I want to know why people always pack your bags at Friday and getting lost in forest at every week end. Are you not bored? This is the frequent questions posted from my friends to me before going the trek. So, I start my write up by answering this question as this is Emperor’s CTC trek. This is not usual trekking, It is more than that,more fun,joy,trekking and going to be very unique experience of enjoying nature & Forest.
I’m co-ordinator at Tidel park to start moving vehicle towards Venkatagiri at 12o clk night ,I was very sharp by time, boys gathered at the location on time,joined hands with guindy guys and reached Koyamedu with whole strength of 30+ people. It is always going to be formal handshake session and start chatting with previous trek batch friends. Here is the Heroes introduction, Arun/Prem took charge of “Thalu..Thallu.Thallu” in vadivel style by pushing all the guys to go inside the vehicle and start journey. They don’t work hard in managing the things but do smart work by pushing others to work and giving chances to all guys to do volunteering.
All the vehicles started flying towards Venkatagiri, Our car is doing sweeping job to allow the entire vehicle to move forward but how the volkswagen can travel at 60kmph. The car which is going front is moving slowly and nothing can be done as long as we are the sweeper. Sorry Praveen,No other go. I’m sure next time you will be leading the travel not to do the sweeping. While we had smooth journey at the road, we could notice the road was blocked badly at one place due to some accident, we halt for about 30 minutes with round of photo session and fun,comedy tracks. Lorry drivers started taking sleep at their seat itself, there were no luck and no signal to move the vehicle forward, we started taking U turn and start taking other route to join the highways. Emperiors are always known to face obstacles and fix it. After a cup of tea session, vehicles keep moving but no luck in reaching destination as another block at TADA highways where we had to wait about 1 hr to get away from the traffic. Thanks to Radio city 91.1 who telecasted such a lovely ARR, ilayaraja songs at the night journey, it was very impressive, the guys who already have girl friends will definitively think about her, the guy who doesn’t have it like me will think to have girl friend, the songs were that much powerful. Thanks to Praveen to keep concentrating only in driving.
We bought two 25 lit water can in the middle for filling empty water bottle, It is an order from Prem commando that everybody should carry 3 lit of water as there is no evidence of water at merciless Venkatagiri,vehicles has been stopped at roadside where there was a big open area,so everybody should be aware that it is for finishing our morning kasamusas. You can be Project manager,lead,managing director but we will allow to use the open university only, that is what down to the earth ( he.hee.heee ) . I’m not going to explain in detail what happened afterwards otherwise you will make my write up ‘A’ certificated. It is awesome location to see the sun rise from road side. all SLR,normal camera,mobile cameras started clicking the sun rises. Balaji started playing with his Mahindra Thar and with sun light too. Organizers make a call to carry common gears and taking food items. Once all set, Emperors vehicles started moving to mark the territory at Venkatagiri Fort.
It is early morning to reach the venkatagiri village, guys started taking breakfast at road side shops which is been run by innocent local people, they never bother about the count of items what we take, All they know is serving food and they had trust on us and we paid them correctly. 130 rs for about 7/8 guy’s breakfast. i want to know where is actual price hike? at central or state govt?. Thanks to them for tasty breakfast altogether.
Prem & Arun was busy in clearing the police formalities to go inside the Venkatagiri, they came here 2 week prior to the trek to get the approval. Thanks to both of them in making perfect planned trip and making sure everybody just enjoy the trip. The journey again starts to Base station from where we will start trekking, all the villagers were looking at us differently, and they might have not seen 5 vehicles moving in a row at their village. We arranged a local guy to show the base trail that actually goes to climb up the Hill. Venkatagiri is having very confused base trail, not very easy to remember the trail again. It is good to have a local guide because base station trail is very important as we always keeps losing our track without climbing up the Hill. Remember, CTC has 2 failed missing at the same Venkatagiri Hill so we don’t go on the list. [ Nanga vera Emperiornu over buildappu kodudhorkogam ]
After parking all the vehicles, The group is ready to face the adventures, challenges and start walking,walking for about 30 or 40 minutes to get the trail. The sun light is happy to disturb us,was shouting heavily as it is already around 9:30 am. It was scary to look at the peak from the bottom but was eager and excited to go above the clouds. This may be path to Heaven. After a tiresome walk, the first re-grouping was happened. There is no confusion in the trail hereafter but it is going very tough as it is pakka steep and real test to your stamina. There is no flat surface and steep,steep where you have to keep trek and also thorns will kick your back, side,hands and legs without any mercy. The only console fact is the trail is somewhat closed by trees and worst thing is you shouldn’t drink more water even if it dehydrates because it is only 3 lits before going the peak and never know when the water gets over. people started scattered according to their stamina level, few guys start climbing without any stop, few are moving their foot slowly, few others were taking rest and then started trek back after giving their heart breathing time but this team is really energetic team as there were no big delay in reaching the first re-group point. Organizer did right job of choosing the people by conducting fitness in palavaram hill before 2 days of trek. It is time to take rest for sometime at the first group point where fresh wind welcomes us and important to reduce bag weight by eating few oranges and other eatables and myself,arun & senthil don’t want to take for more time, we started climbing again in the trail, we have to setup our mind very strongly for every step, I was happy whenever there was deviation/turn in the trail because the upcoming steep is not visible to us that doesn’t make frighten us. The history says a Kingdom was ruling this area by making their fort at the peak and later it was used thieve to carry the stolen items safely, I couldn’t imagine how they made up the fort at the peak and they wanted to have safe place where no civilization enter or very hard to enter there. We brave souls are trying out luck to mark our foots after the kingdom. It is going to be CTC property for next two days nobody can get it from us.
We stopped at the 2nd regrouping point . We took rest for long time as we reached the distance quickly and started sleeping under the rocks. Sleeping under a tree and sharp rocks always beauty moments because you are not going to know the rocks are having sharp stones until u awake up from your tried sleep SLR camera men starting taking snaps so it is time to show our muscles and noise. The place is really awesome in giving fresh air with force that makes you feel chill but the place also offers sun light just above your head. you can’t assume both happens at the same time. Praveen just slept under the open area where sunlight touches every muscle of his body but he could sleep without any disturbance because of chilled air. We deliberately waited for long time as the team is so quick in reaching the target and also no need to get torched by sun light at the top of the peak. Everybody started taking the chapptihis with pickle and jam for lunch and consumed less water. We tried to make use of the water under the cave but it looks not clean and not happy to take it. The MAN vs Wild hero only can do that rubbish thing. We resumed our trek afterwards, again climbing up in a steeply path by enjoying the view points that makes you feel happy as the distance between civilization and us keeps going high. Green land welcomes us and we marked our foot path at the entrance of the ancient fort, only background music is missing for the emperors and entered into it with style. This is awesome location where one end is covered by a peak which is single big rock that we need to climb up further and other side was surrounded by dense green forest. few guys started climbing up the peak where there is hidden/ foot path but it is very clear sun around 2pm so we wanted to take rest further to get less damage due to sun light. After the rest, we started climbing again but we missed the foot path in the middle and entered into unexplored trail which looks very scary and dangerous to see the down side. IF you miss the grip from the tree or green bushes, you will go rolling to down from the hill. Prem stopped us not go further, went back to see the foot path trail. It is easy to miss the trail at the Hills so we should be careful and cautious while making our steps. We started climbing on the stone foot path but the again steep climbing which is the real test to your stamina. No mercy at all from the venkatagiri. we are happy that we are about to reach the peak in a short while. Two big wall welcome us into peak and fort, such a pleasant moment to go inside after a never ending pain and very happy to self appreciate my mind and body to make it happen.
This is the first time in my life seeing such a wonderful place; you feel you are on top of the world and the full of open valley with mind blowing air. No words to explain the beauty of nature. You can see the Hills for 360 degree from the peak where we climbed up. There are lot of works to do for the SLR camera man and the guys for the pose. We are happy to say this team made the climbing up very aggressively , The first group entered into the peak about 3 pm , it is easy to any individual who is fit enough to reach the peak by the time but it is very hard to make it happen as a team. It is such a beautiful piece of team work. Once we reach the peak, there was a curiosity to check out the water body where the water flows drop by drop from small rock. This is the only water source at the peak or in the whole venkatagiri range. Nobody can explain this design of nature except god. No stream from the base to peak but a small rock will offer fresh & chilled water at the peak. This team is great example of volunteering, organizers has to pass the comments once, no need to repeat or follow up. The team does it without any hesitation and with lot of energy. When the command is passed to collecting teaks, people collected all the woods/dry trees from the peak which is amazing and helped to setup very big camp fire. It is not easy to fill water in the bottles because you have to hold 1 ltr bottle for 5 mins to get it filled in the small stream and bring it to camp site. People made this job as well very easily. Somebody is already preparing tents in a perfect way which very important to recover from the cold at the night. Common food items are collected from the common gear manager and all set to prepare the soup. Guys started capturing sun set in camera in the middle of their busy volunteering schedule. It was almost 6:30 pm and the place is already covered by darkness. Myself and bala thought to take bath by filling 3 bottles in the water stream because we tired much and no refreshment gave to our body so we went there and got ready for bath in 3 litre. It is not a wise to get your dresses drenched at the peak which is already very cold so we both decided to remove all from our bodies. The condition was torch shouldn’t be ON at any cost. so deal is made and had nice bath there. I hope nobody captured any video and uploaded it in youtube. I’m once again scared that my write up will go into ‘A’ certificate in censor board so let’s not discuss more on this. While we are back to camp, realized that soup was ready and got over already. It was very sad to miss a food item in Emperior’s trek because they are very special for Food ( In other words sappatu ramans ) . Thanks to Chella who shared his bowl soup with me and Bala and finally we had a chance to taste the soup which is like a welcome drink to the dinner.
Arun is the chef for the Emperor special dinner – Briyani. While the preparation is on, I was showing my helping hand to maintain the fire for the pot and sitting next to the cooking department. It is not just for volunteering and also to do cashews, dry fruits scam while preparing. The best part of the trip is Dinner. What a tasty briyani ??? No words to explain it. Everybody enjoyed the food very much. WE must say Arun’s wife will be very lucky to have a cooking expert husband. This is the way to have the dinner after hard trekking and going to relax at the night. Once the joyful dinner is over, some group started marking their territory like tigers in the tent, started sleeping and other groups are ready to make the big camp fire which is about 5 feet. So round of vadivel comedies and santhosh comedies (His comedies are more fun than actor vadivel’s comedies ) and mokka dialogues, had a very fun filled camp fire. Why should restrict our self with just comedy tracks? Hands are joined to dance around the camp fire. It was wonderful to have the great time at the peak. You should be very careful while open your mouth in the group because all are on good form, if you start target anybody then you are gone. No matter what we are going to speak/talk, we need to have fun time so santhosh is the easy target to us. He gave us very good time. SLR camera man always holding camera and thinking too much on making unique pictures, this time they intend to try the writing CTC & Emperors by using the smoke stick. It is great to see the power of SLR, they managed to capture some objects at last. Meanwhile we couldn’t tolerate the mokka jokes from santhosh, so a gang is formed against him and pulled his legs, hands to get him inside the fire to get raw barbecue style. When the whole crew is very noisy and producing big laugh sounds in the camp fire, there was huge silent in the middle that is to listen the wonderful music treat by Rakesh – Flutist. This is something nobody can imagine & expect at the pleasant night in the peak. The songs whatever he played through is flute was awesome. Bombay theme music was superb. What else you need to enjoy the night in the camp fire ? I’m a big fan of flute music who bought 3o rs flute at T.nagar platform and kept trying to blow it but still doing, doing but no luck. You gave me the inspiration to play the flute. Once he finishes his music numbers, guys started asking their dedication and want to play their favourite song. Meanwhile popcorn was prepared from the camp fire wood and had tasty snacks before sleep. I’m sorry Rakesh to distribute the popcorn while you were playing flute that made our boys to concentrate the snacks not on the music. No emperors in the world will give this much important to food. As a whole, this becomes wonderful and joyful Saturday from 12o clk night to 12o clk night. We started sleeping under the tents and had very nice sleep with very cold & dew.
It was very hard to wake up in the morning; I was waiting for sun to go up so that chillness will get down and not interested to see the sun rise. After a long struggle, I came out from the tent where I noticed the whole t.shirt and head got drenched because it just touched with upper tent which was full of water turned from dew. Imagine how much dew was formed on the tent to get the water drops at the tarpaulin sheet. I couldn’t tolerate the chillness so changed to dry clothes and got warm heat from the fire. Tea was prepared to refresh your body. There was walk around on the peak to enjoy the view point at early morning. I must say Venkatagiri is the best place nearby Chennai to enjoy such a beautiful views of Eastern ghats. It is time to fill your cameras with lot of snaps around the peak and fort walls. So everybody was busy in making their facebook audiences gossip about you and your photos. Meanwhile preparation was ON for Breakfast by cooking department and it is always good to leave early from the peak to get less damage from sun light. Once the bowls are filled with magi noodles and refreshing tea, people started preparing to climb down the Hill. We started to climb down with a regular pace and didn’t stop anywhere in the middle. It is jolly moment to descent the Hill which is easy and also makes you proud that we climbed up this difficult path yesterday. No stop in the descent, we reached our first re-grouping point and started sleeping for sometime after an hour of trekking. Youngest guy in our team who crossed 40+ age lead the team while climbing down from the Hill ( Chell sir Nengathan ). You no need to wait for long time for whole team arrival because this team was so active in climbing up so why not they can’t produce the same in the descent. Once the team is gathered, An interesting session was planned by the organizer, that is self introduction round and feedback session for the trek. This is really wise to have the session at 2nd day of trek as most of faces are already known by the time and good to receive the feedback too. You can’t always expect emperor’s self introduction to be in a formal way. It is always in bad and informal way. If a guy stands up and start introducing him, people will post ‘N’ number of questions to you and will try to make fun out of you. You should be clever enough to escape from them. For example: If a guy comes with a long hair then guys will ask you which shampoo you are using ? ( Pls don’t go away, continue reading my blog, i’m not going to give more example ) . The last guy who need to speak is Prem , Once he start Speaking, guys started clapping without any stop and when ever he opens his mouth, clapping is started denying him speaking. ( Bulbantha Prem ..He..heee)
It is good to know that people have really enjoyed the dinner and camp fire. After a mokka podura session, we started climbing down further to reach the base station. As I already mentioned, the base trail was really confusing, we never know which way we are going into. The group was scattered, we first group started walking on the right trail for long time but no luck to get the car parking area. We were bit confused that whether we are going on the right direction? And no clue about other group. Yes, it seems they are missed, looks they took different trail. We called Prem through Mobile , he confirmed that their group was lost from the path. Meanwhile we got a clue about car parking area, It was great to see the cars after a long struggling between the base trail. Arun went back on the trail to rescue the other group. Prem called me and asked for Latitude value of my location and All Hi fi mobile phones are ON to open the Google page but what to do. BSNL is not Hi fi enough to give us the network coverage. So I told Balaji to put all mobile phones under the Mahindra tyre and drive over it. BTW, we got the value from one mobile and passed to Prem. Here is our Hero introduction who is none other than Balaji , Dare to face the thorns filled trail and dare to face the demolished jeep trail of venkatagiri in his Mahindhar THAR. Yes, we started the rescue mission to go back on the jeep trail in his car to find out our lost emperors. I’ve started recording jeep ride, it was awesome ride to go up & down on the trail and going inside the trees. After the thrilling journey for about 30 mins, we met the emperors who were on the way to base camp and everybody started putting their bags inside the car and managed to find place in all part of the car. With heavy load of people, Mahindra managed to move from there. Great skill of driving on the trail. Kudos to Balaji and big thanks to him who didn’t hesitate to carry that much load in his new vehicle.
Once everything got settled in the parking place, the next plan has come out. CTC emperors are always known to face new challenge and spend more time on the Hill. We got the news from local guide that there is a water falls which may require 3 to 4 hrs of trekking from there so we were curious to explore it but few others had different opinion to explore a stream nearby the hill which consumes less time too. After a prolonged discussion, Guys were short listed to try the exploration based on their own interest and fitness level because we never know how hard it would be. 3 vehicles are ready to face the battle others are happy with their current performance and started the journey back to Chennai after saying good bye and friendship hugs. We started the 2nd mission by 1 pm.
We are about 18 people who started the journey from the place to other side of the Hill , After riding the car for about 25 minutes , we got the base station from where we need to follow the jeep trail but only Mahindra jeep can travel on that, other 2 vehicles parked there. We started walking on the jeep trail. Guys whosever got seat in the jeep is not ready to walk on the trail, they are comfortable to move along with jeep. It is been told that you can get the stream in 3 kms where you can take a fresh bath, the whole group was happy because nobody didn’t take bath for 2 days and eager to dive into the stream. It should be very unique experience if we find out the water bodies near Venkatagiri which is really very tough to find too. WE guys initially started jogging for some time to cover the distance quickly and started running too for some distance. The jeep trail is being used local villagers to go shiva temple which is about 8 kms from the base as we could see few guys are walking along the trail. They looked scaring as we are running/walking/jagging and doing the unusual move on the jeep trail. I carried 1 ltr bottle with me which helps me whenever i lose my energy. Our mind says We would have crossed 3 kms but no luck about the stream and could notice jeep has come back on the trail to pick our boyz. Group of pilgrims who were going to the temple asked water so we were so happy to help by giving all the water we carried; it should be great help to them in the waterless forest. We are glad that we covered most of the distance by our foot however we get into the jeep to go the stream, It was big disappointment there the water is too bad and stagnated, this is not the pool we were expecting and the guys who played in the CTC home ground – Nagala will never love this small pool. We enquired about the shiva temple’s destination; somebody was saying that you have to travel in the trail for 4 hrs more to get the water falls and temple. No second thought in our mind. We set our mind from relaxed mood to firing mood. All we need is to explore the falls and enjoy the water. It is already about 3:30 pm so we need to come back to base station and don’t forget we are already lost water by serving it to other guys.
Few guys coming on the way used to say it is about 2 km or 4 km or 5 km only but all of them gave variable figure. We are about 18 brave souls started running without any stop, after a few distance, i could see only 6 people running along with me and finally 4 people with me. I never stopped my foot, kept running and walking faster and set a prefect pace with Senthil,push and one more guy. It seems Mahindhra was taken again on the jeep trail which was initially planned to park near the stream. We could hear the vehicle sound but not wanted the vehicle to overtake us. So we keep running and we can’t accommodate on the vehicle too. This is again great piece of driving by Balaji on the jeep trail because it has few rocks road and driving through small streams passed on the way. If you want to take rest during the journey, you can walk for some distance. If you have more energy, you can run faster. If you have less energy, you can simply jog but nobody has stopped in the middle. This is the formula applied to cover the destination and it is a great time for us to reach the temple and the beautiful falls before Mahindhra THAR. We 5 guys are really proud of our self about stamina level. The moment we saw the falls, just went to bath, it was refreshing. This was wonderful moment for me and the group as the whole group who came in the jeep appreciated us lot. Here is the actual figure we found it out; this falls is actually 8 kms away from the base station. We guys did a fabulous job by reaching here by foot and don’t forget that we had tough trek yesterday at venkatagiri. While returning back, the same story will happen. Mahindhra can’t carry 17+ people so somebody has to sacrifice by covering the 8km by foot and also make sure no delay in their journey because it is already 6 o clk evening.,Santhosh,Kiran and Arun wanted to test their stamina , they left the place as soon as they took bath and after some time . Anitha,Senthil also joined to use their foot. Now we are 13 people who need to get into the jeep at any cost to start our return journey. Myself,prem & Bala was sitting the Stepney tyre at the back and it was thrilling to have the ride by holding the hands very tightly at the trail. After 4 kms of ride, we could see anitha,Senthil was walking on the trail so the guys got swapped with them. No evidence about other 3 guys who were fast in reaching the base, they have proved their physical fitness. It is great to see a girl trekking and running with a casual pace on the trip. Great job by Anitha and it is really commendable. Senthil who didn’t use jeep on both ways, He is a karuppu peter. After completing the great mission, we all were back on the base station. Organisers gave big applause to the team who achieved 16kms of coverage in 3.5 hours without even thinking about lunch and not taking adequate water. Of course with the help of Jeep and Balaji too. Without his help, this would have been not possible and he never hesitate to do it whenever we ask him. Thanks to the kind hearted fellow. It was wonderful day with lots of experience. All the vehicle moved to Venkatagiri village where there is a stop for dinner. We all finished very nice Andhra meals there and tasted all sweets from a small shop nearby the hotel. Missing you venkatagiri. Vehicles are on the way back to Chennai after a colourful 2 days.
Very BIG thanks to Arun/Prem who organized the trip very well.Miss u Venkatagiri.