Wild Wonderful Karnataka

  The 1st Week of August :

Monsoon August would be the best time to try out the rail track trek on the Hassan - Mangalore route, we felt what with Aug 15th being a friday holiday
Information on the trek route was collected and a plan worked out. Each passing day brought in more excitement, and we looked forward to the upcoming trek, what with rumours of all sorts floating in from folks about the dangers that lurked behind those forests.
(Note : My personal observation during the whole trek was that there was absolutely no justifcation for such rumours and the place was absolutely wonderful, except for us humans who are possibly the biggest danger and threat to the environment out there. Of course with the rains, there were leeches and we did see somewhat fresh elephant dung, but nothing beyond that )

So, we chalked out a plan :

Start on 14th night from Bangalore, by bus to Sakleshpur Start the trek from Donigal on independence day ( Freedom from this city life, at least for two days! ) First halt for the day's trek at Yedakumeri and camp for the night Onward again on the 16th to Shiribagilu Detour from Shiribagilu to reach road and hitch a ride to Subramanya
The initial list of trekkers finally dwindled down to 6 of us who were all set to go : Ravikiran Thirumalai (RT), Vinay K Shaw (VS), Rajarshi Das (RD), Ananth Narayan (AN), Saravanan Sivakumaran (SS) and myself, R Sharada (RS)

Pre-trek prep :

Tickets were booked on the Mangalore KSRTC deluxe bus till Sakleshpur ( we planned to talk to the conductor and ask him to stop at Manjarabad Fort which comes after Sakleshpur ) The bus was at 11.00 pm on14th night and we decided to meet up at the bus stand ( platform no 1A ) at 10.00 pm. On 14th evening, we raided nilgiris for our rations and supplies for the two-day trek and also successfully emptied the chapathi racks at the store ( 17 packets in all! ) :-) SS and RS got a bit late in packing and getting to the bus stand, but we were all there by 10.45 pm or so, and soon enough we were inside the bus and hit the roads. The bus journey was comfortable, though uneventful, as I slept through the entire journey.

Day break at Sakleshpur : Donigal - Yedakumeri trek ( Day 1 ) :

Pre-Daybreak brought us to Sakleshpur where the bus stopped promptly at 3.00 am in the morning! Another group of trekkers who were travelling with us, got down here, to start their trek from Sakleshpur. After talking to the conductor and paying him a little bit extra, we got him to stop the bus at Manjarabad fort, near the hotel 'Picnic' tea shop ( btw, it is not just a tea shop, it IS a small hotel ) at 3.45 am. We got down and went straight in, for the morning cup of energizer. A glass of tea / coffee each to freshen up and idlies for those of us who decided to break our fast out there completed our morning refreshments at Manjarabad. Again, we saw a lot of trekkers out there ( another big group from TCS ). Done with refreshments, we decided to skip the manjarabad fort and start off directly, so that we could reach Yedakumeri son and get a shelter for the night. The long weekend break seemed to have set a lot of trekkers on this track. So, off we set, from Hotel Picnic, Manjarabad on road, for a 3 - 4 km walk that was to take us to the Donigal railway station.

2 kms on the road, we passed another small hotel on our left ( a hotel 'Tourist ' this time ) where we enquired about further directions to get to Donigal station.We were told to walk another 2 kms, after which we would see a brige over a stream on our left. Opposite to that would be a mud path, on the right, leading to Donigal station. The whole place was shrouded in mist early in the morning, and a slight drizzle added to the fun. We walked on, and finally crossed a concrete bridge over a stream, when we saw an old bridge on our left, and a lone house beside it, where kids were watching tv at 5.00 - 5.30 am in the morning! diagonally opposite the house was this mud road, going uphill for less than 1 km or so, whence it reaches Donigal railway station - An old abandoned station, complete, with waiting hall, ticket booking office, minus the train and passengers.

The sun was still not up in the sky and the morning mist shrouding the whole place lent it a quaint and mystic look of old times. It was our plan to finish off our morning ablutions out here, rest a while, and then start the trek. By the time we reached the station, there was already a group of trekkers who were starting off for their trek. We did stop at the station for quite a while, as a few of the folks decided to get back to the stream to freshen up. Whilst waiting at the station, we saw many more groups of trekkers, three to be precise, at the station - a small group of 4 college goers, a bigger ferrari group ( all wearing a red cap with ferrari written on them ), and a gang that had perhaps trekked from Sakleshpur. All in all, the place was getting pretty crowded, I thought. And we were to have a lot of human company all the way - it seemed. We decided to start off soon and keep the pace going and reach Yedakumeri as soon as possible.

We finally managed to get eveyone back on their legs, and started from Donigal at around 7.00 am. All through the journey, one thing was most consistent - mist, mist, mist, and rain varying from a drizzle or light shower for the major part to a real thunder storm at the end of Day 1.

The sun peeked out from behind the clouds, only for a few minutes all through the trek of two days. We ambled along slowly, taking in the beauty of the place.. the old tracks, an old moss covered signal at one end...new vegetation sprouting everywhere...it felt like feet on earth, head in the clouds ( well, ok, not clouds, mist, really )....taking in the whiffs of fresh air and dew... it was a heavenly feeling!

At 7.35 am, we were at our very first bridge of the trek! Whew! what a sight and experience it was! quite a feeling! my first walk on a high bridge like this! It was both breathtaking and legs-shaking for me, for a while at least....But we did cross over pretty ok, and savoured in the joy of our first bridge crossing of this trek. There were more to come, I told myself. After the first bridge crossing, it started to drizzle slightly and we halted for a while, to adjust bags, and take in the beauty of the place. There occurred my first encounter with the 'mighty leech of the ghats'! :-) Well, they were quite tiny after all! And two or three managed to get onto my tracks and try to find their way to the skin, but with my noticing them there, all such plans were thwarted and they were brough back to the ground. After that, all of us did get our share of leeches onto our legs primarily, but then it wasn't so bad as I had thought it might be, going by some folks' reports. There were actually only 3 bites or so, on an average per person, over the two days, which is very reasonable! :-)

By 8.35 am , an hour after crossing the bridge, we were at our first tunnel crossing.. again a feeling of thrill and joy came over, as we walked in with our torches flashing, through the tunnel. The pace all through the trek was comfortable and medium. Somewhere in between, at one of the first few tunnels, we had a small opening in the side wall, to a viewpoint, a cliff overlooking a lovely stream in full spate down below, in the valley. We slipped out through the opening and did take pictures of the view. It was here that whilst getting back into the tunnel, Ananth slipped into the open drain by the side of the tunnel and bruised his knee. Nothing major, but it did nag him a bit all along.

At around 10.00 am, we consumed ( yes, that was the word to use! ) our breakfast ( a second for those of us who already had one at manjarabad! ), comprising of bread, malai chaska, chutni podi, and milkmaid strawberry squeezy ( the milkmaid mango and strawberry squeezies made their debut appearance in this trek of ours and were a major runaway, rather eataway success :-) ). We had the breakfast at a clearing after a tunnel, complete with draughts of fresh air. After a 45 mins halt, we were back on track by 10.45 am. For major part of the trek, VS led the pack, and we nicknamed him 'Major saheb'. Behind him went RT, followed by AN and RD, and checking in at the rear of the human train were RS and SS.

The bridges were really breathtaking, in height, and in the really scenic views they offered of the ghats. Some were a bit scary with the absence of the metal plates on the wooden sleepers. A few bridges, on the first day ( to be precise, two or three of them ), had a few really slippery moss covered wooden sleepers without the central metal plates on them. On one such bridge, two of us slipped - RD slipped between two sleepers and with his legs swinging at right angles to each other, resulting in a slight hip sprain, whilst, I slipped and went one leg down under, but having my other leg on the bridge, broke the fall, and hoisted myself up back on the rails. But it sure did shake me up thoroughly. For the rest of that bridge crossing, my legs were shaking and I was a bit unsteady for a while, and resorted to crossing the bridge sitting on the rails, whenever I felt unsure of the sleepers to be crossed. Took me another bridge crossing to get over the fall and start walking more confidently on the bridges again! However, a few more bridges down the line, I was back on my legs, more firmly, so to speak!

If the bridges were awesome in the view they offered ( both around you and beneath you! you had to only look down and feel the relative motion of walking over them getting to your head and making you feel a wee bit uneasy ), the tunnels were awesome in that at times they offered no view at all, literally! :-) We covered the longest tunnel on the route, all of 572 m on the first day and many more long tunnels, in the range of 200 - 400 m. The long tunnels became totally dark once we got a little inside, and nothing could be seen without a torch..many had quite a lot of bats perched on the tunnel overhead roofs and liberal amounts of bat droppings on the tracks and floor, and a torch was the only way to see ahead of you. But it was real nice. Near the entrances, with a bit of the sunlight streaming in, we could see the bats flying about everywhere on top. We did try to take a few pictures of the bats. Not sure if they came out right. After one bridge crossing, we also spotted a dead leopard cat or a wild bob cat, which had possibly been killed by some locals ( strangulated or something ) and the body was laid out on a concrete slab by the side of the track. Kiran got mighty excited at this sight! ( as is evident from the fact that he was intent on getting it on film! ) :-)

Camp at Yedakumeri ( Day 1) :

After around the 17th or 18th tunnel, we saw indications of an approaching junction ( divergence in rail tracks, multiple tracks, etc. ) and we reached Yedakumeri, at around 2.10 pm amidst jubilant yells and whistles! we really made it to the first stop in pretty good time, with lot of time to spare! and good thing too...'coz we were the second group to arrive, and so could pick amongst the shelters out there.

( Note : btw, for those who gave us rumours that there are no shelters at Yedakumeri now, here's a bit of correction - there are many shelters still out there at the station; not all of them are in good shape; but they will all serve the purpose during normal months; during monsoons, some are better than the others )

And for many first timers, if you meet folks out there on the way, like we did, who seem to talk as though they know the whole route by heart, don't believe them.. around 2 km before reaching Yedakumeri, we came across a small group of 4 trekkers who were setting up their lunch of bisibelebhath and we asked if they knew the distance to Yedakumeri. By our estimates, we should be close to our camping site, we felt. Pat came the reply from one of them - ' still a long way to go ; about 2 or 3 hours of trek to go'. 'Are you sure? have you been here before?' we asked. Again, the reply was prompt - 'Oh yes! a couple of times! and about the time, I really can't guarantee how long it will take!' he said, quite authoritatively! ( Note : My 2 cents of advice - if someone comes across such a group, suggest you give them a good hiding! and not take their words. The distances and timings that we have put down here are pretty much accurate. Anyways, we did not pay much heed to their opinions and continued on. And rightly so, for in another half hour, we had reached the place! A while of jubilation, and then we finally settled on our cottage - YDK 7A - an old abandoned quarters on the platform - it was quite a cool place - complete with a bunch of flower ( red hibiscus ) bushes near the entrance, a drawing, a bedroom, a campfire room and a splendid view of the ghats and valleys from the back door. It was really a cottage 'with a view' SS and VS got very enterprising and cleaned up the place pretty neatly, so that, soon we had our bedroom all set - with our plastic sheet laid out and all our foam mats neatly placed.

The drawing was cleaned up to make way for the kitchen space, while the other room was devoted to campfire building ( in case we were not able to build one outside owing to rains ) It was almost 2.40 pm by then, and pangs of hunger were starting to hit everyone. And we agreed unanimously that it was high time we gorged on some food.

So, we set out to lay out an elaborate yet simple luncheon - yummy heated nilgiris chapathis, bread, chutni podi, mango pickles, squeezy, chikki, and hot steaming sweet corn soup. Sipping hot sweet corn soup in that wilderness in that damp monsoon weather was just too good! A bunch of trekkers savouring their well deserved lunch at the first pitstop ( the ferrari gang motivated us to the F-1 jargons here )! :-)

Lunch was quickly done with, and we headed straight for the mats! everyone was game for a much wanted snooze! by then the rain clouds had started collecting overhead in the sky. We all hudled up and promptly went to sleep. And good timing too, for very soon, the rains started pouring down like mad.. major thunder and downpour! man, it would have been a bit difficult trekking in that kind of a weather. A lot of the other trekkers reached sometime around then, for we could hear them banging on our doors and peeping in to check it it was occupied.

We got up at around 5.30 pm and decided to start off with a camp fire. Since it was still raining, we decided to make it inside, in the room with the 'back door with a view'. Major saheb got an old tin bowl (which the workers might have used to carry mud, etc.), and some dry firewood which we found within the cottage itself ( including a bamboo flute, that we burnt up in the fire! ). With a bit of the wood, a bit of the kerosene that we had carried, some enthusiasm and lot of puffing from VS and SS ( SS did a good job at the camp fire building ), we soon had a very good fire lighted and going! and man, was it a welcome sight! in the midst of the rains, the warmth of the fire was damn refreshing as we sat around warming ourselves, toe to head, literally! ( we had our damp feet hanging over the fire every now and then in turns, to get the warmth back ) Time flew by, and it was time for yet another meal! :-) gosh, were we hogs or what? With no lights, we got off with the dinner preparations in candle light - a more scrumptious meal of MTR RTEs ( chole masala and butter panneer ) and chapathis, bread, pickle, malai chaska, and maggi tomato soup. It was yummmieeee! Whatever else was there or not, we had come very well prepared when it came to food! :-)

Post dinner, we sat awhile around the still glowing ambers of the campfire, before heading for bed. And was the place cosy! it was awfully cosy and we had a really warm and good night's sleep inspite of the lashing rains outside. We decided to start early the next day as well, and get to Shiribagilu in time, before the weather got difficult.

Morning at Yedakumeri : Yedakumeri - Shiribagilu trek ( Day 2 ) :

6.00 am, and we were awake and peering out into the darkness, all misty with very little daylight. We got done with nature calls, packed up our backpacks and were set to leave by daybreak, around 7.00 am. As we set out, another group of trekkers approached us, enquiring about our plans, and whether we knew the path down to the road from Yedakumeri. We told them that the route down to road from Yedakumeri, while possible, might be difficult, given that the now quite possibly flooded kempuhole stream had to be crossed. They did not seem to know of it. Further we did tell them that we got information of another exit to road after tunnel 35 and that we were planning to go till Shiribagilu before hitting the roads.

( Note : btw, another bit of correction to technical information, while out here : it so happens that after Yedakumeri, there are indeed two exit points to get to the road. - one after tunnel 35, does not reach Shiribagilu and is a 3 km walk through the forest on jeep track - and one after Shiribagilu. Shiribagilu comes after the 45th tunnel and there is another exit to the road after the 48th tunnel ( 3 tunnels after Shiribagilu ).

So, it turns out that both pieces of information that we got - about having an exit after Yedakumeri, both before and after Shiribagilu are indeed true ; just that they are two different exits. That was one issue I had got confused with and had mailed folks for clarification. Now, I do have the confirmed report on that! ) And after we said goodbye to the trekkers at Yedakumeri, we came across another set of folks ( locals or trekkers? - not sure ), who had come up via the kempuhole and did confirm it would be a difficult task getting across it.

We set off from there, close to around 7.30 am, and kept on and on. The first day's experiences on the bridges had still not worn out on me, and my legs were still a bit squeashy beheath me for a while.. took another half hour to get back to the rythm.. however, nature was indeed kind to us... the morning saw a break in the cloud downpour and while it was cloudy, misty and drizzling now and then, there wasn't a really heavy downpour during the day... and the bridges on this route were also pretty okay...most had the metal plates on the sleepers and none were so slippery as the ones on the previous day... Walked and walked and walked...and RD started his tunnel number countdown from the 31st tunnel, as we thought that we would reach Shiribagilu after the 35th tunnel...at around 10 am we again broke for breakfast..after a bridge crossing...chapathis...pickle...ration of squeezy...some more leeches.. and started back.. While some of us were in a mood for longer breaks, we decided to get along...as we were not sure of the actual distance to Siribagilu.. some folks at Yedakumeri told that it might be 30 kms to Shribagilu....! imagine! people have no sense of distances! and so we were definitely not in a mood to take longer breaks than was absolutely necessary...Crossed many more tunnels... long ones, around 530m...and also the longest bridge, sometime aroound 12.30 pm...which we will come to soon... soon, RD's tunnel countdown ended with no station in sight! we crossed tunnels 35, 36, and even till 37..and still no station! We also crossed over a small landslide where the mud and stones from the hillside (or the cliff around) had covered the tracks. But then, there was a way to walk over the slide and so we continued and within the next 1km we were at the bridge. The panorama from the longest bridge was worth all the walking! a really awesome one....it was around 250m in length ( ~ 750 ft ) and curved around and offered a really terrific view... half way through the bridge we decided to halt and celebrate our walk on the longest bridge, and recharge ourselves with a bit of Glucon D...we stopped, took some snaps...had our sip of Glucon D and then decided to head forward, as the clouds were beginning to gather and a slight drizzle was starting out...it did start raining slightly while we were making our way forward on the bridge.. After tunnel 39 however, curiously, each tunnel seemed to have a new number...39 was renumbered as 27....after 3 tunnels the number got reset to the old system, and showed up as 42 again! and that sure was reassuring, as we had heard from some folks when we collected information, that there was an exit somewhere after 4Xth tunnel... and somehow it got into my head to say 48! and 48 it was! man...was I getting some ESP??? ;-) Another friend had also mentioned of Shribagilu being somewhere near the 42nd tunnel and so in all good faith we kept on...keen on getting to Shiribagilu in good time...

After the 45th tunnel, we saw some good news on the tracks...we saw divergence in the tracks, indications of aprroaching a junction / station...and within 200 m we could spot the station in the distance! There were joint joyful cries of 'we did it'...we were there, at Shribagilu...and with a good timing too! it was only around 1.30 pm then...within 1 km we reached the station....and took snaps of our second day halt and trek end point....the locals at Yedakumeri had told us of an old 'thatha' (old man) at Shiribagilu whom we could approach for further directions, etc...

So, we looked about and saw a small hut....and a few sharp yells of ours, brought out the old man from the hut...Mr.Bhaskaran Nair..resident at Shiribagilu station for 39 years, earlier, working with the railways, now running a small hotel / tea shop at Shiribagilu... he was a mallu...and so I was brought in to do the interpreter's job.. ( see, it pays to know more languages than your own! :-))..on talking to him we found that the hotel ran during peak times, when the workers are around...and that now work having being stopped...he had only hot tea to offer us...VS's eyes popped out/ light up at the mention of tea! he had been dreaming of tea all along the trek! it even went to the stage of him hallunicating/imagining that the mist around was due to some tea brewing going all around! ( well, when asked what he felt seeing the mist he had this to say : ' looks like someone is brewing chai!' ) ;-)

So we settled ourselves nicely in Bhaskaran Nair's little hut while he served us hot tea ( albeit a bit too sweet )...and we got to chatting with him some more... he told us the line had been closed for 8 years now ( since 1995 ) and that it was "supposed" to resume its functioning back in 2004! bah! fat chance..given that we saw no piece of work done all along the route!

We further asked him the route further down that would take us to the road to Subramanya..and here is where I goofed up a little! He told us we would have to cross 2 more bridges and 3 more tunnels during the next 2 km or so ( that would be tunnel no 48!!! ) after which he said we had to take a right , and then keep right on that path, till we reached the Kombaro village after 4 - 5 kms or so.. however, looks like he did tell something to the effect of having to take a left onto a small narrow path which goes down after taking the second right, which somehow I did not quite grasp properly and we ended up checking out some wrong routes!

To put the whole thing in a nutshell, we got the directions from him, took a snap with him and set off after the short break...crossed a tunnel and a bridge followed by another set of tunnel and bridge..and then finally saw the last tunnel before the exit ( tunnel 48 ), we took snaps out here, and were there at around 2.30 pm. Bhaskaran Nair had said that the trek down to the road would be around an hour's time, and so we thought we might be down at around 3.30 - 4.00 pm. On approaching out of the tunnel, immediately, to the right, we saw a concrete slab and a path going up. We decided to take this path. However, within 100 m, the path went and hit a old jeep track at right angles. And going by his word, we turned right on this jeep track. Now is where we got it wrong. From that jeep track, on the left there is a small narrow footpath kind of path ( rather the second such path; there is one before which is a little wider ), which is quit narrow and that is the correct path to take to get down to the road. From thereon, one had to keep right at various forks except towards the end, when near an estate we had to take the left on this path.

(Note : While at this path, VS did a silly thing. While we were climbing up this track, VS had already gone ahead of us, by some distance, and suddenly when we reached the place where we should have seen VS, he had dissappeared! His bag was right in the middle of the track, but he was missing! After yelling for a while, we got a bit worried... RT was already worrying his head over what he would have to say to VS's mother! imagine! Anyways, it so happened that our brave major saheb had gone to check the road out in front to see if it was the right track! He got some good hearing from some of us, and in this melee of searching for VS, RT had his share of fall for the trip, as he slid down a boulder on the track, which was partly covered with moss. A nice turn it turned out to be )

However, getting back to the story, we missed the path ( though we did notice it, we kind of did not think it was the route, then ), and continued on the jeep track...soon we realized it may not be the right path, as it seemed to keep going up and back and brought us back to the entrance of tunnel 48! So back we marched through the tunnel...and then decided to take the left on the jeep track and see where that would lead us to...well, it lead us back to the track again, around 500m further down from the tunnel 48! and so we again walked back to the tunnel to make up our minds on the next course of action. Finally we thought it most prudent for one or two of us to go back to Shiribagilu and ask the old man for directions again, or whether he will volunteer to come down and show us the way. After some discussion, RT and VS left back for Shiribagilu whilst the rest of us stayed on at the tunnel. It was already 3.00 by then and we decided that we would decide on some route by 4.00 pm. There was another route, we were told by someone, that going further down Shiribagilu on the track for 4 - 5 km, we would cut the Subramanya road somewhere where we could get down to the road...however we were not sure of that distance and so decided to first check with the old man and then choose one or the other route - go further, or find the right exit down from tunnel 48.

So, while the 4 of us rested there, RT and VS set back for the station. After a while though, we saw another group of trekkers coming down the tunnel. They had met our folks back to the station and we asked them if they had the right directions down to the road. They also seemed a bit confused and when we suggested that they could wait till our folks get back and we go together, they agreed.

After around 45 mins or so, RT and VS arrived, and had some news for us. First, Bhaskaran Nair was busy brewing tea for the next group of trekkers and could not come. Second, after getting another mallu trekker at the station do some interpretation for them, they gathered from the old man that the jeep track was not the path and that we had to take a narrow path down. Also, that there was another group of trekkers at the station who had a guide who volunteered to show us the way as well, if only we waited for them for another 30 mins or so. While we were all pondering about this and deciding whether to wait or not, we saw a local walk down from the exit path! man, were we jubilant!

we immediately caught hold of him and asked him to show us the way so that we could start rightaway. He agreed readily and keeping his belongings near the tunnel, came up and lead the way - immediate right from the tunnel onto the exit path, right onto the jeep track that cuts it at 90 degrees and then a small narrow steep, kind of one person footpath that went down left of the jeep track. I think that was the second left on the jeep track.

From thereon, he asked us to keep right and that we should reach the village soon. So, we set off...now a bigger group, with the other party as well, who were close to 10 - 15 folks. The path was narrow and a bit down slope at some places...but was ok. After around 2 - 3 kms down, we reached some estate areas and habitation, inclusing a wine shop and a couple of houses, another 2 kms brought us down to a tea shop in the village, after crossing over two bamboo bridges on a stream. The bridge had been put up by the village folks and was a really nice one - one way traffic though...so, we took turns to get across with some localites who wanted to come down to the forest side. We all rested at the tea shop and helped ourselves to some biscuits and tea... while 4 guys from the other group enquired the locals about a jeep ride to Subramanya. Found out that they could get a jeep to carry 10 - 11 people, to Subramanya, and so they invited us to join in to make the number, to which we readily agreed. Soon, the jeep arrived and we were all bundled into the jeep, literally! there was no space to move and we were indeed just crammed in! However, it was only a 30 - 45 mins drive...close to 10 kms..and the jeep driver was driving like possessed...so, we were very soon limping on the streets of Kukke Subramanya!

( Note : Personally, it was a mixed feeling.. feeling good at having reached Subramanya as planned and in time to hog on more food, but there was also the feeling of having to leave behind the pristine beauty of the ghats that were our home for the last two days...It had been a wonderful two days - one with nature and all that it had to offer..fresh air, pure water, simple beauty of things and a demonstration of its full glory manifest in the form of the Western Ghats! Nature seems to have this ability to leave you feeling totally insignificant and unimportant, in the big game of things that nature plays. Looking at the views in the Ghats, I could feel that they command your respect for nature and all of its splendid creations. And I could not walk away without admiring and respecting nature for the personality that she possessed in here ) To the passersby at Subramanya, it was an very simple to identify us as a bunch of tired trekkers...what with our looks and leg dragging walk! :-) We first headed to the KSRTC booking office to make return ticket bookings; With the KSRTC buses running full, we managed to get seats on a private travels ( Aashirwad or some such name ). Next haunt was the hotel... for we were indeed famished, what with having not had lunch yet, and it was around 5.30 by then... the food at the hotel ( name? ) was a welcome sight and we each helped ourselves to the various items on the menu. I was content with a masala dosa, one goli bajji, and some curd rice.

Next on the agenda was to find a place to stay, for the next few hours, just to keep the bags and freshen up, and perhaps go to the temple, time permitting. The bus to Bangalore was at 10.15 pm. We went down the road, but because of the long weekend, all hotels were running full and there was no room vacancy. Finally at a (name? ) lodge, we spoke to the lounge manager who agreed to give us a room, in a guest house at the back ( this was not an official normal rented out place, but was being rented out now in view of the crowds to make money ), at quite an exorbitant rate; however, since most of us were tired and wanted to have a wash, we went along and took the room.

One round of freshing up for everyone, and it was close to 8.00 pm. We then decided to walk down to the temple ( which is just 5 mins walk from the hotel ), but just narrowly missed a darshan 'coz the temple closes at 8.30 pm and we were there at 8.30 pm.

I did want to see the temple..another trip..perhaps... So, we turned back and decided to get done with dinner and get back to the hotel. Dropped into neomysorecafe, and while some had meals, I settled for a plate of chapathi...

By 9.30 pm, we were back in the room. Packing...relaxing and it soon was time to leave. Just before that, we found another group of trekkers who wanted a room for the night and were willing to take our room for the night ( we were anyway being charged for an full day ), and split the cost with us. So, we handed the keys to them and left for the bus at 10.00 pm. The bus took off a bit late, and it was 10.30 pm when we bid goodbye to Subramanya...

The return journey had a few halts - some tyre problems and tyre changing, usual tea stops and what nots..and so, while it was supposed to reach Bangalore at 5.00 am or so, we reached at around 6.30 am, when all of us bid goodbye to the others and headed for home..

We ( RS and SS ) got home, and after the morning refreshments, hit the hay for the day! A good sleep later, the Sunday evening found us reminiscing all about the trip that it was, over a hot cup of tea! Cheerio!

Distances :
Manjarabad - Donigal : ~4 kms
Donigal - Yedakumeri : ~ 20 kms
Yedakumeri - Shiribagilu : 18 - 20 kms
Shiribagilu - Kombaro : ~ 5 kms

  see photos dreams home top of page