It was 6.30 am and we were welcomed by a chilly 13 degree morning, dew filled greens and the slender rays of sun gently caressing the hilltops. I pulled my sweater around me tightly and tried to suppress the rising chatter of my teeth in the morning chill. The first thing that caught my attention was the abundance of greenery. On one side, the landscape descended to reveal trees of various shapes and sizes while on the other side, it ascended, teeming with coffee plants bearing ripe, red coffee cherries.
It was a splash of reds and browns against fresh, dark, lush greens.
As we explored the dew kissed plants, I had begun to feel a sense of belonging in this pretty home in the town called Virajpet.
This is where I spent my New Year. Right from the beginning, I was determined not to spend my new year in Bangalore, fighting the traffic, getting groped, struggling for space and struggling with the deafening noise in a pub or holing up in my room. I wanted to leave Bangalore and go somewhere peaceful and closer to nature. After days of hunting for trips and facing disappointments, I found a package for Tadiandamol trek.
Traveling and me
I am not an avid traveler and I don’t see myself becoming a globe trotter in future. But I’d like myself some new sights and experiences once in a while. As a child, I haven’t traveled at all. Tours and excursions were a rarity in our family. I used to yearn to go on long vacations like my friends, but that just didn’t happen. Instead, I found those adventures and new friendships in the books I read. Hence, this was a beginning for me where the world of traveling opened itself before me.
Our group comprised of five of us; my sister Devu, my friend Balu, my colleague N, a friend of hers and myself. We boarded the bus that was arranged by the tour operators by 11pm and soon we were joined by the rest of the party who had signed up for the trip.
We reached the homestay by 6.30 am. It belonged to an amiable, friendly lady named Ponnamma. In the little span of time I got to know her, she seemed like a loving, motherly warden in a hostel; the kind that every child would love. We freshened up, had breakfast and left for the trekking point. We had to travel for about an hour to reach the base point or our trek. The path was filled with trees and the road was long and winding.
Tadiandamol is the highest Mountain in the Kodagu/Coorg district and the 3rd highest in Karnataka. It forms a part of the Western Ghats. It doesn’t look that tall does it? But it was pretty tiring for a beginner.
We reached the base A by 11 am. Our trek was supposed to begin at the next level, Base B, which was about 1.5 Kms farther. As there weren’t any Jeeps available, we had to start from point A. This meant that we were about to cover about 7Kms. I, being a beginner sans any kind of physical exercise, had no idea what that meant.
Since it was December, the weather was cool, the path was dusty and deprived of any water content. This meant zero leeches (Yay!). The initial ascend was interspersed with sunny, dry paths, dusty mountain sides, and cool shady woods flanked by tall trees and thick shrubs. I would lag behind as I walked into the woods, clicking pictures, examining beautiful spots that were formed out of roots of age old trees. We sped up once the flora reduced and the redness of the land enveloped us.
After about 3 Kms, by when we had crossed base B, we had left the woods behind and were climbing up the bare mountain. We passed areas with red slippery soil, we climbed boulders, we dodged groups of tiny stones that waited for unsuspecting trekkers. One wrong foot and they’d roll you down. We were sure footed but slow, and I aced at the slow race. 😛
The summit looked closer but it kept moving farther as we moved. When about a Km or so was left, I decided to give up. Not because I was tired, but because the path was steeper, more slippery, the land assured you no grip and I am an over-thinker. Before I placed a foot, I thought a thousand times whether it was the right step, of what would happen if it weren’t.
I looked at the summit, not so longingly. I had come this far. But it didn’t matter to me if I did not finish it. My life mattered more than my determination to conquer a peak. I was sure of that. I asked Devu and Balu to go on and that I’d wait. They weren’t leaving without me. They needed double the courage; for themselves and for me and they had it for all of us. After that tricky bit of land, I was more pumped up and we soon reached the Summit, exhausted but contented.
It was about 2.30 pm, quite hot with the sun beaming a bit too strongly and the view was good. If I am to give my honest opinion, I was a bit disappointed. I think I expected cool breeze, mist and lots and lots of greens or colors, but most of it looked dry as opposed to my expectations. Maybe the noon and the heat sort of spoilt it. It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t magnificent either. I loved the walk through the woods with tiny streams cutting across the path more. I absolutely loved it and if I had known what was coming, I’d have rather explored the winding paths that led into the dark shola forests. I am more of a forest person than a mountain person.
We had our lunch and began our descend. I remember discussing how the descend was worse as the gravity joined the cunning stones to pull us down. At one point of time, they succeeded! I fell, first on all fours, scraped my knee, and my palms. My hands were burning for a long time, but I had no scratches whatsoever. I had made myself a washed out, torn jeans (on the knee) that I could now sell for double the price. 😛
I was slow on the descend too. Once the steep, hilly areas were done, we felt a sense of accomplishment. We completed the remaining trek thirsty, hungry, muscles screaming in pain and happy. It was the last day of 2017 and it couldn’t have been better. The return trek was only about 5.5 Kms as we got the Jeep from point B.
The jeep ride reminded me of Kareena Kapoor’s dialogue from Jab We Met. ‘Bas Bhagwan. Ab aur excitement mat do. Boring bana lo is din ko.’ It was cramped with 10 people apart from the driver, the road was way too bumpy and by the end of the trip, my head was lumpy. 😦
Palace, New Year, Namdroling Monastery and Home
While we awaited the bus, we visited a Palace nearby. We then walked to where the bus was parked and on the way, had juicy tender coconut and watermelon. The store owners knew Malayalam as Coorg is very close to Kannur. They were happy to see some of us speaking the tongue and enquired our whereabouts. After some chitchats, we made our way back.
Even though we were exhausted, we shooed our pains in the steaming hot water and prepared ourselves for the campfire. The food arrived, drinks were opened and this was when we got introduced to each other. Most of us were from other parts of the country, but settled in Bangalore. We talked, ate and danced our way into the New Year. We played some games and gradually, one by one disappeared.
Next morning, we packed our bags, bid farewell to our host and left. On the way, we visited the Namdroling Monastery, Mysore which is the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan buddhism in the world (Source: Wikipedia). More about it in the next post. It was 10pm by the time we reached Bangalore, having spent one of the best New Years.
‘Mind in peace and body in pieces’ go well with my situation for the next couple of days. Oh and finally I get to strike off Coorg from my travel list. 🙂
Organized by: Escape2Explore + Adventure nation
Rate: 3500+GST per head
Inclusions: 4 Meals, Transportation from and to Bangalore, Accomodation
I am on the lookout for places to visit near Bangalore. Do leave your suggestions regarding them here. Two day trip spots suggestions are welcome, but I’m specficially looking for Saturday evening to Monday early morning getaways as I work on Saturdays. 🙂