Monsoon Mania — Shingani Gudda/Jamalabad Fort Trek

With the monsoon setting in, and weather being cool, it was an ideal time to do a monsoon trek. I was initially thinking of doing dabbe falls and kanoor kote, however after a few calls to srikanth & kiran, we decided to climb shingani gudda, also called as buddha’s peak which is one of the significant peaks in the charmadi region. The plan for the next day was to be decided after getting back from shingani gudda.

With a rough plan in place,  the team (Srikanth,Me,Kiran,Guru, Poonam and Shilpa) headed to dharmastala on fri. Kiran had taken care of the bookings and he had called gokhle, to arrange for a guide and stay at their home. We had got news that it was raining intermittently in dharmastala, however this did not deter us from going ahead with the trek

Day 1: Ascent to Shingani Gudda

After a good sleep in the bus, we were dropped in kokkada around 5.30 in the morning. The overnight rains had left the roads completely wet.

Wet Roads

We waited for another half hour for a milk van to come, where we hitched a ride to gokhle’s house who welcomed us when we got there.  Refreshing ourselves, we began the trek after having breakfast. The overcast skies and mist covering the mountains provided a perfect setting for the trek

Cloudy/Misty Weather

The guide led the way and we followed him. The moment we entered the forest, we met our companions THE LEECHES, who would give us company throughout the trek

The cloudy weather still continued, however there was no rain yet. The incline was gradual and we were proceeding at a good pace while taking short breaks in between. Srikanth and myself managed to spot a snake, which was well camouflaged by the green cover. Taking snaps proved to be a challenging as  the camera wouldnt focus on the snake correctly. Trying a couple of times we moved ahead as we observed that the snake was trying to be aggresive when we were taking the snaps

The snake n the mistical forest

The mist which had engulfed the valley began to climb as we climbed higher & the steepness increased in a couple of places.

The valley

Shilpa who was doing her first trek, was struggling to keep up with us as she was quite scared of the leeches. The guide had given a home brewn oil to minimize the leech bites, however that didnt seem to have much effect. This prompted guru to stay back with her, while me kiran and poonam headed to the peak. It began to rain suddenly as we were near the peak and this prompted to stay put for a short near a cluster of trees as the wind was blowing very heavily.

As the wind velocity came down, we began the final ascent in the rain. Lucikly the rain stopped as we reached the peak.

A couple of shots and we were resting there for about half hour or so before we headed down, as we had got a call from guru who had asked us to come down soon, as he lost his way while trying to climb the peak to get to us 😦

Finally!! Reached the peak

Getting down was a little tricky as we were slipping  n sliding while getting down. Srikanth and myself had our fair share of falls before we got to guru and shilpa who were waiting for us.

The descent continued after lunch and soon we reached the water point, where we had another break before moving on. While the guide, went ahead, guru and the girls followed him, while me kiran and srikanth took a longer break before we decided to go ahead, however we soon realized we had lost our way.

Guru was just a short distance away and was whistling to us. Soon, we caught up with him, and managed to find our way to the road. Once we were on the road, the next question that came to our minds were “Where was the guide and the girls”. Srikanth argued that since we were shouting and whistling, the guide would have gone back to look for us, while kiran and I were of the opinion that they would have gone to gokhkle’s house.

To settle the matter once and for all, kiran n srikanth headed back to the point where we started the trek while me and guru waited near a bridge. Soon we found them coming back with the girls, who were apparently relaxing at the guide’s house. We headed back to gokhle’s house where we were welcomed with hot tea.

Evening was spent discussing the plans for next day. While I wanted to trek to udaya parvata, others were not in the mood to do any trekking. Shilpa was totally against any trek. Guru and Srikanth wanted to relax the next day. This left just me, kiran and poonam who were ready to trek the next day. Various options were put forward such as hiring a jeep and visiting kudremukh and few other falls around dharmastala, and even going to mangalore to hit the beach and then go to pabbas for a few ice creams. Discussions continued even after dinner, however with nothing materializing, it was time to hit the sack

Day 2: Jamalabad Fort

It was a early start to the day as everyone had woken up soon. After finishing our morning chores, the “plan for day” discussion continued. I proposed a trek to jamalabad fort which was quite easy. There would be no leeches there, all that was to be done was to climb the rock cut steps to reach the top of the fort. However it was evident by now no one was interested in trekking except me and kiran. The others decided to go to mangalore to have some fun while me n kiran headed to dharmastala to dump our luggage and then head to the fort

We reached belthangdi and took another bus to the nearest point. It was already noon by the time we reached the bus stop. A short stop for lunch and we began the climb

First Look at Jamalabad Fort

There were no security guards present below, as the fort falls under kudremukh reserve forest, one has to pay fees to trek to the peak.  The weather was bright and sunny and we were climbing without much effort.

As we went up, we could see the kudremukh range in all its glory. It was a delight to see the lush green forests

Kudremuh Range

An hour later we were at the top, and were exploring the fort. We also met a few guys who had come from mangalore to climb the fort. We spent some time talking with them before moving on. Spending some time atop the fort, we began our descent. The weather which was sunny suddenly turned cloudy and it began to rain heavily.

Descending slowly we made our way back to the base of the fort which took us about an hour

A short break and we were walking back to the bus stop after taking a few parting shots of the fort and the river

Fort n the River

With nothing to do after finishing the trek and others would take time to get back,  I told kiran we could walk from ujjre to dharmastala, which is about 8 kms.

Munching some snacks in belthangdi and after having some cuppa, we boarded a bus to ujjre and began walking to dharmastala after alighting at ujjre bus stop. It was raining intermittently and as usual we got drenched. Reaching dharmastala, we collected our luggage and after changing we met up srikanth and others who had just arrived from mangalore.

After dinner we headed to the bus and back to bangalore thus completing a wonderful trek, with the only casualties being my phone, which got drenched with me, and my knee 😦

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