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"On the (t)rail to Mangalore ..." - Nithin.

  Last weekend was trekky and tricky. After days of planning and re-planning, we guys had been on a trek in Sakleshpur (a town in Hassan, on the Bangalore-Mangalore highway). The plan was to trek our way on the abandoned railway line between Hassan and Mangalore from 'Donigal' to 'Yadakumeri'. The plan looked very neat and we were all set to take on the railway line.

  We boarded a luxury bus in Bangalore headed to Mangalore at around 11pm and got down at a place called Manjarabad Fort at 4am (exactly ). There is a deadly hairpin bend right there. That is some form of landmark. This is some 2-KM from Donigal village and 4-5 KM from Donigal Railway station. It was pretty cold, which was very much expected (and desired). Up we went to see the Manjarabad fort, which is said to have built by 'Tipu Sultan' in 1752 AD. This is a good place to spend a couple of hours or the whole day (if you are not adventurous). We had a look inside the fort only after the watchman came at 6:30 AM. Then, after sipping some bad tea back on the highway, we set out in search of the Railway track and Donigal.

  On inquiry at the tea-shop, we came to know that that, there is an estate called 'Bheemeshwara' estate furthur down on the highway on the left side of the road. Opposite to that, is a path that ends at the railway track. We were thrilled to see the rails and let loose our instincts to make train-like chukku-chukku sounds. With all josh we started our 'journey'. After 1 KM of our walk on the rails, we were damn excited to see our first bridge. The height of the bridge is absolutely dumbfounding and you may suffer from a heart-attack while crossing it :-). Two of us needed escorts while crossing over. This is the only bridge, which is high, but not so high that you cannot get into the inviting water flowing down under. To go down, make your way through a small path just after the bridge ends. The water below is chilly to say the least. You can bathe there and have some adventure for an Hr or so. Then, get going, else you will not reach Yedukumeri. Donigal railway station is some 2-3 KM from this bridge.

  People here say that Yedekumeri is 15/18/12 KM away. We did not know whom to believe. But, we set off. Walk and Walk and Walk. It's very exciting initially but turns out to be a pain later, not very painful though. Having a good pair of walking shoes is a must. The first 5-6 KM is worth only your walk and nothing else. Then we came across series of bridges and tunnels. The bridges are scary at some points. There is no way you can get down to the water under the bridge. You may feel tired. So, have some glucose, fruits and lots of water. Having a torch is a must and a mashaal is an added bonus. At lots of places the highway runs very close by. The tunnels are not very long. Max is 573 m. There are 19 tunnels and some 25 bridges. Some of the bridges are as high as 250 ft. Me and my friend instantly thought of 'Bungee' jumping there. It looks very ideal for that. ../images/dreams/nitin_greenroute2.jpg

  The trek, as it progresses may make you feel very tired, but it is worth everything you do for it. What is life without reaching Yedumumeri . The long tunnels are full of bats and bats. You may feel scared, but trust me, you can pose for snaps here. The trek ended at Yedukumari railway station. Yedukumeri is not a town or village. It is just a railway station in the middle of the forest. So, have no hopes of luxuries. All you get is some accommodation to sleep in. There is/was one Joseph who takes care of all this. He can also get you some food (Rice and Curry). We were so exhausted that we just slept obviously after some chatting, bullying etc.

../images/dreams/nitin_greenroute1.jpg   Morning on the next day was one more good part of the trek. The route to the highway is some 4 KM from there. 1 KM you skid down the forest shortcut and walk the other 3 KM on Jeep track. At the end of the road to the highway is a big river. A strong stony barrier has been constructed to form a sort of road. This is some 1/2 KM long. But walking on this path is interesting. Do not try this out at night. The picturesque surroundings induced us to take snaps. You can have your bath and some refreshment. We were happy to stop a bus to Bangalore and return back, but the trek on the railway - railway trek was indeed very memorable.

Do Take:

  A torch for everyone, candle, match box.
A Mashaal (some old cloth and petrol).
Food for everyone for a whole day Water, glucose, fruits.
Warm clothes - a good jacket will do.
Good pair of walking shoes.
Camera roles to capture the breathtaking heights and depths.
Take salt or lime if you are going in the rainy season to get rid of leeches.
A girlfriend, if she agrees.

Don't ever take:

  Heavy baggage.

We Could have done this:

  Trekked out way to Kukke-Subramanya after the night in Yedukumeri.
Started off from Sakleshpur instead of Donigal.
Made the walk faster and reached the highway on the same day.

Access points:

  I am ignorant about the routes from different places. But can say that, make sure you reach Manjarabad at the break of sunlight. From Bangalore, leave between 11 PM-12 PM on a Mangalore bus.

Best time to visit:

  Round the year, ... but be very careful and well equipped in the rainy season.

Compiled on 19/02/2003 By Nithin.

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