29. Tadiandamol Trek on 28th and 29th Jan 2012
It was a really confusing weekend. With more than one option in hand, I felt like I should select the best one. Finally I couldnt take it anymore and I called up one of my friend, Arun Sekhar , for a trek plan. He too was free that weekend. For a change we decided to go to western ghats this time.
Deciding a place for trek was a difficult job. There are a lot of hills in the western ghats and all of them are beautiful. And unfortunately all of them were more than 12 hours away from Chennai. Since I didnt know much about this area, I told Arun that I am ready with any place he selects. After asking around his friends, he selected Tadiandamol.
Tadiandamol was located in the South- Western Karnataka near Kerala border. The place was well explored and there was a trail all the way upto the hill top. To make things little interesting I suggested we go to Pythalmalai on day 2 following ridges. Since I had GPS, I was confident about not getting lost.
We booked the Bangalore mail on Friday night which reached Bangalore by 5 in the morning. After having some tea and buns we asked around for a bus to Madikeri. Unfortunately Madikeri buses were not available from Majestic bus stand so we took a local town bus to the Satellite bus stand. The first bus to Madikeri was at 7 am.
I was hoping we would reach Madikeri a little earlier, but the bus timings started ruining the plans. We could reach Madikeri only by 2 pm which was way too late. From this place we had to go to a small town called Kakkabe which was near the base of the Tadiandamol hill. The road was bad in this area, so we could reach Kakkabe only at 4 pm. It was getting very late, and little by little I was realizing that reaching the top of hills itself is a big thing.
We took an auto to Nalnad palace from Kakkabe for 60 rupees. We werent interested in the palace. Anyway it didnt look interesting too. At this place the altitude was 1060 m. From wikipedia we knew that the peak was at 1760 m. We wanted to camp at the peak that night, so I was mentally getting ready for a night trek.
We started the trek by 4.30 pm. From the palace the tar road continued for around 1.5 km more. We walked slowly. We didnt get any views of the hill from this place since it was fully covered with trees. The area started opening up, once the tar road ended and a muddy jeep trail started. The area completely opened up giving superb views in some time. By this time the Jeep trail changed to a narrow village trail. But because it was a tourist place, the way was still very clear. Even at night there is very less chance to go off trail.
GPS statistics showed that we were making good progress. It was 5.50 pm and we were reaching closer to peak. All around us was beautiful hills and valleys. Even though I was climbing up, the breeze was so chill that I didnt sweat much. After a final relatively steep climb, we reached the top of the peak at 6.30 pm. I was so happy because we had enough light to get some firewood and prepare a camp fire. With some effort we prepared a nice camp fire to save ourselves from cold. Staying one second away from the fire felt like stepping into a refrigerator.
We had our dinner without delaying much. Cleared some space near the fire. Put the tarpauline down. We didnt care to make a proper tent, since its only two of us we slept covering ourselves with the tarp. We survived the night just because of sleeping bag and the tarp. It was way too cold up there.
I should have woke up by 6 in the morning. With great difficulty I crawled out of my sleeping bag. Its cold! Jumping up and down, trying to keep my body warm, I looked at the clouds settled down below. I expected to see some bysons, but couldnt spot any. I wanted to spend some more time there, enjoying the views, but standing still means you will shake more with cold. So we decided to have breakfast and quickly leave.
Going down was easier. In one and half hour we reached the palace. It was the shortest trek in my life. I trekked only 4 hours, after 17 hours of travel from Chennai!!!