Monday, July 16, 2012

Primal Wilderness Rambling From Thirumaleguppi India

A night trek in Magalidurga on one weekend, followed by rock-climbing and rappelling sessions in Turali on the next weekend leaves me craving for more. As the Bangalore Mountaineer Club is synonymous with catering to trek and travel addicts like me on a weekend basis, I didn't have to think twice before booking a two-day trek to Thirumaleguppi. As I anxiously wait for the departure in Shanthi Sagar Domlur on Friday night at 9:25, I happen to meet some of my travel companions. We chat for a while and find something in common. Many of us fear leech-bites.

The coordinator Jaya Siddarth introduces himself and tallies our names on the sheets. Somehow we get the impression that he's a serious and strict guy, only to learn later the next day that he has more fun than any of us and easily inspires others to enjoy the trek. The driver takes frequent breaks to keep at pace with the other tempo that carries another gang of travelers. We reach Chickmagalur in the morning at around 6:30, after going about 300 Kilometers. Beyond here, the only mode of transport to Samse Village is by jeep or on foot. So, jeeps ferry us in turn, along with our luggage and sleeping bags.

The journey lasts about an hour and costs 500 Rupees. This is not expensive, because it's per group not per person. As we freshen up at Mullodi house, we are startled. The caretaker Satish places his mobile just below the dish-antenna to converse. While still wondering at this amazing technique, we try our luck with our own phones only to be disappointed. The entire batch arrives and has a sumptuous breakfast of idli with chutney and sambhar. We have a small induction then pack our lunches.

Now, it's time for the trek. We start off at 9 in the morning. From the beginning, I'm watchful for leeches on the muddy path. By alerting others whenever I notice one, I earn the coveted title “The Leech Hunter”. The path is initially muddy, then we come across shrubs and maneuver through thorns and wild grasses. At times, some of the gang takes a diversion, only to be alerted by our guide Satish to follow the group and not get lost. Soon we climb some extremely steep hills and reach the first peak at 11:20 A.M. Initially, novice climbers hesitate to cross the steep sections without ropes or safety-equipment, but after watching others, they realise it's not an impossible feat and do it themselves.

After some rests and photo shoots, we reach Peak 2 in another 40 minutes. Here we encounter some misty areas. On the passage to Peak 3, we face the most challenging task of the trek. We have to slide down a slope. On seeing the spot, we decide to let the experienced trekkers do it first, so they can then help the rest. This works well, except a few slip a bit and scare others in the process. I drop my bag while sliding, but luckily it's picked up by my predecessor. We reach Peak 3 in another 50 minutes and discover to our surprise that the mobile phones still receive messages. We try calling, not to reach anyone but just to know if there is proper connectivity. Yet, that is not to be.  After group photos and an hour lunch break, we leave Peak 3 around 2.

The return trip proves interesting, as many of us choose to slide much of the way, severely shredding our pants. We reach the homestay at 5:10 P.M. then take a ten-minute stroll to Somavathi falls. Reaching the falls is like running a hurdle race. One has to jump a few concrete barriers to get to the cascade. It's also possible to reach the waterfall by wading the stream, though one has to watch out for slippery rocks. Not everyone has the guts to swim at this late hour in the freezing mountains.

After a camp-fire and dinner, we hit the sleeping bags. Breakfast is a taste of authentic Malnad food, before we pack to leave. On the journey back, our vehicle takes a detour to Belur temple. We reach Bangalore, late in the evening with fun memories and a taste for future adventure.

M.D.S. Prabu is a writer for a software company in Bengaluru, India. He's an avid traveller-cum-trekker. Starting his career as a journalist, he moved into the corporate sector to do content writing. Traveling to meet people from different countries, cultures and experiences intrigues him. His long-term plans include backpacking through South America, Europe and the northern parts of India. You can reach him at and he blogs at

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post!

    Around here one doesn't have to worry about leeches on hikes...