Scaling the highest peak

Scaling the highest peak

Priyadarshan heads to Mullayanagari in Chikmagalur to try his hands at trekking and comes back a happy man.

When I was looking for a quiet break from my frantic life, trekking was the last thing on my mind.

For in my fifty summers, I never gave it a serious thought.

However when I was told that a trekking programme to Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka was on the cards, I changed my mind to give it a try.

Youth Hostel Association, Gangothri unit, Mysore had arranged one day trekking programme.

Our group consisted of about 55 members across all age groups ranging from ten to seventy and they were all charged up for the big action. I too joined them.

Soulful journey

We started our journey from Mysore at 5 am on a chilly morning. The distance we had to cover was about 210 km by bus and we had to reach the place before noon so that the trek could be completed by evening.

Our first stop for breakfast was at a lake between Hassan and Chikmagalur.

Once we filled our tummies, we continued the journey without wasting further time.

As we entered the ghat section, cool and crisp air and the lush green vegetation greeted us with open arms.

And the drive itself was very soothing to our souls.

We finally reached the base.

Alighting from the bus, my eyes panned the panoramic views of the valley and i was entranced.

Our team skipper, Ashish pointed his finger towards the peak in front and said “you have three hours to climb to the top”. One look at the peak and my heart skipped a beat.

“Do I have to climb this?” I asked myself, but one look at the fire in the senior most member’s eyes of our association, my confidence level went up.

For her experience in trekking the high peaks of Himalayas is unmatched. For her, Mullayanagiri was no big deal.

With a brave face I put my right foot forward on the serpentine path to start my first trek, and it was an amazing experience to watch fellow friends with their interesting talks and mischief make the journey all the more interesting.

The climb was too steep at some places, but I enjoyed every moment of it.

Legend has that, Lord Hanuman carried the Sanjivini Parvat from the Himalayas to the battle field to bring Lakshmana back to life.

Once the treatment was over, Hanuman was asked by the chief medicine man to take the hill back to its original place.

So his return journey towards Himalayas began.

While he was in flight over the Western Ghats, he saw huge mountains in the Chandra drone range which almost resembled Himalayas.

He then decided to toss the hill in the water below as he did not want to miss the action at the battlefront.

Hence, this hill is also known as Jalamelagiri Chandradrona Parvata, meaning water above the mountain.

On the way up, we refreshed at few places and it took us about two and a half hours to reach the top.

Totally hungry and drained of energy, we managed to enter the temple on the peak, which is dedicated to the deity Mullappaswamy.

The chief priest was kind enough to brief us about the place and its surroundings.

Finally the most precious moment of our day came, lunch time. We helped ourselves to a sumptuous lunch and relaxed for a while.

It was then time for us to explore the place more and we got back on our feet.

Enrapturing views

We were spellbound by the views around the peak. Manikyadhare, Bababudangiri and Devirammana hillock lie on one side and the Kudremukh range lies on the other.

Our next point of visit was Seethalayyana Giri which was about three km on the way down.

The temple here is dedicated to Seethala Mallikarjuna, a form of Lord Shiva.

This shrine is an ancient one with later additions of the walls around it.

We had half an hour at our disposal before we started on our return journey and we made the most of it.

I am going to cherish my maiden trekking experience for many years.

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