Contd: Gangotri..Yamunotri.. Paths of Glory

Uttarkashi comes on the way to Gangotri from Yamunotri. The road from Uttarkashi to Gangotri is rough. Its is not a tar road but just the foundation stones and loose soil. Construction of Lohari Nag Pala dams has left over a lot of loose soil  on the road. Until the dam is contructed, there won’t be any smooth way.

On the way, I got to read Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer. Its been a long time since I read his book and I did not remember his style. The book is based on the life story of George Mallory. There was one quote that stuck with me. One does not need to be a pro climber to acknowledge it since I could relate too. It goes something like the following. Not exact though.

The irony in a mountaneer’s life is that after all the hard work of getting to the top, you only get few moments to stay on top.

I remember when I was there at Mulainagiri and at Kudremukh, I just had to push myself to leave the top so that we reach before it got dark. On both the occasions I had turned back one last time before leaving to have a look at the top.

One mistake I did was I tried to finish the book quickly in a day and tried to read it in the cab on that rough road. I fell sick because of that. I will never ever read again in a moving vehicle. Anyways I was able to do the honour an hour before I reached home.

The thing I regret was that we took a cab from Haridwar. My idea of going out is to know the place and people. There is no better way but to jump into the local buses, ask people arround for the way, get tickets from the conductor. I had expected to do that but this time, we were advised not to do so since there were some small landslides and that there could be road blocks that could last for two days. We had to take the cab if we had to finish it off in 5 days.

I am back to Shantaram now. The advice to Lin on why there is black market was small. Just that Rupee is a restricted currency and people always try to make more when they are made to conform and are restricted. Someone always comes up saying “Hey I have a better deal for you”. Thats it, nothing else. I am getting wary of his style of writing now. I am getting bored infact. I can exactly replicate his style while describing one of the events in my life… I had written a line long time back after I got the  birthday bumps at school. That, in the next post.

Gangotri..Yamunotri.. Paths of Glory

Returned from Gangotri and Yamunotri trip today. We first went to yamunotri and then to gangotri. Haridwar was our intermediate stop on our way to yamunotri and when returning from gangotri.

Yamunotri is a small temple wherein there is a hot spring which considered holy and people take bath in it. The water flowing down from the mountains is very cold. One will freeze in that. We satisfied ourselves by sprinkling some water on our head and body. Our hands got almost numb!.

Gangotri temple is located in the banks of Ganga. Until one stands in front of the main temple, one wouldn’t notice something very special about it. The temple is surrounded by imposing mountains on all the sides. I must say, there is no better place to choose for ganga’s maiya’s arthi. The height of the mountains reminded me of the lines from “zen and the art of motorcycle maintainance” on ego climbing and devotional climbing of mountains.

When you try to climb a mountain to prove how big you are, you almost never make it. And even if you do it’s a hollow victory. In order to sustain the victory you have to prove yourself again and again in some other way, and again and again and again, driven forever to fill a false image, haunted by the fear that the image is not true and someone will find out. That’s never the way.

A statue of shiva with his hair untied, outstretched arms, each muscle in his body visible, the unending mountains in the backdrop ensured my surrender as I stood at the center in awe.

More coming in an hour…

Kudremukh, Calvin and Kernel Crash…

The trek was awesome! Started on 14th night and reached Hornadu the next day early morning. The roads got lots of twists and turns. So many curves that some of the more stable guys puked. Hornadu has the Annapoorneshwari temple. Just like the Kollur temple stop when going to Kodachadri. We had breakfast there at the temple. The deity name implied that we should have breakfast there! From there went to kalasa and then to Balagal by bus. From Balagal, we decided to take a seven kilometere walk to mullodi. We had earlier planned to take a jeep, but the guy asked for 450 rupees. That makes it over 50 rupees per liter. Phew. Though we were seven, we decided otherwise. One should reach mullodi before 4 pm, if you take the same means of transport as we did.

We stayed at a house that was very close to a big stream were we could bathe. From there on, the kudremukh peak was 12 km. So it was a 24 km in a day trek. We trekked on 15th. No leeches this time since there was no rain for 2 weeks. Hence the journey was close to what we had in Mulainagiri. But the view that we got here was awesome. Along the route, one crosses several mountains of considerable height. But when you sit at the Kudremukh peak and look down, those same peaks look tiny, hiding behind the clouds. My head did spin a bit. We chose to sit as close to the edge as we can and it was like hanging from a rope at 1458 meters above sea level. I need to do a bungee jump an sky dive soon.

Calvin and Hobbes.. that kid is ultra smart!

Sometime back, I used to have tough time tracing the caller functions for a given function in the kernel. A colleague of mine had this simple way of doing it. Just create a null pointer exception at the called function and look at the kernel dump stack trace. You get what you want, i.e. the function that called this one. Not that its a great idea, but the fact is that its simple. It is right there and you don’t see it. Why make things complicated than they actually are?

Kodachadri-Kollur Trek

The recent trekking trip was to Kodachadri.

This guy has already written about it (A lot of it). I will use it as an excuse to prevent writing redundant information (He won’t mind! He wants hits… so he would be even more happier if you leave comments there too. Make someone happy 🙂 ). And yeah I was there with him to shivanasamudhra.

A trek in the western ghats takes a different shape when its raining.

It gets slippery and plenty of leeches breed in damp areas. Wiki says so and we witnessed it. But, one can not rest on the way since anytime you stop you know 10 more are sticking to you. Mixing tobacco and oil and smearing it helped.

But then, it is only when you reach a point where you stop bothering about them sucking your blood that you will be free from them. It helps to just stand there see one sucking the juice out of you. You get used to it. But there is always that fear that creeps in when it rolls towards you. I had total 4 attached to me. And right now, even after week, its still itching in the bite zone.

In the next trek, I will try to ignore them, and just focus on the climb. Someone said its more psychological than any real problem. A mosquito but bigger in size?

But reaching the top was worth everything.

We also tried to go to arisanagundi falls. We ignored the “no trekking” board. Four guys had already decided to go back midway. The trail was getting thinner along the way. The journey came to a halt when we saw a huge spider with its web sprawling right across the fading trail. We turned back right there. If there is this huge a spider when the trail was starting to fade. Wonder what else would have been further.

Overall it was a unique experience. It was good introductory trek with leeches.Preparing for tougher ones. Kodachadri is definitely worth a visit.

Kollur temple is famous. My parents had been there when I was not at all there in this world.
It was similar to guruvayur. We got up early morning and gave the temple a visit. The chief minister of karnataka (Mr. Yediyurappa) was paying a visit the same day. I saw him in the temple. In fact, I was standing right in his way and was trying to identify him, when a guard came and shoved me out of the way.

Kodachadri and kollur is a good combination. Not fully a trek. But quite a journey.

Bheemeshwari

Went to Bheemeshwari fishing camp a week back. One can find enough info about that place in net. Stayed at the jungles and lodges resorts. Writing down what is there and what not to expect from it.

First of all, this place is along the banks of cauvery some 100 Kms south of bangalore. One basically skims along the edges of the jungle at Bheemeshwari.

What you get:

1) You get to see crocodiles! Yeah, at some respectable distance. One should get a binocular to this place. I don’t have any.

2) The resort is good. You get two types of accomodation. A tent house and log hut. Tent house come at Rs. 1900 and Log huts at Rs. 2500 a night. Log huts are air conditioned and you get typical 3 – 4 star accomodation. Whereas tents have more of a camping feel to them. No air-conditioning, but with the jungle surrounding you and the climate being cold enough, I thought one does not need any AC.

3) Food is great! The barbecue they arranged for the evening was awesome.

What it is not:

1) If you thought you get to learn something about fishing there. Forget it. We did everything there except proper fishing. The reason the authorities gave us was that it was off season. We did not get any fancy fishing rod, but hey, one would expect some tips from someone. I wandered to get some native guy here to tell about where to fish and what to do. I just found a guy fishing in some remote corner along the bank. I went up to him and asked which place is good. He said anywhere deep enough is good. Asked him what would be good bait (All naive questions). He said its all luck and patience. He also said that when the sun is up, one can find many fishes. I don’t know how true that is but the next day when the sun was up I could see lots of fishes along the bank. They were quite big and eating the tadpoles. But by that time we were ready to leave.

Who is it for?

For those who don’t prefer much activity and just would drool arround along the banks.

Who is it not for..

If you are the kind of person willing to learn something and would prefer some activity, its not for you. We ended up playing volleyball for sometime, which we can do somewhere else too. One does not have to go to a fishing camp to do that.

I would prefer the honnemaradu trip and mulainagiri trek which I did months back. In Honnemaradu, one gets to learn to row a coracle, learn canoeing and yeah, jump into water and be there for hours!

If I want to relax at a natural place surrounded by greeenery, without bothering about anything and also be close to bangalore. I will choose this place.

So, if you are going to this place. Then be prepared to relax without any care in the world and enjoy the light acitivity that you get to do there.

An incident:

I slept at around 3 am and got up at 5am to go fishing. I woke another guy up and it was me alone and I was determined that I would get at least one. I sat there with patience for 1 hour but in vain. I got up and went back to my tent and noticed that the door was closed from inside. I did not want to disturb my roomy sleeping. It was a simple lock where you just drop the latch to a loop. And I being the smart*** type, slid my key chain arround the corner and pushed the latch up and opened the door. It was still dark at 6 am there and I went into the room. I just moved forward towards the table and where I had kept my luggage. I could see none of my luggage there and stood there scratching my head, when i heard some movement in the bed nearby and a woman’s voice said “Good morning”. It was more of a morning wish. I turned arround still thinking, what the heck? I suddenly realized that I got into my neighbours tent! (Though the tents are far apart, I guess my tiredness got me). They were a couple and were foreigners. But before they could utter any other word. I lifted my hand up saying ” Oh my god, I’m sorry” and stepped out of the tent and closed the door from outside. I kept saying to myself “damn..damn”. After sometime I could hardly stop laughing at that incident. Even now! And I must say the lady had a good sense of humour.
I will post the pictures of the place soon (Not the barging in picure :), I don’t have any of that). More of a barge in camp than a fishing camp for me though.

SHAR!

On my trip to coorg, which was more of a get together with my undergrad class mates, Sethu was generous enough to invite me to his place, Sriharikota, to witness pslv-c9 launch. He happens to work for ISRO at sriharikota. Offcourse, I went!

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Three of my friends (jayant, rakesh and girish) in bangalore joined. We left on 27th (27/04/2008) night and reached my friend’s home next day morning at arround 5:30 am. Sriharikota is a barrier island with pulicot lake on one side and Bay of Bengal on the other side. The quarters is near the pulicot lake. A road cuts right through the lake to Sriharikota. We spent the day killing time, playing cricket for some time, sleeping for 2 hours after lunch. In the evening we went to view the pulicot lake. We were off-season, so we could barely see any birds. A lone bird standing was quite a view though (Am I consoling myself? 🙂 ). Early morning would be the right time to visit the lake. The main objective was to see the rocket go up. Anything else was a bonus for me!

Sulurpet is the closest town to sriharikota. The quarters is fairly self-sufficient in terms of facilities. They have there own sports club with good facilities. Pity we could not take a dip in the crystal clear swimming pool there. Considering the fact that the climate was humid and hot, the pool was very inviting. And they have there own marraige hall, two lawn tennis courts.

The launch time was 9:23 am on 28th. We left the quarters at 7:00 am and were there in Sriharikota at arround 8:00 am. Here, guys at ISRO had already setup tents and loudspeakers at various viewpoints for the crowd. By viewpoints, I mean, the hospital building, hostel building, admin building. We went to the hospital terrace ten minutes before the launch. Before that, we sat at a conference room in the hospital which had a TV for people to view the pre-launch proceeding. At some time, the commentator said “From now on the rocket is in control of the on-board computer”. It felt like the rocket had gotten a life of its own!

Huge crowd had gathered at the terrace. Many of them were school kids. Many of the boys had climbed to the part of the terrace that was forbidden. The crowd, as the time came near, eagerly moved towards the direction of the launch, to the edge of the terrace! The last ten seconds everyone joined the commentator in chorus, counting down from ten. As the count down ended, everyone waited in silence. At last, we saw the tip of the rocket and in a moment it was above the trees in front of us. I just stood there in silence, relishing the view of it. It went up with a grinding noise. The noise was not like a jet plane. It had more of bass and less of trebble. Like the ground was shaking far off and we can not feel it but only hear it.

Watching the rocket go up was one of those moments I will always remember. I guess its the idea of leaving earth to outer space that makes a rocket launch so special. Something that anyone can relate to. And yes, if you get a chance, don’t think twice. Its worth it.