The trip to Yelagiri organized by Maitree (the cultural & social forum of TCS), was something I was really excited about. But that would no way mean it was something small in my life. :) Anyway, this was my first trip with Maitree…All the more reasons for me to be excited about as I had heard a lot about these folks, about all their work but had never got a chance to actually interact with them. No wonder, I was really looking out for this expedition!!
It was 13th Feb, 2010. All energized, meaning all ready on time, I left my house at about 4:55 am… Met up with a few other friends of mine on the way and we all budged towards one of my friend’s place, which was located pretty close to our boarding point. We parked our vehicles there and started our morning stroll…
It was about 5:20 am then! The sky was still dark with glint of rays spread over the murky carpet. The streets had dim light all around. ..All thanks to the so called sturdy (called so by the Indian Govt.) Indian lamp-posts powered by stored solar energy. :P The twitters of birds around, had their own musical way of greeting the morning. Their chirpiness had some kind of an exuberance that made me feel so wonderful!! It was just another morning, yet another day but look at the gesture of theirs!! Wow! I wonder what keeps them so happy..? What makes them so chirpy?? Do we ever greet our mornings this way..? Do we ever have time to feel jubilant about a new day, be thrilled about a new start??!!
Well, these thoughts saw an abrupt end when one of my friends pulled me into their conversation. Chatting away to glory, we made it to the boarding point at about 5:40 am. I could see a good crowd waiting for the bus. We had people from various TCS offices in Chennai. We were all enthusiastically waiting for the bus to come. The bus reached the spot in about 20 minutes and we ardently boarded the bus, instantly realizing we were a little more in number than the number of seats in the bus. :P We guys got seats but a few were left to stand. :( Luckily they were very few!
The journey was on. Getting settled after all the motion since early (read horribly early ;P) in the morning, was really pleasing. I started having those little fun talks with my friends. A few had their iPods/mp3 players etc. on and were off to catch the compensation (meaning doze off); while a few started singing in groups, along with the song being played. The required information was being shared (read announced) at bursts by the co-coordinators (mostly it was Vinoth, the HR speaking :P). Teeny weenie photo sessions were happening as well. :)
We were hungry souls (read hungry to experience trekking in Yelagiri) with hungrier tummies (tummies starving since we had gotten up). :( However, our hungry tummies were soothed before long. We made a halt at Vellore and got our breakfast packets there. The very next second, we had all become BUSY…busy eating. :) The food seemed very healthy and was incredibly delicious!! We all had a lovely busy break for sure! :P The only work we possibly did instantly after our breakfast, was to carefully stuff our lunch packets into our back-packs. The journey to Yelagiri recommenced...
We were leaving the plains behind and were moving towards the up-hill. We then encountered the U-bends or the better known Hair-Pin bends. There were 14 hair-pin bends on our way up. They were all damn slender and steep! Really crazy, I tell you!! I had never experienced such narrow ones before. Believe it, our buses couldn’t clear them in one go!! The dawdling momentum of our buses would be something like this: Take the bend – forward -- half way reverse – then forward again. This was the scenario through all the bends. :D While crossing the bends, the view of the land we were leaving behind, was amazing! The land, the roads, the trees, the houses / huts; all looked like Minuscule Models (read prototype of the real), exactly the way we used to make for our science exhibitions in those good ol’ days.
We were now at the up-hill. All geared up to flag off the trek! It all started at a pretty good pace. All thanks to the energy being produced within, as a result of the heavy breakfast! ;) We were just using up that energy. ;) It was a flat terrain to start with. We were walking the walk, getting properly warmed up! In the very start, I spotted an eagle flying majestically, way up in the sky, encircling our huge chunk with its Royal Rotations. It all seemed like a grand entry we were bestowed with…Like the Queen of Sky was gonna be with us. The surroundings were dry and deserted, with withered trees and shrubs here and there, giving it an arid raw look!
We were now asked to stop at a junction, where we were split into 2 groups. I fell in group 1 which was to take the route marked by the locals and group 2 was to take the usual path which visitors normally take. We were thrilled to learn that Route 1 would have a lot of challenges and wouldn’t really be easy to trek the way up. This was what excited us all the more and made us all fall prey to the envious eyes of the folks in Group 2. :P
We marked the start of our route (Route 1) through highly clogged bushes. There was no space to walk erect. We had to become babies and crawl the way out of this bit. We did it happily, just that the thorny bushes weren’t letting everybody be in high spirits. Well this was just the start…However, we had the first man and the last man as the coordinators who would make sure all of us are present and safe at all times. :P
Once we had crawled our way out of that tad, we were to walk through rough, bumpy areas. What was lovely about this place was the rawness I found in those trees around. The trees had something so appealing in them. They were absolutely withered, with just their branches, still seemed so amazing! This reminds me of something I ought to share with all. There was this sight that caught my eyes…From the angle made by my position, the raw beauty (read one of the withered trees) seemed to have worn a bright shiny ear-ring. It was Lord Surya who seemed to have become the stud on one of the branches of the tree!!! Looked Beautiful! :)
The rutted bushy terrain led us to the rocky arena. Rock climbing was a requisite here. It wasn’t really tough to climb those rocks, though they were decently steep. All thanks to the grooves so well deposited on them. They were so naturally incredible! We were a good chunk so climbing the top took us sometime. I was possibly the last to start climbing. Guess I was busy observing and commenting…The very usual ME! ;) Once, I made it to the top, I felt jubilant! It wasn’t easy to believe our eyes…We had actually come a good way with respect to the elevation…Yet again the credit goes to Mother Nature for having designed the rocks this way, which needed no expertise and no special rock-climbing shoes! :P It was an amazing experience!
We were now on top, on a quick relaxation spree. Soon, our friend/philosopher/guide, Arul from the Ecologin Team enlightened us with the fact that this route would take us nowhere. Now that clearly meant that this piece of rock-climbing didn’t really help us in our walk towards the so-called destination. Alas! We had to get down and resume the quest. Though dead tired, we were certainly happy with the deal we had with the rocks. We now decided to take our group snaps here…A location worth a million assorted captures!
My eyes then fell prey to a rock…It had something painted on it…Wow!! It said “Jesus is Lord”…It was so well done; so notably clear! It was something not so big, many might have actually overlooked this work but there was surely some marvel in it which attracted me the way it did! My eyes just wouldn’t get off this master-piece until it was totally off the vicinity!! We walked a little and found ourselves in a place we could soothe those dry yearning throats of ours. Water here, not only served quenching our thirsts but alleviated our taste buds as well. I must say, the water was cool and yum! :)
There was something else in this very place…It was a small holy (read temple like) section on one of the rocks there. I don’t really have much to share about it as I didn’t climb the way up to explore the little. But it surely was something highly sacred to the villagers.
All keyed up after having the cool and clean water, we recommenced our walk…Trekking further, we reached a fleet of naturally stoned stairs. Having got down these, we found the Group 2 folks coming out of a small bushy path-way. They were done with their lunch and now it was our turn to hit for the same. :) We waited for the entire group to come out of this passage after which we ventured.
We had to become babies crawling our way ahead, yet again…Well, just for about a minute or so though. We were now in the midst of a densely populated area. There were just trees/bushes and rocks all around us. There was this amazing kind of chillness widespread... Not the typical hill-station kind neither the usual winter kind…Something really unique; really specific to this very place in Yelagiri. It was heavily dominant and so totally soothed our souls!! The bliss of sun rays made this place seem heavenly! We were all feeling Naturally Cool now! :)
We caught a good spot to have our lunch and settled there. We were all seated comfortably on those organic thrones (read rocks). Arul - the brain behind our trek hunt, shared some good stock of information with us about the place. Pretty informative indeed! It was then time to feed the eager tummies. The tummies were more than happy for the lunch we had got. Food was remarkably delicious and it was oil-free as well, which so totally added on to the marvel! There you go…A wonderful meal followed by some chit-chats! Simply Perfect! Isn’t it?
We now took the same route back, walked for a bit and then crawled for a lesser bit. ;) Once we were out of the dense bushy terrain, we reached another fleet of stoned stairs… After which we walked our way to glory…We had entered the village. The pretty little huts all around, the people, they were all something to look out for. The local inhabitants were highly welcoming! We normally tend to react or get disturbed when a foreign body enters our premises but they were graciously sociable…Something really commendable!! In fact, they seemed to be enjoying our walk through their village! :)
On the way down, I met one of the cutest (that’s in my opinion) botanical species…“Touch Me Not”!!! Had some merry time admiring it’s cuteness and playing with it…It was extremely adorable!! With this pretty little creation being carried as the next topic of discussion, we moved on…Those chats we had on our way trekking, were worth it…! Worth reminds me of Sir Ramesh Raghavan. In those small discussions we had, I got something to learn in every bit. Specially the one that can never be forgotten was the lesson on Panja Gavyam, which I got from him. It was hilarious, yet practically quite informative! (For more details on what Panja Gavyam would possibly mean, please refer to Wikipedia / any other reliable source) :)
We had now reached the place where our buses were parked. Only then did we realize that the walk was finally done! Alas! It was… :( Never mind! We had fresh lemonade waiting for us and we made no mistakes in achieving its optimum utilization. I noticed a few kids playing with tops. Amazing was their concentration! They were so much into the game that they never even realized, there were a few of us observing their play. I loved capturing their sweet, fun-filled actions with those innocent expressions!!! (All thanks to the skillful technology called cameras).
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by such meetings that a new world is born.”
“Every friend is a new door to a different world…!”
Cheers to the new friends I made in this lovely walk…!
- Ahi...Just a normal Trekker!! :)