I was very excited to join Bangalore Trekking Club (BTC) for a trek after almost 18 months. This time it was a one day trek to Horagina Betta. Adding to my excitement was the fact that this one was co-organized by my friend Raksha. So I took a loan from my Sunday sleep bank, cooked idly and chutney, packed them and hurried to the meeting point.
I shared a cab with Shruti and Gayathri, my colleagues who were trekking with BTC for the first time. We reached the KSRTC Bus Stand in Majestic, a few minutes before the reporting time, where I met Srikanth and Dinesh, who were already there. They were also part of the organizing team. There were a few other enthusiasts who had reached before us. I am not good with small talks, but I somehow easily acquainted myself with fellow trekkers for the day while waiting for our bus.
We were running a few minutes late when we boarded the bus to Devanahalli. I always prefer a train to a bus while traveling in groups, as it is easier for me to mingle with everyone and break the ice. For a trek with BTC where I am with a bunch of people, most of whom I have not met in my life, breaking the ice is very important. Unfortunately the timing of Indian Railways towards our destination was not as favourable for us as to what the KSRTC had to offer.
In the bus I sat next to Sourajit. I couldn’t properly pronounce his name at first, but then I got it. We talked for a few minutes, but my sleep bank wanted me to return the principal I took from it. I fell asleep. I got up when we reached Devanahalli. I could see a few other sleepy heads as well. So I did not feel the need to be embarrassed.
The trek seemed too silent till this point. That needed to change. While we were waiting for the next bus, our organizers decided to shake the sleepy beehive a little bit. We were made to stand in a circle and formally introduce ourselves. It helped me remember some of the names I learned earlier from the bus stand and I also heard some of them talk for the first time. We did not hold ourselves from pulling some legs now. I realized, it takes only a few laughs to become friends.
Soon we found ourselves in the bus to Karahalli Cross. It was from here that we would start the trek. We refreshed ourselves from a hotel there, shared some light moments and got ourselves ready for the trek. We were to going to climb the ‘Horagina betta’ or the hill that is outside. He is also known as Nandi one, a name perhaps due to his proximity to the famous Nandi Hill. He stands there, 4724 feet tall, just a few short of his brother to his right. I was humbled by the sight in front of me.
We did not have a clear path ahead of us and were forced to make our own way to the top. Without any delay Srikanth took the lead. He clearly laid down all the ground rules. Raksha would stay in the middle and Dinesh at the end of the trail to see that no one falls behind. Thus we started our ascent. I carefully kept my steps on the rocks one after the other and soon got the rhythm. We took a few short breaks to make sure that we don’t wear ourselves out.
The path was mostly rocky with low to medium steepness. There were bushes with thorns, patches of grasslands with some trees and other vegetation typical to the tropics. The climate was very much favorable for us. We had expected that it might rain. But it did not. The sun was present throughout our journey but never shined too bright. There was mild breeze that kept cooling us whenever we were beginning to feel exhausted. I felt it was the nature’s way of encouraging us. I noticed a structure made by neatly stacking stones one above the other, not higher than 3 feet. I wondered who could have made that in the middle of the forest. We walked, jumped, climbed and kept going. We cracked a few jokes to keep the spirits up.
The path to the summit - a sample!
The view there was breath-taking. We could see the villages below us and vast stretches of land that looked like a perfect drawing. I could see a network of roads, which looked like perfect geometric figures that I learned in school. The vehicles seemed like ants. The mild breeze was now a bit strong. It felt like I would fly away if I was a bit lighter. Someone passed a comment that it was the best place to propose to a girl. I thought one would have to be lucky to get a life partner who would trek with him/her into the forests and to the top of hills.
View from the top of the hill
Before our descent was to begin, we took a break. We played the evergreen games ‘Anthakshari’ and ‘Dumb Charades’. There was a big group of Telugu speaking people. They proved to be very good in both of the games. I learned a lot more Telugu words in those moments than I learned in almost 3 years with a Telugu speaking roommate. We all had so much fun together sitting there on the summit of the hill.
Nandibetta viewed from Horaginabetta
When we were on the bus back to Bangalore, I was sad as we could not do it more and that it finished very quickly. When we started, some of us were friends and some strangers. But we all left as friends with a whole lot of memories. I felt grateful to BTC and my fellow trekkers for giving me a wonderful Trek to remember.
Pic Credit: Vinyas and Sebin.
Trek Participants: Shilpa, Rohith, Sayan, Vinyas, Sourajit, Deeksha, Shruti, Gayathri, Sebin, Shwetha, Chaitanya, Vaibhav, Sathish, Aaaditi, Aditya, Sharada, Abhilash and Sanjay (me).
Organizers: Raksha, Srikanth and Dinesh.