Teddy and a Mole?
Wait a minute.
*ohmigosh start already!*
Please be ready to camp. Otherwise stop reading.
Ha ha! We don’t really mean that. What we mean is give us your money.
(SBI acc # 728127128762)
Tadiandamol, near virajpet, is one of the most beautiful things We’ve ever seen. But We’d still prefer the Himalayas in case of us having money to afford it altogether (bank account number mentioned above).
There’s a surplus of bus connectivity to Virajpet from Bangalore.
In spite of this, surprisingly, even the “Karnataka Sarige (Vengeful-Bus-Gods-Of-DOOM)” ones were fully booked and we were the last ones to book the bus.
The drive was something the locals affectionately call the “Devil’s Son.” We reached Virajpet at 4 AM and indiscriminately lugged our luggage of 16Kg each uphill following the sonorous advice of a local tea-shop vendor.
Dan DAN DAAAAAAN! (*insert violin music here*).
A denizen of a mangy pink palace. Beside it lived its brother, the Commercial Tax Office. Lighting a cigar (Clint’s way) and smelling the wind we paced carefully up the stairs.
The receptionist, snoring like a cup of strong black coffee, was asleep behind a door labelled “no admittance.”
Beckoned by us, he woke up with grizzly noises and coughed a little. He was a kind man. He spared us a room (single, 4-inch*16-inch poster bed, Rs. 350) to freshen up for a few hours.
Now slowly turned into later.
An Auto-Drive to Kakkinad Junction
We were astounded when we set out to reach the foothill of Tadiandamol, not one single man in virajpet had heard of it. But in this unassuming town lived an unassuming auto driver. His name was Clark. He was our superhero. He was a likable chap who, apart from being a native (tribal-not-son-of-village-chief), was a man generous with the tiny sealed packets of chew able rubber candy(center fresh-google it). For only Rs. 400 (again, our bank account number has been mentioned above) he took us all the way to the base of Tadiandamol, a good 17 Km away.
The Trek is NOT JUST 3.5 km. ALL LIES!! BULLIES!
It is 10 km (but actually 3.6 lightyears) from Kakkinad Junction. Treacherous, precipitous but beautiful (made us cry real man-tears). The whole trek provides a surreal picturesque throughout. And peace. And fear. And peace again. And silence.
The trek evolves into a monstrous task (seething with black octopus tentacles), not because of sunlight, cold, geckos nor the not-so-fit friends. Not even because you stop to talk to fellow trekkers, but only because of gigantic weight (a breathtaking 16Kg *gasp*).
People trekking in the opposite direction seemed to be emerging from an ancient civilization where time and space are without reference. After being carefully informed that our remaining trek was infact only some where between 3 to 7 km and between 15 – 120 minutes away, we sat confused dripping with sweat and with a small wart of annoyance bulging in our brains.
We spotted no Wildlife as such. But people’s views about the dangers of camping (aaaaaaa! the elephants will EAT US!! run!!) on the peak got us equivocal about things.
We used our Sherlock-trained minds to find the sly-seedy-and-oddly-lemon-smelling. Soon the culprits were caught, it was the trekking organizers trying to curtail their brigades of imaginative customers by just spreading fear.
Uh oh! Not Now! Don‘t send us back! UNCLE?!
We reached the peak. CELEBRATIONS! HOORAY! *smooching the ground like long a lost lover*
Camping is not allowed on top of the peak!
*What ra? Full anti-climax?*
Allegedly: Rapes and murders have occurred here. The local tribals are fed up. They very amicably create a menace if you do camp there. This information cannot be found AnyWhere! A Forest Committee has been formed by these tribals which doesn’t comply to any Indian Government Rules (A sovereign state within our own land!). The Forest Department takes pains to avoid all mention of this. We approached them, pre-trek, in Bangalore and phoned DC offices stationed in Nalknad, Madikeri and Brahmagiri for permission to camp prior to the trek.
*oh look ra! so much red tape ? is it for a present ? show it to me ?*
But we did a good job of befriending the Forest Guard, and also to a champion-man-with-weapon-of-pipe, of the Forest Committee hoping that next time we DO get to camp on the peak.
Bharat (Tribal-son-of-village-chief) +919480853272.
Thamaiah (Forest Guard) – +919972483994
are the people to be contacted.
We didn’t loose it all though. After climbing back halfway, we pitched our tent near the forest guard’s quarters. The forest guard helped us gather a large quantity of dry wood for a glorious fire. We made it last for three hours and sang and danced around it and told ghost stories and made crunchy burnt potato cheese sandwiches.
The next day we happily hitched a ride from a concerned and helpful old couple to the base of the hill. And inched our way back to bangalore, one bus at a time.
Special Mention of Hotel Sangam by the junction. Wonderful people. Great food.