Just a couple of kilometers later, we crossed
the confluence of three rivers Cauvery, Kanike, and Sujyothi rivers., two
of which are visible and the last one being invisible (akin to ganga jamuna
saraswati). Nearby lies an old temple that has braved the ravages of time
bearing testimony to the resilience of the Indian civilization (which has
weathered many storms, seen empires being built and destroyed). We were
told that it's about 2000 years old with the last restoration having been
carried out some 200 years ago. It lent the whole place an aura of rustic
charm, tranquility and a halo of divinity .The temple was originally dedicated
to Lord Shiva with the shivling installed by some rishi (got to be Agasthya
he was the major rishi in south India) whose name eludes me, Vishnu and
Lord Subramaniam too occupied a place here. After praying (for a safe and
interesting trek) and paying our obeisance, we moved back to Madikere to
have a look at Abbe falls. Abbe falls is a privately owned property and
you need to pay a small entry fee. After reaching the place, we took the
tickets and ambled across the narrow lane surrounded by dense coffee plants.
Water was gushing through, cascading its way across the terrain and splashing
A bridge supported by cables similar to Howrah Bridge (but smaller) served as the platform from which one could behold the Abbi Falls. After a couple of snapshots,
with the Sun about to go down the horizon we got into the Tempo traveller and winded our way through to Raja's seat. Here the royal monarch used to come, and sit, for viewing the setting Sun.
However we were late and the sun had already cast its last rays. So in the twilight we settled ourselves on the Lawns of Raja's seat and were introduced to the photographic skills of PAV Prasad and Divyesh Shah.
Finally we reached the hotel and retired for the day preparing us for the arduous trek that lay ahead.
Alighting from the four wheeler, the load of fruits,
chocolates Bread, butter and jam was distributed equitably. This was to
serve as our ration for the up and downhill journey along with two bottles
of water per person. We began the climb at 9:30 am .The trek had begun. We
walked on a (6'wide) track (which later on narrowed down to a one-person
1' wide track) and came across a gradual ascent--a hint of things to come.
The road was lined by tall trees that jutted across the skyline, permitting sunlight to filter through as minute rays illuminating our path. Birds were sounding their multihued calls chirping, tweeting. It was music to the ears. After negotiating the ascent we came across two small streams in a wooded area. After this a steep climb for about 50 meters tested our physical fitness and we encountered a point of bifurcation. We took the Left road as advised by a group of fellow trekkers who were in a hurry and overtook us with their local guide. Another stream with water gurgling through the rocks greeted us.
As we made our way through the tall trees, all of a sudden, a cool breeze started blowing and a flurry of dried leaves started descending (in a fashion reminiscent of wicker tapes being thrown in a jam packed stadium) as if to welcome and encourage us to explore the hidden treasures of nature.
Next we came across the base of a mountain peak to our right and another one, slightly obscured to the left. A minor confusion arose as to which one was Tadiyanmol. However it was resolves as per the instructions of some trekkers we had crossed path with (Mr. RaviShankar from the wild along with his group of 24 who had originally helped us in deciding out trek route), while they were returning down (after their overnight halt at the peak). We were on the lookout for a large rock with some names scrawled across it that served as the landmark. Besides this we had been to told to keep a watch for a buffalo skull that had been strategically placed across another rock (at a distance of around 50-100 mtrs from the first) this was to be followed by a stone wall (Taking a left turn at the first rock led us to a cool fresh bubbling brook which happens to be the last point before the final ascent where you can fill up your bottles).
Once we came across the clues, we had an eerie feeling observing only the skull of what once might have been a big buffalo. By now the trekkers had separated into two groups, one going in the fast lane and the other bringing the rear moving at a gentler pace.
After crossing the wall the path became still more steep and we had to step gingerly, on the narrow trail, supporting ourselves with tufts of grass that stubbornly held onto the ground, much to our relief -since had it given way, climbing would have been more difficult-. Next we encountered a small jungle with dense undergrowth and we were aided in our climb by the various roots of trees that had shot out from the terrain here and there. This also was the most strenuous part of the advance and progress was labored, as the ascent was in the form of (naturally formed) stairs with a height of about one-foot. The only consolation being that we were sheltered from the heat of the afternoon by the thick growth.
At last the first group successfully negotiated the climb and reached the top of the peak -at about 1:15 p.m.- and was enjoying the sense of achievement that comes after toiling hard. Soon the rest of the members joined us .We had a hearty Lunch above the mountain peak and were careful to collect all the litter that we had used up like plastic bags, chocolate wrappers, banana peels etc. From the top, the view of the valley was beautiful. We could make out the path we had trudged to come so far, as also the numerous mountains that formed the complete range (It is rumored that one can view the Arabian sea at a distance from the top of the peak but since we were ignorant of this fact we did not attempt to do so).
After some time we started back our return journey on a joyous note. However a small drama was enacted as one of the participants had fear of heights (Hypsiphobia) (and had not realized the intensity of the trek when he signed up) .So he had a difficult time and sometimes had to be cajoled, encouraged to get down, sit and make it. Thus he too made a brave attempt and managed to reach the base camp after some anxious moments. (The bubbling brook were some of us freshened up had a nice lunch and drank some cool water) His joy on completing the trek successfully was infectious.
As we were returning, and neared the same rock with names scrawled across, a cluster of clouds started drifting and gradually enveloping the mountaintop as if bidding us farewell. It would have added to our joy had we camped overnight at the mountain top with the clouds and morning dew for company to be awakened by the resplendent rays of the rising Sun. May be, we thought, next time around wise from our experience we would equip ourselves with camping gear.
We had begun our descent at about 2:45 in the afternoon and managed to reach the base (Palace stop) at about 6:30 p.m. much to the annoyance of our driver who had to wait patiently for almost two hours (and could not understand the purpose of us spending all day climbing up and down a mountain with no gains to show for it and getting tired at the end of it).
Finally with twilight giving way to darkness we settled in the comforts of the Tempo traveller and the vehicle wound its way towards Virajpet .We reached Virajpet at about 8:30 p.m. and again searched for a hotel. The night was spent there with muscles aching and joints complaining. Sleep never appeared so sweet and refreshing.