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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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Horagina Betta

Horagina Betta Aka Nandi One, is a hillock adjacent to nandi hills is an unexplored hillock was the destination of this weekends trek. A chat with my friend regarding a trek around nandi saw me searching the net for this hill when I got the link to BMC site. Searching further for the route, one of the blogs had  mentioned about stopping at karahalli cross and trekking from there.

With the details in hand me and Mohan decide to explore the unexplored hill. Instead of taking the normal route to nandi we headed the long way via chikballapur. One of the blogs had mentioned the trek starting at nandi cross but we took the route to karahalli cross and reached there at 9 in the morning. Parking the bike at the hotel we inquired about the route, we were told to take the road going next to the hotel and go straight which we did. We found there was no direct route hence we decided to make our own. The climb to the top was just beginning.

Crossing the trench we headed slowly to the top. There was enough throny shrubs and rocks to keep us on our toes. With couple of big boulders along the way, we could practice some rock climbing along the way. A short stop along the way for couple of photos and we continued the climb

View from top

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As we were climbing next to nandi the top was always visible to us. We found the hill to be at a lesser height when compared to Nandi.

Nandi Top

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As the climb progressed the shola became more dense and we had a tough time crawling through the shrubs and the foilage. Finally after an hour and 10 min of climbing we were at the top. I had read about a shaneshwara temple, but couldnt find any when we reached the top. We spent some time looking around but couldnt find it. Taking some photos at the scenic view from the top, we relaxed for a while

Panaromic view from horagina betta

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The descent was much faster as we found there was a direct route to the top which starts from half way through on the road to nandi, however we found the route we had taken to be more adventurous. Since our bike was at karahalli cross, we took an auto to the base. From the short conversion with the driver , we came to know there are other small hillocks which could be climbed easily. He had also mentioned, the temple is present and is not visible easily. One has to go around the big boulder which we found and climb little more to get to the temple and a kalyani which is also present there.

It was another long walk from the base to the bike and back home thus ending an eventful trek

Snaps can be found here

Yelagiri Drive and Trek

It had been more than a month since my visit to Jungle Lodges and the boredom of the daily routine meant it was time to head for another outing.

Bangalore Mirror had published an article on Nayakaneri last year, however after the site revamp the entire section “Quick Getaways” which showcases some of the offbeat locations around bangalore had been removed. The link I had bookmarked was not working and this meant I had to rely on Google Maps and directions from the locals to reach the place. This prompted me to do a recee of the route and joining me in this were Vikyath, Kumar and Karthik.

While checking the route in google I found another reserve forest, called Jawadu Hills. Googling further I found there is a falls nearby (Bheema Falls) which is supposed to have water for 8 months of the year and an Observatory (Vainu Bappu Observatory) which could be covered in a day, hence we decided to go there. Jawadu hills is part of the eastern ghats and has some scenic spots. Yelagiri which is another popular getaway comes in the same range.

A early start was us cruising along kolar highway with a stop at Adigas for breakfast. One needs to take the mulbagal-VKota road and head towards ambur. The smooth highway turned to a backbreaking ride for the next 20 odd kms as we were forced to avoid every size of pothole before we exited to a well laid stretch of road.

Road to VKota

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The road we entered was lined with a huge row of trees and made a nice setting to click some photos. A short break there and we continued and soon we were at VKota. Our next stop was pernambut and soon we were descending on a amazing stretch of road. We could see the eastern ghats at the distance and the descent couldnt help us from taking another break for some more photos.

Eastern Ghats

IMG_7489_resizeThe descent was done fairly quickly and once we entered pernambut we were again greeted with another wonderful stretch of road with trees on either side. With such wonderful roads and scenary it was time for another photo break. Couple of solo shots and it was off to jawadu hills

Tree lined road

IMG_7499_resizeWe reached Ambur by 12 and asked for directions upon which we were told to go to the highway and ask for directions which is what we did. One of the auto drivers we asked told us to go back a little distance and take the service road going to thirupattur. The shop keeper whom we asked for directions told us the falls is dry and the observatory may or may not allow us inside. If we are looking for a relaxed holiday he asked us to visit yelagiri which was around 30 kms. With no other options left we decided to head to yelagiri.

The 30 kms drive was done in a hour and half just in time for lunch. Upon inquiring the places to visit, we were told there is a lake and a trekking place 4 kms down at a village called mangalam. Instead of wasting time at the lake we headed to mangalam village. One of the villagers told us about Swamy malai which seems to be a popular trekking spot whose trail begins just behind the cluster of houses.

The inital trail is through a field and we could also see another hillock at a distance.

Hills in Yelagiri

IMG_7520_resizeThe climb began shortly and it seemed to continue forever. The pace was slow as we had just had our lunch. Climbing for an hour or so we reached the top where we could see the temple.

Climb to Swamy malai

IMG_7523_resizeResting for a while we headed back down and to the car, thus completing a good trek. It was a long drive back to bangalore and to the daily routine thus concluding a day well spent on the hills

 Snaps can be found here

Gummanayakanapalya Fort – Revisit

After a recee to GN Kote in december, it was time to pay another visit to the fort. Time constraints prevented me from trekking to the fort during the last visit. Now that the route was known, I could reach the place easily. With the new flyover opened on airport road,it was a easy ride all the way and soon I was at Devanhalli while enjoying the drive on the new flyover. The drive continued after a short stop for a cuppa. Another hour of driving saw me reach bagepalli. Taking right here I proceeded further, careful not to miss the left turn which we get after few kms.

From here on it was one straight road which was covered easily. I soon came across the sign showing the fort to be another 11 kms. Take another left at the signboard i continued the drive and soon reached the fort. Upon reaching the fort, the next order of business was to find out how to get inside and explore the fort. I had remembered a local guy saying it would take 2-3 hours to explore the fort completely. Upon inquiring from the locals, i came to know the fort can be explored in an hour max 1.5 hours which is quite less. With the time estimation done, the next question was who would take me around. Surprisingly i found couple of small kids who had been to the fort and they were to become our guides for the day.

The initial path to the fort goes through the village fields before we begin the ascent to. One can see a ruined structure at a distance which I was not sure what it was.

Ruined structure near GN Kote

IMG_6361_resizeThe ascent continued and I could soon we reached first tier of the fort where I could find some inscriptions written. Couple of  snaps there and we continued the climb. The builders of the fort have constructed steps everywhere which allows for easy movement. As the locals said it took around 1.5 hours to roam the fort completely.

Path to the Top

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The only remnants left standing are couple of minarets and walls. The rest of the fort is completely damaged.

Look around at GN Kote

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Snaps can be found here

Rayakottai Fort – Tippu’s forgotten fort across the border

75 kms from Bangalore lies a sleepy town of Rayakottai just off hosur. The place contains a forgotten fort of tippu sultan. The fort is one of ancient structures present in krishnagiri district and is under the protection of ASI. The fort was ruled by Tippu and his father Haider Ali in the 18th century. Major Gowdie captured this fort during the Angl0-Mysore war before it changed hands to the british during the treaty of Srirangapatna.

The fort was chosen for a short trek and myself, chetana and vikyath headed there on sat morning. The early morning sun made the drive pleasant. Navigating the early morning traffic to get out of the city and soon we found ourselves stuck in a big traffic jam at one of the diversions which again made us lose some time. Taking a diversion at hosur we proceeded towards rayakottai while taking a short stop for breakfast.

The sun was up by now and the scenary gradually changed as we proceeded. Couple of photos of nearby hillocks and we reached Rayakottai.

Hillocks near rayakottai

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There is a ASI board at the entrance of the fort, however we found the place is vanalized by people with many scribbling their names all over the place. As per ASI board any damage to historical monuments will set the offender back Rs 1,00,000. The trail is pretty well marked and it makes it easier for a first time trekker to find his way to top.

Start of the trek

IMG_6188_resizeThe sun was beating down by the time we started the trek.  One tends to gain a lot of elevation initally, however the trail flattens out as we go higher.  We found lot of markings of religious significance as we climbed higher.

We soon reached the first tier of the fort where one can see a dilapated wall marking the entrance

First tier@fort

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Markings

IMG_6200_resizeAt half way point the trail splits into two. The left side of the trail leads to a cave where one gets to see a small vaishnava cave and smaller caves where one can rest.

Vaishnava Cave

IMG_6209_resizeTaking few snaps of the cave and fooling around we spent some time relaxing before we headed back on the trail and to the other end of the fort. The scenary changed gradually as we climbed and soon we could see greenary everywhere.

Lush Greenary

IMG_6234_resizeApproaching the second tier of the fort, we found another cave another break was taken along with few snaps. Soon we reached the entrance of the second tier which is predominently marked by a big arch. This is the final tier of the fort and as you go further one can see a big pond and lot of ruined structures which were probably used to store food grains and even ammunition.

Spending some time roaming around the place, we proceeded further for the final climb.

Pond and ruins on the fort

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As one nears the top there are small steps which is carved in the steps which helps to get an easy grip. We found more structures as we went towards the top and after a short climb we reached the top.

View from top of rayakottai fort

IMG_6286_resizeIMG_6279_resizeWith a nice breeze blowing we took a good rest at the top for a while before we proceeded the trek back down which took us about 40 min.

Lunch was at A2B on the way back and it was back to the usual chaotic traffic before before reaching home thus ending a day well spent exploring a wonderful fort

Snaps can be found here

The ridge walk

It had been almost 7 months since I had completed stok kangri and the need to get back to the mountains was getting bigger with each passing day. Summer had to be ruled out due to lack of water and high temperatures, however when rains began it was time to head back to the mountains. I was initially planning for a day trek and when my friend shashi asked me if i was willing to join for a ridge walk between mullayanagiri and bababudangiri i jumped in on the chance.

As usual tickets were booked and I met Shashi and his friends (hema and Jyothi) at majestic at 10 pm on sat night. An uneventful bus journey took us to chikmagalur the next day morning ar 4.30. Another couple of hours of sleep and it was time to head to bababudangiri. The bus which was leaving at 6.30 was full , hence we decided to take a ride on the top of the bus, which was a different experience and was a lot of fun. An hour drive took us to dattapeeta from where the trek begins.

Ride On top of bus

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The weather was misty and the whole area was covered in white by the time we reached dattapeeta. Chances of trekking was less as rain was imminent. We however decided to go ahead with the trek hoping the weather would clear up. We went to mankyadhara falls as the route starts from there and we were soon descending into the valley.

Misty Weather

945499_10201278594745709_1797923025_nWith mist covering the place every now and then, we had to be careful not to loose the way. Though I had done this trek in 2007, i was not familiar with the route, however shashi who had done this route recently was able to lead the way. We maintained a steady pace while taking short breaks while waiting for the weather to clear up before moving ahead.

As the rainy season was beginning temperature was low, and soon we found overselves in a blanket of white cloud. With no idea on how to proceed with took a long break before the clouds parted way and showed us the route to the actual ridge.

Lush Greenary and misty walk

944388_10201278596305748_1944154211_n389230_10201278598865812_1974148617_nWith just an hour to go finish the ridge walk we halted for lunch which was supposed to be a short break which dragged for 45 min. As we still had to climb mullayanagiri, we immediately headed off to the ridge. Care to be taken while on the ridge as there was a big gorge on the side and any mistake can have disastrous consequences. The walk is relatively short on the ridge and we soon reached the tower which marked the end of the ridge walk.

We still had to climb mullyanagiri and there was not a lot of time to loose. The weather remained misty and we soon set about climbing the tallest peak in karnataka. With short breaks we continued the ascent and after an hour and half of climbing we reached the temple. The priest asked us to freshen up and have lunch. A short break after lunch and we were began the descent on the road rather than taking the route down via “Sarpadari”.

Way to Mullaynagiri

401869_10201278600545854_766429056_nIt was long walk back on the road with a short break for tea and snacks. It was already 6 by the time we reached anegundi bus stop where we caught a tempo going to the city thus completing an amazing and fun filled trek.

Stok Kangri The Expedition — Day 5: The trek begins

When coming back from pangong we saw huge welcome signs in leh, later we came to know His Holiness The Dalai Lama would be passing by and everyone were excited to see him.

Early next morning people had lined up the street waiting to catch a glimpse of His Holiness. We too waited for the convoy to pass by. Some of the people were waiting since early morning. As expected there was a delay and after waiting for another half hour or so we could final see the car approaching.

H.H The Dalai Lama

It was back to the guest house and breakfast was served, as were told people would not cook till they saw His holiness. Once the convoy had passed, we had our breakfast and loaded our bags into the waiting cars. Extra luggage was to be kept back at the guest house itself.

As it was the first day of the trek we decided to drive down to shang village which involves a couple of hours drive from leh. We passed shey palace and took a deviation from the road going towards hemis monastery and continued towards shang village. Couple of cars had already passed us and had reached the village. We were asked to get down and after getting our daypacks we began the march to the camp site after a couple of group shots

The group

It was a short walk from the road to the camp site and we got busy chatting with the rest of the gang. We had a interesting mix of IT and Non-IT guys in the group and were sure to have an interesting time in the days to come. Soon we reached the camp site which was just across a small stream. Our bags had arrived and the tents were pitched up. After having the welcome drink which was served we got into the tents for a while.

Hills and Valley of shang

Soon lunch was served and we got back to our discussions which ranged from treks done by the guys to other topics which helped us while away couple of hours. Rammohan then asked us to go to the shang monastery which is located atop a hill as part of the acclimatization walk.

Shang Monastery

The climb took half hour and when we reached the top we found it to be closed, however we told we could go inside. The lamma i.e the head priest was out and we made use of the time goin to the top of the monastery.

Deepak who also had a SLR n myself along with vinay began a discussion about composition, exposure etc. The laama arrived shortly and we went down.  The shang monastery as per the laama was built over 800 yrs ago. The inner part of the monastery retains the original look, the pillars are continously reinforced.  The laama also showed us some old prayer books which the monastery houses. Spending some time there and seeking the laama’s blessing we headed back to camp.

More discussions continued with rawat and he shared some of his experiences while on treks. As the sun went down we had our dinner and retired to our tents as the actual trek would begin from tomorrow

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