Two hectic months went by and no trekking could be planned. The last one anyway had gone flat. So we planned once again.
Every time we think we have exhausted all trekking options around Bangalore, a new one comes up from some corner of the world around this city. This time it appeared near Doddaballapur. In fact it existed for long time but we ignorant ones came to know about it quite late. Nevertheless, better late than never.
So the shrunken group was on its way with a strength of 5. Late to bed and early to rise had already made all of us, except Abhishek a bit drowsy. Abhishek incidentally did not hit the bed that night and seemed to be full of energy as if it were another normal day.
Our path to the base
Though it was a new place, the path was not completely unknown. We had been to Doddaballapur a couple of time for different reasons earlier. So we undertook our journey through outer ring road, picked up Awadhesh, Sanjeevi and Bikash on our way and drove through Hebbal towards airport. We left Hyderabad highway near Yellahanka and encountered a railway cross as soon as we were off the main road. I sometimes wonder why a bridge or a flyover has not been built there in spite of traffic. But then there are many a questions unanswered in Bangalore and it just adds to the list. If the city can have a traffic signal over a flyover, not having a flyover to cross the railway track is a small anomaly we can live with.
Around 200 mtrs from the railway track, the left turn led us to the Doddaballapur road. Doddaballapur crossed, we kept on going straight and crossed Pune highway perpendicularly towards Gowri bidnur. A couple of for a long time we did not find anything on that road but our quest for a human face came to an end at a tea shop. Wow a cup of tea early in the morning after a drive of more than 70 KM. What would the body rejoice more?
Though we got direction from the tea shop, we had to return to him again as we were misled by some villagers who probably thought we were looking for Makalidurga station. Ignorance towards local language has its own cost.
Finally we took the correct path off the main road and were faced with another railway track, crossing which was impossible by vehicle. So we parked there and walked till the base of the hill. Sight of a temple and a family staying at temple accompanied by a lot of monkeys was in front of us and the language barrier was again in our way. Somehow negotiating that barrier we could understand that the lady there would accompany an old man with us, who can guide us to the peak. They just wanted some money (as much we wish) in return. Fine! let us move.
let the trek begin
Hardy had we gone 100 Metres, the old man showed us which way to take further and bid us good bye. We offered him 50/- but he was for no less than 100/-. (can some one tell Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia that Rs. 22.5 (this is how he loves to mark poverty line) gets you nothing even in Rural and remote areas).
Done, let us move further.
The climb was not as much as it looked to be. rocks had to be negotiated and Arrow marks on the rocks were there to guide us to the top. (May God bless those who made the mark. Amen!).
The first stop was flat surface which made for a temporary bed and some of us were off to sleep immediately. Cool and balmy breeze added to the soporific environment. Those who were awake had a nice experience with the touch of the breeze.
Get up men, let us go ahead!
Sleep off the eyelids, we started to the forte. We guessed a walk of 30-45 minutes but crossed it within 20-25 minutes. Our estimations were falling apart but we were not complaining. The forte had two layers of protective walls, which have been ruined by time and lack of care. A well, which would at some time served to quench the thirst of the soldiers had been dried off. One-time shelters have given way to dilapidation but greenery in and around the forte was enormous.
A walk around the forte and there was a place with couple of rocks in shade. Our butts on those rocks, breeze on our skin, a beautiful view to catch our eyes - what a relaxation! Add to that the chirping of the birds, which is a rarity in the city. The Flora had attracted and sheltered the Fauna in the ecosystem. The land, the sunrise, the water body and the nearby hills were redefining beauty. The tired muscles were being soothed by the balmy breeze and the serenity of the place was making the soul and heart calm. What else do you call a bliss!?
Reality knocks back
Bliss was short lived as the realization hit us that we belong to a city and have to get back to our homes before hunger pulls us down. The retreat started and soon we found ourselves back on the ground in front of my 'Black Beauty'.
The body and the soul is still craving for the heavenly breeze.