for the night from Bangalore to Coorg. Reached Coorg at around 8:00 AM in the morning and had breakfast in the bus station itself. Suman and Bargavi tried experimenting with some local authentic breakfast, only to regret later. Wasn’t all that great.
We then boarded the bus to travel around 15km, to Hattihole, place where our hike began.
Kotebetta is the third highest peak in Coorg at 1620m above sea level after Tandiyandamol and Pushpagiri mountains. The trek starting point is a junction near by a bridge in Hattihole below which flowed the beautiful stream of Harangi river. While we were walking through the estate streets, we came across this beautiful hanging bridge built with cables across the Harangi river to our right. The estates on either side of the trail were vast and I got absorbed by this house that was half constructed, for the beautiful view of the landscape in its background. Meanwhile Bargavi was made fun of, for shopping some hybrid Oranges, which din’t taste all that great. Fun “talk & walk’ it was 🙂
After walking for almost 2 hours we came across this diversion into the forest leading towards the peak. We spoke with local villagers in the path to make sure that we were heading on the right direction. From this diversion the peak is around 8 kms of moderately steep walk. As we ascended up, slowly weather also changed and we could see dark patch of cloud approaching towards us from far north, thanks to the strong wind.
Finally when we got to see the peak at not so far off distance, it was 12:30 PM and our stomachs had endured enough that they started making noise in demand for food. We paused and had Chapathies which we carried from Bangalore with some spicy chatni (or sauce), with an awesome view of the landscape in front of us. But just when we thought that it would be an easy walk to the peak, and that we’ll spend some time relaxing, the rain started coming down, not so heavy but enough to force us pack and begin our walk towards the peak. It took 1 hour from there for us to reach the peak and the rest I’ll let the pictures speak, for it would sound exaggerated if I describe the views which we enjoyed……
Unlike the other peaks I’ve explored, this one was different in the fact that the terrain was more of a plateau covering good area and in the middle of it was an age old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Next to the temple were two small ponds separated by rocks where the water was not all that great by the looks of it (blaming the festivals that are celebrated in the temple by the local people who had kind of messed up the place with too much dump).
We spent almost 2 hours, being among the clouds and admiring the 360 degree view.
At 4:00pm we started the descend and it took couple of hours for us to reach the bridge, the start point of the trek. While waiting for the bus we had hot tea and also met two cute and smart kids. Later took the bus, went back to Coorg, had dinner and took another bus to Yavakapadi village, by the foothill of Tandiyandomol, to camp by the estate for the night.
Had some drama here. Apparently by the time we were done with our dinner and reached the bus station, we had missed the last direct bus to our destination and hence had to resort to one that was to drop us by Virajpet-Talakaveri road. We were told that Yavakapadi village was only couple of km from there and that we can walk-off. By the time we got down from the bus it was 9:45 pm and the place was totally dark and remote. We waited for some time hoping that we might come across a auto rickshaw to drop us to the destination. But 15 minutes passed and no show of any vehicle for that matter. Place was pitch dark with no street light and we could see no houses around. Couple of drunken morons passed by to annoy us. So just when we thought we’ll walk with the torch light, a jeep came by, the driver of which was very kind and he offered us a ride to the village. Everything was fine until he dropped us by this government school beside Nalknad Palace (a small one) at the foot hill of Tandiyandomaol and asked us for 1000 bucks. FISH !! 1000 for 3 kms ride, He was kidding !! No !!! He wasn’t. While we tried convincing him, he spoke bullshit and even started sounding rude. Eventually given our position, we had to pay him 600 bucks but not before cursing him within.
We then pitched the tent in front of the government school, played cards for like couple of hours and dozed off around 12AM.