Kalrayan Hills, Apr 25-26 2009 (Kalrayan / Kalvarayan – for a noble cause)

[Balaji K]0002
Kalvarayan Hills (near kallakurichi) trek was completed successfully and was really an amazing trek.
On 24th of april 2009 by 10.00 pm, 15 trek enthusiast, started for the Kalvarayan Hills. some surprising or unexpected moves were arranged. [only the 15 trekkers know the moves].
There was a little delay in our progress on the ulundurpettai, due the Railway gate. 25th morning one more member (Ravi S Ghosh)  joined the trek at kallakurichi. 
0004 We reached the dam nearby, there one more surprise was waiting for us. Some of us jumped in it, and we touched the bottom soil, grabbed shells and soon. We travelled very deep, and no one was there to save us. But we reached the top by ourselves, as there was no water in the dam.
After all disappointments, we started to the first top base (Velli malai / Vellai Malai) and had breakfast. We expected Mr. Ravi (Teacher) to start the trek, but we were not able to reach him as the network was not feasible. There was only one BSNL tower, even it was not working and the electricity was also not available. Then we decided to reach the school, and started to trek.
We had some basic rock climbing technique session, proposed by Mr. Arul. We also practically experimented the techniques. We passed the beautiful landscape (landscape similar to ooty) and there we found Mr.Ravi on the way. After little discussion we started to the “Meagam Falls” or “Aaghaya Falls” with Ravi’s friend.
We passed by the typical village houses and villagers, and reached a temple. Rested there for 1 hour or more for getting our food. Meanwhile lots of chats was on between all of us. Ravi brought the lunch packets for us. Then continued the trek. After a long distance walk, we found the water stream. We took bath, and had the lunch there.
Then one more surprise came our way. Mr. Arunachalam who accompanied us from the temple, told “we have two way – 1. Big Steep Top (the fall top) climb 2. Going by Road”. The light was gradually disappearing. We inferred that only 30 or 40 mins the light will be in our way.  He also told, “The first way will consume less time but we need to conquer to the top, the second way will definitely consume much time.” Everyone decided to take the first way. We trailed some trials to reach the top. Finally we made to the top. Then we went went went a long distance. still we didnt found the first top base (velli malai).
0008 Then one more natural surprise was on our way. It started to rain heavily, we didnt had a shelter to protect ourselves and our bags. Everyone transfered the valuables from the bag to the plastic covers. After a long rainy walk we found a shelter, which was a shelter even for cows. We didnt get permission from the cows to halt in there, we tresspassed in and dried ourselves. The rain stopped. We went to the topbase. We were really very hungry. We didnt found food out there in the hotel (only one hotel) as it was late. The van which we went was sent to the school. We called up to the school and asked the van driver bring the van down (top base). After a while we got a message that the van got struck on the way itself.
0019 The dinner (chappati & chicken gravey) was waiting in the school. Me, Kannan, Bala, Ravi, Rakesh, Vivek. Decided to trek to school. We started 12.00 at night and reached the school by 12.50 or 1.00 . Then had lunch and went to the class room (not to study) to sleep. Morning the remaining guys came to the school.
We got one more surprise, that the van clutch plate was not functioning. So we tried for some mechanic help out there. We was told that the van would get repaired by 3.00 pm. So after taking the breakfast, some of us started to trek the nearest mountain. Some members was physically tired, so they intended not to be a burden or hinderance for others and skipped the trek.
One more surprise added, it was a virgin mountain. No one has climbed on to the top. The people nearby believes the mountain as a god. We started to trek the mountain. We reached the top after a lots of blood shed, as there was thorns all the way and there was no trial. We cleared some bushes and moved some thorny plants and reached the top. In Couple of places there was a chance for implementing the previous day learned session – rock climbing. After a lot of struggle we came down. We got refreshed ourselves in the water stream down and moved to the school back.
One more surprise was added. The van clutches couldnt be repaired, as it was not available in the nearby shops. We had to move ourselves in local buses upto chennai. After taking lunch, we started to pack our backpack. There was a deadline to take the bus from the topbase to kallakurichi at 6.30 pm. we hurried everyone to start first and try to reach the topbase by 6.30. Some started by 5.30, 5.50 pm. Me, Kannan, Arul, Narasimhan was the last persons to start. We started around 6.10. 0031
we saw the some members walking in a catchable distance.
One more surprise was added to me and the persons started with me. The guys who went in the catchable distance and the other lead got into a lorry and started to the topbase. I went running, shouting (Stop, Stop) and showing hands along the parallel road to the guys who were on the lorry. They were very cool and waived the hands back (as if they were showing tata bye bye) [I guess its Ramzan (a typical college student)]. So we 4 decide not to waste the time. we took the things (tent,ropes etc..) from the van. We know the lorry would reach the topbase by 6.30, and because of the 4 others shouldnt miss the bus. We wanted to be there before the lorry.
So we started to run at 6.15 pm and we reached the topbase in almost 15 – 18 mins. This part of trek is the most memorable moment for me and hope for the other 3 too. Running by carrying a backpack, and heavy plastic handcover(which had tent, T-shirts, Rope) made me and kannan to get tired in some places. But then it was Shifted to Mr. Arul (The Hero of this Trek). He is so lean and was too good enough to carry the baggage on the run.
Then we had little discussion there. Arul gave some valuable basics of mountain engineeing or Geo study. Then we took the local bus to kallakurichi. We had dinner there. Ravi started to banglore from there. We got places in a localbus from kallakurichi to chennai.
0046 Oh my god, In the bus – every one were looking at us, and laughing at us. We chatted a lot. Mr. Anand – a non stop chatter, who totally kidded (kalachified) Mr.Ganesh. Everyone was very happy at that moment, because they were on the real part of life. This moment i recalled my college life. Every moment was lively and showed the good friendship between us.
[Priya K]
Kalvarayan Hills was my first trek with ctc and a truly remarkable experience. The attitude of the ctcians to the hurdles (we had no shortage of them!!!) and the way the experienced trekkers helped the first timers like me was absolutely fantastic. We landed in vellimalai in the morning. The first pit stop was at gomukhi dam, where the vegetation, swampy lands and even mud houses made us wonder whether the dam ever had water in it. we headed for a sumptuous breakfast. We soon discovered that the bsnl tower in the area was down and none of the phone network including local pco boots were not working. As we were unable to reach our local contact teacher Ravi, we decided to trek to the school.
0062 On the way, Arul guided us with some rock climbing lessons, while some over enthusiasts like Kannan and Bala were doing tree climbing. In a stream on the way, Ananth surprised us by emptying a new Aquafina bottle in the stream to catch the stream water. Luckily, in a short while we met our local guide Ravi who informed another friend to take us to a temple in the route mentioned by him. Once we reached the temple we realized that he had given us a long round about route to enhance our trek experience, a distance of 10 yards was covered by a round about route of a few Kms. After resting in the siva temple, we proceeded to the waterfalls. The experienced trekkers walked like the path was NH -45, however, I slipped twice and managed to reach down with trembling legs. Though the Falls was non existent, the bath in the stream was refreshing and rejuvenating. After lunch and another brief nap we headed back.
0063 One of our organizers Ravi helped us walk through the rocks, where none else except the first time trekkers (me, mani and mahi) seemed to have any problem at all L. After a brief climb, which to me was steep and slippery, Kannan said he doesn’t wanna walk on such clear roads and wanted to climb the water falls (there was no water then ofcourse). Baskar guided my foot through some difficult climbs.  It was soon time to pass on my bag to the experienced ctcians. Soon many bags followed that way and at one time Balaji ended up carrying three bags.  The climb in the fall was surprisingly easier than I could have imagined. Kannan helped me move from the trailing pack to the leading pack and we closely followed the path of the stream.

0094 The sun was setting soon and heavy clouds showed signs of rain. Our guide warned us that we are doomed, if get caught in the forest after sunset in the rain. We did not have sufficient torches and tried to speed up the trek. Vivek dragged me through most of this part. Suddenly it started raining and the path that we were taking was filled with running water and incessant lightning. We walked through rest of the trek using the light of the lightning and the rains indeed rejuvenated our tired and worn out. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise and we thoroughly enjoyed the rain walk.
I’ll keep rest of the story short. We came back to find there was nothing left in the restaurant, the power was off in the entire area and may take days together to come back. Our van could not make it to the place where we were stationed to take us to the school and half the pack was in no position to walk anymore. There was no dry cloth left in any of the luggage and no place to sleep. The brave ones decided to trek to the school and the braver ones decided to sleep in the gunny bag in front of the shop 🙂

0102 We were woken up at 2 for dinner, which we judiciously ate and went back to sleep. The next day the batch which had stayed back trekked to the school and four of us ( me, mani, mahi, venu and ganesh) barely managed to reach there alive and decided to skip the next day trek. The van was declared unfit for travel to Chennai. Ganesh’s cajoling helped us get a free lift in a lorry to the bus stand to catch the 6.30 bus. The lorry trip was too good and all the jumping on the way acted as a good massage and I was ready for the trek when we reached the bus stand. On the way, we decided to hire a lorry for the next trip instead of the van and picked some raw mango on the way.
Kannan reminded us many time not to leave out their achievement of covering the 5km trek from school to bus stand in 18 mins. We closed the session, by a brief huddled headed by Arul about the place, the changing geology and the school. Two very important things happened on the way back in the bus to Chennai. One was that we voted ‘Ganesh’ as Hero of the trek for reasons known only to the participants and the other was we celebrated Mani’s birthday with birthday bumps, wishes and the all new mango cutting.
Written by: Balaji K, Priya K
Organized by: Arul
Image Galleries:
Ravi Ghosh

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