For most of us, the end to a routine week calls for a celebration. It is the same for me on most weekends if not traveling, either to party or laze around at home hopelessly. However, the second week of August was all about challenging my stamina, Trekking! I trust it is any day better than despising oneself of becoming a couch potato!
I started looking for trek clubs online and came across Bangalore Mountaineering Club (BMC) which is a well-known trekking club in the state of Karnataka. I had done a thorough research before I decided to go ahead with them. Their reviews were quite impressive and made me instantly book a slot for their upcoming trek which was to Chennarayana Durga. There were twenty of us who boarded two buses from different pick-up points in the city. The crowd was energetic with a good mix of kids, young and old people, both armatures and experienced trekkers all equally enthusiastic. We stopped for breakfast on our way at Sree Vrindhavan restaurant which was quite remarkable with quality food. The breakfast and lunch were on the club. After a quick bite, we headed towards the trekking site.
Story of the Ruins
Chennarayana Durga is a fort situated on a hilltop near Madhugiri which is nearly 100kms from Bengaluru. The fort was constructed by the lesser known ruler of Madhugiri, Channappa Gowda. The fort was then acquired by the Marathas and later was passed on to Mysore Wodeyars and then passed to the Britishers ending with the Third Mysore war of which now that is left is ruins. This place is now explored by enthusiasts who love trekking. The trek is of medium level but it is quite challenging. It is also considered as one of those lesser known trek sites which call for less crowd and is known as one of the cleanest trekking sites. Now, it is our responsibility to maintain the cleanliness.
Our journey began from a quaint village to the base of the hill where we had a quick introductory session followed by a couple of warm-up exercises. The trekking path is divided into three stages, the first being steeply inclined. We were advised to walk in zig-zag direction to feel less exhausted. The initial climb is little tricky as there are no trees for shade nor any other support to climb. However, it is wise to keep climbing up the rocks or stand for a while to rest and not sit down as it will be even more difficult to start again. Keeping up the confidence is the secret! Once the first stage was covered, we did rest for a couple of minutes and then headed towards the next stretch which was an easy walk through the gateways of the fort that were mostly boulders and ruins. While walking, we came across few water bodies and a small temple along the pond that enhanced the beauty of the place even more. The whole setup reminded me of my trip to Hampi in North Karnataka.
We had our instructors to guide us to the right route to reach the top. They showed us another path that could lead us to dead end/back of the fort and explained how people trekking for the first time to this fort without any guide happened to fall in the trap. I am sure a lot of intellect has been laid behind the construction of this fort, one of which is exhibited in the form of construction of different pathways designed deliberately to mislead the enemies. The last stage leads us to the topmost point that had mostly ruined steps. The view from the top was spectacular. These pictures will give a better feel of it.
The decent is equally challenging and risky, hence needs additional care and patience. It is advisable not to run down as it might lead to a fatal accident. It is important to keep in mind that trekking is not a race, it is all about the experience!
This quote by Cheryl Strayed very much expresses my experience of trekking.
“It had nothing to do with gear or footwear or the backpacking fads or philosophies of any particular era or even with getting from point A to point B. It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains, and deserts, streams, and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.”― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
I hope you enjoyed the read. What is the story of your first trekking trail? Feel free to share!