Friday 16 November, 1800 hours, Chennai – 001. The Nagarcoil Express is about to leave Central Station. On board a 19 member team with a new mission – conquer Vellakavi, a tribal village located deep inside the jungle tucked away inside the upper Palani hills. The level of this new objective goes well beyond that of any previous mission: a 25 km trek through mountain terrain, penetrating dense virgin forest, climbing along steep mountain slopes under the scorching sun fully loaded with supplies. This mission will test the physical and mental limits of our team…
At the crack of dawn a special arranged mission vehicle awaits the team @ kodai road station. 3 hours after boarding the team safely reaches base camp GYH at Kodaikanal. First visual contact is made with the mission objective located in the dense forest surrounded by steep mountain ridges on all sides. The first day the team decides to go on a reconnaissance trip to familiarize them-selves with the unknown territory. Back on board the mission vehicle they penetrate the vast pine forests around Kodaikanal along a narrow ghat road.
The physical endurance of the team is stretched beyond its limits as they swim across a spine chilling lake inside the jungle. With no food supplies the team keeps itself alive with carrots found along the way. Towards the evening the team discovers and descends along the huge Poombarai waterfalls before returning exhausted back to base camp. Everyone takes shelter below their think blanket as the temperature deeply drops during the night. It is cold, very cold.
Sunrise is welcomed the next day. The team gets ready to face its biggest challenge so far. Food supplies are back packed for the day long mission. Fully loaded, the team proceeds along a small ghat road offering breath taking views on the surrounding valleys. After reaching intermediate point “Dolphin Nose” the team descends a steep mountain slope and narrows down to their mission objective hidden deep inside the jungle. The sun is hot, the water supply is running low, the muscles are strained. At exactly 1230 hours the team reaches Vellakavi and is welcomed by the local tribe.
Congrats to the team for another mission successfully completed !
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|vikesh’s kodai memories|