Deepambudhi Lake/Marconahalli Dam

A visit to a couple of dam’s, a lake along with a overcast sky is ideal setting to get away from the maddening crowds and the daily city life. Throw in a ruined church and a couple of monuments, it becomes a perfect reciepe to spend the weekend. This is what I was planning to do over the course of the weekend.

Browsing the net in search of places that could be covered in a weekend, I chanced upon a rather deepambudhi lake which is in huliyurdurga and markonhalli dam located on the banks of simsha river in yediur. The lake was in pristine condition . I decided to visit the lake and dam. After checking a few more places that could be visited, I found a ruined church in shettihalli , which attracts hordes of visitors and gorur and yagachi dam’s could be covered in 2 days along with the famous belur and halebid temples.

With the places shortlisted, I decided head out on sat morning. Left bangalore at 7 at reached nelamangala. Refilled at a petrol bunk and reached the nelamangala bypass in a short while as there was less traffic. Took the left turn, to hassan and was cruising along.

Roads are being relaid, across the entire stretch, from nelamangala bypass till hassan, on both sides. Riding for another hour or so, I reached kunigal  by 9.30 and asked for directions from locals. I was told that I had taken the longer route , as there is another route which one can take from magadi road as It leads directly to lake.

I was told to go a little further and take the left at the circle and go another 20kms before taking another right near the Indian Oil petrol bunk. Another 4-5 kms of travel in huliyurdurga state forest would lead me to the lake.

Scenary on the outskirts of kunigal

The roads improve dramatically once we leave kunigal bypass. It was a real joy driving on those roads, as there were no potholes and traffic was sparse.

Beautiful Roads

After a short while I reached the petrol bunk and took the left, at the sign boards and entered huliyurdurga forest. The winding roads gives u a feeling of driving in the ‘GHATS’.

Riding on those twisty roads, I could see the lake in front of me. There is also an arch which goes to marikamba temple. One can park their vechile after taking a left at the arch or at the temple go to the lake.

Deepambudhi Lake

The lake is clean and there is no garbage being thrown, which is suprising. The place is also teaming with a variety of birds and is a ideal place for bird watching.

A few shots of the lake

I spent some time at lake relaxing and taking snaps before leaving the place.

Note: Apart from visiting the lake, one can also visit kunigal stud farm owned by vijay mallya, huliyurdurga state forest or one can trek to huliyurdurga hill which is located closeby.

After finishing my visit to deepambudhi lake, my next place on the list was marconhalli dam.  Reaching kunigal bypass, I again asked for directions.

To reach marconhalli dam, travel 16 kms from kunigal. After 16kms one can see kstdc hotel on the right, take the road going to the left and proceed 5 kms to the dam.

View near the dam

Entry to the dam is restricted and photography inside for security reasons. However one can spend some time taking snaps on the outskirts of the dam, and visiting the climate stattion

There wasnt much to do at the dam, so I headed back, stopped briefly at another spot near the river before heading back to the kstdc hotel

Scenic view near the river

Dark clouds began to gather, as I reached the hotel. To go to shettihalli , I was told to go to chennarayanapatna which is 60kms from the hotel, and ask for directions. With more dark clouds gathering, I decided to head back to bangalore, as the chances of rain was imminent. Reached nelamanagala around 4 and had a late lunch before reaching my house at 5, thus concluding another wonderful trip

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Snaps can be found here

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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Snaps can be found here

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