Travelogue : The toughest trek that was – Kumara Paravartha

Posted: January 2, 2016 in Travelogue
Tags: , , ,

If Ladakh was there at the top of my all-time list of places to go. KP was at the top of my all-time list of treks to do. And I wanted to complete it by year end. To have achieved both by year end, I consider it phenomenal. Icing on the cake was with my trippers, for us this is our fourth trip together in four consecutive years. Everyone of it was a gem. If Tadiandamol had also happened I’d have been a happy man with respect to trips. But its fine, not everything we plan happens. Second lesson learnt after Spiti.

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Day 0 – Early check out, Day Train and Night Bus

How I love giving titles. For a second I feel like looking at the title and admiring myself. Thursday was just a formality in office. Raja and I went on by 10.50 AM train from Paranur. That’s when I switched on the net and gave last bit of instructions. Being the last trip of the year and not being in a good mood, it was quite a relaxing thing to start for the trip. Felt good giving last time instructions to others. That 1.5 hours in train just flew away. Raja as expected had packed too much of unnecessary items like bed sheets, pillow (yes believe it), formal shoes etc. and didn’t have any food items I had mentioned.

By the time we went to central it was 12.30 PM. Raja recommended to eat outside station and it was a wise choice. We had proper meals which would stay with us till night. Seena, Prasanna and Balaji, my regular trip mates were already there. Srinivasan whom I hadn’t known before that, too joined us. He was quiet for the most part.

I made a conscious decision of taking no books, camera and headphones. We watched Padayappa in train, it was Sami last time when we travelled. With the trippers it’s like this. Once a year I text them asking whether they’d be okay for a particular plan and they’d be like ok or not ok within few hours. Whoever says ok doesn’t drop later. That’s quite a relief. With rest it’s not as simple as that, they get last minute plans, they have some errands to run etc. etc. but with this group, if it’s fixed its fixed.

So we caught up with all the untold stories, especially I got to hear their stories, I’m not quite a talker. Raja and Srini were getting quite bored but they managed well. We got to eat the Poori which Prasanna packed and slept and chatted and ridiculed and did everything that you do in a day train.

Our train reached half an hour late, we quickly searched for restaurant to have dinner. I again had meals, rest of them had masala dosa, idly, veg biryani etc. One from Bangalore, Srikant had already reached the bus stand by 8.45 PM.

Our bus was supposed to be at 10 PM and we reached the bus stand by 9.30 PM. Got info from Srikanth that Mohan and my friend Hari through which I knew the other two as well as Srini, too had got late. Bus started around 10.30 and luckily everyone reached, but after all the struggle.

When we thought it was all over for the day, that’s when the real thing happened. Do you know how it feels to be on a roller coaster on road? No. you don’t know. But every one of us who were there in the bus would know it for sure.

Day 1 – Lunch and lunch only

We reached the base camp on time, thanks to the maverick driver. I guess all expect Raja had a tough time sleeping. This time Raja beat me in sleeping. I’m the one who is known for sleeping long hours no matter what time it is or how difficult the position might be.

At 5.30 AM it was still dark, within half an hour we finished our morning ablutions, had tea (which is a must to start the day), brushed teeth, did warm up and went to temple (in the same order). Idly vada for rupees 35 per head at Neo Mysore Café took us through sun rise. One more reason to have had breakfast early morning was to have proper food because you never know what you get once you get into the woods.

Idly vada gave us enough strength to do the initial bit of walking through the roads. Quite astonishing fact about this trek was none were too interested in taking photos. Yes there were selfies and snapshots but not photos. Thanks to the missing SLR, it saved a lot of time.

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After the initial 1.5 KM on road we entered the woods, the next 3 hours and around 6 KM were through woods. The group got split into two. Hari and Raja lead the first pack followed by Srikanth, Srini and Mohan. Balaji, Prasanna and Seena were in front of me. As I know these guys too like the back of my hand I was knowing what each one of them were going to do like how Tendulkar predicted an entire over before being bowled to Aamir Khan. As expected Prasanna was struggling initially. He has a starting problem. The first couple of hours it was very tough for him. But like always he managed to scrape through. Balaji was cheerful as usual, thanks to his sports shoes he didn’t have any problems initially. Seena was the surprise package this time. He started feeling dizzy after a while and threw up, thanks to electrol, which for me gave strength.

Our first stop was at Bhatre Mane which we reached around 10.30. The first pack had reached there some half an hour before and had enquired details about not being allowed to pitch tents at the top. But I along with few went to forest office to confirm the same. Once confirming we decided that we’d spend the rest of the day there and pitch tent near the view point en route to forest office which was a splendid spot.

Our initial plan was to pitch tents at KP top and do the descent next day. We could have done the same but as we weren’t allowed to pitch tents at the top we decided to stay at Bhatre Mane. Lunch was served at 11 AM. Rice, vegetable less sambar and I don’t know what to call it, water which you pour in the rice which doesn’t get over the previous day along with pickle. Best dish was water-which-you-pour-in-the-rice-which-doesn’t-get-over-the-previous-day.

As soon as we had food Hari and I got quite comfortable and started sleeping, that’s the advantage of travelling, all you need is a shade to sleep. After few minutes or hours or I don’t know how much time I slept. After a while, guys woke up saying they got space inside the hut to keep bags and sleep. Our next round of sleep started there which went for next two hours. We quite judiciously used the charger, multi plug of Good Samaritan to charge our phones. Around 2 PM we started getting bored and the only thing in my mind was, why not I eat again, after all I paid hundred rupees for lunch. I decided against it but had two glasses of water-which-you-pour-in-the-rice-which-doesn’t-get-over-the-previous-day.

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At 3 PM Srikant said that people were settling near view point to pitch their tents. So Srikant and Hari went with their tent. As per forest officers advice we were allowed to pitch tents only post 6 PM but within an hour everyone started pitching their tents. By dawn the place was infested with tents. We went to view point to take few shots of sunset and went down to the hut for dinner by 7 PM thinking that the food would have got ready. To our horror we were informed that food would get ready only by 8.30 PM.

So we waited and waited and it became a commotion when we finally got our food. I filled my plate with ten cups of rice and five cups of sambar and what I thought to be water-which-you-pour-in-the-rice-which-doesn’t-get-over-the-previous-day was actually buttermilk by the end of the day. Only Raja, Seena, I and Prasanna were there to get that food. Rest all went back to their tents and settled with their bread and peanut butter.

After satisfying dinner, did moon walk sometime followed by moon stare and moon sleep. Our plan was to get up at 4 AM the next day and start ascent by 5 AM. My aim was to reach Kumara Paravartha peak by 10 AM and start descent from there. Within an hour of sleep Balaji started complaining of lack of oxygen. But I wasn’t in a mood to answer. After a deep sleep I got up at 4 AM, only that everyone inside it were in different position compared to the previous night.

Day 2 – Up, Up and Away

The scary second day began exactly at 4 AM. The fact that there was 6 more kilometers to climb and a 7 kilometer descent meant that we had to keep good pace. At 5 AM we started trekking in moon light and just like previous day the pack split into two. I had asked Hari and co to wait near Kallu Mantapa, our first official break point.

There were of course a lot of unprecedented breaks that we took but we reached Kallu Mantapa in about a couple of hours which was a decent pace but as soon as we reached the first group had started. I wanted to keep that as breakfast point but as the first pack had started it was us alone who gobbled up the cheese and bread and biscuits up there. Nothing like cheese in mountains. Of course Maggi is the best but unfortunately for us and fortunately for the nature there weren’t any shops.

Next was the best part. From Kallu Mantapa our next designated stop was Shesha Paravartha peak which is considered the toughest trail in the trek. It was tough and steep alright but the factor which we didn’t consider was wind. Raja was right in saying that it was mentioned that we’ve to climb in certain degree but it hadn’t been mentioned that we had to walk in a slanted degree. It’s not funny when I type in English, it was when said in Tamil.

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During the mid-section of Shesha Paravartha was where we were literally crawling and in front of was Srini, sitting like dobby behind a rock asking us to go forward. Every time the wind got a bit less one by one got up and left to next rock. It was like soldiers trying to evade shells by passing from bunker to bunker.

At last there was only Srini left, he got up, wind came, he sat, again he got up, wind came and sat, finally he got up, wind was about to come and I shouted some random ailasa things and he went to the next rock. From then on, to the point where we all met up it we proceeded at snail’s pace.

We didn’t halt much at the end of Shesha Paravartha because it was only descent from there, that too through the woods which meant it was shadowy with less winds and steepness too wasn’t much. Except for a couple of boulders in route to Kumara Paravartha peak there wasn’t anything tough. We reached the peak at 11 AM. One hour later than my target but it was okay. We took photos, had food and relaxed for half an hour before the descent.

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It was informed that from the base to Somwarpet the only bus was at 3.30 PM. We were trying for that and started from the peak at 11.30 AM. After a short detour of 100 meters we entered the path into forest for descent. This time Prasanna too joined Raja and joined the first pack. Seena had got fitter and expectedly Balaji had cramped his legs. It was a slow and relaxing walk from there on. There is a thing about this group. Generally when I’m around with people I tend to command a lot and have to think whether I said anything harsh but with them around I hardly think. I say what I want to say but I keep quiet for most of the time. It’s as if me walking alone. I think I should even thank them for slowing me down every time. Once I took a solo trek in Yelagiri and went to top in like some 1.5 hours. I was panting but I didn’t stop, I went on and on. That’s typical me. I don’t know when to control. Like how Sherlock needs a Watson to keep him sane, I need them to keep me calm, be happy.

We reached the base at 3 PM and got to know that from there to bus stop it was a four kilometer walk. We decided to take jeep ride after much thought. What was 1800 before got reduced to 1600 thanks to the bargaining skills of Raja.

The time waiting for jeep and in jeep were the best. We all had become friends, no regrets, no sad feeling. It was relaxing. I got a heavy feeling that Hari is going to join our travel gang from here on. I vazipari sold my books to the ones who hadn’t got. In jeep too I loved the ride sitting in front and then in back because it got Srikant dizzy.

As soon as we got down we had a heavy dinner at 6 PM in one of the so called good restaurant. We got to know that the first bus to Bangalore was at 8.30 PM. We decided to go by that after completing our evening ablutions. As Raja and Srini decided that they’d go by bus early next day I luckily was able to cancel tickets with my on and off net.

Day 3 – Down, Down, Down

I mean you don’t even have to read that. This is not going to give any knowledge if you are planning to trek or wouldn’t classify under any literary standard. But still I’ll write. I’m a selfish person who writes for me.

As we reached before sunrise we could sleep well. I took bath in warm water. What a pleasure it was to take a good hot shower and being in the wild for a coupla days. Had a good four hours sleep followed by awesome Kal Dosa Kara Kuruma in Military hotel.

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We decided to go to ABC for its flavored beer but thanks to our luck there was some election that day so had to postpone it to evening. For lunch we again went to military hotel and feasted.

Post our pub outing in the evening we went to station well in advance. Not before downloading at least five old movies of Rajni and Kamal from free Wi-Fi. Thanks to the late train we waited in station for half an hour and slept as soon as we got it.

It was a very satisfying feeling to have completed the trek which I always wanted to have got a potential travel partner and a group of friends. Thank you everyone who made this trip a wonderful experience. See you soon.

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