Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Javadi Hills | 6 Jun 2011

There have been a lot of posts pending, regarding quite a few treks. Here's one more of 'em

Where: Javadi hill region, Eastern Ghats, Tamil Nadu

Who: Srikanth, Vinay and meself

Srikanth was back to Bangalore after a while, and he was itching for a trek. A friend had told us about this nice place called Javadi hills in north Tamil Nadu, where she had earlier gone for some social work stuff. This fit the bill perfectly, as we had only one day at hand.

We boarded a bus to Thiruvannamalai at night. And then waited for a bus to Jamunamarthur (via polur) that would arrive at ~4:30 am..... We waited sleepy eyed for the bus.... None of us knew to read tamil. Except, Vinay recognized some letters, and we would try to auto-complete the words. All of us were experts in speaking broken incomprehensible tamil though. So we somehow got our questions across to people. And we could sorta get most of their replies as well....

There's always a stampede to get into these buses. So we rushed and joined in at the first bus that showed up around that time. We grabbed and blocked our seats, and were proud of our abilities in this field! But, we were on the wrong bus, which we asked and figured out in a short while..... So, we had to do this ritual all over again, until we were on the right bus. Luckily, the next bus we rushed into was the right one.

Around a coupla hours and we were out of the bus. (I forget the name of the place presently. I guess you can ask for melchapli[pronounced male-cha-plea]  and be dropped off at the right spot).... We filled our bottles with water at the village near the road, and asked directions to melchapli. And there was a big fat wide jeep track that led there. We followed the track religiously, assuming that it will turn exciting sometime later, when we could actually do the wandering stuff. We reached Melchapli even before we could complete the thought. And by that time, we drank the water we collected at the village, and it was downright horrible to taste. We saw a dried up stream on the way up, and then realised that we will not get any water anywhere on the trail. We ususally dont carry too much  water, cos there are always streams where you can get refills.... But not this time... It was the core of summer in this region

A little beyond and downhill from melchapli was kilchapli (keeL- cha -plea), where we refilled with some water (which tasted much better. But we only had 2 litres of water for the three of us. We asked the way to the ruins of the dwarf settlements (which is a mild tourist attraction there. And if you fumble long enough to hunt for words to describe ruins and dwarves, they usually figure out what you want and direct you).... And before long, we actually hit our destination: the ruins of the dwarf settlement on Javadi. And we were there by as early as 9:30 am, thoroughly dissapointed at the lack of challenge as well as the lack of nature, as most of the route we walked on established trails from village to village.

After dillydallying around on the top, and staring at the descent down the hill into the village at the base (but opposite side to the way we came), we decided to go down the hard way, carving our own route. It was getting hotter, but there was some respite in the shade of trees and shrubs. We were making good progress initially until we started getting dehydrated.... We added electral in the last litre of water. That got over quicker than the first one

Dehydration hit me first of the three.... i started cramping while doing some tricky sections.... After some time, my steps faltered, and i started slipping quite a bit.... Slowly went into a zombie mode.... Soon, the others started showing effects of mental stress due to dehydration. We started yelling at each other for no reason.... The village was easily visible to us, and we could hear kids shouting there....... It was that close, yet so far (pardon the cliche, but those words are exactly what describe it best)..... Finally, i just gave up and sat down, saying i couldnt take it anymore.... I gave them my gps, and marked the location at which i was gonna stay. And they would go down and get back with water.

I sat there exhausted, muscles sore from all the cramps, and slipped into delusions. Every few minutes i hallucinated that someone was calling my name.... And then, i slipped into a dream maybe where i was sitting at that spot waiting until the next day..... And in some i was in a much more crippled state, and was getting down like the guy in Touching the Void. When i woke up from that, i was so glad that nothing serious had happened..... I just needed water, which would slowly arrive, and all would be fine. The triviality of my situation compared to the one in 127 hours and Touching the Void, brought me instant cheer and inspiration..... With some more time spent with hallucinations and dreams, i heard the real voices of them calling out for me. I gupled down a litre and half of water in one go! (plus electral), waited a while, and then started down the descent through some thorny brush.

Soon we hit the village and gulped down more water. Then it was a long boring road to the bus stop where we had to wait two hours for the bus to come. We hitched a ride on a tractor until some distance. Then it was the bus to thiruvannamalai.

Thiruvannamalai was another big mess! There was some festival or some auspicious day, and devotees crowded the bus stop, waiting to swarm into any bus that gets in. And we were in no strength to fight for seats. We booked a room and went back to Bangalore the next morning.

That day definitely made it to the top 5 of the most exhausting days in my life.

Bus to Thiruvannamalai. Bus to Jamunamarathur from there, via Polur. Ask for Melchapli(mel-cha-plea near Javadi, and the conductor will let you know at the right stop).

Head to Melchapli, then to Kilchapli (KeeL-cha-plea), and then ask for dwarves' houses and ruins). Someone called them 'pyramids' as well!

If you want to go down the steeper face of the hill like we did, carve your own way down. But here's our overall track, in case you need some idea.

The splattering of co-ordinates are either because we roamed around a bit in those regions, or when the gps recception was inaccurate due to interrupting foliage.

Current mood: Dehydrated just thinking about that day
Currently listening to: Given and denied - Poets of the Fall


Shanid said...

tamilnadu is not a gr8 trekking destination.. i had my own share of bitter experiences trekking in the scorching, parched tamil land.. but they are awesome for cultural explorations.. really awestruck reading about your hallucinations

neuromancer said...

@shanid: I guess it was just that it was the wrong season to get there. The place was still green in the peak of summer. I guess, going in winter or post rains, would render it easy and enjoyable.

Hai Baji said...
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