The Mulayanagiri Trek
Trip : Mulayanagiri
Places Visited : Mulayanagiri, Baba Budan Giri, Kemmannagundi
Dates : 25-Jan-2004, 26-Jan-2004
Vehicle : Tempo Traveller
Participants : Anil Krishnan(Kanchan), Dinkar(Dinkan), Kannan(Chetti), Rajesh(KP), Renjith(Dada), Sangeeth(Aliyan), Sreepad(Pad), Sushen
We had to go somewhere. It was almost 4 months since Kudremukh. Our legs had started atrophying. We needed to think fast.
Warri ruled out his presence. He had to prepare for a quarter mile race in his newly ported RD350. Dinkan asked me if there was any trekking involved. Knowing that he would not budge an inch out of his lair if I said 'yes', I lied.
Aliyan had some work at the office on 24th Saturday. Hence we postponed the trip by one day. Monday the 26th, being the Republic Day, was a holiday for everybody.
We started on Saturday, in a Tempo Traveller from Prerana Tours and Travels. The first destination was Mulayanagiri, the tallest peak in Karnataka. In fact it is the highest in the region between the Vindhyas and the southern part of Western Ghats. At a height of 6250 feet, it was indeed going to be a climb. We took the Tumkur road and proceeded to Hassan via Nelamangala. From Hassan it was a direct road to Chikmagalur.
We reached Chikmagalur by 4:00 in the morning. We were too early. We had tea from a roadside stall in front of the main bus stand of Chikmagalur.
After asking for directions to Mulayanagiri, we proceeded. Soon we were climbing along a hilly road. At one point, we stopped to breathe in the mountain air. Chetti had built up a huge pressure by this time and had to go. Armed with a few tissues he stepped into the darkness.
We could see the lights of Chikmagalur town down below. Dawn was still an hour away. After Chetti came back we proceeded towards Mulayanagiri. We reached a fork in the road. The sign board was unreadable. We took a left as that seemed to be going towards the peak (or so it seemed in the dark). The road suddenly became very narrow. Thanks to some skillful driving we reached a level spot. There was a temple here. Everyone except Chetti was elated. This seemed like the temple on top of Mulayanagiri. We had accomplished the tallest peak in Karnataka albeit without any trekking.
We checked out with the temple priest. He told us that this was not Mulayanagiri. Seems we shouldn't have taken the left at the fork.
We traced our way back to the fork in the road and continued ahead. Soon we came to a metal gate with a few steps cut in the rock. Chetti realized that he had seen a photograph of this and it was precisely the place where trekkers usually start.
Asking the driver to come back in the evening to the same spot and wait for us, we took our first step. Time was 6:00 in the morning. It was no longer dark. The first rays of the morning sun had started coming in. The rock-cut steps soon disappeared and the real climb started. The path was very steep and narrow. Dinkan, who was not used to the idea of roughing it out, soon fell behind. Very often we had to stop to let him catch up with us.
As we neared the top we could see the ouline of the temple which was situated on the very top of the peak. Just before the temple walls we saw a cave. We clambered over rocks, reached the cave and took a few of snaps.
Soon we reached the top of Mulayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka State. In fact the highest between the Vindhyas and the southern section of Western Ghats. It was no small achievement. We had completed the trek in just over an hour.
We sat in the steps of the temple, partly due to exhaustion and partly to savour the fresh mountain breeze, served with a generous mix of morning mist. It was indeed lovely. To top it all we had completed our two day trek in one hour. The time had come to enjoy the spoils of our labour.
We met another group who had stayed overnight on top of the temple. They had stayed inside the temple. Soon they started their trek back.
We asked the priest if any breakfast was available. He said yes and went on to tell his wife to make some.
(To be completed)