PHOTOS LINK - (by Subbu & Jeetu)
F…B…then all the…….C terms rattled, indication of how freaked out I was, walking down Madhugiri hill in the rain on the slippery rock face barefoot, was quite an (mis)adventure.
Sunday’s (3rd Aug 08) plan was to go to Siddarabetta, hang out and reach Bangalore by 4 pm. Subbu and I reached the ORR by bus, Jeetu got his car and we took-off to Siddarabetta, en-route stopping for breakfast at Kamath. The drive on Tumkur road and the deviation thereafter to Siddarabetta is a real pleasure - the extended hillocks, boulders and large rock faces around (Shivaganga, Devarayanadurga, Channarayanadurga, Siddarabetta, Madhugiri ranges) add to it.
After a long long…………drive, we started to climb the steps of Siddarabetta, weather was very nice and with all the monkey tricks, photo sessions and endless discussions on every thing under the sun, we reached the top. On reaching, Jeetu was disappointed that the ‘chai’ shop guy was not a ‘mallu’. Watching out for the monkeys around we finished with a hot cup tea and some ‘desi’ snacks fried in probably few months old oil…;)
Caves of Siddarabetta are an attraction. We bullied the local guide for a 50 buck tour and he had no idea what he was getting into. Resourceful Subbu (only this time) pulled out a torch as we started to crawl into the cave. The crawl is only for a few minutes and invariably one will bang their heads against the rock if you don’t feel the rock above your head while crawling.
The guide told us that a ‘sadhu’ stays in the caves and was out somewhere, so we took all the liberty to explore around, till the guide begged us to get going. The caves have a history of many sages visiting them and meditating there for many years. It’s a perfect hide-out from civilization and not very scary either, and is a good location for an over night camp, would be a lot of fun too, but in a small group of 8-12. Then, were the roots/creepers that had grown over several years between the huge rocks. We had a picture session dangling and swinging, by then, the guide was frustrated, we tired to cheer him and told him to take a chill pill. We were out of the caves in the next 30 minutes and the guide looked relieved.
Monkeys are something to watch-out for, a little one snatched my water can (souvenir from the 10K run) from Subbu’s bag and tried to drink out of it, so I lost one more water bottle on a trek, only this time to a monkey.
On the way down, Subbu decided he wanted to go to Madhugiri, Jeetu had been there some 8 times me once and both of us were not keen, I was quite sure it would rain, but Subbu had his choice and actually for some strange reason he got his way. Madhugiri is 11 + kms from Siddarabetta. On reaching the base both Jeetu and me reluctantly started the trek up, it’s definitely a beautiful hill, it has a fort and the texture of the rock surface is simply awesome.
The fort is a combination of the Vijayanagar architecture as it was built by the then rulers and later when Hyderali captured the fort tombs were build, currently the fort is going through some restoration effort, but the original construction style cannot be matched.
We had an uninvited guest who started trekking with us, Jeetu feared that he is part of a robber’s gang and probably will signal his accomplish to take of the car tiers as we go up. I started talking to him, and one face of the climb the guy chickened out and stayed back.
The scary part was yet to come. The traverse of some 7 steps really freaked me out and I was sure I would have a tough time if it rains while coming down. I kept on mentioning that it’s going to rain - Subbu has this ‘maha’ logic that he is the ‘malnad guy’ and knows when it’s going to rain. With all that we still did not stop taking pictures, Subbu took some of the coolest snaps and Jeetu clicked few profile snaps of Subbu (hope some girl will fall for those snaps).
We trekked for some one hour, and were almost reaching the top when weather started to change and I knew that was it. I asked both of them to carry on and stared to descend. One stretch down and the rain god had his laugh; cursing Subbu I waited for both of them, Jeetu reached and Subbu had his first butt ride down…..;)
I decided to take of my shoes (didn’t real have the option to care about my few days old pedicured feet) and so did Subbu. I was abusing Subbu all the way down till we reached the traverse, oh that’s it………I totally chickened out, the fear of getting injured was the only thing on my mind, with all the sports and adventure all the last 20 years I never had a serious injury, always believed that the only way to keep my interest going is to be careful. Subbu and Jeetu really helped me; it was that few moments then the 7 deadly steps of terror were over.
We reached the base all wet, it was already 5 pm and were yet to have our lunch. The bananas which we carried up and down were in a bad state, we tried to stop for food with no much luck. After a few minutes (actually felt like few hours) of drive in the rain and empty stomach we stopped at a ‘dhaba’, and ordered for chicken ‘birayani’ assuming that it will be the fastest and ready to serve, but the guy actually went and got the chicken for the ‘birayani’!
The drive back to the city was hell; Nelamangala-Peenya traffic was bad as ever and added to that was the rain. Jeetu dropped us at the ORR at around 9 pm and we took a bus back to reach silk board by 10 pm.
A long day and just did not know when I fell asleep, only woke up at 8 am the next day.
I really have to thank Subbu for forcing us to go to Madhugiri, with all the rain and slippery rocks it was a lot of fun indeed.
Siddarabetta: Is the hill of caves, comes under the town of Korategere in Tumkur district.
Madhugiri: Is one of the biggest monolith in Asia, it is around 2600 ft high, coordinates at 13.66° N, 77.21° E. The fort was built by the rulers of Vijayanagar kingdom and later was under the rule of Hydeali.
Other places in the same vicinity: Shivagange, Devarayanadurga, Channarayanadurga, Madhugiri Blackbuck Sanctuary.
Important: Monkeys, Rain, Go to Madhugiri with seasoned trekkers or group, Carry water and food
Best season: Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, late June, July, Aug
Distance from Bangalore: approx 110 Kms