TadiyanDmoL - My Shangri La

Location - TadiyanDmoL is about 30 kms from Virajpet in Coorg District of Karnataka, India. Virajpet is a taluk headquarters and is pretty well connected by road to major cities of Karnataka. On the road from Virajpet to Madikeri, at 27 kms from Madikeri, take a deviation that goes towards Bhagamandala/Napoklu. About 23 kms down this road, at a place called KakaBbe, there is a deviation to the left taking you to NalKnAd palace (or Aramane). From the palace, the way up is to TadiyanDmoL - the highest peak of Kodagu.
Virajpet should take around 5 hrs by road from Bangalore. Virajpet to NalKnad takes about an hour as the road is not so great.

To reach Virajpet, the shortest route is Mysore - Hunsur - Gonikoppa - Virajpet. This road (about 60 kms from close to Piriyapatna) was amazingly pathetic at the time this was written. So, an alternative is to go all the way to Madikeri and head towards Virajpet if you are willing to travel an additional 60 kms (if by own transport!). Otherwise take a bus from Bangalore to Virajpet and you are on your way!!!

The trek - The trek starts off on a steep asphalted road which then becomes a jeep track in about 1.5 kms. The jeep track then narrows down to a trekking trail eventually as one would expect. Two places where there are major forks - The first is on the jeep track where one arm goes up and the other is almost on the same plane. The upper arm is the one to take. The lower arm apparantly leads to some houses. About an hour and a half after you start from the palace, you reach a huge boulder. The arm to the left leads to a stream (and apparently leads on to Kerala, near Irutti and Sultan Bathery in Wayanad). The right arm goes up to the peak with no more decisions to make! The trek up is about 2-3 hrs of easy climb and it very much qualifies to be a one day trek unless you just want to be with nature for longer!!! The route to Irutti is interesting too ...

OK Here goes - After three weeks or more of just roaming near Bangalore, my wanderlust was bothering me. I had to go on an overnight trip and it better be someplace good!! The only problem was that I seemed to be running out of people to go out with!! Woe is me!

With Moch pushing off to HonnemaraDu with a bunch of Ittiam guys, my first hope of a trekking companion was already dashed!! The next obvious option was KP and his classmates - but they werent even interested!!! (maybe it was something I did in the Mullainagiri trip ;)) It was then down to spam!! Everyone I knew to be remotely interested in trekking and had accompanied me recieved an invitation and the first positive responses were from Bhatta and Murali (who seem to be just as jobless as I am now!!!). A trickle of interest shown by Paddy and Nelli seemed to evaporate when I told them that the other two insisted that it be a bike trip!!!!

Man management was hard. I pushed hard at it and it went through. Things were finalized - Paddy would muster enough courage to face probable injury and take the seat behind Bhatta while Nelli would forget unfortunate incidents of the past and survive on my bike. The odds on that happening ... well ... let me not talk about odds! Murali opted out eventually.

Friday, the 31st was as bad as any Friday the 13th could've been!! I was running frantically all over the place trying to get stuff for the trek the next day! Food .... check ... Tent .. Omigosh!!! A dash to Sudarshanz place battling BTM layout traffic and check!! .. Mat ... what mat!!!!! A hundred people later - Mahima!! Get to her house before ten was the instruction. But then, nobody told Bangalore traffic that! And no one gave me proper directions either!!! Finally, by eleven, everything seemed set ..... or maybe it was just my imagination!

*Alarms* *Cock Crowing* ... Damnit! They should introduce sound effects on blogs soon ... mars your creative juices .. the lack of these things :-(

Up and off ! Goodbye home at 7 am, Breakfast at Kamath Lokaruchi at 8 something ... At Mysore pretty fast - though it was very irritating to wait for Bhattas gujri gaadi - some Enfield something that refused to go beyond 70 (Bhatta is very vehement in claiming that he travelled at 80 ..... Yeah rite!!!!) The good road ended.

It was time for the ass to hurt - 150 + kms continuously does that to me. Add to that roads as bad as the ones from Hunsur to Gonikoppa and beyond - the ass takes a massive mauling!!! A few enjoyable moments between Gonikoppa and Virajpet - little mercies. 2 PM. Lunch. We took the diversion from Virajpet towards Napoklu and things looked fine till a *BANG* *CRASH* *OUCH* (Damn those sound effects!! Why is technology so backward nowadayz!!!)

Bhatta had taken his First fall (or so he claims). I think what hurt most was his ego - "I havent had a fall even in Leh"..... "One of four bikes on that trip not to fall" .... "was telling my colleauges that I hadn't fallen ......." Well ... things change .... thats Life. I think Bhatta learnt a valuable lesson that day!!! ;)

We reached the palace. 4 PM. Didnt drop in to say a hi to anyon
e there. A very co-operative couple at Palace Estate (Mr. Prasad Poovanna if I remember right) let us dump our bikes in his estate for the night and off we set for the trek - 4:30 PM!!!!

After 270 kms in 7 hrs with just breaks for breakfast and lunch, your legs do hurt. The steep roads didnt help much either when we started the trek. A small stream cut across the road and we let Bhatta puff away his sorrows .............. "I let my bike down ..... how could I have done it"
Just when we were at the fork, we saw a bunch gleefully climbing down smiling like Cheshire cats (or whatever). The scenary was just too good to be true. What a place it was!! Amazing!! the cameras went crazy .........
Dusk was trying to force the day to an end. There were no shadows to get longer. The clouds had enwrapped us. A herd of wild cattle stood between us and the way ahead. ... A few start moving towards us ... I move nervously backwards .. They stop. They stare ........... They turn around and get back to the delicacy they were munching on .... we get past them. :)

By 6, we were at the Boulder. My research thro various blogs had told me that the stream nearby was the last available water source. "Lets camp here". An
d so we did. A four man tent emerged onto the landscape and so did fourteen Infy guys. (Arent they everywhere!!). Our hard-collected dry wood seeded a common fire which then was fueled by four kgs of paper and two litres of petrol they had got!!!! (This was a first time for me!!! Four kgs of paper!!!)

We missed our fireman - Kudre, who would dedicate himself to the noble cause of tending the fire through the night wherever we camped. Dinner was cold. Chapatis and Jolad rottis circulated around. Twenty packets of MTR ready to eat stuff found their way to the fire thanx to Infy. Four of us squeezed into the tent and retired for the night.

Day 2 began early for me - 5:30 AM on a Sunday morning!! Waited till 6 to kick the others out of bed and we bade goodbye to our companions (who didnt even share their names!!!) and set off towards higher things in life. Quiet literally. 7 AM. An hour's climb saw us conquering TadiyanDmoL.

A panoramic view like I hadnt quite seen before. We all got comfortable and got lost in the clouds. No words were spoken. Nothing went thro my mind. The beauty of nature had left me speechless. Another hour passed. My stomach started rumbling :D

Breakfast atop TadiyanDmoL cannot be forgotten. We did miss the sunrise tho as we didnt camp on the peak. But I doubt I'd get to see a sunrise better than Kodachadri. Descent was rapid. We were back to our bikes by noon.

There was no way - even Gunpoint - that would make me go through Gonikoppa again. We started towards Madikeri. And what a journey it was!!! The road from Virajpet to Madikeri would rank third on my list of favourite roads to bike on!! A nervous Paddy muttered curses and prayers under his infrequent breaths.

Plans to meet the IE juniors didnt materialise as they didnt know what their plans were!!! And I could see that the other three didnt want me taking any diversions on our route!!! So we passed Kushalnagar and reached Hunsur. A slight drizzle. My poncho big enough to cover a baby elephant made its appearence. The rain got heavy. And heavier. And even heavier. The poncho started leaking along the zip and ....... u know!!! Lets not dwell on that.

Back to Bangalore at 8 and I was looking forward to a nice warm dinner and a deep nap (Oxymoron?). But then ........ the gujri gaadi had a flat tyre. Hunt for a tyre shop. Ferry him to the bike. Take him back to the shop. Back to the bike. Back to the shop. Back to the bike. Home. Dinner. And off to the other end of Bangalore to drop Paddy off!!! A long day no doubt marred by the events of the last couple of hours. But the memories on top of the peak at TadiyanDmoL shall forever remain unscathed.

Team- Nitin/Bhatta, Pradyumna/Paddy, Rajesh Nelli and Me!!!
Date - October 2,3 2005


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nitin bhat said...

PJ is a sadistic moron!!!

Rajat said...

You mean 'My Travelogue'? Or is that intentional?

Neenu said...

Hi Pradeep,
Please contact me neenu.babu@yaatrika.com.