Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A mad trek in the monsoon

Harischandragad via Nalichi Vaat

A journey into beauteous Nalichi Vaat and discovering the pictorial splendorous nature. 

by Srikanth Rao

We started our journey from Hyderabad to Harischandragad with the team of 12 members. We all met up at Begumpet railway station and took a train to Pune and from there to Belpada. Unfortunately, the tyre of the bus we were traveling on way to Belpada literally blew up. We were a bit unhappy but took this chance to get down and refresh ourselves. 

The journey in mini bus was amazing. Eyeing beautiful mountains, we enjoyed every moment of it and it was hard for us to keep our eyes from the unfolding scene. Weather was distinctly cold (so cold that one can even feel the water droplets spraying one's face). The water flowing from the top of the mountain was really a beautiful sight to behold. On the way, we found a waterfall and people were having a gala time. Ranga and Arun Raj were estimating the height of the mountains, but their efforts were futile. They couldn’t succeed in gauging it perfectly, as the mountains was completely covered with fog.

Trekking from Savarna Village:
We started trekking from the mountainous area to reach Belpada. The long road journey had sapped our energy, and now we were carrying our heavy traveling bags. Water was flowing from the mountains and passing through the village area was so very crystal clear and we were unable to restrict ourselves from swimming. We had an audience in the form of villagers who were surprised at out gleeful joy in seeing water. The villagers were kind enough to rent us a room there we spent our night speculating our journey in the morning.

The first patch - 30ft
We tried to catch some sleep into sleep but were unable to. We were all in one room with two strong buffaloes keeping an eye on us (That seemed to be the case).  It was difficult to close eyes and sleep with the mountains in the background and considerably long water body beside our room. Continuous grunting and croaking of frogs made us think of the possibilities of snakes ambling around. Despite lack of electricity, some of us had a sound sleep.  It was one of the best of the beautiful scary nights I ever spent.

We woke up early in the morning by 5 am with an aim to explore Nalichi Vaat.  It was beautiful but dangerous trekking we ever set for. Nalichi Vaat is a route between two mountains and is connected with rock patches. It was very difficult trek with a stiff wind and a steady drizzle accompanied by bouts of thundering sounds. We managed to cross five big patches. Among them, four patches presented us a big challenge to overcome but we climbed up higher and higher and of course with minor injuries. I must say that the rock climbing at Nalichi Vaat is for professional rock climbers and not for the beginners. Climbing here in the rain can be dangerous for novices.

Second Patch - 40 ft high
The first rock patch was perpendicular and C shaped and it was around 30 ft high. Sailesh, Krishna, Ranga and me climbed up. The surface of the rock was quiet slippery with no proper grabs and to add to the difficulty of climbing, water was flowing down in our direction but we successfully managed to climb up and pulled other guys up with the help of rope. 

The second rock patch was at a height of 40 ft. We could find grabs but were not reliable. Rock grabs were loose and came off at certain places and terrified the watchers who were viewing from below. I managed to climb up and gave belay to others to help them come up. From second rock patch to third rock patch we had take a U turn at the edge of the cliff. A minor mistake would have led us to a 1500 ft slide.

Fifth Patch - 90 kmph windspeed
The third patch was the most difficult one, as we were already at a height enough to scare even the most bravest of the souls. The most difficult part of the climbing was to firmly attach ourselves longitudinally to the slippery surface of the rock which seemed to pulling us off every minute, threatening us to throw us down. Holding on firmly and courageously moving on, we reached the fourth patch which didn't seem to be difficult to reach on as we were all sanguine of success, crossing three big hurdles on our way to the top. Some members struggled a lot to come up and even got some minor injurious.

Way to fifth rock patch was uneven. Besides this, the weather was not supportive. The wind was fiercely hitting us and creating hurdles our way to the top. We were already at a height of 1800 ft. It was all foggy and we were all wet and tired but we didn't give up. We headed forward with zeal and newer enthusiasm. Krishna and I climbed up with our luggage. 

Reaching there on the top of the fifth patch, we were unable to firmly keep our feet together as the wind was blowing with all speed (approximately 90 kmph) and the fog surrounding us blindfolded us. It was difficult to see or hear anything. I was thinking of how to pull up other guys and luckily when I found a bolt, must have been fixed by some professional climbers. I tied myself round belly and was trying to pull up all others who were struggling to come up then all of a sudden wind accompanying rain lashed on us. It was so difficult to look down as the wind and rain were striking every move of ours. Some big rock chips fell on Jyothi and Ranga and that scared us more, but we didn't stop there. We accomplished our task.  

Climbing Blind
We trekked a few kilometers to reach Harishchandragad. We were actually coming closer and closer to nature. The beauty of nature revealed itself to us and kept many of us engrossed. We admired every beautiful flower we saw there. The wind blowing in gusts magnetized us much more with fog enveloping our way. It took 13 hours to completely cross Nalichi Vaat and reach Harischandragad, where we explored historical hill fort and caves. We spent night in a cave though we had a hotel located there on the top of the hill near the fort and temple.  

Early morning next day we started trekking around the cave-area. Walking for a few minutes, we again came across a rock patch. It was small narrow path on which railing were fixed that took us to Khireshwar.  Analyzing the height we were above from the ground, we took great care while moving on. It was difficult as the whole area was covered with fog.

A note of thanks:

Venkee organized this trip well. It would not have been possible to trek considering the danger involved in it. It took him 2-3 months to plan things out and properly come to a conclusion and find appropriate routes. Selection of trek members was done well, for it required climbers with zeal. It was a huge challenge to overcome the difficulties and Nalichi Vaat.

A million thanks to GHAC for making it possible to root out the fear factor.

Trek Members must have expertise in rock climbing and bouldering. To trek at Nalichi Vaat proper rock climbing equipments are indispensable.  Trekking Nalichi vaat in winter and rainy season is an act of do or die. Beginners or those scared of heights are strictly recommended to keep off.

Trekking stars -GHAC Members- Wild Star Venkee ,Jungle Star Jyothi , AllTime Star Arun Raj RockStar RangaBurning Star BharathKeka Star Krishna, Single Star Srikanth , Happy Star Hrishikesh , Sliding Star SaileshRebel Star Raghu , Anti Star AyushGround star Goutham)


Natasha Bali said...

Sounds amazing...Congrats Guys

Joe said...

Woow.. Well written concise and thrilling blog...