Trekking in the Western Ghats in 70 photos

I have these piles and piles of photographs lying around from my heydays of trekking in the Western Ghats. I used to share them on Facebook but I deleted my old account. I haven’t documented them anywhere and I though I should do something about it. Initially I planned to write a post for each trek but it was going to take forever. I resorted to one mega photo essay.

Revisiting Sakleshpur trek

Sakleshpur railway is a part of the railway line that connects Mangalore to Bangalore in South India. The stretch from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subrahmanya was closed for years for conversion to broad gauge. During which it became a trekkers paradise rightly called Green Route. It passes through thick green forests, numerous streams, waterfalls, some 50 tunnels and countless bridges.

To BR Hills, Kotagiri and Manjoor

After a trip to Goa before last Christmas,  I haven’t been on the road. A trip, any trip to somewhere was really due.

This was a dream on the map. The plan: Take the Bangalore-Kanakpura-Malavalli-Kollegal-Sathyamangalam  route to Kotagiri and swing by BR Hills on the way. On the second day, drive to Ooty, Manjoor and back to Ooty. The return trip from Manjoor will show us Avanlanche Lake from a distance. From Ooty, drive straight back to Bangalore.

This trip took us through roads like this…

bull-crossing-road

.. and showed us views like this.

ooty-manjoor-avalanche-11

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No trip to Yelagiri

This post is about the much awaited trip to  Yelagiri that did not happen. The route was carefully planned. Hotel booked. Lunch will be at Ambur at the famous Star Briyani. The onward journey will run parallel to Old Madras Road. Return journey will involve a ride through Javadhu hills, swing by the Observatory if possible,  turn left into Vellore and connect Old Madras Road after Chittoor. Playlist carefully selected.

But it did not happen.

Stay

I booked Kannas Guest House, Athanavoor Main Road through Stayzilla. At 1600 for 2 occupants, with a resort like campus, backed by a comment at TripAdvisor, it seemed like a good deal.

Route – Onward    https://goo.gl/maps/nR7NURjTMtq

bangalore-yelagiri-route

Route – Return   https://goo.gl/maps/GWRWZW2dWeS2

yelagiri-bangalore-route

I am sharing the route I planned to take should someone find it useful. The idea of this route is not meant to be the  shortest route  but to be  exploratory and fun.

Bangalore by bus

Most people don’t explore their own town. I am not most people. I chose to continue that by exploring Bangalore on a bus. With a day pass  that cost a mere 70 rupees, I rode BMTC buses one  whole day. The benefit and ease with day pass is not having to worry about change (conductor hardly returns change at once)  and not having to know the stop (to tell the conductor for fare). Just get on and get off wherever you want.

The routes I traveled by  bus

  1. Kannamangala to  Kadugodi. Rs. 14 for bus fare, after this I used day pass. (Blue Bus)
  2. Kadugoi to MG Road (SBS-1K)
  3. Brigade road to Wipro Gate, Electronic City (G3)
  4. Wipro Gate to Silk Board (356 CW, Silk Board via Flyover)
  5. Silb Board to Banashankari (200 series Volvo)
  6. Banashankari to Hebbala via Silk Board, Marathalli  Ring Road (500 Series Volvo)
  7.  Hebbala to Majestic (Blue Bus)
  8. Majestic to Brigade Road (335 E Volvo)
  9. Bayapanahalli Metro Station to KR Puram (304, White and Blue)
  10. KR Puram to Hope Farm (304, White and Blue)
  11. Hope Farm to Kannamangala (Blue Bus)

What did I learn?

Multiplexes  have not put Rex out of business. There’s a sky walk near Forum Mall, Koramangala and at other places on Ring Road. I was totally unaware there’s a railway track under Hebbal fly over. There’s too many Volvos plying 335 E route, Majestic to ITPL. Freedom park is not just a part, it was Bangalore Central Jail. There is not just one but several marriage halls in Palace Ground.Totally enjoyed Shivaji Nagar in the evening.

I tried to get a day pass at Kadugodi Bus Station but the staff in the office told me I could get it from the conductor. Since the only IDs with me were photocopy, I went back to the office to get a BMTC ID.  I had no desire to run into trouble with a picky conductor.

explore-bangalore-by-bus-1

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Kolar Gold Fields

Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) is an old mining town, 100 km from Bangalore. The history of mining here stretches  from BC’s to British India to 2001. Mining stopped in 2001 due to low production. The British called it Little England for the colder climate. It was one of the earliest electrified towns in India.

Churches, ruins, old mining gears, cottages, barracks, hills formed by excavated earth and open grass fields. Not much for an average tourist. But I am not an average tourist. I am an explorer. If I haven’t been there, I want to be there.