Hope you are having a blast with the onset of monsoons. So, have you ever wondered what it’s like to rely on your senses completely while you’re on a trek?
With pitch darkness all around, with only the hand held torch and your senses as guides?
Well, neither did I, until Uttari Betta trek happened. So it was a lazy Saturday evening of 27 July or rather almost midnight that we started for Uttari Betta also known as Hutridurga. I later learnt that it’s one of the popular treks around Bengaluru and attracts huge crowd at any point in the day.
Anyway, the TT was all set to take us into this mesmerizing journey. Business as usual we started from HSR, we stopped briefly at Domlur waiting for few guys to come aboard. Finally picked up the rest of the group at Mekhri Circle.
As with all Plan The Unplanned trips, this one too started with introductions. A rather odd thing to ask but everyone has been asked to introduce themselves without mentioning their native or their jobs.
I felt we get too caught up in the “my job my native” cycle that we forget what more we have inside us. So it kinda forced people to think about what they were without the job or the hometown they belonged to.
And we had some pretty solid introductions. Almost the entire group (9/11) were first timers. A lot of their names started with “S” so it was fun thinking what all sweet names existed which started with that letter.
Uttari Betta is only a short drive of 60 Kms from Bengaluru so by the time we finished the introductions, we were already close to the starting point.
So we got back into the seats and enjoyed the drive through the darkness.
At roughly 1:45 AM, we reached the base point. Initial plan was to rest at the base point and start the trek at around 4 AM for the sunrise. However, waking up people in their sound sleep has traditionally been an issue. So we thought we’ll climb up and after reaching the top, whoever wants to take a nap they could take one peacefully.
The trail starts through a village almost a 50m walk later one can see a left turn. This particular path doesn’t even have street lights so we all pulled out our torches and started walking. After a minute or two we reached another dead end at which one needs to take a right turn and you can see the edge of the boulder. Throw a light over the rock and you can see the fort wall and at the edge an entrance.
The rock is rather steep on this particular stretch and upon climbing it, one can see the city lights. From here on, the view only gets better as you climb up. And btw this entrance marks the first of many and when told this fact to all the trekkers, they eagerly started counting each and every entrance 😛 . Probably after the 5th one I guess, they no longer needed to count xD coz they focused on finishing the hike xD and didn’t want to waste any ounce of energy on things that don’t contribute to that effect.
But before that, it was time to cross the first hurdle. A huge fort wall to scale. Of, course the Kings didn’t always climb up this wall to enter the fort, but what’s the fun in just hiking up a fort in the dark? This added the much needed excitement 😛 😉
Behind the wall was another steep slope dotted with trees and grass. Cross this was another challenge as the path was pitch dark and since it wasn’t directly exposed, it was cold as well. A perfect spot for all kinds of organisms if you can take a guess xD and in the middle of this stretch, was the second entrance.
The stone carved stairs start from here and it was a breeze or that’s what everyone thought 😉 . Look at the trail of torches following the path of stairs.
The trek rewards you with another beautiful view of the city lights once this stretch of stairs are conquered. After a brief rest here and letting the cold wind give some respite to the tired bodies, we started the hike again.
Here on the rest of the trek was a simple walk on a mud path with occasional rocky slopes to walk on, except one small patch of cave walking.
It is pitch darkness all around, you have to climb down the stairs sandwiched between two huge boulders. Add moist grass to the stairs and it’s the perfect adventure and Sunil Israni is all set for the challenge.
After a 20 min walk through mud path filled with weeds and trees, we reached the peak. Found a nice spot for ourselves and settled down to witness the golden hour. If you have been following me on Instagram(if you’re not, check it out here) you’d notice that I went ballistic with low-light photography especially the light trails in the last few weeks. And before heading on this trek, I experimented writing my name with a torch and capturing that in a long exposure shot. So, in continuation to that, I asked the trekkers to attempt writing the mirror images of their names in thin air. After multiple failed attempts, Geeta & Rucha(almost) made it. Check out the results.
The dark, cloudy and partly starry night tempted me to try few more low light shots. I experimented with long exposure shots and it was nothing short of magical. Check them out yourself.
While all these experiments were on, Akshay was in deep sleep xD
It was 6 AM already and the sun was nowhere to be seen. Why would he show up if there was just fog all around xD. We were little disappointed because of this, but we more than compensated with staying at the peak even after all the other groups left, clicked a lot of pictures & did some crazy boomerangs. With the sunrise, we were also able to witness the beauty around. Right across the peak on the ground was a lake, reminding me of the South America shaped lake view atop Makalidurga.
The king overseeing the situation of the kingdom in the wake of a disappointing sunrise.
Below are few pictures of the trail on our way back.
There is a Shankreswara Temple on a small diversion, which has magnificent views during the day time.
The landscape is so pretty that you can’t stop yourself clicking over a 100 pictures or just sit and let it all sink in. The wind was very heavy, the kind that can take you away with it. With the wind, the fog was running at the speed of cheetah and standing at the edge besides the temple, one can feel what a force it was.
We spent a lot of time over there doing a wide variety of photography 😀
Climbed down, got into the TT & Killed each other[I meant we played Mafia xD] on the way to Bengaluru.
End of another short yet beautiful journey.
Stay tuned for more exciting travelogues.
Asta La Vista.
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