I could not manage to get a ticket home this weekend. So, faced with the prospect of spending 3 days alone without much to do, I decided that I would go for a Trek to some place nearby. I did a quick search online and discovered that there were several clubs and businesses that organize camps and treks. From some person’s blog I got the link to the site of Bangalore Moutaineer’s Club. They conduct trips every weekend and occasionally when either Friday or Monday is a holiday the conduct 3 days trips.
So, I registered for a membership and booked myself a spot on the team going for a trek to Kuntibetta on Saturday for a 1 day trek. I got this info about the place from their site.
Kunti Betta is a hillock near Pandavapura in Mandya District. The place is rich in history & heritage. Pandavapura features during the Mahabharata period. It is said the Pandavas ended their exile of 14 years in Pandavapura. Here is where Bheema slayed Bhakasura, the demon. A top Kunti betta, one can see the utensil shaped rocks which were apparently used by Pandavas for cooking. Sugarcane is grown in abundance in the fields around this place, giving it a feel of Mauritius . The multitude of canals passing by the fields gives the location an exotic look. On a sunny day, one can take a dip in any of the well maintained canals.
The tempo hired for the trip started from the office of BMC on Old Wind Tunnel Road at 6.30. I got up that morning at 6 and had to rush to get there on time. On the bus I found out that the most of the others were engineers like me. Initially, I kept quite and to myself. But, when we got down for tea at a place I got to talk to the others and found them to be more experienced with trekking than me.
It was a 4 hour journey to the place. The roads were very good and there was not much traffic. The roads were tree lined and the vegetation on either side of the way plus the slight drizzle made the travel enjoyable.
We reached there by around 10:30. There was a Ganapati temple there and we had a quick look around the place. The painted steps leading upto the temple looked nice. The place was very neat and quite. The hillocks surrounding the place looked a little weird. It looked like someone had piled some smooth rocks here and there. We were to climb Kunti-Betta(hill). The one next to it is called Onake Betta. Kunti looked like it was the bigger one of the two.
Most of the team was expecting an easy 2kms walk. But, it was not that easy and required one to use both hands to lift and balance oneself while climbing over rocks. It was great fun and all of us helped each other. Our guide was a very shy guy and so we did most of the talking. There was nice breeze and the dry cool air and the pleasant view together made the climbing a very nice experience.
We reached the top within 2 hrs. We could have got there in half that time, but some of us needed to climb slowly. Once we got to the top, we sat down around the big stone pillar there and rested and chatted for a while. We could see a sugar factory and a lot of sugarcane plantations from the top. A few pretty looking villages with tiled roofs and a lake were also visible. We had a quick lunch and lay down for a while.
By 1.45, we started on our way back. We followed a slightly different route and on the way we met a few of the locals herding their sheep and goat. After that we set off for the nearby Thonnur lake were some of us took a dip in the water. Since I did not like the idea of trying to swim with a life jacket on and since the place that we were allowed to get down at was very shallow I did not go in.
View from the top
The Pillar on the top
The lake as seen from the top
On our way to Thonnur lake
There are several rocks on the top that are supposed to be shaped like utensils and which the Pandavas are said to have used for cooking. Good thing that someone invented aluminium vessels or I would have been screwed.
Then we set-off for Bangalore and on the way back we again stopped for some tea.
The trip cost 800 rupees and I felt that it was little too much since there were no permission charges or entry fees of any sort. Besides, the food was very basic. Anyway, I did not let the money bother me as overall it was very enjoyable. Besides, I also got to meet a lot of new and interesting people.
One nice lady who had done a lot of trekking and adventure sports gave me a few suggestions regarding clubs that organize similar treks. She happened to mention that this club (Bangalore Ascender’s) was good.
I am going to make it a point to visit some place every weekend. I know that if enough of my friends get together, then we can hire a vehicle and go wherever we want and it won’t cost as much. I must try to do that sometime.
Also, our company club provides free trekking gear including compasses, GPS, tents and sleeping bags for free. I must try and find out some place where we can go for a night trek. Some of my friends have already done that and though they got lost and could not use their GPS devices properly, they said it was great fun and they loved it.