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Kunti Betta

Kunti Betta is a small hillock located in Pandavapura present in Mandya a distance of 125 kms from Bangalore.

With the daily routine of home-office-home getting the best of me, I was planning to head out for a day either for a drive or a short trek. As usual while talking to srikanth for the plans he suggested we trek to kunti betta. Though we had covered quite a few hillocks around bangalore this was yet to be climbed.

During our last drive to Nagamangala we could had thought if we could have got our trekking shoes we could have climbed the hill, but due to time constraints the plan didnt materialize. Now that we had enough time we planned to do a liesure trek.

Kunti Betta and Pandavapura has historical significance. It is believed that the Pandavas stayed here for a while during the course of their exile from Indraprastha; hence the name Pandavapura. It is also believed that Bhima, the strongest of the Pandava brothers, killed the demon Bakasura at this site

Train tickets were booked for an early start, however the plan went haywire as the train was late by 2.5 hours. Whiling away our time in the platform we spent 2.5 hours waiting for the train. A good 2 hour sleep and we were at pandavapura railway station at 10.30. Took an auto to the base with a short pitstop for breakfast

Kunti Betta Start

Since we were coming for the first time we were not sure how to proceed, there is  big pond in front of the temple and couple of paths  going up.

Pond

Couple of false starts later we got onto the right path.

Kunti Betta is a popular spot for night treks and there are arrow marks throughout the trail to help trekkers get to thetop. By the time we started it was peak afternoon

It was just a case of following the arrows after getting the right directions and an hour later we were at the top.

The trail consits of some steep sections and in few places we had navigate our way through some steep rocks and narrow passage ways. There is also a cave where one can camp if your trekking at night

One can see a large lake on the way up. An hour later we were at the top.

Lake

Couple of photos and we were resting for a while when we met another group who had come to the top. Half an hour of rest and we were descending which took us another hour.

Solo snaps and scenaries

We were back to the railway station and got tickets for the train back to bangalore. We were back in bangalore by 7 and home at 7.30 in thus ending a wonderful trek

 

 

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Hampta Pass : Day 6: Back to Manali

It would be a relaxed day today as we just had to get back to manali. After the breakfast we had the certificate distribution cermony where everyone recounted the good times they had during the trek.

We had a final group snap with the entire team and once that was done we boarded the jeeps for our journey to manali.

Final group snap

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The journey to manali took 4-5 hours and we had a break atop the famous Rothang Pass for 15-20 min.

Rothang Pass

We could see plenty of bikers as the biking/cycling from manali to leh is quite a popular activity. Two hours later we were at manali thus completing a amazing trek with amazing people. We bid adeiu to everyone for the time being as we had planned to meet everyone for one final time in old manali at drifters inn for one last celebration.

Checking into the hotel which was booked in advanced i had a much needed bath and after freshening up  I took some rest before heading out to drifters inn to meet the gang.

It was a fun filled evening and after spending couple of hours I came back to the hotel.

The next day was spent roaming around manali as my bus to Chandigarh was scheduled to depart at 5 PM. Came back to Bangalore on sat night after a long flight.

Snaps can be found here

Hampta Pass : Day 5: Shea Goru to Chatru and bumpy drive to chandratal

With the successful crossing of the hampta pass done and dusted. Today would be the last day of the trek with a continuous descent to Chatru. Ravi had told us we would have another water crossing where we had to cross the stream flowing in front of the camp.

We found a shallow point with just knee deep water we crossed the river and once everyone were across we dried our feet and started the descent,

We came across a huge herd of the sheep heading to shea goru while taking a break.

Sheep herd

The descent continued with breaks and soon we reached a point where we were told we had to board the jeeps to take us to the basecamp. We had longish break with lunch and took couple of photos before starting the final descent

Lunch point

The final descent took us another hour and we were at the cabs which were waiting for us to take us to the camp.

Once everyone reached we boarded the cabs and the bumpy ride on non existent roads started till we reached the basecamp. Ravi asked us not to waste time there except to dump the luggage and take only what is required for the visit to chandratal lake

It took us another 3 hours to reach chandratal lake with the drive across roads being very bumpy. We could see the stark contrast in landscape. With continous bumps and a desert like landscape we stopped at a hotel for some refreshments before heading out to the lake

Another one hour later we were at the lake. We had to park the cars and walk km and half to reach the lake. With amazing backdrops we took enough photos and another group snap near the lake

Chandratal Lake

Spending couple of hours at the lake we headed back to the cabs. Two hours later we were back at the camp thus completing a wonderful trek

Hampta Pass : Day 4: Conquering Hampta Pass and the descent to Shea Goru

Today would be D-Day as the we would be sumiting the Hampta Pass. Ravi told us usually we would be starting at 7 in the morning and it would take around 4-4.5 hours by the time we reach hampta pass. But considering the fast pace of the group we would leave at 8.

The previous day rains gave way to clear skies and we could start the ascent at 8.30 instead of 8. The initial part of the climb from Balu ka gera was over boulders and everyone were taking it easy without going too fast. YHAI who were also doing the trek were on the other side of the river and soon we would meet up with them as we climbed higher. After half hour to 45 min of climbing we took a break while waiting for the rest of the team to catch up. The mountains at the far end were clearly visible and after some photography we start the climb again.

Mountains / Valleys and Group snaps

As we climbed higher the views became more majestic and the boulders which were there also had to be negotiated. With breaks in-between we continued the trek.

After 3 hours of climbing we were very close to the summit and we ask our guide how far more and we got a reply another half hour max. We could find YHAI gang  also relaxing enroute where we took the final break.

Another hour of climbing we were at hampta pass. We were excited and took a longish break for an hour.

Hampta Pass

The YHAI gang had also reached the pass and it was getting crowded. After a group snap we started the steep descent towards shea goru. With loose gravel and rocks we had to be careful about where we keep our feet and with the amount of ppl getting down one had to be slow when descending.

Fortunately myself, vignesh and surabhi were able to get down soon and we waited near the bottom for the rest of the group to rejoin. The scenary had changed dramtically from the manali side as we entered spiti valley

Spiti Valley

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We were greeted with a barren landscape and while descending we could see the valley which looked like an arid desert. We took a few snaps and once the rest of the group got together we proceeded towards shea goru campsite. With icy mountains on the far ends we savoured the different setting which looked like a alien movie setting.

Shea Goru Campsite

After lot of photos of the campsite we headed for dinner and a cozy nap.

Hampta Pass – Day 3: Jwara to Balu ka Gera

Today would be a relatively short day as there was not much of altitude to gain. We were greeted with a clear sky and after a light warm up and a customary group snap we started the climb to Balu ka Gera.

Group Snap

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Lovit was not feeling very well and decided to head back as he didnt want to take a chance with his health. Bhuvanesh his cousin also decided to accompany him back to manali and promised he would complete the trek next june. We were down to 15 as we started our climb.

The ascent was gradual throughout and we were progressing at a good pace with occassional breaks in between. Within an hour of climbing we left jwara behind.

The valleys opened up and we could get much better views of the mountains in the background. With photos being clicked regularly we continued the trek.

Mountains and Valleys

The terrain leveled after a while and we had a smooth walk for few more kms. Myself and 3 others were at the front and Ravi told us to slow down as were going quite fast. We soon reached Chottu Balu Ka Gera which had a Dhaba.It was time for another break and we waited for rest of the group to join. Having tea and relaxing we spent some time there before the final climb to Balu and Gera which was still couple of hours away.

The ascent was still gradual and soon we could see our destination. Tents were already pitched up.

The final part of the trek was over huge boulders and we had to be careful not to loose our balance. Jumping over boulders we reached the campsite well ahead of time.

As we were relaxing the clouds gathered and soon it began to rain. Taking shelter in the dinning tent we spent the remaining time playing dumb sharats and chitchatting while waiting for the rain the stop.

The ground had again become wet and slushy and once the rain stopped we went outside and continued to play few more games which Ravi had organized.

Soon it was time for dinner and we slept early as we had to summit hampta pass the next day and a steep decent to Shea Goru the next day

Hampta Pass – Day 2: Jobra to Jwara

With a clear morning sky and light breeze 17 trekkers assembled at rambagh circle eager to start the trek. Ravi the trek leader and navdeep the assistant trek leader were already there and after a quick headcount we headed to the transport which was arranged to drop was till jobra which is the starting point of trek.

The 40 hair pin bend drive took and hour and a half and we soon reached the starting point which also doubled as a camp for YHAI who were doing the same trek. Breakfast was served and once the trek formalities were completed we began the ascent to jwara.

The initial part of the trek was slushy and it was a gradual ascent. We encountered rocky sections which would remain till we complete the trek. With bright sunshine and clear sky for the rest of the day we continued the ascent with frequent breaks in-between.

The lush green mountains in the backdrop made the climb more enjoyable. As we went higher the steepness also increased in few places

Mountains in the backdrop

The ground was still slushy and the forests gave way to wide valleys. Today would be the last day we would see the forests. The boulders continued and after an hour of climbing we reached a river cross where we broke for lunch.

Valleys

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During the ascent we met Ron an Israeli who was doing a solo hike to hampta pass. Interacting with him we got to know he had done plenty of treks around dharamshala and was attempting the climb to hampta pass on his own. We soon bid him goodbye before we started the final climb to the jwara camp

There was a small bridge which was used to cross the river and the trek resumed after lunch break. Soon we reached another river crossing and this time there was no bridge to help us out. All of us had to walk through the freezing water after removing our shoes.

The ice cold water made everyone’s legs numb and it took us some time to get used to the numbness once we were out of the water. Drying our feet we took a short break before making the final ascent to the camp which was at 2200 ft.

Jwara Camp and surrounding

It was a refreshing feeling to get to camp after a hard day of climbing. Hot soup was served and later we had some fun playing games. Dinner was served in couple of hours time and it was time to get inside the sleeping bags as we had the climb to balu ka gera the next day.

Hampta Pass – Day 1: Manali

Hampta pass is a crossover trek where one crosses over from manali to spiti valley. The landscape is a sharp contrast. From boulders on the way to hampta pass from manali to the arid desert like landscape in spiti the landscape is a sharp contrast on either side.

Hampta pass was not planned for originally as I had registered for kashmir great lakes trek with indiahikes for the Aug 13-20th batch. Things were smooth till july , and with the encounter of Buran Wani by the indian security forces in july and with subsequent protests I had to change my plans to do Hampta pass at the last moment.
The tickets which were booked had to be cancelled and flights and holidays / tickets and accomodation had to be rescheduled.

With the groundwork done, I headed to manali on 2nd evening. Things went little wrong in the airport with the flight getting delayed by half hour. This had a cascading effect as I had to miss the bus to manali which I had booked. Getting tickets on another bus, I finally headed to manali on 2nd night and after a long journey finally reached manali on 3rd afternoon. Accomodation was already booked and after quick shower I went to meet my fellow trek mates at a nearby restaurant.

The trek leader Ravi had asked us to assemble in the park for a orientation briefing. Do’s and Dont’s in the trek,  how to tackle AMS were explained and any questions we had were answered. The briefing was for an hour and later we headed back to our respective accommodation eager to start the trek the next day.

We were asked to assemble at rambagh circle at 7 AM the next morning to start the trek.

An early dinner and I hit the bed soon all set to conquer hampta pass the next day.

 

 

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