Sunday, August 14, 2016

Basava Sagara (Narayanpur) Dam - 14/08/2016

Place: Basava Sagara Dam a.k.a Narayanpura dam, temple

Distance: 110 round trip (from Ilkal)
Type: Sightseeing, waterbody
Ideal for: Friends and family
Transportation: Bike
Crew: Me and Vijay

Off on a long vacation to my native (Ilkal) to screen away from work schedule. A perfect time to get fresh air and explore some places nearby. Basically, North Karnataka is little dry land area due to less rainfall. However, It was an exception this time as we had a good amount rain due to cyclones.

My friend Vijay had noted "Basava Sagar Dam" also known as Narayanpura dam which had a good water inflow this year. I had heard about it in my school days but never got a chance to visit it. What makes it special from rest of the reservoirs across Karnataka is that we are allowed to go near the dam gates. We called for a short ride, Vijay and I decided to explore this place.

Best of the Beast: Majestic Basava Sagara Reservoir

Sunday Morning: Trips call on for an early day. I hardly get up before 9 am when I am home, but I had to get up at 6 am this time. I took shower and got ready within half an hour, Vijay picked me up from my home.

The Ride: After a decent breakfast we hit the road, the stretch passes through many villages, roads were narrow yet were in good condition. Unlike my usual rides we were riding slow and pleasant with no hurry. Halfway through, it started drizzling. We had no jacket, no helmet (sorry for that), no other protective gears. There was no shelter so we had to continue riding, we got drenched a little, pulled over at a tea stall. A hot cup of tea is all that we needed to keep our body warm. The feeling was awesome - Rain and a hot tea has the perfect love story. Vijay knew the route so we didn't had to depend on the GPS guru this time. It took nearly an hour and half to cover 50 km with couple of breaks.

"Does it lead to heaven?" she asked, "Yes, to my home" I said

Basava Sagara Dam / Narayanpur Dam: Finally, we reached the bridge from where we could see the reservoir gates. The water was flowing in all its glory, the roaring rush of the water was audible from almost a kilometer. As we neared the reservoir, we felt great to watch the nice view of the entire reservoir.

Dam gates, half of the gates were opened

Dam gates, half of the gates were opened 
Water is flowing in all its glory 
Narayanpur Dam has been officially renamed to Basava Sagara Dam

As I already mentioned its allowed to go near the dam gates so we proceeded towards the entrance. It was surprising to see so many people who had come with their family and kids, no doubt its an ideal place for picnic. We parked the vehicle and walked for the next one and half km to reach to the dam gates. Roaring of the water was getting louder with every step closer to the dam. I mean the nature force gives you immense feelings. There is a good place to stand beside the gates and watch the water flowing out of the gates. We were standing hardly 10 meters away from the gates, a police personal was watching the public as a means of public safety. I could literally sense the energy with which water was flowing, half of the gates of the dam were open, the water flows from the gates, hits the wall at the base and bounces up to 20 feet high in the sky. Great!! Isnt it? The potential energy of the water was out of my imagination, there are no bounds to the energy possessed by the nature. It was one of the best experience of my life, we spent nearly 15 minutes standing there and continuously staring at the water waves. We filled our sights with this beauty!!

Condition of the Roads are good, the perfect climate made the ride peacefull

Water rushing through the gates, it was a splendid view to stand so close and watch it

Water waves making a beautiful pattern after bouncing off the wall at the base

Walked back to the main gate, we left the place after having a glass of sugarcane juice. We wanted to see the backwater of the reservoir, we tried to explore all the roads which were going around the reservoir, and we ended up at one of the canal gates there were none around. We crashed for a short break and photo session. 

Canals supplying water for the irrigation to the surrounding farms 
The flow of the water was strong
One of the many canal gates surrounded to the reservoir 
Just exploring around

Hero on Honda Shine ;)

Canal gates

Vijay had one more destination for the day - """" temple. We drove by the side of the canal which was one of the best trail I ever crossed.

Riding beside the canal. one of the best trail I ever cross.

On the wau to the temple. narrow road yet in good condition
Temple: It was almost 12 in the after noon, sun was high in the sky we pulled over for cold drinks to quench our thirst. Half an hour drive took us to the temple. We parked the bike and had to climb down the stairs to reach the temple. Since its a holy place there were so many devotees all around, a lot of people had come from Maharastra and other places. This place is good to take a dip in the river but we had no extra clothes so we had to skip it. The panoramic view of the temple was mind blowing. Krishna river flowing from the reservoir passes through this point.

Parking near the temple. There will be a lot of tourists around here. 

The temple is situated by the krishna river side, mostly you will find locals and some visitors from maharastra

Thats the temple, photography wasn't allowed inside so I took only from outside

Panorama view of the place, basically took multiple shots and merged in photoshop \../

Rivers is flowing in full swing, usually in summer it will be dried up :(

You can also take a dip in the water, there's no safe place to take bath, little caution is needed.

After visiting the temple we left the place. There's another view point of the river where we stopped and had a great view.

That's me and Vijay posing for a photo. Thanks Vijay for helping me explore this place :)
I could just look at the flowing water for the entire day

This view point is between the dam and the temple, don't know the exact name for this
Fish eye view of the view point.

It was late in the afternoon, we were feeling hungry. We stopped at Narayanpura village for the lunch, there are no good hotels as such at this place. The hotel was a typical north karnataka khanavali which served us Javari rotti and sabji. We had this sumptuous food and resumed to Ilkal.

Ride Back: Part of the trail was surrounded by sunflower field, I couldn't resist myself from stopping and clicking beautiful pictures. I got so many good pics, below are the best ones. We reached home by 5 in the evening. It was wonderful to find a new place close to the home where you were born and brought up.

Sunflower field on the way back, dark clouds and vibrant flowers was perfect for a landscape photography

The best pic I captured so far on my new SLR ;)

Important Note:
1. The gates of the reservoir will be opened only when there's plenty of water, so you may not see this view on a normal day. Enquire with locals before visiting.
2. It might not be allowed to go near the dam gates, unless the dam gates are opened officially. Also, that is when public will be allowed inside the reservoir premises. Again please enquire before visiting. Localities are happy to help.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Madhugiri Fort - Asia's second largest monolith 23/07/2016

Place: Madhugiri Fort, Karnataka

Distance: 100 * 2 = 200 km
Type: Trekking
Trek Lenght: 4 hours ascend
Trek difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Ideal for: Friends
Transportation: Mini bus
Crew: Me and 25 other colleagues

It's been 5 months since my last trek to Hulukaddi betta. I have covered most of best trekking places around Bangalore in my blog but Madhugiri was the missing one. I had done Madhugiri trek back in 2013, neither I had proper photos nor I could remember much things to write a post. So I decided to recreate the memories and post it for you guys. Since it's far, riding bike for such long distance, trekking and riding back would be hectic (we did it last time ;). There's a trekking group at my office, I posted an event and invited everyone, response was huge and head count reached up to 24. With big group comes bigger responsibilities, Naresh helped me a lot in arranging the transportation and refreshments.

Since it's far, we decided to leave at 5 am to avoid heat during the trek. It should take 2 to 2.5 hours to reach depending on the breaks.

Best of the Beast: Turret at Madhugiri fort

Saturday morning: Naresh along with 20 others started from office, me and 2 more guys joined them at Gurguntepalya at 6 am. Most of us were sleepy, pulled over at Koratgeri for breakfast. Another half an hour of drive took us to Madhugiri.

Energetic at the start of the trek

The out most wall of the fort, there are govt offices inside this now

You can park your vehicle safely at this point

This is the starting point of the trekking, there is a temple to the left (yellow wall)

The trek: We started trek at 8.30 am, climate was pleasant which should make the trek a good experience. The trek route is quite simple, but the trail is very long. Let me divide this stretch into 4 parts.

This is the exact feeling you will get while trekking Madhugiri

First stretch - The first stretch has several steps to carry you on your way. These are fairly easy to climb and will take you through a series of beautifully carved stone corridors, leading you to a relatively large tank and an outpost. The wind welcomes you at this spot, from where you can see a huge hillock, a preview of the trek ahead of you. While everyone was busy exploring trails at Madhugiri, I was experimenting with manual mode on my SLR. I was enjoying taking pictures as the rocks covered with the lush green made photos look gorgeous.

You can expect more beautiful photos now on. Like my page, I post there regularly

Photos know no fear :P

Beautiful walls of the fort which is giving fort a spectacular look

Nicely placed stone slabs as stairs at the beginning of the trek, seems easy but wait for the next stretch

The path goes in zigzac fashion, you can see the doors at regular intervals 

Lush green guarded by the rocks makes it perfect place to take a pic

Guys were bored with straight stairs so they spread to find their own trail :P don't try this!!

Mantaps are there at regular intervals to crash in and take rest. It will be your savior if trekking on a sunny day
Nearly an hour later we reached a flat ground, with turret on one side, pound at the bottom and beautiful view all around. It was tempting to explore this part but I knew we had a long way to go. I refrained from spending a lot of time here as it will become too hot while covering rest of the stretch. This is the most beautiful spot throughout the stretch

No words to explain this art. I love this structure which is so perfect even after it has been ruined over year
Presenting you the best part of the trek. A pond, a big turret and green grass everywhere

The biggest turret of the fort, its view is even more spectacular as you go up

Second stretch: The flat ground I described above is starting of the second stretch. From here the slope is little more inclined. The steps are now carved inside the rock, you get railings for support. After 20 minutes of trek you will finally reach the toughest part of the trek.

One might think that's the peak, but wait you have a long way still
From this point there are no stair cases, but there are grooves and supporting railings

The view of the surrounding becomes more and more beautiful with every step

The guys who wanted to find their own trail at the beginning of the trek were tired to follow the simple st :P

The turret looks even more beautiful when you go up.

Observe the outer wall of the fort, I could spend my entire day just sitting there and enjoying the view
A panoramic view of Madhugiri town and surrounding hills

Third stretch:
 The third stretch is the most talked about, perceived as dangerous by many but in reality, anybody who makes up their mind can successfully conquer this stretch. The inclination is close to 60 - 70 degree, requiring trekkers to get down on all fours and crawl their way forward. It is strenuous and very challenging. On account of this stretch, sturdy footwear is a must on your trek of Madhugiri Fort. There are grooves in the rock, offering support to crawling climbers, last time I visited this place there was supporting railings which is no more there making it more scary to cross. It's not difficult but scary, I saw other group of boys who returned from this point. Even 6 guys from our group decided to stop here as they were afraid of heights. I appreciate girls in our group who crossed the stretch without any fear. After this stretch there are no supporting railings or grooves in the rock. At some places the rock is steep where we had to knee down and crawl. During rainy season it could be really difficult to cross this stretch.

Here comes the toughest part of the stretch, the supporting railings is broken, only grooves in the rock is there for the support

I am not really sure what NBF means but it points towards the peak, so just follow it. 

The stupendous view makes you forget all the pain you took to trek this stretch

There are neither supporting railings nor grooves in the rocks from the third stretch
Fourth stretch: The final stretch is fairly the easiest one, the inclination is less and its just a simple walk. The surrounding view greets your eyes and you feel its worth the effort you put to trek all the way up.

There are neither supporting railings nor grooves in the rocks

Just trying different composition, bear with me for a while 

Who said guy with a DLSR can never get a good pic of himself ;) thanks struggling photographer for clicking this nice pic of me

If you think thats the peak then again you are wrong :P its still a long way to the peak. 

Isn't that's scary and beautiful at the same time?

I always feel like conquering all the hills I could see. 

The peak: After a lot of breaks we finally reached the peak at 10.50 am. Another team from my office were already waiting at the peak. At the top of the hill are several ancient structures that you can explore as well as the Gopalkrishna Temple. A one story stone structure with a tiny hole to let in only a single ray of light, it fascinates all who encounter it.  The thick dome shaped stone granaries that were built to store perishables still remain, and even saved the lives of Freedom Fighters.

Finally. This wall marks the peak.

Yepppy finally we are at the peak. The girl beside me had almost gave up, I struggled so hard to keep her going :)

The jail at the peak.

Conquered another mighty peak \../

Nanu kannadiga:
PS (non kannadiga readers): please try to learn bit of Kannada we feel very happy :) 

Pose like a pro 
Stupendous view of the surrounding valley on the other side of the hill
The back of of this jail is where the most stupendous views can be seen in all directions. It offered beautiful view with a lake guarded by rocky outcrops and the horizon marked with a band of blue hills the panoramic vistas were a treat to the eyes.

Descend: We did photo session for another hour and started descending. Unlike at many places where descend is quick and easy the scene is different at madhugiri. Though you will not spend much energy to descend, it's bit tough as steep stretches are difficult to descend than ascend. It took nearly an hour to reach the base of the hill.

Getting down is scarier than ascending

No camera, no mobile, no money, no tension - just enjoy the nature

The toughest part of the trek is more scary while descending

Those are the guys from our group who decided to stay back. One bold step would have made their day. 
There are not many hotels at madhugiri. We could have planned to have lunch at dhaba on Tumkur highway but keeping budget in mind we chose Shanti Sagar hotel just opposite to Madhugiri bus stop near the base of the hill. We reached back Bangalore by 3 pm.

By the way I forgot to introduce you to my new Canon DSLR. I got pretty good shots and much longer battery life. So you can expect quality photos in my future posts.

Conclusion: It was one hell of a trek I must say. Because of cold climate we didn't feel much tired but if you start your trek late especially in summer you will suffer really bad. It's a pretty long stretch putting yourself through tough test.

Thanks Naresh and all my other friends who made this trek possible :)

Important Notes:
1. There is clean washroom at the Madhugiri bus stand which is just at the starting point of the trek.
2. Carry water and food as you will not find anything atop. There are no monkeys so you can pack your breakfast or lunch and have it.
3. Make sure you leave no garbage behind not even wrapper of candy you ate.

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