Forests of Mandagadde - A Trek Report

#1 Dec 25th, 2012, 02:00
Join Date:
Jan 2011
Chennai - over the weekdays, Srirangam - over the weekend
  • prasannasankar is offline
-- Before I get started, I must thank Naveenamohanrao for the constant encouragement and support I receive.. You've always pushed me to write and I make a futile attempt to replicate your narration skill..

______________________________ ______________________________ _______

The trip was organized by a professional adventure agency. We were provided tents and we were staying at the cleared section of the forests, with a decent catering service and roofed toilets being the other two amenities provided.

The objective was to stay as close to nature as possible.

Found these ducklings on the way to Mandagadde

We were staying right in the middle of the dense, evergreen tropical forests along the Western Ghats.

A Green-Vine snake

Throughout the day, the climate was cool - it rained overnight, though. Inside the tent, it was pretty warm.

For the first two days, we were confined to team building activities within the forest clearings - Rope walks, trust falls among other group activities.....

It's been a harsh night - dark, cold & wet. We all hoped for the day break. Never had been that desperate for the sunrise before. The stalemate had to end, and it was boring - nothing could be done in darkness (save pull the rugs and sleep)

When the sun did rise - and it did that in style, atop the mountains - it was the moment we all bathed in orange light - the first rays of the day. We welcomed the source of all energy on this earth.

Sunrise at Mandagadde Forests

Just a guilty feel that we take many things in life for granted..

The third day, the day we went trekking, will remain in my memories forever.

A select 20 of us along with two local guides, set out to trek from our base camp at 7 AM in the morning.

The objective (which was not told to us beforehand) was to reach the cliff - highest peak of the entire Malanad region (which was 300 metres high climb from our base camp which was already several thousand feet high).

There existed no route - we cut our way through the 2000 year old forest - unexplored virgin land. We found variety of flora along the way. In fact, even at around noon the penetration of sunlight was so dim, for there was a dense forest canopy - characteristics of the tropical evergreen rain-forests.

And then there was this 'Jurassic Park' moment where there was a three-wire live Transmission Line along the ground, half-a-metre high which resembled an electric fence. We were asked to cross over it - Bloody Hell!

The warm and soggy conditions meant we encountered tens of thousands of leeches along the way. However we picked the leeches off our shoes, we all had healthy counts of leech bites in our legs.

The terrain was slippery for it had rained overnight, and slowly we realized we were climbing uphill. It was a circuitous, criss-crossed, roundabout climb up the hill. Particularly, I had extreme difficulties with my shoes being extremely slippery, I risked sliding.. In fact I slid to the ground a couple of times.

On our way, we encountered a pit-viper snake, which was completely overwhelmed looking at so many human beings at once. We took pics of the hiding Viper and proceeded on our tracks.

Pit Viper - Perfectly Camouflaged (Excuse the clarity)

The guide pointed out that the area is indeed, a bird sanctuary. We did not see any particular bird, though the guide pointed to the chirping of a particular, endangered species of Hornbill..

As we progressed, the slope gradient kept increasing alarmingly to as high as 35 degrees. There was no even terrain as we scaled the sides of the mighty Western Ghats.

We were walking across a 35-40 degree sloped terrain, clinging on to every tree branch we could hold to avoid sliding down in case we slipped.

Looking to my left, I could see a steady gradient sloping down till the abyss, for I could not see any ending. While all of us were at the verge of panicky, we held to each other's arms as well as the passing trees. There were sections, when there were no trees, no branches, no twigs to hold on - we just had to trust our footing and proceed.

By the time we reached the top at around 11 AM, I was emotionally drained - although I was physically fit.

What our guide showed us at the peak, took all our breaths away - for the mountain we scaled, along with four other mountains were the catchment area of Tunga River - the river originates at this point. We looked down the valley and found the Tunga reservoir.

Tunga Reservoir

It was a moment to cherish, a sense of accomplishment and the "Dar ke aage, jeeth hai" realization.

On our talking to our guides about the risk taken to reach the peak, we insisted on an alternate, less treacherous way downhill, for we realized climbing down would be a bigger challenge than scaling up. Fortunately, the guide took us through an alternate route which we perceived to be easier to trek.

We reached base camp by 2 PM and started our journey back to the civilized world at around 4 PM.

It was an eventful trip - one that has given me lasting memories..
Be Bold, Be Confident, Be Happy, for you are on the right path..

Temples of Chola Empire
Trek - Western Ghats
Last edited by prasannasankar; Dec 25th, 2012 at 10:45..
#2 Dec 27th, 2012, 16:07
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Oct 2011
Want to live enerywhere
  • Duronto Jajabar is offline

Nice reporting and ............... really nice place, as viewed through your eyes.
aamar payer tolai sorshe...(I have wheels under my feet)
#3 Dec 27th, 2012, 20:01
Join Date:
Jan 2011
Chennai - over the weekdays, Srirangam - over the weekend
  • prasannasankar is offline
Thanks, DJ!!
#4 Jan 3rd, 2013, 15:18
Join Date:
Jul 2011
  • naveenamohanrao is offline
Aaah, finally!!! Prasanna, I know your attempts are futile to replicate my narration skills , just because they are so much better than mine !! Keep it up and for heaven's sake, try to post the TRs sooner. I had already gone through the album immediately after your trip, still with the complete description here, it's very interesting!

So where else would your next trip be? I feel like joining a college all over again, if not for studying, atleast to be with friends.
#5 Jan 4th, 2013, 01:21
Join Date:
Jan 2011
Chennai - over the weekdays, Srirangam - over the weekend
  • prasannasankar is offline
Thanks for all the compliments Will put my efforts to post more regularly, Have been traveling a bit for the two years (pic below). Contemplating Coorg, Mysore, Badami & Hampi in the coming months. Yeah, enjoying college days, having a great time here

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