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Verified Member MouthShut Verified Member  
Bangalore India
Nice night outing at MaKaliDurga!
Nov 04, 2017 04:58 PM 1554 Views
(Updated Jun 17, 2018 04:18 PM)

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I had never been on a night trek before and I had read this hillock MaKaliDurga was a relatively manageable climb elsewhere. So, I thought this would be a good place to go on my first night trek. There was an adventure group organizing this trek and I confirmed my participation sometime in April of 2016.


It is 60 km north of Bangalore, not far from Dodaballapura. It is a very greenish looking hill. Not that rich in rocky boulders like I’d seen at Nijagal Betta. But nice all the same. Apparently, it is a granite hill and there are remains of a fort at the top. This is at an elevation of 1117 m. This was part of Vijayanagara Empire, was later captured by Shivaji’s father and subsequently Kempe Gowda in the past.


We first took a train from Bangalore City Railway station to the desired stop. The trek was supposed to start with a long walk along the railway lines from out intended destination, at the foothills. While on the train, I met up with a number of people from different backgrounds who were all desirous of this new experience. Upon reaching the railway station, we were handed our respective food packs and sleeping bags to carry up the hill. Some of us had some evening snacks before continuing. While we were doing so,  I noticed the stray dogs there had a strange way of scratching themselves. Instead of twisting their heads and limbs to scratch the itching area, they would just present the itching area to another dog who would do the scratching with its teeth. Those dogs got their entire bodies scratched in this way. Never seen this elsewhere. We all carried a stick along with us to watch our way while we were on the trek. We were also warned about occasional leopards in the neighborhood and some poisonous snakes, so to watch our step. We were all carrying flashlights as well. It was pitch darkness all around.


THE ASCENT


After a long walk along the railway lines, during which we also noticed a couple of trains pass by and some distant settlements lighted up in the dark horizons, we eventually turned left to embark on our trek up the hill. During the railway line walk and in the initial stages of the walk up the hill, I got acquainted with some of the fellow trekkers who were a diverse lot. Once we started going up the hill, also initially, it was a mild sloped path. At one point, we had to turn left to go further upwards. But there were 2 lefts. Some of us initially took the later left turn which subsequently had to be omitted as the first one was the better route. The slope was reasonably mild for the first half and as we further up, we could make out some more rocky sections than before. After traversing a decent way up, we came to a stop for bit to ensure all were there, as it would get steeper from there on. Although it did get steeper, I felt the main impediment was carrying my rucksack, stick and sleeping bag at the same time. I had placed the flashlight inside the bag. There always seemed to be some reasonable way up. At least, I can’t say it felt hard. But yes, I had to be innovative at times and perhaps at other times, I had to be a bit more careful. So, after this continuous, relatively steep stretch (compared to rest of the climb) was over, we found another mild stretch ahead of us. There was yet another brief rocky stretch ahead of us, which seemed ok, although a bit winding in nature. After that, there seemed to be a mild path, eventually leading to the top. But in the course of traversing that, I felt one could greatly reduce the long path my just climbing a slightly steep section in between. So I did that, mounting one leg up first but had to really stretch myself. In the course of doing so though, I tore part of the clothing in my jeans in the groin area. It wasn’t serious though and more importantly not visible to a third person while I walked normally. The fort was just a small way ahead after that and one could climb that last part also by means of a short cut, I reckoned.


AT THE TOP


Once at the top of the fort, I was at once taken aback by the strong gusts of wind that were blowing. It was really hard and at times felt if we were not careful, could even push us. So, we sat carefully at the edges enjoying the powerful wind and the distributed specs of lights in the distance below the hill from the top of the fort. There was also train moving which was visible from there. I took some pics but was still in the process of learning more about my phone camera at that point. So, all pics probably didn’t come out great at that particular instant.


After spending some time marveling at the scenes below, we came down from the fort and headed to a clearing where the plan was to light up a fire, have our dinner and indulge in chit-chat. We did so with some dry twigs and not so dry ones. There was a dog at the top of the hill, who seemed to be permanently limping who seemed friendly towards people. Wonder how it got there and what led  to its condition. After dinner, some went off to sleep in their sleeping bags while others stayed up to play some games. I watched proceedings for a while. But not feeling like playing, eventually decided to enter my sleeping bag. Walking in the clearing, unfortunately I also hit a rock with my big toe.


As I lay there watching the stars, I could hear faint sounds of another group climbing its way up and on the other hand, could also hear sounds of those playing some guessing games. After some time, almost everyone came around to laying down for a bit before day break.


THE DESCENT


At dawn, I was only half asleep. I’d been listening to several other conversations going on between people in their sleeping bags the whole night, since somehow I wasn’t really feeling sleepy. It was interesting and amusing, like listening in on 10 random telephonic conversations at the same time from the outside. :D We got up, checked out the fort premises at daylight and took some pictures of the sunrise. It was quite beautiful.


Soon after, we started the descent. We were going down a different side of the hill and this felt like a relatively more even path. There was a huge lake also visible on one side of the hill. This was fairly straight forward for the most part. Just that we needed to ensure we didn’t slip. There was a rocky surface we had to slide off carefully that was a bit winding. Perhaps we stopped a couple of times on the way and we even heard peacock calls. Eventually, we reached the foothills but since we’d descended from the other side, we had to do a fair bit of walking to join the railway track trail. We did find the railway tracks and walked back to the station, also seeing  a train or two pass by. I braced myself for the train journey. That was not a problem and soon after several aimless conversations :), we reached Bangalore City station sometime before noon.


All in all, a good experience. Trip cost was around Rs. 699 /-. I got to know what a night trek would be like and also realised I wasn’t bad at it. I later got to know that some people going by the longer route at finishing stages of the climb had sighted snakes as well. Nevertheless, a nice night outing at MaKaliDurga. Good fun!


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