Friday, June 24, 2011

Travelog Part 2 : Makalidurga Trip : Trek-cum-rappelling-cum-rafting day trip

This is  my Second  post  in my series , Traveloge , about the  places  i have  visited  . This  time  i  opted  to write  about Makalidurga. This  was  my first adventreous  trip .  Our  company people  , along with the  Nature Admire  group planned  this trip for us . I hadn’t heard of Makalidurga until that time. Nor did I know of Nature Admire. But when somethings are meant to happen, they just do and on one  fine  morning ,I was off to Makalidurga on a trek-cum-rappelling-cum-rafting day trip with Nature Admire.Makalidurga is a picturesque location marked by really beautiful mountainous landscapes dotted with some lush green vegetation. You will get the glimpse of the mountain train; passing through the valley at the foothills of these Mountains. Situated 60 kms from Bangalore, Makalidurga is a petite granite hillock located in between mountains near a valley called Ghati Subramanya. The trek to the top takes you to the fort of Makalidurga which is 1350 meters above sea level. There is a small temple here which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

We were picked up from  Office, and confirming to the Indian Stretchable Time (IST), we were zooming towards our destination exactly 45 minutes late.
We started from Bangalore at 7:30am in the morning.

We were served breakfast in our office  premises  itself . There was ice still to be broken between the different sub-groups within the team, and it gradually begin to happen. It was clear that communication wasn’t one of the strong points of the instructors at Nature Admire, but we managed it ourselves. In fact, until the trek started, I wasn’t even clear as to who our instructors were Makalidurga on categorized. Surprisingly we were on schedule, getting off the highway towards Dodballapur at around 9. We crossed the road that deviates to Nandi hill and went straight towards Makalidurga. I personally felt good that we weren’t at any of the crowded tourist destinations (Nandi hills included). 
What a beautiful place this MKdurga is, hillocks (adorned with rocks of all shapes and sizes) with the lake in between them, absolutely unruffled by the honking machines that pass besides it and the loudmouthed Trains that just try to catch everyone’s attention as they pass by.
We alighted from the bus at the base of the hill, and were given a quick briefing of the day’s activities by our instructors. Trekking up the hill was first, followed by rappelling and then lunch. Rafting was post lunch, we were told.


Trekking activity here is through a gradual hill climb. You may finish that in 2 hours and then head on for some rappelling session on a 20 feet high hillock.

The trek is easy and there are some directions painted in red and yellow that if gets unnoticed (which is quite possible during the beginning of the trek as the paint has faded away) you may end up viewing the summit from every possible direction around it. :-)

Our climb was very relaxed, with light topics that created laughs. The climb is gradual and it becomes steep as we go higher. We can also get to see a huge lake and other mountains.

Once everyone got back to the rappelling spot, Instructor  gave a quick demo of how it was done. Most of the people in the group were first timers, so everyone was cracking jokes to keep the spirit high. Of course, once you rappel the first time, it seems easy. And this cliff wasn’t too high either.  One by one we eagerly rappelled down. It was soon my turn and I was secured and instructed on how to let go of the rope as I put my weight backwards. Things seemed fine, and I began to descend. But I was soon swaying sideways like a pendulum, and it was a funny feeling. All I remember was instructor shouting, “spread your feet”. Nevertheless, I got down and just before hitting the ground, I did a free fall (with the rope of course) because there’s no rock for the last 20 metres or so. This was unexpected, but fun.

After this exciting activity, we trekked back down to where the vehicle was parked and had lunch. Credit to Nature Admire for packing adequate food and water. We had the local village boys for company, along with some overzealous dogs. Post lunch, people were just chilling, talking and resting.

We were taken to the water body next, for the rafting session. The water body seemed like a cross between a pond, reservoir and an artificial lake. The water was muddy and not exactly inviting. But good weather and high spirits kept us going and we took turns rafting about. Rowing was again a first time experience for me, and I enjoyed it. Probably not as much as one of the groups that made the best of the raft and didn’t come back for nearly half an hour. While waiting, I caught shots of a few birds that were feeding in the banks.

The days activities were done with tea, and we drove back to Bangalore. Surprisingly we were bang on schedule all through, and we reached the city at exactly 8 pm. A movie kept us company during the 2 hour journey back.

The fine weather, fun team and enthusiastic instructors were all ingredients in making this trip memorable.

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