When the trip started, it promised adventure. By the time we were halfway through it, it became much more.
We had started from Donigal, Karnataka fully loaded with our camping gear and accessories. With our rucksacks stuffed with Maggi Cup Noodles, rice, eggs, bread, sleeping bags, a few tents and the occassional clothes, we had set out for a 2 day long 50 km trek along a railway line. The final destination was Kukke Subramanya.
|On the mark, ready, get set, go!|
We brushed our teeth in a little stream, with a few crabs to keep us company. After a while, we had breakfast – bread, jam and peanut butter – by a charming waterfall along the railway line. With a few Kodak moments here and there, the trip was going perfectly as planned – until we were suddenly stopped by a few Government authorities.
|The Track Trek|
|Waiting while Swapnil tried to bribe the Govt authorities|
The railway line, normally open to the occassional adventurers like us, was closed for that particular day due to some visit by the higher authorities. We tried to request, reason, plead and bribe, but they just won’t budge. So there we were, 21 people, stranded in the middle of nowhere and stumped as to where to go and what to do for the remainder of 1 and a half days. Finally, we hitchhiked to the nearest main road, asked the driver of our Traveller to meet us there, and then set out in a general direction. On the move, we decided to go to Bisle.
|The Awe-freakin-some Ride to the main road!|
Bisle is a little village located on the outskirts of a forest known for its population of Tigers and King Cobras. But we didn’t know the tigers and the cobras part back then. When we reached the village,it was just 9 o clock, but it was pitch dark – no electricity, no telephone lines, no civilisation. The villagers knew only Kannada, so Kaushik (also known as Kaustubh, Kishore and Kasturba) became our spokesperson. Slowly, with the help of the villagers, we started setting camp.
|Kaushik beside the historical well|
Our campsite was the ideal Bollywood horror movie set. A dilapidated temple surrounded by broken trees, a huge hall with a high ceiling, broken windows and a thousand cobwebs, and a well with the historical pulley and bucket attachment – together they completed the perfect camp site scenery for us. The villagers allowed us to use an old tap near the temple, sparing us the use of the well. We were too scared of using the trees near the temple as firewood – what if it offends the Gods and awakens the unknown devils who haunt the well? We instead collected some wet branches lying around and a few wooden pieces of the broken windows, and with the kerosene sold to us by the kind vilagers, we started making fire.
We realised why the making of fire was the biggest discovery by mankind, because believe me, making fire, even with a matchbox, is no easy job. But the fire was the only protection we had against cold (yes, like those stone age days), and it was also the only way of cooking food for 20 odd people. So, we persisted. It took us an hour to lit a fire enough for cooking for all of us.
We had fire-cooked Cup Noodles and Maggi, followed by boiled eggs and roasted potatoes. Slowly, the tents were pitched and a few of us took to their sleeping bags. A few preferred to sleep outside, while a few continued to sing songs lying in their sleeping bags, and looking at the stars overhead.
The next morning, we set out for a 6 km long trek into the forest (yes, the one which had tigers and king cobras). Our guide was an agile villager who spoke only Kannada, and our destination was, no kidding, the terrace top of a tiger’s cave!
|The Final Destination!
(We will approach it from the left)
The trek was simple but trecherous, with branches and brambles lying all over the occasionally rocky ground. Midway through the trek, we reached a small stream and filled our water bottles with world’s sweetest water. Little did we know that behind the veil of sweet water, the stream had little black squigly secrets (called leaches) hidden all around her. The moment we left, we realised that they had climbed up our feet and made themselves comfortable at all the odd places. We spent the next 20 minutes getting rid of all of them with matchsticks, salt, Deo and Iodex. We also realised that looking at a leach burn in fire is real fun.
|The Bisle Forest|
Then we proceeded to the next part of the trek. It was more rocky than the previous, and the excitement of climbing the top of the cave had our nerves racing. The last bit of the trek was particularly difficult. We had to climb over a smooth spherical rock with nothing to hold onto except the rock surface. Our guide, with his Paragon slippers, was over the top in a few moments, while we struggled to keep pace in our sport shoes. After some time, all of us were up. And then, the feeling sank in – we are atop a tiger’s cave!
|The Last Mile|
|And who thought we would lie down atop that piece of rock!|
We took pictures, made a video, had some water, and then, very soon, it was time to go back. The descent was even more difficult, and the fact that we were tired didn’t help a lot. Soon we were near the leach infested stream, and then the campsite loomed closer. We left after another Maggi lunch, and by nightfall, we were back in Bangalore.
Later the trip was named as ‘Darr ke aage Jeet hai’. And for days to come, we will tell everybody the story of Anuj and Sandhya, who got married in the temple, and lived in the high ceilinged house. One day, Sandhya committed suicide by jumping into the well. That night, when we reached the campsite, Sandhya had called her love back to relive their romance. And romance it was, a romance with adventure!
(Written for a contest http://www.mahindraxuv500.com/)