A picturesque trek to Bantamale

A picturesque trek to Bantamale

In South Kanara, there are seven prominent mountains for trekking and they are Kariamale, Nellipane, Dhawalkajje and its forests, Koojimale notoriously known for its mining, Kalanjimale and last but not the least Bantamale.

It had been more than six years since the last time I had gone trekking. It was something I did not want anytime soon. But an opportunity knocked on my door and I didn’t want to let it go. I had considered that Bantamale is a small hill and not worth for trekking, which was a mistake I realised later.

Bantamale is a total trekking friendly place consisting of more than two hills and houses various medicinal plants and teak trees. The hill is fully covered by darbe grass which has sharp edges; one has to be careful to avoid cuts while walking through this bladed grass.

The challenging Bantamale has its own astonishing history of trees being stolen and an elephant trampling a man to death and a cheetah (now extinct) caught by the authorities. It is a great pleasure to read interesting tales about this place in the novels of the noted Kannada writer Shivaram Karanth.

I was reminded of my school and college days when I decided to take up this opportunity. During my student days, I had climbed Bellangadigadai Kallu Hills, Kumara Parvata near Subramanya, undertaken treks to Hanuman Gundi, Bhagmandala, Hebri Seethe Falls and Kudremukh and many more trips.

Passing by Kaaniooru, Nintikallu and Karikalla, we finally reached the house of Rathidevi Vishwanath. 150 people had registered their names but hardly 35 had turned up. We were informed that our trekking would start at 11 am and for about half a km we have to proceed in a kutcha road.
It was a challenging task to climb the hill as it has a narrow road. We reached the top around noon. I was the last person to reach the top but what a marvelous scene was lying in wait for us. The entire Sullia taluk was at our feet.

Tired from all the climbing, we all sat down and narrated tales of different treks. One of the participants who had been to places like the Himalayas and the Andamans narrated his experiences. We also went around with our guide and enjoyed the scenic views of the surrounding mountains from the top.

It is easy to climb the hill but really difficult to come down as it’s a steep walk downhill. We finally made it down the hill and freshened up for a sumptuous meal.

Spectacular views, fascinating tales and a yummy meal marked the end of our journey.

In the early days, when people led the country life, it was simple and hassle-free. But in these days of urbanisation and global trends, that kind of life is only a dream. We have lost our contact with the nature.

Man is only a pygmy before nature and we have to live with our urban ways whether we like it or not.

(Translated by A. Varsha Rao)

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