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.