Ettinabhuja Revisited

Shishla Kudi Gudda AKA Ettinabhuja (shoulder of an ox) is a popular trekking spot in karnataka which attracts trekkers.

This peak can be accessed from shishila or from bhirapura. The 9 km trek from shishla takes about 5 to 6 hrs for an average trekker. The distance from bhirapura is much shorter and can be done in an hour or two

I had first been to ettinabhuja in june just on the onset of monsoon along with my friends shasi , prahalad and prashant. With incessent rains and mist throughout the trek , we were unable to see the peak until the very end.

First Look at ettinabhuja during monsoon

When my friend Ina told me she and a few others were going to ettinabhuja in nov I wasnt able to confirm my participation as I was scheduled to fly to malaysia in nov. However things didnt materialize n my visit got postponed.  Luckily for me 2 of the people who had to go had dropped out. When I was asked if I was interested in joining for the trek I immediately agreed as one ticket was left and another ticket was cancelled

With the place set 9 ppl met at majestic bus stand on 21st nov at 9.30 and boarded the bus to dharmastala. The team for the trek (Ina , Girish, Dhimoy, Sandeep, Amit, Chirag, Vishak ,Rutuja and yours truely :))

After a peaceful overnight journey we reached dharmastala at 7 in the morning. The weather was however looking omnious as dark clouds were hovering over our heads ready to open up at any instant

Early morning in dharmastala


The bus to shishla was ready which we immediately boarded. As we proceeded to shishla we kept an eye out on the weather which began to clear which gave us some relief.

Chengappa our guide was waiting for us at shishila bus stand. After embarking from the bus we proceeded to gohkale’s house which would be our base camp. We were told that it was raining for the past 2 days and we could expect rain even on sat. We had decided if it would rain then we would be doing some other peak instead of ettinabuja. Keeping this flexibility in mind we proceeded further

After finishing our morning abulations and having a heavy breakfast we embraked on the quest to conquer ettinabhuja with the sky clearing up.

Guys getting ready for the trek

Sandeep all set and ready for trek

After checking our belongings , we started towards the peak with hope that it would rain

Ettinabhuja as seen from afar

We followed chengappa as he led the way. The initial walk was on the banks of river kapila which we had to cross. The river was in full flow when we had visited in june, however now the current was much less and we could cross it easily

River Kapila

We began our foray into the forest and soon we met our companions for the trek leeches which would accompany us till the top.  After a short walk on the flat land , the climb began.

We began climbing at a steady pace and after a while we took a small break. The climb got steeper and taking frequent breaks we moved ahead. After a couple of hours of walking we reached the first grassland from where we could see the peak more clearly. Though the peak looked quite close, there was still lot of distance to cover, luckily for us the sun was still shining and we were able to cover good ground

Peak seen from grassland

Proceeding further we reached the second grassland , with grass as tall as us , dhimoy and myself cimbed a rock and we could see dark clouds had gathered and it was looking ominous. By this time the others had also reached the grassland and we moved forward.

Lunch was taken and after a short rest we began the final ascent. We reached the final grassland from where the we could see the peak standing in front of us majestically .

This was the place where I saw the peak for the first time when we went in june

After a short photosession we proceeded further. Since we cannot climb the peak directly we have to circle the peak to reach the top. By the time we reached the peak it was 4.45 in the evening.

Gang at top of ettinabhuja

Chengappa was of the opinion that we should climb the peak tomorrow as it could rain anytime and we had to get to the bhirapura temple situated a couple of kms below. As we were resting , chengappa met a local and got the permission to stay in the temple

We left ettinabhuja at 5.30 promising to return the next day and headed to bhirapura temple. As we left the peak we saw the weather had changed dramtically with grey clouds gathering from no where.

Bhirapura temple beckoned us at 5.45, which would be our halting place for the night.

The place was already covered in mist we could hear thunder at a distance accompanied by lightning

Bhirapura Temple covered in mist

A misty evening

Campfire was up and after a hot cuppa we were relaxing when we could feel the raindrops and within no time the rain began to fall.

The rain continued for some more time and later after stopping we began the campfire again and got the RTE’s out. Dinner was soon finished and it time to hit the couch.

10 ppl sleeping along with heavy rucksacks was a tight affair we maanged to make ourseleves comfortable. However the place being too small a few of the guys went to sleep outside by the fire praying it would rain again in the night.

After spending the night in the temple we got up early morning to find the mist still present. As we were getting ready to ascend the peak the sun began to come out of the clouds. The weather cleared up and we began to ascend the peak. With clear weather the peak looked amazing and we began to walk faster to reach the peak

We reached the peak from where we could see the hump.

The Ox’s Shoulder

Clicking some snaps we proceeded for the final phase of ascending the steep stretch to reach the top. The lush green mountains on the either side was a treat for our eyes and with the our cameras clicking we proceeded

After spending some time on top we bid adeiu to ettinabhuja n began our descent to shishla via the same way. While going down the group was split into 3 with dhimoy, sandeep and rutuja leading the way , me , amit, chirag and vishak in the middle and ina, girish and chengappa bringing the rear

Decent was fast with the sun beating down. As I was in the middle we were proceeding a bit slowly, and some how we lost our way :).  We managed to stumble upon a turtle which was equally lost :).

Lost Turtle

We found the trail after searching for a few min and we soon reached the river. After reaching the pickup point me, chirag,amit and viskah called the jeep and rested for a while. The others joined us and we headed back to gohkale’s house.

After a belly filling lunch and seista we headed to shishileshwara temple to spend some time there. Later we boarded the jeep back to dharmastala.

Munching on ice creams and dosas we whiled away the time before heading back to bangalore

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Hogenakal Falls – Niagara of India

Hogenakkal falls also called Niagara of India was the destination for this weekend’s outing. This was a place which I wanted to visit, but couldnt due to lack of company or my parents unwillingness to send me there.

After discussing a few options,me and my friend headed out to hogenakkal in my car as I wanted to go this place no matter the cost. After picking up my friend from basavanagudi at 6.45,  we zipped past the empty bylanes to reach BTM layout where we had encountered a little traffic. Soon we reached hosur road which was amazing empty since it was only 7.15 in the morning. I was enjoying the drive as there was no traffic.  We reached attibele and the road widened up as this stretch was relatively empty except for a few trucks which were blocking our path 🙂 , I had to drive carefully as people run across the road and I didnt want to hit anyone 🙂

With a pedal to metal kind of driving we reached A2B restaurant around 8. A quick stop of breakfast and we were off.  My friend took over the driving and we proceeded further. Since we had the whole day i told my friend to reduce the speed and we were cruising at speeds of 80-90 kms/hr.

Crossing krishnagiri we reached dharampuri. After negotiating the traffic we entered the state highway , which was maintained neatly. We were proceeding at a constant pace when we the signboards welcoming us to hogenakal. The winding provided some good scenery, which my lens duly captured

Winding Roads to Hogenakal

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As we moved further , we reached the ghats. The road going down to the falls provided with some excellent views. A small photo-session was conducted there to capture the amazing scenery

scenery near hognekkal falls

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We reached hogenkkal falls and since this was my first visit to this place, I wasnt quite sure what to expect. I had read in numerous blogs that the moment u reach the parking lot people swarm the car/bike and ask if we want to see the falls or get a massage. The blogs do not lie 🙂 n this was the case here.

We initially thought the falls would be located close by which can be seen from afar, which is not the case. Coracle or commonly called theppa in local language is the only way to reach the falls

Coracle /theppa is a round bamboo boat which is lined with animal hide/canvas and tar at the bottom used in South India mostly

The price for a full 2 hour ride is 600 Rs, which as per the coracle ppl is fixed by the govt. However the price can be bought down after some hard negotiating.

People come from Karnataka / TN and also from kerala to see the falls all through out the year.

Me and my friend decided to take the full 2 hour ride as we had come all the way to see the falls. The coracle guy said we can pay after seeing the falls and if we are convinced. We started the downhill ride for the first series of falls.

TN Falls

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Falls from another angle

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After spending some time taking photos we proceeded further. The rocky view provided a good spot for taking some nice photos. With the water and the rocks the place looked like a mini grand canyon

Mini GC ????

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The ride continues until we have to break and walk a further 1 km to reach the main falls.

The main falls is present in the Karnataka side and per the locals the entire was once abode of veerappan. The falls is part of MM Hills forest range. After spending some time there we headed back.

Hogenkkal  Main Falls

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After paying the guy 500 for 2 hrs we left hogenkkal at 1.30 in the afternoon. While coming we took an alternate route (Hogenakkal->Rayakottai->Palakkodu->Hosur->Bangalore)  which helped us avoid the highway.

The roads were very good and the drive was pleasurable. We reached Bangalore at 5 and I reached home by 6.30

Some facts about hognekkal

Hogenakkal is a series of 20 odd water falls present at the Karnataka-TN border. Since it is present at the border the falls are called TN falls and Karnataka Falls

Distance from Bangalore – 180 Kms

Mode of transport to see the falls – Only way to see the falls is by using the coracle

Fare – 30 at the entrance , 20 for coracle. 500-600 for 2 hrs coracle ride(price can be bargained)

Best time to visit the falls – Though the falls can be visited all year-round , best time to visit is post monsoon when the falls will be full

Note: There is no hotels in hogenkkal apart from hotel tamilnadu. The only hotel enroute is A2B

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Mullyanagiri-Bababundangiri Ridge Walk – An unfinished trek

History

A year ago on sept 10th 2008 ,8 unkown ppl had met at shantala silk house when yhai had announced a 2 day hike to mullayanagiri and kemmangundi. We had climbed mullayanagiri though that was my second ascent to the peak. Due to time constraints we couldnt do the ridge walk as we had to depart to kemmangundi the same day. We had decided we would do it the following year.

Team from last year

P9270006_resizeL To R(Sneha, Ram,Satish,Prahalad,Shasi,Roopa,Prashant, me taking the snap)

Present Day

One year had passed and everyone were eager to complete the ridge walk as an anniversary event.  The team for this year’s trek  -Mr & mrs Ravi , Sneha, Badri,Roopa,Prashant,Shobana,Vikas and Me.

Tickets were booked and everyone were in high spirits. With just a week to go my mom newspapers had reported north east monsoon would hit the state and with depression in TN , heavy rains were to be expected.  I had checked my weather forecast a couple of days before leaving and there was no indication of rain. The weather forecast for 5th nov when I had checked can be found below

Weather forecast as of Nov 5th

I had told my friend to check the weather before leaving, however it was too late as tickets were already booked. Another guy had confirmed that it was raining heavily in chikmagalur and chances of doing the ridge walk would be less.

9 of us met at majestic bus stand at 10.45 to board the bus to chikmagalur.  The guy who had taken the pains of booking the tickets and who was enthusiastic about coming for the trek had to drop out as work had forced him to stay back.

The bus reached chikmagalur at 6 in the morning, and we could see that it was very cloudy and it had rained previously. After a finishing our morning abulations we hired a jeep to take us to the top of mullayanagiri.

We could see thick fog everywhere and visibility was near zero.

Misty road to mullyanagiri

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A small photoshoot was done and this provided us with an oppurtunity to acclimatize ourselves.

The gang enjoying a photoshoot

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A lone tree covered by mist

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We reached the top and headed to the temple. The person in the temple told us the coffee will be ready by the time we saw the caves which was present just below the temple.

The winds had picked up intensity and just standing was proving to be difficult. We managed to get to the cave which provided us shelter from the winds temporarily. Munched on a few snacks the others had got and clicked a few snaps.

Silhouette inside the cave

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After spending some more time in the caves , we headed back to the temple to have hot cuppa and to start the trek. We were shown the route and we promptly started.

There were two paths one which goes left and other goes straight. We took the path which goes left and started walking. Care had to be taken while walking on the slippery ground as a wrong step would send us slidding down.  Helping each other we proceeded further. As we went further we saw the path again splitting into two. We were told by the temple guy to follow the main path, which we did.

After walking for a while we heard some noises and this left us confused. Badri told we had circled the mountain and we came back to the arch. To rectify the mistake we doubled back and took the path going down.

After walking for 30-40 min we again heard the same noises. Now we were were sure we had circled mullyanagiri mutt again. However we decided to continue walking and we finally reached the arch.

Circling the mutt twice took us 2 hours.  A localite showed us the correct route once we reached the top again :). As we neared the V shaped stone , we found the winds to be increasingly high. With near zero visibility conditions ,myself and ravi continued further, moving slowly.

The others especially the girls were not willing to risk going further and thus we had to go back to the mutt.

With a heavy heart we finally had to abandon the plan of doing the ridge walk as the weather would not allow us to move any further

With enough time left with us and having nothing to do we walked along the jeep track to sitalayanagiri mutt from where the jeep picked us. We headed back to chikmagalur town.

View Near Sitalaynagiri Mutt

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The weather had cleared just a little to take a few snaps of the lush green mountain ranges

After lunch , the rest of the day was spent sleeping , playing cards  and cracking jokes before heading back to bangalore

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Manchinbele Dam

Manchinbele Dam is a dam built on the river arkavati. This place is ideal for a day outing, though not much can be done here except play in the river , however the view of the dam from the top is really mesmerizing. This place is full of birds and is an ideal spot for bird watching along with TG halli reservoir which is a few kms away from manchinbele

While chatting with my friend in office , he suggested we go for a sunset photoshoot in manchinbele on sunday. Since I had nothing to do on sunday I immediately agreed as I wanted to visit this place , after reading so many blogs , however the visit could not materialize due to some reason or the other. Now that the plan was finalized , I was determined to go there.

I left for manchinbele at 3 in the afternoon along with two of my friends. We reached Rajarajeshwari medical college and took the right next to the college. We were crusing along and we reached Big Banyan Tree in an hour or so. After a small break and we proceeded to the dam. After negotiating a bad stretch of road we could see the backwaters of the dam. We had a small photo session from the top, as the view was fabulous.

Manchinbele Dam

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The sun had hid itself behind the clouds , and a lonely tree near the banks of the dam , provided an ideal view to experiment with different compositions. We tried various composition techniques and moved on.

Lonely Tree

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We could see a lot of people near the bank , while some were playing in the water others were drinking , others were cooking food, and as usual they were littering the place.

Cloud Patterns

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The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds , and the patterns in the clouds along with the cloud cover provided us with a good view of the sunset. We took quite a few snaps in various angles before heading back.

Celestial Sunset

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A Fiery Sunset

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We found a good view point when coming back , which was utilized well by taking a few shots of the backwaters and the evening sky. We headed back to bangalore after having a cuppa in one of the hotels near Big Banyan Tree.

Twilight at Manchinebele

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View of manchinbele just after sunset

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