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Mullayanagiri-Bababudangiri-Trek

No. of days: 1.5 days. 
31th Dec 2010 - 2nd Jan 2011

Mullayanagiri to Bababadangiri Trek

          
                    Bababudangiri Hill range. Baba budangiri peak is the one with the tower.      
The Team - From left: Vanathi, Anil, Arul, Anbu, Vinay, Prathap, Vikram, Naveen, Vijay and Me

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Day 1: 31st Dec 2010 (Friday)
 
Having the tickets already booked in Rajahamsa (11;30pm) bus to chikamagalur, I packed up my rucksack and got ready to leave. Naveen came to my place directly from work. At 10;30pm we left to Majestic K.S.R.T.C bus stand. We met up with Vikram, Anil, Arul, Prathap and Vinay. Vanathi was also there. After a brief hi/hello session, we boarded the bus. If you haven't noticed it yet, we left on 31st Dec 2010. So obviously sleep was not an option till 00 00 hrs - 01-01-2011. So after the count down, wishes and phone calls, all of us retired for whatever sleep we could get. The morning was waiting and we had to be fresh to trek.
 
 
 
Day 2: 1st Dec 2011 (Saturday)
 
We reached Chikamagalur bus stand at 5:30am without any delay. Vikram's brother - Vijay had already come to Chikamagalur and he was staying in "Rajmahal hotel" very near to the bus stand. We went there to freshen up. This really delayed us and was trouble in making which would affect us later is a very severe way. We left the hotel after breakfast (idly and vada) at 8:30am. There was  no bus that went to Sarpana Daari which is on the way to Bababadangiri/Mullayanagiri hill peak. There is road access till the top of both these peaks. So out of desperation and in need of time, we took a taxi to the sarpanadaari. It costed us 350 rs.
 
On the left is Vijay standing at the entrance to the path - sarpandaari, also know as sarpinadaari etc. "Sarpa" is snake and "daari" is way/path in kannada. So it's basically the snake path. After  a small briefing, we started the trek at 10:15am. (Tooooo late, I knw). The scenic backdrop, route was just really nice. It's nature at its best. I went ahead with Vijay and Prathap. Vijay was leading the team. We had a few discussions as to which route to take when there were  cross paths and diversions but following instincts and looking at the peak and directions works here. Worst case, one might loose about 30mins. So other than this, the trek up is very easy in terms of navigation. But it was pretty steep with surface inclination of about 60 degrees.
 
Naveen was a little slow and had starting trouble. So after getting rid of his bag, he was much comfortable. Once the spriit of trekking engulfed everyone, it was just sheer enjoyment to continue upwards. The route was just wonderful with occational breeze. The grass flapping and brushing my leg was truly soft, wet and very nice. On the right, is the group marching up the mountain slope. After a good climb of 3 hours, we reached the caves which is about 100meters from the top of the peak. These caves run for kilometers with bat infestation. But to our surprise, we didn't find a single bat. Having good torches, we did some exploring. After the exploration, we headed up to the temple/math at the top of Mullayanagiri.
 
 
Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka standing at an altitude of 1920 meters. We had already arranged for lunch there. Thanks to Vikram for that. For contact information, scroll down to the trivia and info at the end of this page. We had lunch prepared by the bhattru's there. It was just mouth watering. They had also prepared "Paisam" for us. Very sweet welcome indeed. Temperature was about 17 degrees throughout. After lunch, we started towards Bababadangiri. This is the 2nd leg of the trek. BababadanGiri peak is 12-14 kms from Mullayanagiri. (Saprindari to Mullayanagiri is under 4kms). We started at 1:50pm. We had some trouble in figuring out the route. Lost about 30mins there. But eventually found the right way. On the way, we decided to collect fire wood, cow dung and anything that can sustain fire for camp fire and cooking. We had taken rice - 3kgs, tomato, potato, onion, beans and a virety of other food items to cook. Also 100 chapatis for the 10 of us in case we were not able to cook (which is what happened).. Now, its just enjoying the nature - the extremely majestic mountain ranges, the forest embedded in the vast valleys.. At 4:00 pm we reached the road and the forest ranger's office.
 
The officer there asked us to take the ridge route as it was about 6kms to the peak. The road meandered around making the journey to the peak a horiffic 12kms more. So we started our way to the peak (The hill with the tower over it). We had a meare 2 hrs + to sun down. So we were now in panic mode. We quickened our pace and hoped for a longer day. The terrain was way tougher than we had hoped. It slowed us down very badly. We reached only about 3/4th the way to  Bababadangiri when it was almost dark. The clouds also started engulfing the entire vicinity including us. We were left stranded in the middle of the Bhadra wildlife reserve without any sense of direction to the tower and also with a visibility of less than 20meters. (That's actually pretty good considering it's Dec-Jan season). We took the right call to set up tent. We had carried 4 tents. 3 new ones (2 mine, 1 anil's) and 1 from IISc. We also took sleeping bags and rucksacks from the institute.
 
The tents were up in half an hour (Which was a little too much - 3 of us had to put all the four tents). Now comes the most exciting/scary and life changing experience. Vijay and some of the others were very keen on putting up camp fire for the heat (cooking was out of question. we did not have enough water). Anil and me, we were pretty skeptical about a fire. Two things bothered us - one, the tents were pretty close which made a camp fire dangerious. Secondly, we might start a forest fire. There was grass everywhere. So both of us were strictly against it when first, I heard something duno which animal. I was not 100% sure of what I had heard. So we decided that it was a must for a camp fire.  About 2 minutes of silence, everyone heard the sounds. We were in trouble. Lost... Less water... Very very less wood.. and a huge problem of having a camp fire. Now, the camp fire was just absolutely mandatory for our safety. So we started making a safe zone by digging out all the grass making a clear circle to contain the fire. Still there was the risk of tents getting caught due to the sparks that the fire emits. We had no choice but to put the camp fire. So we did that. In the mean time, we also had whatever we had brought. Chapatis with jam and chilly powder. No water.. The apples that my mother gave me came to huge help ( I has scolded her for increasing a kg of luggage.. How I thanked here at this point.... ).
 
Now it was clear. We went through some safety procedures that we would follow in case of a tiger, wolf attack. After the safety briefing, we decided a patrol and watchout schedule. Since we were 10 people, 3 people sets were formed to keep the fire going and the perimeter safe. Having good torches, we were able to, to some extent keeep a perimeter check every 5 minutes (like the lights in the prison - guard towers) and sooner if we heard anything. We had very little wood. If we had listened to the ranger (he told us that we would find wood in bababadangiri - if we had made it there, there would have not been a problem of animals.. we have damm. stranded in the middle of nowhere..), we would have had no fire and might have just ended up being food for some hungry animal. Anil, Prathap and I, we took the first watch from 8:00pm to 12:30am. We had a tough time keeping the fire alive and also listening to all the sounds. People were snoring in the tents, so we had a number of false panics during our watch. We took double precaution even for a piss. :D. . We had 3 knives and the fire for our protection. God's protection - we didn't have rain and heavy winds.
 
Day 3: 2nd December 2011 (Sunday)
 
As the night swept in, the temperature also dropped steeply. From 17 degrees, midnight temperature was about 7-8degrees (Thanks to my watch which showed temperature and altitute - thanks to my cousin Mukund for the gift). We camped at a height of 1840 metres. We called out the other three people who were to take shift watch from 12:30am to 4 am. They had a tough time keeping the fire going. Vijay and Vinay had the courage to go around the camp trying to gather wood. We had found a lot of wood but they were all wet and didn't slove any purpose. Luckily, thanks to Vinay, they found a nice big dry log. It was the reason the camp fire was up all night. I was fast asleep after my watch. We got up at 7am after the 3rd shift. The temperature was slowely increasing. Sun rise was at 7:15am. All of us were up and we had some biscuits, cake and things that would not make us crave for water. We were now in water scarsity. Food we had plently, may be for another 3-5 days of survival.
 
All of us were very relieved about not being attacked by any animal. We un-pitched the tents quiclky. Took a few group photographs and started our trek to the tower. (Finally the tower was visible and we were actually not lost :) ). We started towards the tower expecting a water source there. On the way, Arul had problems with her knee. So we had to use "Volini" and "Iodex" for quick relief. We finally reached the tower. To our utter bad luck, we didn't get water. The tower was apparently abandoned. There was  a jeep track which led to Bababdangiri village. So we took that route and  went quicky towards the town. We reached the thar road. Right of tha road would take you to Manikkedaara and left would take you to Bababadangiri. Bababadangiri was about 2 kms from this point. This is were we discovered that we had a bottle of water. What a relief it was. We consumed it and also borrowed another bottle of water from a passing jeep. We then took another jeep to Bababadangiri. Mainly because, some of them and especially I, wanted to ride above the jeep. We paid 10rs for each person for this 2km ride.
 
We reached Bababudangiri at 10:45am. We had to have come here to camp the previous day. If we had done, then we could have continued as planned to Kemmanagundi (14kms) by trek. Since this was not possible, we decided to take a bus to chikamagalur. There was just one bus to chikamagalur which was to leave at 12:30pm. We had the remaining chapatis with Puliyogare gojju and pickle. The bus started only at 1:00pm. The charge was 30rs per head to chikamagalur. We reached chikamagalur at 2:10pm. We had tickets to Bangalore by Rajahamsa at 11:30pm in the night. We had booked that late cause of the plan to go to Kemmanagundi. Now that we were already there, we didn't want to wait there the whole half day, so we cancelled the tickets and took tickets in the express bus to bangalore. It left at 2:15pm. The journey was not very eventfull. We reached Bangalore at 8:45pm.
 
I reached home at 9pm, had a very nice hot water bath and jumped into my bed . ( Actually I was forced to take bath.. was supposedly stinking like or worse than a skunk :D ). So that's the end of a very very eventfull, excellent and a once in a life time experience.
 
(I have not read what I've written again, so please do forgive any typo errors here. I had a wonderful experience again just by writing this piece of experience.)
 
 
Trek Trivia and information
Distance from Bangalore: About 280kms
Route: Bangalore >  Hassan > Chikamagalur > Sarpandari (trek) > Mullayanagiri  (trek) > Ranger Station (Trek) > Bababudangiri
Best time to visit: Nov - March (Good weather without rain. Not a single leech in this season)
Trek distance: Sarpandari to Mullayanagiri -> 4kms ::: Mullayanagiri to Bababudangiri -> 12-14kms
How to get there: KSRTC bus from Bangalore to Chikamagalur (lot of buses. Rajahamsa and Express). best bus is 11:00 o clock ish buses.
Chikamagalur to Sarpandari is about 15kms. By jeep (300-350rs), bus (private and govt. ) only early mornings by 7;30am.
Bababudangiri to Chikmagalur is about 23kms. Private bus and jeep. Bus leaves at 12:30pm. Jeep is damm costly. One guy asked for 1200rs. (Outrageous)
 
Contact for food at Mullayanagiri:
 
Guide can be hired from Bababudangiri to Kemmanagundi if required to trek.
Most Effective trek schedule is:
Day 1:start trek from sarpandari to Mullayanagiri at 7am. Reach the peak at 10am. Finish lunch and leave by 11:00am. Reach bababudangiri by 5pm. Camp.
Day 2: leave bababudangiri to kemmanagundi at 6:30am. Reach kemmanagundi by 3:00pm ish.


Some things that we didn't take and required very badly:
1) More torches
2) Rope - for fire wood, we had bad time carrying them.
3) Pack light. We took just tooo much food to cook.
4) More water. Duno how that would have helped.
5) Good long knives. We just had swizz knives.
6) Kerosine for starting a camp fire. We had to use campher to do it. (Was not as easy to get a big log burning)
Mainly, should start early!!