Boulders. Formed of violent, raging, molten earth. Boulders. Stacked to form mountains. Water. Trapped in the stacked boulders forming springs and streams. Space. Between the boulders. Cool, Comforting, Accommodating, Dark may be Daunting. Light. Filtered by the Boulders and Space. Appearing dusky, like a Day Twilight. Together, waiting. Waiting for people to enter, explore and marvel. Marvel at the creation, primordial. To lets us know what tranquility is. Welcoming to the womb of the earth. Waiting. For those who have experienced this already to relive those moments yet again. Waiting, almost willing.
And the collective will of the ancient boulders bent the destiny for twelve of us [ and for the me for the second time] on last Sunday. It all started with this mail from Suresh:
We are organising Trekking program at Siddarbetta on 7th October 2001(Sunday). The Dept. will be 7.00Am & back at 8.00Pm.on 7th Oct.
For further details & registration please contact Mr.Suresh on or before 5th October 2001.
So on Sunday all collected at the Infosys Towers office. After the usual delay, we set of. With memories of yester-Trip rushing and exhilarating the heart. The trip to was the usual risky one in the metador. During that learnt from Shweta about corporate banking , retail banking and why the credit card people like your mothers maiden name. Apart from the fact that, in addition to biting and scratching monkeys will and can also slap you. Especially of you clench your fists without any thing of food value in them. Also learned that its OK to wake a sleeping Bob to show some fresh Grass, especially if you are Ekta.
Reached the base and stared at the stairs. Pretty steep ones too. Climbing them took the breath away. A dog fancied our group, especially Herambh and followed us. On the previous visit Simer complained that her left lung has disappeared so she is breathless. I’d laughed that time. Now it appears both of My lungs gave up on my brain and deserted me. The heart expanded to fill the void. Went Dhub-Dhhuuubbb, ever louder with each step. Then I remembered the climb gets worse once the stairs end. Mukesh tells his friend Prajnya and Suresh,” Earlier Jagga used to trek alone, now he comes along with his tummy that slows him down considerably”. After dying a couple of times finally managed to reach the top. Chandru vanished for quite a while and emerged from the tree. He is master of Alternate routes.
Rest and then we went into the cave temple. There with in the it is small stream and a Shiva Lingam. Paid the priest for Archana and with Samudra<…>, the guide entered the mountains. The Caves with in the mountain are amazing and wondrous. Samudra made us climb, jump, creep and crawl over the boulders and did a guided tour. First halt at the “Kumkum point”. Here inside a cave [ Cave with in cave ?] was a rock with some thing red on it. Well may be kunkum. I’ll look forward to the Lipstick Point next.
The dog followed us into the caves. Needed an occasional push on the posterior for climbing. Some dog. At one point the going was dark and narrow. I went in first. Then Herambh.Dog next. Panicked. Pushed Herambh and come out. Looked at me sheepishly. From here the path branched. I took one on the left. The actual one was on the right and the dog got it wrong too. Looking at all this wondered about This creation. It had quite a few qualities of a dog but not all. Followed us faithfully, wrongly. Climbed with support. Panicked in what should have been known place. Dog but not quite. Almost a dog. A Doglet. Carrying this thought process would you call a baby dog that does not have all the qualities of a pup a Puplet ?
Well more of twisting and turning and reached a clearing. Lunched there. Appreciated the view and made the guide restless. Post lunch a small crawl brought us back. Rest. Went off to explore more of the mountain. This time from the outside. Same boulders provided nice perching points, especially to Jaya, the lady for the Lone Rocks. Nice good views, fabulous breeze. A small trail took us to a placid pond. A hermit hut and two calves. Enchanting it was. Further up climbed to the top of the mountain. Sheer rock. In one piece. Small fort like walls on top. The view took the breath away. This time by the beauty.[BTW, the lungs had not deserted me it only appeared that way then]. And then time to go. Jaya Fell, Bala got hurt. Herambh fell. He only got hurt. Nothing serious though[I hope] only slightly swollen fore arm.
Climb down. Tea. Back in the Matador. This time at the back. The Hurrying dark ness, now gathering speed, aided by grey clouds , rushed up from the East and swallowed the Sky. On coming head lights swallowed my sight. Dark ride back. Tales half forgotten were retold. Old Jokes shared with new friends. Got more Gina. The memories of the place etched deeper. Sidharabetta has a charm not found else where. The Rocks, boulders have life. The Dog an attitude. Water too seems happy in there. This visit confirmed what was suspected all along.
There is MAGIC in Sidharabetta.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Caving (artofmanliness.com)