“THE DAY” - my dream day of organizing a trek in CTC came and I was overwhelmed with joy; I was cautious about the responsibility; I was eager to meet the new faces; I was delighted to trek with the new group; I was excited overall about this trek. The day was fresh; the sun was shy; the skies were dark; the breeze was chill; my heart was pumping hard; my eyes was filled with joy and the reason precisely being me organizing my first trek in CTC. A two days hike to kodai through Kumbakarai waterfalls lying at an altitude on 400 mts above sea level to Kodaikanal at an altitude of 2,200 mts sea level.
Being sent the invite to 12,000 + group I received an overwhelming response of 75 registrations just in 20 hours time. Then came the difficult time of scrutinizing the entries - I had to take some difficult calls to shortlist the participants. However, all said and done we were 20 trekkers 19 guys and 1 daring gal headed for this Kodai two day adventure.
Day 1 – A day of sun, steep climb, rain and cold night – Unforgettable volley
We reached Kumbakarai waterfalls and had a splashing morning enjoying the waterfalls by diving and sliding in the chill water pool. The sun was bright and it was dry, we silently slipped through the Kodai jungles and started our hike. Initially we trekked for 2 kms in a flat trail before we reached the base of the Kodai Mountains from where there was no flat walk.
First day’s target was to hit a less known hamlet called “Vellagavi” which can only be reached through legs trekking deep inside forest located at an altitude of 1,300 mts. All the 20 brave CTCians were geared up to reach Kodai through their legs carrying their bag packs. The steep climb, the sweating body, the heavy back pack all became like feather flying in the air witnessing the views of the impeccable kodai landscapes.
There was no mercy and we had to literally climb up the hill and most of the parts it was steep climbs. Until afternoon it was sunny and we had to walk in the sun and after reaching an altitude of 1,000 mts we started trekking inside interior parts of kodai through the dense valley which provided us shelter and chill breeze. As we started climbing up we started feeling the change in the weather and the chillness in the breeze.
The forest was full of flowers and fresh leaves and it was a life time delight to walk through beside those lovely flowers and thick woods. What made the trek more special was the sound of the humming birds and whisper of robin throughout the route. We felt almost part and parcel of the mountain and sensed that those birds were inviting us into their territory. Wish I also had a nest in that beautiful forest to fly and sing along with those lovely birds.
We reached almost 1,200 mts altitude and now we were able to appreciate the spectacular valley very well and the also the Vaigai dam below it was a very interesting scenery to portray it in one’s mind and flash it whenever one thinks of Kodai.
Visit to Vellagavi Village
Vellagavi a small hamlet in the Kodai mountain range till date can only be reached through legs. The people there are very friendly and at the same time very sensitive and they cherish their secludedness. It is located on the tip of a hill and is more than 450 years old much older than Kodai which would be some 300 years old. The locals consider their homeland very sacred and restrict themselves and others from wearing foot wears inside their village. We respecting their bye-laws roamed the small hamlet without any footwear and to admit seriously it was pleasant to feel the chill soil on my foot.
CTC Spiker’s vs. Vellagavi Warrior’s Volley clash
Having reached Vellagavi in the evening we had to spend the evening memorable – then what next to do – I had brought a volley ball with me since I knew that villagers gather every day in the evening to play volley ball which is the only sport played in that hamlet. Now it was time for a clash between the CTC spikers’ and Vellagavi warriors.
Being represented my state 5 times and played in various arenas’ I should confess that I have never played volley ball in such a beautiful arena. The volley ball court was located exactly on the tip of the mountain with three sides covered with mind blowing views of Kodai Mountains and the other side covered with kodai valley and the jaw dropping view of vaigai dam. I felt awesomely delighted playing my favorite game in such a location. I can equally understand from the expression of my co-trekkers how happy they were to play a game of volley ball in such a superb location. Although the Vellagavi warriors were a well composed and powerful team we did give them a tuff fight before surrendering the game.
The joy and happiness playing volley ball are beyond expressions and I am confident that my co-trekkers had similar feeling.
After the game of play it started drizzling and we had to settle down for the day and cook our dinner. Soon we prepared and had Sambar rice and soup although a rare diet in CTC treks, the thought of rain and the cold night made us to quickly unfold our tarpaulin sheets and settle underneath it. The night was cold and it was slightly drizzling throughout yet underneath the tarpaulins rolling ourselves into our sleeping bags we enjoyed the night. Another CTC style night under the tarpaulin and in open atmosphere.
Day 2 – Breathing the chill breeze and hitting the Kodai – celebrating friendship day
As planned we dropped our luggage in the village and went for trek inside some of the interior parts of that range the early morning trek through the forest was indeed a god sent opportunity for one and all to enjoy the nature at its best.
We trekked almost in between two range of mountains were we witnessed the fog slowly moving towards us as if it’s going to engulf us in no time. It was a spectacular scene watching the white gas moving inside the mountain and engulfing us.
Did not want to miss such a location and decided to pull out the few colour powder packets I had in my pocket and soon all our faces were filled with different colours. Indeed we were privileged to have celebrated it in such a place with some thick friends and other newly found one day old friends. Indeed that’s what makes CTC treks more special - one gets to make deep friendship with unknown people in very short period of time. While coming back we took bath in one of the wells in the village farm the bath in the ice cold water was a pleasure to bathe.
Soon we went and prepared CTC’s famous and regular menu Maggi and what made the breakfast special is the corn flakes along with milk a rarity in treks. After finishing our breakfast we started our hike towards Kodai. It was full of mist and the visibility level was very poor nevertheless we marched towards the mission target of making to Kodai by legs. It was steep climb most of the time and as climbed it drizzled and made the trek more interesting.
We had to wait in some of the view points for the mist to move so that we can have better view of the valley and the landscapes. There were places were a mere slip will directly take us down some 1,000 mts down but yet the views were brilliant.
After steep trek though the jungles of Kodai we reached the famous dolphin nose view point. Although it was misty still we enjoyed the pleasant weather and spent some time before we made to kodai climbing the Mountain.
The sense of achievement of making to Kodai through legs was palpably visible on the face of the participants and two days trek with new found friend’s added life to the trek.
The chill breeze, the dense forest, the thick woods, the smell of the wet soil, the misty weather, the drizzles, the steep climb, the mind blowing view points, the beautiful landscapes, the sound of birds, the lovely flowers all along, the heart touching people and the life time volley ball match. Life is wonderful