that I planned around the wedding anniversary was full of shocked surprises. Given the crazy work schedule for both of us, I was not very sure if we could take the trip at all in the first place. It had to be a short one and I decided on Chikmagalur. I usually do a lot of research before making any plan. But this time, I was confident of my choice and thus the hotel bookings were also done. Almost from everyone who had been to this place, I got the idea that it was supposed to be a hill station. What a shock it was in reality?! Not only that it was not a hill station, it was surrounded by hills which made the place terribly hot. Even when we climbed the hills, the temp was only 17 – 18 deg C but it was very very hot. So hot that we all came back tanned.
On the first day, we visited a lake that had no visitors except for the four of us. Imagine having an entire lake to yourself.. There is nothing between you and the lake surrounded by mountains. We stayed there for more than an hour basking in the beauty of the sunset with birds chirping continuously. We were to visit a waterfalls after this. After driving through the ghat roads (badly maintained) for almost an hour, we entered forest area and were welcomed by all sorts of warnings. It was late in the evening by then. Again, we were the only souls around the place. Whenever there were other vehicles, they zoomed past us with no regard for road rules. We had to turn back at some point, as it was getting dark and if we had to tackle the vehicles with no headlights.
The next day we thought would be better and what awaited us was totally different. We started driving towards a view point which was supposed to be the highest peak of Karnataka at 6400ft. First it was S who was skeptical about the GPS directions and we ended up at a different view point. Haha talk about finding a silver lining. We also got a chance to visit another view point, thanks to a policeman at the checkpost. At both these places, we were only people. What an experience it was, to have the mountains to ourselves!
We found the correct route to this highest peak, thanks to a lady who understood our sign language. The drive was not very good as the ghat roads that were in bad condition were very narrow too. No one wants to slow down or move aside slightly to give way for other vehicles. Dad’s BP was shooting high already and thats when our car stopped at a steep point while we were on a hairpin bend. The car was slowly coming down and S shouted us to get out of it quickly. There were no barricades or fences to this road that showed us the valley and we were already at around 4000 ft above ground level. S had to act quickly to reverse the car back to the start of the hairpin bend. Still, we were on a steep road. Just when I thought S was going to turn the car around, he took the hairpin this time – before any of us could react. My heart was literally in my mouth and dad was speechless too. My map was showing no more hairpin bends and I was slowly getting back to normal. One look at the road ahead, my head was spinning again. It was about 75deg steep mud road with a hairpin bend at the end of it. I made S stop the car and had to analyse the conditions. Dad was so scared that he started walking back already. The narrow road ahead was filled with potholes and again, no barricades at the end of the road that opened to the valley. One wrong step, whoosh! we will be gone just like that. I persuaded S to take a U turn and that we would return. The road was so tiny that there was no way even a tiny car could make a turn. Just then, there was a car behind us very impatient to go ahead. I will never ever forget what happened afterwards. The car zoomed past us and while on the steep road, it slowed down and to avoid the risk of it getting stopped, the driver sped up and it was the verge of falling down – he took the turn right in the moment. I was scared as hell. I was shouting crazily by now, but S couldnt make that U turn without risking a fall into the valley and was ready to take the steep road. Either ways, it was risky. As we were already out of the car, he was willing to take the road up. Another car had stopped midway and there was nothing that could be done. I was frozen and out of all ideas. Thankfully, S acted fast and again reversed the car until a safe point, made that U-turn. The parents were not even willing to walk that road again. So, we parked the car at the edge of the road and walked up. Multiple cars stopped mid-way and it was more than scary to see them struggle. My legs were shaking terribly and were not in a position to climb another 500+ steps to the temple on top of the hill. Believe me, I saw all my forefathers and Gods while on that scary road only. Oh I forgot to mention the sandy whirlwinds that covered us in red soil completely while we were on the top. What a way to celebrate the anniversary!
Every adventurous road that we took after that was nothing compared to what we went through. We visited a couple more view points and waterfalls. By the end of the day, we were literally roasted. My voice was totally gone – remember all the screaming I had to do?! No one looking at our pictures would probably not even guess what we went through. I had a smile plastered on my face for every picture I posed and the beauty of the place! Nature at its best, untamed – no denying that.
On the way back, we had couple of options. To travel across the forest covered hills to visit Sringeri or to visit Belur & Halibed. No prizes for guessing that I chose the 2nd option. I love the architectural beauty of the temples and I was not going to miss it. S had his friend’s DSLR and we made full use of it. After a lot of cajoling, S gave up the camera in Halibed and I had super fun photographing. I am bit by the camera bug that I cant wait to buy a DSLR now. S is trying his best to stop me, dont know how long its going to work 😀
We came back home more tried than relaxed after this short vacation and my bed felt like heaven that night. Aah the bliss of coming back home! 🙂
A few of my favorite shots –
I want a real vacation now!!! With my own DSLR!!!