Monday, March 10, 2008

The first time I reached Savandurga's top

Visit One
My first visit to the place was time November 1994 with Anish and Gulveer (Gulli), my neighbors and good friends. We went there out of curiosity...we had come to see early morning mist at Thippagondanahalli, a rain water reservoir about 40km on the west of Bangalore. We had a wonderful time; breathing cold air, watching clouds of mist floating around, listening to the birds singing... nothing like nature. Gulli and I pitched stones on water till our arms ached. We played around like kids... till we were hungry... which made us head towards Magadi. We stopped at a junction on the outskirts of Magadi...we saw a small shop selling 'vada' and tea... the best vadas I'd ever tasted.
We learned about Savandurga from the shopkeeper and decided to go there. Riding our bikes through the woods... we stopped. I saw few wood apple trees and decided to take some wood apples home. We did take them home, my mom told us that wood apples are not supposed to be plucked. W were supposed to pick up the ones fallen off the tree (since they fall off when ripe). However, getting the wood apples to fall of the tree was more fun than actually having them.
We parked our bikes close to a temple at the base of the hill... one of the local kids lead us to the ancient temple...we paid our tributes to the Gods and headed to the hill guided by the same kiddo. By now, the sun was up, beating down our heads... 20 minutes later we reached the first wall. Another 20 minutes we reached the second wall... all of us exhausted.
We decided that we had had enough for the day... There goes our first climb... I decided to come back, soon. (the picture you see above was shot some time 2003)
Visit Two
Gulveer and I, were back determined to make it to the top. I do not remember how we met our volunteer guide, a local kid. Our little guide knew the most easy path but we hardly obeyed him.
We went past the first wall - ruins of an incomplete fort.
From this point onwards, the path is very steep. This is the stretch where most first time climbers give up.
We reached the second wall - point where we had given up.
Our guide encouraged us and of course we too were determined. Actually, I was the one who was struggling while Gulli and the guide were going easy. I hardly paid attention to the view or anything else... We reached the ancient stone structure (we took more than one hour to reach this point). I was breathing real fast.
I could feel my heart beat like crazy.
We shared our our breakfast of biscuits, oranges and water with the guide. We were told that the summit was not far from here, in fact the stone mantapa was in sight. The short break let my heart beat come back to normal.
We followed our little guide through head-high grass, a passage through stones and finally we reached the Basava Mantapa, the end of the trial. We had made it!!
The view was breath-taking!! These pictures give you a rough idea, that's it. You should see, smell, hear, feel and experience the place for yourself.
One thing I should tell... Not all pictures in this post are shot during this visit.
The sun was up. Now we could feel the heat. Another hour it would get real hot.
We started back. The descend was effortless for me, Gulli was little scared climbing down. At one point, we climbed down a very steep part, literally slid down, it was madness. Our guide was scared but joined us in our crazy adventure.
The climb, up and down, was fantastic. A totally new experience for me!!
I'd fallen in love with Savandurga.