7 June 2015
It was 1PM which was an odd time to start any trek. In front of us was Makalidurga, the hill that we had planned to climb. While coming towards Makalidurga we decided to climb Nijagal Betta which caused delay in arriving at Makalidurga. It was lunch time and we were little hungry. A hot day with almost clear skies was not ideal for afternoon trekking.
|A hill next to Makalidurga|
You meet lot of great people during treks but also few bad ones. Here at Makalidurga the bad man came in the form of Vinod Kumar. He made his appearance suddenly and said that people would damage our vehicle. He asked us to park at a place where he can keep an eye. No soul was around and it was only Vinod who can “play” with the car. Clearly he wanted money in the guise of taking care of the car. We ignored him and continued further. There was some confusion about the path to take. In the meantime Krishna was not comfortable with the idea of car and Vinod being together. “Why not we take him as a guide? Instead of paying money just to have a look at the car, make him climb with us for the money”. We were sure that no one else would do anything to car. Due to heat, we also did not have the patience to search the path and climb.
|Makalidurga as seen from the place where we parked the car|
Vinod started his bargaining skills. He said about the money he gets from working for Sand lorry business. I was annoyed and told not to compare us with illegal morons. He pulled another arrow by saying that he would ask Lord Manjunatha on how much money he should take after the trek. Nonsense, we told. He was desperate for money and finally we agreed on an amount and started climbing.
|Views from Makalidurga|
He was too talkative but luckily I was saved as I walked slower that day. Krishna who was climbing with him consumed all his talks. On hearing his words, it was clear that he was a person with no values and morals. It was a shame considering that he was only 19 years.
The climb was easy with small trees and bushes around. After sometime, the gradient increased and we had to navigate around huge boulders. The heat and hunger was taking a toll on me. I was desperate to reach the top.
It took us 50 minutes to reach the top of the hill. Vinod had earlier challenged that we had to pay whatever he asks if we take more than 90 minutes. He was too shocked with our speed. He did not know that the two city guys had done good amount of trekking before. It was time to change his mental model.
|Remains of the fort|
A small fort is constructed on the top with a Temple dedicated to Shiva. The fort is completely in ruins. A small pond is also muddy. But the views from the top are great. We spent some time relaxing under a tree and roaming around the fort. It was very peaceful.
|Lake seen while climbing Makalidurga|
Climbing down was simple though bit painful on our knees due to stony path.
How to reach Makalidurga?
Makalidurga is about 60km from Bengaluru. After Doddaballapura, take the road towards Gouribidanur. You cross a railway line and Makalidurga railway station. Either you can park you vehicle at railway station and walk for a km along the track to reach the base or drive further and take a mud road that goes to the base. Cross the railway line and start climbing. The trail at the base is confusing but becomes clearer as you climb up. Do not try to climb when it rains as negotiating some rocks can become tricky. The place is very near the famous Ghati Subramanya Temple.
|Scenery from Makalidurga|