You would find a series of posts about my kodachadri trek experiences as it can’t be covered in a single post (it would become too long)…..and here comes the first one among them 🙂 .
As mentioned in my previous post, we started from bangalore on friday night. We had taken a bus to Kollur . We were supposed to get down at kodachadri cross or also called Karakatte by the locals over there. This point was some 30 km before Kollur. The bus was already late by 1 hour 45 mins. We should have reached by 5 AM but it was already 6.45 AM. Wasting no more time, we started walking towards our first halt…..the tea stall. Just after a few minutes of walk we realized that leeches had already started their work 🙂 . This was my first encounter with leeches….I had never seen them before. Somehow we managed to reach the tea stall within an hour…..its just bcoz of the leeches that we did not even stop anywhere….the moment we would stop you would find more leeches attacking you 🙁 . After reaching the tea stall ( Santosh tea stall), we were all busy checking our legs and I was shocked to see so many of them on my friends’ legs. After sucking the blood they had become so fat and anyone would definitely be paranoid. Luckily till this point I had no leech bites and I just found a few on my socks and shoes. After a thorough checking, we had gone down to a stream to brush our teeth and by this time only half of the people were so frightened of the leeches that they preferred staying back at the tea stall itself. I got down to the stream along with three others and after coming back again two of them had leech bites. And till now I had none of them.
After having hot idlis with hot chutney (yeah hot chutney…….till now I never heard of hot chutney for idlis….this was the first time 🙂 ) and two cups of tea, we started our actual work…..the tobacco and coconut stuff. By this time, we realized how is the trek going to be with the leeches. So, we started making a paste of the tobacco and coconut oil. We could not make a paste but applied the mixture on our feet and legs. By the time we were done with all this it was 10.45 AM. We carried some salt also with us. We could not apply salt on the feet as that would cause blisters after wearing shoes. The salt would help to kill the leeches. Just a pinch of salt is sufficient to kill any leech. Finally, declaring a war against the leeches, we started off to our next destination at around 10.50 AM.
Inspite of toabcco and the cocount oil, all of us still had the fear of leeches and everyone was frequently checking their legs….and we then hear someone or the other screaming to help take out a leech 🙂 . This would go on till the end of the trek. The way to the peak was through proper jungle. The weather, surroundings, streams…..everything over there was perfect except for the leeches. But we should actually be thankful to them because its just because of the fear of leeches that we took very few breaks in between and we were continuously walking. The previous day being my birthday, I had nice birthday bumps 🙁 and then whenever there was a steep ascent, I could feel the pain 🙁 . After some 30 to 40 mins of trek, I was so tired that the leeches didn’t appear to be a problem at all. We were not in a position to check our legs also for leeches and just kept on walking further. Even for eating or drinking water, we were not standing still because of the leeches 🙁 .
Once we were like one hour into the trek, we reached a point where in we were actually in the clouds 🙂 and the view from there was awesome. I really can’t describe that in words. It made us forget about the blood that the leeches had suck and the pains we had taken to reach there 🙂 . And by this time I had stopped worrying about the leeches and we were just enjoying every moment of the trek from this point. Took quite a few snaps near the streams that came on our way. The way to the peak was not that easy……..at some points it was so dense jungle that we had to bend and walk through the trees. And the guy ahead was saying that we might find some cob webs and spiders on the way…..so he was using a stick or umbrella to clear our way first and then only move ahead ( remember this spiders stuff…. I would be mentioning about it later as well). Somehow after some 2 hours of trek, we reached our next halt. This is the point where we can get food and accomodation. Its just a small house and a few temples over there. From here the peak is supposed to be some 30 mins trek.
We had some hot tea and went to the temple. By then our food was ready. It was rice and sambar with some pickle and a curry. Food tasted great. Then we started off to the peak. It was good to hear that we won’t be finding any more leeches from here till the top 🙂 . That was a great relief to us. Ohhhh!!! I forgot to mention, the tobacco and coconut oil mixture worked perfectly 🙂 …. none of us had any leech bites this time 😀 . The final part wasn’t that tiring and within 30 mins we were on the top. There was a small cave enroute to the peak. It was called Ganeshaguha……..there was an idol of Lord Ganesha over there. Even at the top, there was another temple. Looks like this place is full of temples 🙂 . By the time we reached the peak, the cloud cover had become dense…..the visibility was very less. We had spent some 15-20 mins there and started walking back.
Our plan was to take a jeep now to reach Kollur by night and then go to the famous Kollur Mookambika temple the next day morning. After that we planned to go to Arasinagundi falls. We got the jeep by 5.30 PM. They charged Rs. 1500 for eight of us. The distance from here to kollur was 40 km but the first 10 km was through a ghat road. We didn’t knew that this jeep experience is going to be another unforgettable one……….more about this and kollur in the next post 🙂 .