Ringed by chain of mountains with lush green vegetation, blessed with rich flora and fauna. Colossal trees standing tall imploring the clouds carrying mist. Compounding to this affect is lots of phantasmagoric water falls, wild-lyfe and scenic trekking routes. Bringing down the paradise on earth!! Truely a feast for all your senses!! Yes its none other than “malenaaDu”… translated to “land of mountains” in kannada. Which was the source of inspiration and admiration to many poets. Clusters of this dense region are Kemmangundi, Baba Budangiri, Mullayyanagiri and many others.
The best part about this paradise on earth is very few people know about it, due to its tough roads n lack of good facilities for tourists this has been less explored compared to other spots in Karnataka. Tat retains its rawness n freshness of Eco-System.
We started off on a Friday early morning towards the destination. Was teamed up with my 3 other friends; after initial delay in the starting due to certain expected circumstances :D!! tvp m not blaming u… hehe!! felt sorry for samir as his waiting for the voyager was dragged a bit!! finally picked up samir around 5.40 AM and drove towards SV’s abode arnd 6.15 AM.
Our destination was to reach Chikmagalur and then decide about the further plans, as we were aware of many places in and around we didnt plan precisely which one to take first. Bangalore-Kunigal road was damn good, the speedometer needle was always on the right-hand-side. As we were hungry our first pit-stop was Kunigal for breakfast!! Mez being cautious abt the drive n holding the responsibilities of other 3 people in my voyager decided not to have heavy breakfast so would not sleep while driving :D. Hit the road towards Chikmagalur whisking with the air overtaking many huge trucks n buses. On our way towards Chikmagalur stopped at a dam called as Yagachi. Not so surprisingly we were at the Chikmagalur ahead of our planned time.
On our way we planned to halt at Kemmangundi. Since we had the doubt about availability of accomodation at Kemmangundi’s. We needed some backup plan if we dont get any cottage for stay. Thus decided to enquire about few hotels at Chikmagalur, infact we literally blocked the rooms for that night’s stay at CM and moved on towards KGundi. After certain distance we entered the Hilly region of KGundi, from there onwards it was just ascend and ascend towards 4000 Mtrs. The scenic ‘sarpadaari’ which we opted for to reach KGundi was at the cost of bad roads but worth it. At few places we were dumbstruck by the beauty of scenic-mountain-juxtapositions!!
Driving towards the destination thru bends n curves, was a shear pleasance and great concentration involved. Not to miss mentioning about my navigator SV, lots of indications abt the roads and cautioning my mind!! In a way he was speaking what i had in my mind as we were seeing the same wat our minds wanted to see :D!!
Suddenly our eyes caught a beautiful water-falls between the rocky region!! all of us were excited about its gushing flow. Water was crystal clear n was damn fresh. I was happy to take a break from the driving as my legs were tired of operating clutch-accelerator plates. At-the-drop-of-a-hat we were towards the falls; as I was busy capturing the ambience, tvp got his shoes off and was inside the water!! His sudden expression was “aaah its damn ice-cold here, my legs are numb”!! mez n sv were excited by his expression n were ready to get frozen :D!! After couple of minutes of stay in the flowing-water felt the chill up my legs!! But the stay in the water gave a lease of lyfe to my paining legs, suddenly realized the healing power of water!! It was getting late, so decided to leave the place.
Had to apply sudden breaks n stop my voyager, as we had encountered a Y-route… there was a faded board indicating the left-part-of-y as KGundi and the right part as BabaBudan Giri!! Although our plan was KGundi, reading the distance to BB-Giri was just 6 kms away we didnt wanted to miss this opportunity after coming so close towards it. As everybody vetoed taking KGundi, we took the obvious path.
We were unaware abt the conditions ahead which we had to face on the favoured route!! all we had in our mind was its juss 6 kms away. As we climbed the terrain, the situation got worst. It was fully covered with mist n fog, adding spice to it was the ruthless gutsy wind n poor narrow road which was blocking us to enter. Nothing was visible in front of us, all we could see was white sheet of fog-n-mist.
I had to take xtra care in driving, any small mistake would have been miserable!! my eyes was wide open juss lyke an owl…:D!! tvp warming up the back-seat was feeling ‘puku puku’ abt the drive n conditions, guess he woke up frm his sleep :D!! sv was over-cautious n was giving me all the info abt the track, samir had almost reached the dream land!! at tat cusp distance of 6 kms seemd lyke 60 kms under those horrifying conditions. It was lyke Enter-the-Dragons-mouth…the meticulous drive continued for around 45-50 mins bfore we stopped. Finally we cud c a huge fence n a huge bus being parked, we assumed tat we have reached the BB-Giri shrine.
The toughest part now was getting out of the car, the wind was so harsh tat wasnt allowing us to get out. On the process of getting out we managed to flew the Map/info holder out of the car, tvp ran behind to catch hold of it. In vain had to succumb for the wind god. Luckily the jungle lodges voucher was safe.
The most memorable n tranquilising moments were the Shrine of BabaBudan and Dattatreyaswamy peetha!! it was all worth the tough travel, felt a deep sense of satisfaction n happiness. The shrine is at the peak of 4000 Mts above sea level under the vault. Its were the boundaries of relegion being erased. The best part abt the vault is the warmth n positive energy radiating inspite of cold n breezy external environment. We felt as if we had accomplished everything, tvp was damn happy abt the visit.
It was arnd 4 PM when we started to descend, it was easy drive down the hill compared to ascend. From there on we moved towards K Gundi, our estimated time to reach there was 6 PM considering the road quality. By 5.15 or so we were at the foot of KGundi peak, was attracted by one of the scenic-spots and had to stop, KGundi was juss 3 kms away.
After the break we headed towards dest, all of a sudden felt some sort of itching in my left leg. When touched felt like a rubber being sticked to my skin, couldnt realize wat it could be. Tried to peal it off but was glued like a feviquik, then sensed it could be one of the blood-sucking worm. Yes it was none other than Mr.Leech who was enjoying my blood, stopped the car n got down. Without any hesitant pealed it off, though it hurt was lucky to plot at the right time. It had juss started to suck the blood. Was feeling sad to loose few drops of blood!! Now had the exp of leech attacks as well, a lesson learnt by all 4, not to hang arnd bushes n trees.
After all these we reached KGundi arnd 5.30 PM, it was fully covered with mist n canopy of tall trees. We needed a cottage for our stay, as we were enjoying the ambience tvp went ahead for enquiring. After some discussion with the care taker of the cottages tvp found n felt tat it was not safe to stay in the cottages here due to security reasons. It was getting darker, the cottages were shrouded by tall trees letting very less light. To our luck Mr Rain God started to bless upon us. At the same time due to one of the transformer burst there was no power supply. It was more likely from all these tat we had to return back either to CM or Tarikere. But driving back is not so easy under all those conditions, moreover it was pinch dark n no lights. Wat next, did we drove back or stayed in KGundi unsecured on a darkest night. Watch on for the next post!!
We were Lost-in-Paradise!!