Night Trek to Narayanagiri

November 5, 2013

I have always been an avid would-be traveller. That is to say I enjoy the concept of traveling. Whenever someone talk about a trip they have been or when I see/read about a place, I add it to the list of places to go to and start planning for it. However that is where it ends. Rarely do these well-planned trips work out. Something or other happens and there are always reasons to cancel them.

So if something had to happen it had to be on an impulse. Exactly that happened two days back.

The three months that I have been in Bangalore, I was part of several discussion with different people about going for a trek somewhere around Bangalore. This week, being a long weekend with Karnataka Rajyotsava and Diwali holidays, there were discussions floating around. From 3 days trip to Goa/Gokarna to 2 days trip to Coorg/Bheemeshwari the scale of the trip finally reduced to a 1 day trip to Savandurga.

BMC was organizing a one day trek to Savandurga and we decided to go for that on Sunday. The only requirement I had during the planning phase was that I wanted to be at home/at a place with TV between 11 PM and 1 AM Saturday night. There was the Liverpool – Arsenal Premier League match and I didn’t want to miss it for anything. As this trip was on Sunday morning, there was no issues there. Apart from me, there were Gokul, Sreejith and Vishak who had agreed to come. We met for on Friday night and decided on going for it.

Everything was planned and I was wondering why Murphy didn’t screw up things this time round. But I didn’t have to wait for long, on Saturday morning the news came out. Vishak had misread the date. The trip was on Saturday morning, not Sunday. So the trip was cancelled.

It was then that a new suggestion came up – another trek by BMC. But this time it was at 9:30PM Saturday night.  Going for that would mean I will miss the match, which I didn’t want to. I started pulling strings to cancel the trips (Yes, I am good that way). I started listing the problems with going at night, the dangers at that place, and began throwing out alternatives which are much better. It was already 12 PM and I was also hopeful that nearer we get to the time, there would be more chances for the seats to get filled.

However, they were obstinate and finally I had to give in to logics like “this is the only possible time”, “all others are ready except you”, “how will the game be affected even if you didn’t watch” (people unaware of butterfly effect right). They went ahead and booked the seats.

There were 17 of us for the trek and 2 organizers from BMC. We left in a mini bus at around 10PM on Saturday night from Domlur. The travel was uneventful except for some miserable attempts from my part trying to live stream the Liverpool game in Airtel’s 3G while in a moving vehicle(if anyone is planning to try it, then one word of caution. DON’T).

We reached Narayanagiri at around 01:00 AM on Sunday morning. It was pitch dark and there was just a torch for the four of us and that posed some issues. Other than that the trek wasn’t difficult. We stopped at 2 places to rest and still reached the top of hill by around 2:15.

To us, who were expecting a magnificent view, it was a little disappointing. The sky was cloudy and there was no stars visible and of course the darkness meant there was nothing to be seen around. There was a temple on top of the hill, but it too looked stranded except for a small light that was burning inside. We strolled around the hill for some time. Then we came back to the hill top and settled down. We had carried with us sleeping bags that BMC had provided. After some struggle, we got ourselves packed inside the sleeping bags.

Packed in the sleeping bag

Packed in the sleeping bag

It was then that the first stroke of brilliance in the entire trip till then came up. The clouds had almost completely gone and the stars were visible. It has to be one of the most brilliant  things that I ever saw. Full 360 degrees view of night sky without any obstruction. Myself and Gokul were also fortunate to spot a meteor burning out. We went to sleep counting the stars. I feel that is the way to go to sleep. Will give it a try again.

I woke up at 5:30 AM. The Sun was about to come out, but the sky was cloudy. I decided to get up, but it was extremely cold and the wind was very strong. The moment I got up, I started shivering. I wore a jacket but that didn’t help much. I had already packed my sleeping bag, so going back to sleep wasn’t an option.


Cloudy sunrise

By this time everyone had woken up and it was starting to get bright. The sky was cloudy again and we couldn’t see the sunrise. The view from the top of the hill was brilliant. There were umpteen number of weirdly shaped rocky hills wherever you looked. Narayanagiri hill that we had climbed was also impressive. There were small pockets around the hill where water had collected. The path to the hill had iron railing at some places and nicely worked steps at the steep areas.

By 6:30AM, as it was bright already, we started our climb down. This wasn’t as easy as going up. There were a few steep areas that one had to be careful. Also as it was rocky, knees and ankles were starting to pain with the impact of each step. But being a short distance, we reached the base without any troubles.


The climb down


Steps on rock

The return trip was again uneventful. I slept for most of it. We got down and rushed home. As soon as I reached home, I started downloading the game. Looking back, missing the game wasn’t the worst thing I did. If I had missed the trip for the game and if my decision (coupled with butterfly effect) hadn’t changed the course of the game, it might have been very depressing indeed.

Overall, the night trek to Narayanagiri was a refreshing experience. It was the most random thing that I have done in a long time. Ever since I started working, daily schedule have been getting very predictable. This has at least been a welcome change from that.

P.S. If you are planning to go for trekking around Bangalore, I would recommend Bangalore Mountaineering Club (BMC). They charged Rs 950 per person for this trek. It may seem to be costly for a 12 hour trip, but it would have been very difficult if we had gone on our own. For one, it would have been impossible to find the way. Also, it is highly recommended to carry everything that they recommend in their webpage.

Photo credits – Sreejith Sreekumar