Aate Jaate Khoobsurat Aawara Sadkon Pe. Kabin Kabin Iqtefaaq Se. Kitne Anjaan Log Mil Jaate Hain. Unme se kuch log bhool jaate hain. Kuch yaad reh jaate hain.
One such person(Aishwarya) I met on one such awaara sadak around Pune (a mountain in this case) has become a dear friend. And when this trekking buddy of mine, decided to come stay with me for a week in Bangalore, we had to had to plan a trip to another such aawaara mountain.
Mountains around Bangalore are denser, damper and full of challenges. This particular trek to Kurinjal was an easy one though but with a couple of challenges.
After some research, we figured that most of these small homestays/nature camps have their own trek guides and at Rs. 500 as their fee, you can hike without having to enrol through a group. We picked Kudremukh as Bhagavati Nature Camp looked extremely enthralling and it lived up completely to its reputation.
We started on Saturday Morning 6:00 AM, stopped just before Hassan for breakfast, a hillock for some gorgeous view of the mountains, at Belur for a temple visit, at Chikmagalur for a fish meal, somewhere close to Kudremukh for Chai, a beautiful tea estate for some pictures and managed to reach Bhagavati Nature Camp by 5:00 PM.
The nature camp is one of the most beautiful places one would visit and it has everything to make it an escapade including zero network and no landlines around. We stayed in a luxurious tent(luxurious because it had a cot, bed, blankets and a clean bathroom) which was illuminated by one dimly lit solar bulb. But it was fun this way. We could hear the crickets chirping all evening and all night long. We had all the time in the world for conversations and we had a lot of those! But before that, we happened to stumble upon River Bhadra in our backyard. It was so serene and quiet and gorgeous with broken trees, dense forests and the pleasant and healing rhythm of water flowing.
Next morning, we started our day early and headed out on a 20 km trek to Kurinjal. I hadn’t hiked in 6 months and my whole body was screaming for one. But Kurinjal was more of a nature trail with very little climb but lots and lots of walk through the forests. It was all nice and fine until we crossed this small bridge. And then, they attacked us. Leeches small and big, climbing on our shoes and trying their best to find some bare skin to cling onto. Initially, I was all over the place, the minute they got onto my shoes but by the end of it, I managed to hold them in my hands and pull them off one by one. I had over 11-15 of them on me sucking out what Priyanka kept re-iterating as bad blood.
But the nature trail was fun. The last 300 metres is awesome coz it’s a 60 degree climb to the peak. It was awesome also coz it was leech free. We sat there at the peak, munching on whatever we had carried as breakfast, chatting away to glory and enjoying the rain right where it starts.. Amidst the clouds 🙂
On our way back, we spoke to the leeches, yelled at them, said stuff like “get off me you sucker” but nothing worked. They were all over us and we reached a point where we gave up and said, “fine, stay and suck all the blood you want”.
One thing about leech infested area you need to know. You cannot stop and take a break during your trek, coz that’s like handing them an invitation to climb on you. So, they make sure you keep walking, walking fast to reach a leech free zone.
It’s not as bad as I’m making it sound though 🙂 We loved it. As Aishwarya said, if not for the leeches, this trek would have been a simple walk. It’s the leeches that have made it memorable!
We were back at the nature camp by 1:00 PM and headed back to Bangalore by 2ish.
Bhagavati Nature Camp deserves more time from you. It is so beautiful and there is so much to explore, you have to stay there atleast for 2 nights – Contact: 09263255998
Kudremukh is gorgeous and I plan to go there again in Nov/Dec as I can tell, the view will be breathtaking.
Ford Figo is an awesome car for long drives and Map My India is supercool with its directions specially during long drives. And my brother drives really really well 🙂
Stuff I found online to avoid leech bites:
- Keep 2 bottles of salt water with you and pour them on your shoes, socks and bare skin before you start
- Carry tobacco powder. Apparently leeches don’t like the smell of tobacco
- Cover your skin and seal the endings. I think wearing long socks and full length pants will help coz you are creating layers they have to go through but some people think otherwise
- If you still get bitten, try not to give in to the urge to scratch, though it is really hard not to scratch.
- Coconut Oil, Body Lotion, Betnovate help to some extent
I have to get over leeches coz my love for mountains is much more than my fear of the creepy crawlies..
Location: Bhagavti Nature Camp, Kudremukh
Date: 1st and 2nd of Jun 2013