Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life on a railway track!

Life on a railway track!Well… I guess I made you guys wait for very long to write this new adventure post in my blog… this time it’s not Kodachaadrigaaa? It’s all about the railway track! Check it out…

The plan!

For a change, even though it could have been a long weekend, we planned to stay in Bangalore and to do some quality work on many things. October 5th was Hari’s birthday and he was planning to come down to Bangalore to spend time with all of us (but more with his Grandma for the obvious reasons). As expected his plan did not work out because of his loads of work at his office. He stayed back in Pune leaving us with no work for weekend. Well it was October 3rd already and I planned for a trekking camp. TS was doubtful as it was difficult for him to get one day leave (on Saturday). I forced him to take leave and join me for the camp. All he did was what everyone does as a first step to get married. Yes! His leave was sanctioned as he lied to his manager that he is going to Sakaleshpur to see a girl!

The twist!
Now you know our place of trek… yes! This time we planned to go to Rottikkal. After googling about the place and looking at those stupendous photographs, we decided to leave on Friday evening and get to Rottikkal. The whole reason for me to plan for this 2 day camp was because of Supreeth. He wanted to go out of Bangalore very badly to stay out of his office and his house construction tension. But at the end, it was difficult for him to get the permission from home and join us. Well… I just sent him an SMS saying “The whole event was planned for YOU”!

TS, Raghu, Sudhi, Supreeth and I met at the KSRTC bus stand at 11 pm in the night to catch a bus to Sakaleshpur. Google gives us good direction; I say this because, while exploring the information about Rottikkal, I found out that it is a 20 acre resort where people pay the regular tariffs to stay there and enjoy the nature. We were not interested in such camps as it will be expensive. All we wanted is to finish the camp within 500 Rs.

“The Green Route” came to my mind. It was a 6 years dream of our team to complete this trekking. I got all the required information on the same and informed TS that we are not doing Rottikkal this time but we are doing the Green Route trek!

11.30 pm, we packed some snacks for the way and we took the bus at 12.30 am to Sakaleshpur. It was supposed to be a 4.30 hrs journey to Sakaleshpur but we landed there at 4.00 am early morning. As soon as we got down from the bus, there was a mobile tea stall for us to have the ‘bed coffee’. We enquired with the shop guy on the bus timings to Donigal. That’s when Raghu and Sudi came to know about we not going to Rottikkal and the new plan. The reason for me not to tell the plan was because I was not sure whether they would allow us to do the Green Route trekking without permission. By the way, The Green Route is the railway track route between Sakaleshpur and Subramanya (56 kms). There are totally 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and many waterfalls in this route. Luckily we got to know that there is no permission required and all that we had to do is to be very careful on the track as we could face many trains on the way which may be dangerous while we are on a bridge or inside a tunnel. Scary isn’t it?

The start!
We were to reach Donigal railway station 8 km from Sakaleshpur as this was our starting point. We took the bus at 5 am from Sakaleshpur to Donigal and got down at Donigal at 5.15 am. From there we came to know that we need to walk upto the Donigal railway station which is 5 km from this place. We again packed some snacks / food for the way and started walking from that place. Early morning jackpot was that we got a good 5 km ride in a lorry. Got down at the Donigal Railway Bridge and climbed up to the Railway Track!

Oct-04-2008; Break-even: Dream comes true!
As soon as we touched the track at 6.15 am, we were like it’s our 6 years dream to get to this place. Wow! TS was mentioning that this is our Break-even point as in from here onwards it’s the profit zone for us. Surprisingly there was a small waterfall which helped us to take some good shower and to finish up with all the morning karma!

The place was so good that we did some warm up exercise climbing up the red mud opposite to the railway station. We had good fun there before we started and finally we started our track journey at 7.45 am from the 49/400 point.

Step by step we started walking on the railway track. All we were worried about was what if the train comes when we were on the bridge? Or inside a tunnel? There were few railway workers at the railway station so we went and asked them about it. All they said was to be careful and keep watching for the trains while on the bridge and before getting into any tunnel. It was sounding too scary because whoever answers our question used to tell us that it is at your own risk!

Well! At 51/100, we saw a tunnel like structure built as a over bridge. We were so dumb in thinking that tunnels will be like this. As we are moving on, whoever comes in our opposite direction, we used to question them about the tunnels and bridges. We then used our brains to know how many trains we might face in a day? The typical answer given by a railway worker was: “there is no exact number of trains in a day, it may be 0, 2, 5, 10 and sometimes even 20 + in a day”. This made us think that we will have a real tough time ahead.

A life track!
This route is named as The Green Route because of its scenic beauty. It is just green off the track. The track passes through the green wood forest crossing many water currents and deep valleys which make the railway track look lively always. October was the right season to visit this route as there are no rains and everywhere its just Green!

This railway track was abandoned for 10 years when they were converting the narrow-gauge track to a broad-gauge track and also because of too much of land sliding which had closed this route completely. When it was abandoned, there were many people who went on this route. That’s when the ‘The Green Route trek’ became so famous.

Well…now that trains are ON the track, the trek will be wild and scary. So our 2-day life on a railway track started in this way. There were many indication boards across the track indicating the curves, number of kms from Hassan, Tunnel # and the bridge details.

The bridge!
Finally we reached the 1st bridge. Wow it was spectacular to look at it. Even before we went on the bridge, we took a lot of photographs. Seriously there is no space on the track for us to hide when train comes. But there is a small structure built on the bridge to stand when a train comes at a certain distance. If at all train comes while on the bridge, we need to run and get to that small side angle which is built to the bridge.

Wow! When you are on the bridge, you just need to see both the sides; all you will see is the spectacular scenic beauty. One side will be the row of mountains and the other side will be a waterfall or a valley. The depth will be too much that if some one is suffering from a motion fatigue, it is advised not to go on this track for good.

The train!
Well… as soon as we crossed the 1st bridge, to our surprise, there comes the 1st train also. We ran fast and reached the other end of the bridge as soon as we heard the train horn. We all were excited to see the train passing through the bridge. It was a goods carrier with 2 engines toward front and 2 engines at the end with about 50+ containers. It was too good to watch and we clicked few more photographs of the train and the bridge and moved on.

We crossed a few bridges and we were eager to see the tunnels. But for some good distance, we did not find any tunnels. But the excitement and the track walk was getting wild as we were moving on.

The tunnel!
Almost after 4 kms, we saw a beautiful water stream under a bridge and were clicking photographs of the same. We attended to our nature call as well. Then we heard the train horn……… well how will it be to see a train coming out of the tunnel # 1? Yes., it was the tunnel # 1 and we could see the train coming out of the same along the curve. we had to move off the track when to let the train go. After the train left, we ran and reached the tunnel. Tunnels are very huge and the structure looks very strong built out of rocks. It was written as Tunnel # 1 550 m. So the 1st tunnel is almost half a km long. It looked too dark inside and our excitement could not wait too long to get in to the tunnel. Wow it was an amazing experience inside the tunnel. We can only see the light at the end of the tunnel and nothing else. Without a torch, it is too difficult to walk on the track inside the tunnel. As we moved inside, we could see the interior of the tunnel with the torch light and make out that if a train comes, all we need to do is to throw our bags to the wall and hug the wall. This may save our lives!

There was a small opening we could see from inside the tunnel and we thought we will go out of that opening and see what is there out. Wow! Was the reaction of everyone. It was a total surprise for all of to see a very big and a spectacular waterfall. We had not seen such a beautiful place in real. It looked like a wall paper we always chose for our desktops at home. Amazing creation with a wild touch! We were speechless after looking at it. It was very steep and we had no intention of getting down there and kill ourselves so we came back into the tunnel again and moved on.

Now we got used to trains, bridges and tunnels as well. Tunnel # 7 was the lengthiest of all which was 683 m long. It was the breakfast time and our stop was at curve 19. We had got bread and jam packed for our breakfast which was adequate for us to have it at that time. Me, sup and TS were playing some games throwing stones by fixing the targets.

Let me give you shocking news that there are no hotels until we reach 38 kms on this route. SOS!!!

Tunnel # 10 & 11
You may be wondering why I am explaining about the tunnels 10 and 11. These two tunnels are connected with a bridge which is at a very short distance to one another. When we came out of the tunnel 10, we heard the train sound! Aren’t you scared?

Somehow we could cross the bridge and moved onto a concrete structure built after the bridge before it connects the tunnel. We are saved. But the experience was thrilling.

58/100
We were just one km to a railway station called as Vadagaralli Railway Station. When were at 58/100, we were planning to have our lunch as we were hungry at the same time we were tired as well. So we thought of resting and we saw the railway slabs which was dumped across the track. We went up on that and rested. It was so silent that all of us took a quick nap and had to get up because of the rain showers. Yes! It started raining and we thought this will be the worst part of our trek as there is nothing to escape from it. Luckily rain stopped and then we thought let us reach the station and then have the lunch there. We started walking towards the station.

As we were walking, we encountered a small bridge. But the scary thing in this bridge was there was no top metal sheet for this bridge to walk on it. It was just a bridge with iron slabs carrying the two tracks. The slabs were at a 2 ft distance from one another and there is a deep valley under the bridge. The experience was like if you start walking on it, you will tend to lose out your concentration because of the flowing water which you can see under the bridge. With just the iron slabs, we feel it worse to keep a step which makes us get scared to cross the bridge. Anyway all of us slowly reached the other end and we saw a neat small railway station welcoming us at 59/100.

There was a person who takes care of the railway trolleys which carries a minimum number of railway officers from one station to another. As per him, there is no hotel and we cannot get food until we reach Subramanya. This made us get worried about the food as we had not taken enough food for the way. All we had planned was to trek up to the yedakumari (the next station) and take the 5km forest route to reach the highway to catch a bus to Subramanya. This plan was ruled out by that person as he said that the 5km route is closed because of the difficulty in crossing the river on the way. There was no option of us except for trekking up to the 79/600 which is still 20 km from here without any food.

As we started having our lunch (biscuits and bread-jam), we saw a batch of school students coming towards the station. They were the group of scouts and guides team in Bangalore. With them there were 4 senior scout officers. We were thrilled to see them in the scout uniform and their excitement in trekking this route. We met them and spoke to them for some time. All five of us were eyeing at them because they were carrying loads of food and they started preparing Avalakki there at the station. TS was irresistible and was saying that we will go with them so that we will get some food. Well... that was on a lighter side and we made lot of such funny statements. We left the station and started walking on the track.

Off- track beauty!
Conquering the milestones one by one, we covered 3 kms very soon and reached 62/100. By then we had even crossed couple of tunnels and bridges. Even though we were worried about food (especially our Hancock Supreeth) for the rest of our track journey, we were all cheerful and were enjoying the journey. Raghu and Sudi were named lehman brothers! As even they were trying to come out of their daily financial life. And tunnels! Supreeth was scared to get into the tunnel without my LED torch and he took the responsibility of managing the torch inside the tunnels for all of us for all the tunnels. Off the track, we saw some awe-inspiring beauty of nature. We couldn’t believe that we were amidst such a spectacular views. The green wood forest and the water streams, the peaks, were astounding for our eyes. One by one our cameras were full of beautiful pictures.

There were so many funny moments and thrilling experiences during our first day on the railway track! We even tried climbing the big nets which are covered across the hills to avoid land sliding. We climbed trees, nets, tunnel stones (well supreeth climbed on me as well...risky life). Can we do all these and can we have such thrilling experiences in the cities we live?

The heaven!
After walking for 8 kms from the previous station, we reached heaven. Yes! This is the heaven for all the trekkers like us. It takes 18 kms of walk through the bridges and tunnels and many thrilling moments to reach this heaven. The heaven is at 67/400 and it is called Yedakumari! This is a small railway station which is located at a very high altitude above sea level. All you can see from this place is two lively railway tracks and beautiful peaks all around. Any person visits this place will feel great about reaching this place. All it took to reach heaven was 18 kms of track walk! We reached this place at 6 pm. We planned to stay at this station overnight and as per the station master’s suggestion, we planned to take the train at 4.30 in the morning to Subramanya. Well... this was the plan.

Raghu at 6pm wanted to take shower and he went searching for the water. Water water everywhere! But still he wanted a proper place to take shower as there were 3 teams at this place resting for the night.

As we started resting, we met a team of 14 people who were from Bangalore resting at the station. That’s when we saw Meghna! Feels good isn’t it?

Meghna and team started their journey from the place 5kms from our starting place which means they started at 55/100. They had already occupied the lounge place at the station and started cooking for their dinner as well. Happy? I thought you guys were happy to know that we got some food. No! But they offered us some fruits and cucumber which we finished it as soon as it came into our hands.

Raghu the savior!
Yes. The reason for me to tell this is because Raghu saved us from getting killed out of hunger! While he was on his search for the place to take shower, he met a railway worker who offered us food for the night. Without a second thought, i went with Raghu to his place and ordered for 5 meals. Now... happy?

Worst part is that when we came back to the resting place, we got to hear from Supreeth and TS that Meghna’s team is willing to offer us dinner with them. Well... it was too late for that and we managed to tell them that we arranged for our food for the night. We missed a chance!!!

Hot meal and chilled sleep!
At 8, all five of us went to the dinner place. We were relieved to see the rice and sambar which was ready to serve us hot. We started having food like we have never eaten before! Looking at us, they even offered us omelette! There was a glow on supreeth’s face which took 5 eggs for that glorification.

One thing which i am still finding difficulty in understanding is why is it that people who are living in western ghats area are so humble and always with the giving hand??? Yes, to second my point, it was left to us as to how much we need to pay for the food we had! But since we had a very good dinner, we paid 30 Rs per meal and came back. No wonder such people live 100 years!

Since we were tired of the 1st day on the railway track, we thought of sleeping soon. Raghu and Sudhi as always had got economic times. Hold on...it was not for reading but for sleeping as it acts as a floor mat. And we were to sleep on a wonderful concrete bed – the platform! I have no idea whether supreeth slept or not as there were many insects which were killed around him. But all of us had a very good chilled sleep! Gudnite!

A Second day on the railway track!
It was 6 am and i woke up to see an awesome huge green rock which is just opposite to the station. All others were still sleeping and i just went on a walk on the platform. It was a great feeling to be at that place and see such an astounding beauty of nature. The station is covered only by peaks. I could see kumaraparvatha, and lot of other peaks of the Bisley ghat forest range. This was a great relief and feel good factor when you have so many tensions and irritating daily work life. One will forget all the tensions and sorrows within looking at such an awesome creation. You feel like you are dancing, singing, painting, writing a poem... getting married to a beautiful girl...too much isn’t it?

To give you an example of how much you enjoy when you are off the work life at such a beautiful place, we took 1.30 hrs to do our daily morning karma which we complete it within 15-20 minutes when we were in Bangalore. Thrilled? We started at 8.45 from Yedakumari and started the second day on the track. By then Meghna and team had left the place (may be they took 20 minutes here as well for the above mentioned important task!). We encountered a lot of bridges as we started walking and tunnels as well. It was such a view that we could see Meghna and team on the hill next to ours walking on the bridge. Yes! Life is full of curves, twists and turns... one can see the right turn! It was Hari’s birthday the October 5th and we were lucky that Sudi’s mobile got the network connection just to wish Hari for 5 minutes.

As always, i had not told any of these guys that i had 15 chapattis to eat. All i was saying was let us get to the 75th km point and have our lunch. We were so fast that we met the Meghna and team! Now the fun begins... They were a good team of 14 people who are working in Bangalore in different offices. They started sharing their previous trekking experiences with us and we started entertaining them with our usual PJs. Especially TS! And Meghna – she is a beautiful girl who is still in 11th standard and fed up of studying already. Me and supreeth while walking we were listening to good songs playing from my mobile phone. She started listening to the songs and made statements like “I have a good company now as you guys have very good collections of songs”. We were shocked to see her behaviour and her attitude to look at things! She is 11th standard only at school but she speaks like someone who has completed her PhD. Phew! Again she said... i love this song!

We had very good funny moments with this team and they started sharing chocolates, fruit juices with us which made us happy as well! Our journey went on the track like this facing many fun filled experiences with this team and the beauty! (you know what i meant).

Wild things!
I am not talking about the movie but i need to tell you our wild experiences. We were all ready to get some wild experience like being on the bridge when the train comes! Inside the tunnel when the train comes! Isn’t it crazy?

Yes. After crossing the tunnel # 25, there was a bridge connecting to it. All our fellow trekkers were standing aside and signing to us that a train is coming. We had to run to a place to stand. Then we saw that there is a side angle for this bridge to stand on it. Only maximum 3-4 people can stand there. We just ran without even thinking about our lives! Me, TS and Raghu ran on the bridge to get there. All others were scared what if train comes by then? Luckily we went on to that spot and the train comes like a killer express. Wow guys! I must say that it was the most thrilling and dangerous experience. The whole side angle was shaking because of the train and we were standing like we have left hopes about we being alive. But once the train passed over the bridge, we were feeling great that we could face this experience. The feel good factor even now is that i had given my camera to Sup to click photographs of this event. It’s awesome to look at it now!

The next experience was at the tunnel near the Arebetta station, we faced a train coming into the tunnel when we are inside. We were not prepared this time but somehow we all could stand to the wall and saved ourselves. Wow it was just scary!

Time pass!
Do you ever think that one can come to walk on this track for time pass?? Yes. We met a team from YHAI, Mangalore. They just came on this track for time pass from Mangalore. We had good fun with them. There was a person called Ramesh Kamat who is known for his hilarious talks. So he made us laugh at his superb jokes. As per them we are just 3km away from the spot which connects us to a highway.

At 76/100 i opened the chapattis which i got and we had it with the lemon pickle. It was too good that we were then able to walk further.

Hunt 79/600 and mission Gundya!
The reason why i say this is we were advised to take a right turn at 79/600 through a forest route for 3 kms which connects us to the village road to Gundya! But we could not see 79/600 at all. Scary right?

Yes all that we could see was 79/500 and after that there is a tunnel # 35 of length 482 m. So there is no 79/600. And there is no right turn. We had to cross the tunnel and come back again to 79/500. Then we could see a small route in between 79/500 and 79/600. And 79/600 board was inside tunnel which i explored and captured in my camera.

We finally climbed down 3 kms inside the forest which was a wonderful experience which led to Supreeths ankle ligament stretched because of one wrong step at the end! We reached the road and slowly walked 2 kms again to reach the highway which connects to Gundya. In between we saw some spectacular views of Kumaradhara River and some good wallpaper views of the way inside the forest.

We reached Gundya, had some refreshments and said ‘tata bye-bye’ to Meghna! And ofcourse to her team.

Well...this was our awe-inspiring story of our two day life on a railway track! Hope you all enjoyed the journey on the track and off the track with us till now.... i thank the whole team which gave me this fun filled thrilling experience.
Please do comment!
Written by Srikanth on October 15th, 2008

9 comments:

Srivathsa said...

Awesome... I missed it!!

Raghu said...

Wow! It was really awesome! I can't really believe myself that I was a part of this team. I enjoyed each and every moment of this trek.

Thanks Sri for penning down all our experiences in the form this beautiful blog. It has come out well.

Raghu

Sudhi said...

Idanna odta iddare nanage ondu kannada song nenapagutte. "Endendu mugiyade irali, ee payana sagutalirali"

It was really superb!!!

manjunath said...

Good one guys!....I missed it too!

sajana said...

OH MY GOD!! MECHBEKU EE HUDUGURANNA!!I guess we must learn to face risks from u guys!!

I just enjoyed reading "Life on a railway track!" ...so much of energy,zeal,excitement,postive thinking ..I wonder how these guys get this from?? well from the story i read i feel people who have all the above attributes i mentioned above need to go and trek on the Green route!!

The way my dear friend has penned down his thoughts is really good! Kudos to him!Good best friend you are improving with each story of urs :)

Well ..the Trek team keep trekking and my best friend asusual will trek and will keep writing....:)and i will keep commenting :)

Cheers,
Sajana

Supreeth said...

Tooo Many First Timers!

- 32 Kms walk in 2 days :O
- Drinking stream water :O
- Railway Sleep :O
- Biscuit Diet :O

All in all...reading this Blog brought back memories of One Awesome Trek! :) Sri :)

T S said...

Hmmmmm... Its my "Dream Journey"..!! Wav.. Amazing..!!
Green Route trekking sorry Tracking..!!

Thanks to team and myself to fulfill my 6 years dream on that day.

Special thanks to Srikanth..!! He did hard copy of my dreams and memories.

This trek was unique among all we did in the past coz stupid walking without humps n Jumps. But the trek was amazing with full of white n green. Trek full green n track full white(Jelli kallu) lot of valleys with joshfull water.. was feeling like to miss in that dark-thick-evergreen forest to enjoy the beauty like happened in Agumbe but we missed it.

Thrilling in the tunnels and on the bridges while train is training.. Oh god full mazaa..!!

Time spent with meghana n Shobha's team good experience as normal for us.

Team Hancock, Superman, Spiderman, Heman and Noman... really good company. First time Hancock (Supreeth)performance in trek as well as on track was good. I like his josh..!! Keep moving sup...

The bad thing was our legs were not listening our words this time but we were on the right track(Railway track)..!!

Wherever you see full of green n white. Water water everywhere but cant swim only for drink.!!

Le srikanth neen barithiro...adukkoskara adru innashtu trek madona.. But ellidiyo astondu patience trek hodange bardidiya..!! Good keep writing..!!

Its a good stuff for those who cant/wont/dont do treking. Atleast they can read n feel the experience of us n enjoy(hotte urkolli)..!!

Waiting to continue from 79/600..!!

Cheers..!!
T.S

madhu said...

Hi,

I guess its all ready to late to comment but i came across it recently

seriously first idhra bage think madi guts thogondu enu exp ildhe hortu complete madiro nima sahasake mech beku.

nange trecking adventurous andhre thumba interest adhre unfortunately friends ildhe erodhindha yavdhe rithi trecking athva adventorous even tripge nanu hogila.

But nima blog odhi elo swalpa nangu nima crazy ttrip experience aithu... thanks for it....

hege nima ila trip share madi...

i wish still more dangerous yet interesting adventorus in ur life

congrats & wishes

maddy :)

SRS Travels said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.