Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chikmagalur - Driving on the edge

(Article dedicated to the jeep driver who did a fantastic job in taking us to safety in those trying conditions)

We are all back (in one piece) from an adventurous trip to Chikmagalur. For the entire part of this trip, we did not see Sun even for one single minute. Most of the time it was raining heavily. Other times, it was still raining, may not be so heavily. The whole place was completely covered with fog throughout the day, making it hard for us to guess the time. Added to this, the whole place was filled with so many leeches, making us difficult to venture out.

A nice cottage at "Nature Nirvana" (see picture-2) was our home for 3 days. This place is about 35 Kms from Chikmagalur, amidst a 250 acre coffee
plantation. For the first day of the trip, we just sat in the room, enjoying the view around the estate & playing cards. How long can we sit like this, especially on vacation. So, we decided to venture out on the second day (after having lunch) to "Mullayana Giri" (highest peak in Karnataka). This turned out to be one of the worst decision & one of the most adventurous part of the trip.

When we reached the peak, it was around 5 in the evening & conditions were already challenging. Whole place covered with fog, wind blowing at around 30 to 40 KMph. Poorvi & Abhay could not even get down from the jeep. Kummi, Veena & Amar decided to climb those 450 odd steps in these conditions. They had to hold each other and climb, as the wind was so strong. While sitting inside the jeep here alongwith Poorvi & Abhay, I thought this was the most adventurous part, but soon I was proved wrong.

We started our journey back to the resort & soon we realized what a deep trouble we were in. It was dark, completely foggy, hard to see the road ahead, add to this the narrow road in Ghat section, with deep valley on one side. Muddy road, occassional rains did not help our cause either. Our driver switched on the lights of the jeep only to realize that the conditions are much worse if lights were on. Light was getting reflected back & he could not even see even 1 meter ahead. So, what is the solution? Turn off the light & drive!!! Wow, what an idea. Imagine doing this stunt in complete dark in that ghat section, in a jeep that does not have wiper!!! For few minutes, I could not even realize what was going on & I was in shock to speak anything. This drive continued for about 5 to 6 Kms. I was so scared that I had to ultimately ask the driver to stop the vehicle. Driver was calm, he said that he had been driving on the same roads for past 45 years & he knows each turn by heart. Wow, that was really something, but even then what if he missed one turn? What if a vehicles comes from opposite direction? I really had to leave rest everything to fate & kept on praying for the driver to take correct turns at the right moment at the right place. After another one hour of this torture, finally he took us safely to our cottage. Uh, what a relief. I cannot forget this drive for rest of my life.

Some more pictures from this trip below:

This was a small waterfall in "Nature Nirvana".

Mullayana Giri Peak, Steps to the temple is somewhere at the front of those cars parked.

Single tree braving the wind & fog. In the background of this tree is a deep valley, covered with fog completely.

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