Monday, January 23, 2006

TRAVALOGUE


The journey began in the wee hours on one fine Sunday morning. Never did I have a inkling about how exhilarating the trip would be. Getting up at 4 in the morning was itself an achievement since laziness can be benchmarked on my sprightliness…And that I had gather all my will power to rise before the sun did…….

Our trip began comfortably, Infact luxuriously as we had a Ford at our disposal for the three hour trip from Mysore to waynad...Snugly I occupied the back seat and began enjoying the soothing Rafi melodies... The day before we had a project party which ran late into night and that had taken its toll on me…..Little wonder the fatigue and Rafi did get me napping soon...The car zipped past Gundlpet in good time and I woke up when someone in the car changed the music to some Iron maiden screams…The forty winks did get me rejuvenated for the rest of the journey..

As we closed Waynad the landscape changed slowly...The paddy field got replaced by stocky shrubs, tall teaks and bristled bamboos…….The road began getting curvier and bumpier….Instead of tea stalls we began seeing more of sign boards mentioning presence of wild animals…It got more dense as we entered the sanctuary area. The bamboos hanged at steep angles from both sides of the road making a magnificent dome just like what we see in a church altar...Looking above, Instead of the sky we saw leaves and birds…Soon we reached our first destination “Muthanga wild life sanctuary”…..


Meeting wild animal up close without any barriers can get your adrenalin pumping. Never dawned on us that it was no ordinary joy ride until we began our Jeep safari inside the park...Even the most macho looking tough guy can get intimidated by presence of wild animals...Initial glimpses of Wild monkeys and flocks of deer’s were greeted by our fake sense of bravado..Travelling deeper into forest we came across herds of elephants. Being keralities we always thought ourselves to be comfortable with elephants. The driver stopped the jeep and positioned us something like 50 metres away from the herd. Out of the blue the elephants began to blow their trumpets and started advancing. Panic struck we got into the Jeep and the engines roared in time to get us to a safe distance. Our battle hardened driver was bemused at our antics. Our faces told the truth in spite of trying to act macho. Further we encountered less threatening Sambhar deers...peacocks...wild fowls...giant squirrels. The guide mentioned about presence of leopards in the sanctuary, but we couldn’t get any glimpses of those magnificent cats...Maybe we might have had our hearts in our mouth if we saw… Towards the end of our Jungle Safari we found bison’s...Actually they looked more threatening than the elephants. Thankfully our senses dint favour any more close encounters…..The silence of the forest was a welcome relief for us…Ears accustomed to vehicle noise and Eminem relished the uneasy calmness inside the wild……..The guide gave us the parting message ..Respect wild animals ...They are not as bad as u think……..


Zapped up we had a heavy breakfast at a thattukada (mallu dhaba)…We bought fruits (unlike the pesticide rich found in towns) to comfort our ever hungry tummies from a near by shop…We reached the next destination “Edakkal caves” in time. I had never been to a cave before and was pretty excited to have a look. The cave was really huge beyond fancy...Edakkal means “stone in between”. The cave actually got shape due to some earthquake that happened in some pre-Neolithic age…The huge rock that hang precariously made us feel like grounded flour. It even had inscriptions made by tribes of some forgone era. Carving that seemed like those that we saw in text books while learning harrapan civilization right in front of our eyes...Behind the caves was a huge rock (actually a hill) something like 4000 ft above sea level. We were in good spirits and decided to climb it. The initial part was quite easy and we did the climb at a brisk pace throwing boastful glances at lesser mortals who were moving quite slow. The angles changed from 45 to 60 sometime later. And my 70 kilo frame suddenly found the going tough…half way through I was gasping for breath like a dog…..The breaks to catch oxygen became more frequent. The only bottle of water we had taken was empty now. Like a warrior trying to conquer the final frontier we climbed the last few feet’s with every iota of energy we had…..Each step...Each breath...was a struggle…Finally at the destination it felt like being Edmund Hillary …29,035 feet is what he climbed though..

Resting on top of the “world” was a biggest achievement I did after a long time...

The last leg of the trip took us to Meenmutty waterfalls to cool over frayed nerves...All expectations that this one should have been easy was cut short when the guide informed that it involves a 4 km trek through a treacherous trail. Unlike Edakkal rock climb it involved a steep descent which leads to the hole. The tropical climate ensured that we sweat liberally and that added to the discomfort...The huge trees and serpentine bushes kept the sun at bay and it was difficult to guess what time of the day it was. An hour later we reached the falls...Awstruck by the hugeness and ferocious power of the falls we abandoned plans of taking a bath. None of us fancied getting washed down the torrent of water…Resting on the rocks nearby we sat admiring this bounty of nature...Running short on time we began our arduous climb back...On the way back we got rejuvenated after taking a bath in a nearby stream. The base camp was a two hour trek and we had buttermilk to get us standing on two legs...Neverthless it was worth the pain...

It was a long and exciting day. We had to reach Mysore by night. Curtailing further plans we started our homebound journey…Monday blues began setting in ...Quite early…
Sitting in the same seat when I came...Exhausted …..Worn out……But with a sense of euphoria I gradually fell asleep feeling elated……

1 comment:

Chaser said...

Interesting blog you have here. I like the title too..

I like to surf blogs around and see what other people are doing with theirs.

Have a good blogging!

Chaser
All In A Box