Friday, January 27, 2012

Biligudda of Savandurga

That's Gulveer with Biligudda in the background. This picture was taken some time 1995 from Bsava Mantapa on Karigudda.


Of my 20+ visits to Savandurga I've climbed Biligudda just 2 times but failed to reach the summit both times. These pictures must have been shot sometime 2003 or 2004. We were six of us- Rohin, Basu, Kiran, Kiran's friend, one dog and I.

All pictures in this post were shot with a Yashica using Konica films.

That's a gateway to the fort.


The trial is more or less under cover of trees. On Karigudda it is open all the way up.


Part of the fort wall.


This few yards of rock is quite steep and slippery.


Karigudda's peak. The speck on the summit is Basava Mantapa, also called Nandi Mantapa.


A sheer rock face.


The path passes mostly through gaps between rocks.


This stretch is through boulders, trees, roots and branches. We had to watch every step.


Passage through a natural tunnel in rocks. We had to cross a 12 feet wide, 10 feet deep gap on a half a food wide log laid across the gap. The only support we had was a rock face which was not really close. One fall could leave few broken bones.


Basu and Rohin wait on the other side of the passage.


Another view of Biligudda.


Basava Mantapa is more than a speck now.


A natural rock-shelter.


With some difficulty we reached one level of the hill. We could not find the way further.


Basu is fighting wind.


Pond to harvest rain water. It's quite deep too.


Kiran is actually squatting on a narrow stretch. Barely two feet behind him is a 60 feet drop. He's brave to sit there with wind blowing like mad.


Basu flying a plastic bag tied to a length of thread.


Basu dancing out of joy. He freaked out during this visit. Rohin was asking Basu to be careful on this slippery steep rock.


Here the path was hidden by tall grass. We couldn't see the ground. I stepped into a pit and fell over once.


My wish was to see two sentry houses atop this hill which can be seen from Karigudda. Somehow we were not experienced enough or not well prepared for this challenge. Perhaps, if we had a rope we could have managed. Hope the day comes.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Savandurga climb 2011

August 17, 2011. I was visiting Savandurga after a gap of three & half years. Here is a series of 15 videos- first 3 shot while driving and next 12 shot while climbing, starting at the base and going up right till the summit. I was with Deepak and Vijay. Two dogs and two pups joined us but the two little pups turned back just after the first gate. The weather was just perfect.


































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Sunday, November 14, 2010

in memory of Rajesh



May his soul rest in peace.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stamina and Will

The first climb - Anish, Gulli and I - we climbed less than half-way up in about 45 minutes under bright hot Sun. Mostly we took the wrong path even though two local boys were trying to guide us through the ideal route. We were tired, thirsty and getting hungry ...we decided to head back and go home.

Second climb, Gulli and I, must have taken at least 90 minutes with local boy guiding us the way up. At places we would deviate from the path assuming it would be shorter and ended up doing circus.

Third climb onwards we started understanding the path better. Our timing got better with every climb. By the fourth or fifth we would reach Basava Mantapa in 60 minutes. I would start the stop watch in my Timez Zulu Time and note the time every climb. The best we managed was 40 minutes - from the base to the Basava Mantapa - we could not do better than that.

During our climbs I would monitor progress with time.


Base to Point 1, gateway in the ruins of the fort wall - 10 minutes


Point 1 to Point 2, the turret - 20 minutes


Point 2 to Point 3, the guest house - 30 minutes -


Point 3 to The summit - Basava Mantapa - 40 minutes


With experience we had learnt few things not to do -
  • talk (I would talk as less as possible though Gulli would chatter on non-stop)
  • sit down (if we need rest, we would stop and remain standing but never sit down)
  • drink water (chances of catching sore throat is high)
  • hold things in our hands (always carried a back-pack)

My heart beat rate would shoot up pretty quickly and breathless in minutes but I learnt to push on ...sweat pouring out from my face and scalp too. The path between point 1 and point 3 is very steep. By the end of 20 minutes I would be drenched in sweat by t-shirt would be completely soaked! My heart pounding and my shoulders ache like crazy ...I would question myself; why did I have to come all the way for this? At times I would pluck a straw of wild grass and chew the tender end - it would give out a mild sweet flavor - I used to feel that boosted my energy.

Once we reached Point 3 it's as good as reaching the top ...from here it's more of walk then climb ...s stretch of level walk, a short climb downwards, a short climb up, walk over rocks, walk though rocks and then a short climb up and there you see the Basava sitting in the Mantapa looking towards the East. I would touch the Basava's feet, circle him three times and do namaskara.

Going back to my thoughts 'why do i take all this trouble'. Well, now i know that every bit of trouble I went though is worth the feeling I experienced here on the top ...the cold wind of fresh air, the sounds of the wind though the rocks and the scenes my eyes saw. My heart beat be back to normal and would not even realize it.

Descending was relatively less strenuous but the knees would start paining half-way down. Once during my solo climb, I came down in 15 minutes flat. At some parts I would leap from rock to rock ...my high ankle Reeboks protected my feet from the shock and supported my ankles. From the temple below, we would look back up at the Basava Mantapa and say our bye and hoping to come back as soon as possible.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Plan to visit

I got a thought that I should take Durga, my niece to Savandurga shortly. In fact her name is Durga because my brother Deepak and sister-in-law Sherry met at Savandurga for the first time. Durga would love to see the place she's named after. I'm not sure if we'll be able to climb the hill ...if it's raining it's too risky climbing with a 7 year old. Let's see if Mother Nature let's us climb Savandurga.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Overnight Stay Four

This was the Saturday Pink Floyd was performing in Bangalore. Kiran, one of Kiran's cousin and a friend of his cousin and of course I, reached well before sunset, gathered firewood and settled down in 'our' stone shelter. As the sky darkened, we could see city light glittering. From here we could see Magadi to our left, Bangalore straight ahead and Ramnagara to our right. I'm not sure if it was full moon day.

Around seven thirty, mist started blowing in and visibility was restricted to about 20-25 meters. We were sitting looking towards Bangalore and Kiran was talking about some ghosts and stuff.... "Sidda, look to your right there's really something coming towards us" When I looked I could see a figure coming towards us through the mist! As it came closer, I realized it was a man. Kiran was telling see if it's a ghost in the form of a man. I told him that to my knowledge ghosts prefer to take woman's form in white saree. Still Kiran was little scared, I'm not sure about the other two guys. The ghost turned out to be a man in early twenties, drunk and looking miserable. He came straight to us. I asked what he was doing here and if he had company and he replied back that his friends left him and went away. He asked if he could go down to the village but we told not to take risk climbing down in the darkness. The 'ghost' hung around close by.

Pink Floyd show, was being live on Vividh Bharati and my pocket radio was playing... the sound quality was not great but still we enjoyed it. We saw a sky-shot... pink and white sparkles and more blue-green, white-yellow. We thought this must at the rock show but the next day we found out that there was no such fire-show. We had dinner pretty early, pitched the tent (a mosquito net) and slept off early.

The 'ghost' woke up pretty early and took off at first light.

We went to the Basava Mantapa stayed there for sometime and then...

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