POST TREK – Heritage Photography Trek to Udayagiri Fort – 13th October

Write up by Raghavendra:
Udayagiri Trek
I was expecting the combo biking and trek for a while. That was when I got an email from Arun. Without even reading the complete details, I registered for this. Then only I saw in the email that it is a 1 day trip covering 600 km and a trek. First I wondered if this is a good plan. But then thought if 10 other people can drive for that distance, then I can also do that. Probably every other person would have thought the same way.
Lines from Wiki
The Udayagiri Hills is the main tourist attraction here and is mingled with history. The hill is mentioned in the Ramayana, where Hanuman carried the hill to Lanka for a rare herb called as Sanjeevini, which is found on this hill, to cure Lakshman. After serving its purpose, the hill was supposedly thrown by Hanuman from a great height into the same place. The hill landed upside down, and till this day one can find many boulders strewn around the hill. Also it is believed that some trees grow upside down too! The hill has crystal clear water flowing downhill from an unknown source, which till date has not been found
Start from Guindy at 3:45 AM. Reach Udayagiri. Trek. Ride back and reach Chennai by night. That was the plan. Before I could reach Guindy, I got a call from Muthu saying ‘You are late. Please can you come directly to Koyambedu Nathan’s cafe’. When reached there, I met some 10 people and as usual ‘Hi .. Hi .. Hi ..’ to everybody. We waited there till 5 AM for everybody to assemble. 
It was 6 bikes and 2 cars. 2 Apaches, a pulsar, fz, classic, a bird, punto and a spark. Arun started first and we all raised our pace to match with him. Me in my Apache, Sivaraj in Pulsar, Prakash in his bird , Rahul & Ajay in fz and sharon in classic were riding along. Punto and spark being the sweepers. There was one place where some insect went into my eyes and I stopped for 2 minutes. After that i was riding in a good pace for around 30 minutes but still couldn’t catch the fellas who were riding with me. I was sure that they couldn’t be ahead of me and I stopped near a toll gate for tea. Came Mohideen, Vijay and gang in Punto after some 10 minutes. Then again after 10 minutes, came the riders. Then only I came to know that these guys waited for me when I stopped because of the insect hit. Wonder how I missed them. But it was very nice of them. Biker brotherhood you see !!
After everybody had chai, we started again. Not to forget, some guy in the gang ate some 10-20 biscuits in that petty shop. Evannu therila. Then it was ride, ride and more ride till we reached Nellore. It was freaking fun riding in the highways, that too in tandem. Me and Sivaraj were zooming past each other. At that moment When I thought, Good that I didn’t come in the car, I remember this quote ‘If Driving is Dreaming , Riding is Living’.
We all met near Nellore Bus stand where Arun and Shubha were waiting for us. Checked into some hotel and living life the perfect south-indian way. I think by 9AM we started from Nellore and still 100 km more. It was necessary to reach Udayagiri as soon as possible, so that we can complete the trek and return on time. Mostly everybody reached Udayagiri around the same time with the exception of Emmanuel’s Gang in Spark. We waited for them near the Udayagiri Bridge and started after they arrived. We reached a road which has never seen tar in its life. We rode in that and parked our bikes and cars near some rocky steps leading to the top
The start of the trek was like walking in tirupati where proper steps were there. Wonder who built that and for what purpose. We were walking in normal pace only but still half the team were coming far behind. We crossed a group of telugu boys and sharon showed his telugu skills by speaking some dialogues that he remembered when watching some Balakrishna movie 😛
We reached half the distance and decided that we regroup and then move ahead. By the time others came, we finished off the pongal and Kichidi we had packed and decided to start from there. So it was Arun, Shubha, Muthu, Sivaraj, Ajay, Raghul and me. We started ahead and walked in a brisk pace. Never we rested. There was a small mosque kind of structure in the top. Awesome bird’s view of the town. we rested there for a while and started clicking some Pics. Munch and Airbag. Purinjavan Sirichikko !!
When we were about to return from the top, we saw 3 guys in the adjacent hill. They went in some wrong route it seems. We saw the rest of the group when we were returning from the top. Arun informed everybody not to spend too much time after reaching the top, as it would get dark by the time we would return. The return was quite pacy and on the way, we saw a cannon-throw place which was part of the fort. We waited there for regrouping and in a while most of the group reached that place.
We all started from there and exactly by 6 PM, we were at the base where we parked our bikes and cars. We all were relieved that we were back on time but still another 300 km drive was on the cards. 
Reached Nellore and nobody had any idea where to halt, how to regroup and what’s the plan for dinner. But hunger pushed everybody to the same restaurant where we had breakfast. So after a heavy meal, it was time for a good sleep. But we have to ride. We regrouped after every toll gate and reached Padi by around 12:30 AM. I just don’t have the count how many times I was caught by police after that. Atleast 7 times. I thought only IT people had this pathetic night shift job. 
The Trip was over. 600 km drive and 5 hours Trek. And the satisfaction it gave me was immense. It definitely gives me the confidence to go for more. The trip lasted for only 21 hours. So I couldn’t mingle with each and everyone in the group and hear about some crazy stuff. But it was nice to know about fellow freaks like Arun, Ajay, Rahul, Sivaraj, Shubha, Muthu and the list goes on. Also I should mention about Radhakrishnan sir, who showed good spirit. He is a good example that age is not a criterion for trekking and biking.
Write up by Karpagam
Maiden Trek – Udayagiri Hills (757mt)
From Chennai, TN to Udayagiri fort, Udayagiri, AP (96 kms from Nellore)
A bite of History about the Udayagiri fort.
The fort was supposed to be built in 14th century in the Gajpaths kingdom, who hailed from Orissa. The fort was deemed impenetrable but for 1) A jungle path thorough the east of the fort and 2) A pathway on the Westside. Udayagiri, was attacked by Krishna Deva Raya for a period of 18 months after which he was successful. Thus, Udayagiri slipped from the Gajpaths rule and fell under the rule of Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagar around the 14th century (wiki says : 1512). This was the Vijayanagara empire. This was further preceded by the Golconda, who had the credits of the mosques erected – Chinna Masjit and Pedha Masjit, the small and the big mosques respectively. After which it came under the Nawabs of Arcot and it was in their control until 1839.
The Hanumans Forté.
Tracing our epics, the Udayagiri range covers the Sanjeevni hill, which is purported to be similar to the Sanjeevani hill of Donagiri range that Hanuman carried to Lanka, in order to treat Lashmana. The hill was assumed to hold the Sanjeevani herb, the life giver. Epic further traverses to say that when Hanuman came back after treating Lashmana, he dropped the hill that it fell upside down : which is why the hill has some downward trending vegetation (some trees / bushes are said to grow upside down here).
I was super excited on seeing a one day trek mail from Chennai Trekking Club, not wanting to lose my Sunday rest, I signed up for the Saturday trek. I was excited like nobodys business, had the faithful man drop me on Saturday morning at Koyambedu at 4.30 AM. From Koyambedu a group of 18 ardent trekkers started our journey! Five to holy six hours later, we stopped near Udayagiri for a sumptuous breakfast of idly vada sambhar.
I was asked by fellow men to eat the pongal too to which I chimed – “Chancey illa.. ooh aah”, Sharon promptly cut me there and told me please do not wait for the afternoon lunch. You never know if the LUNCH per se is going to be by 4.30 or later. There! I silently ate the Pongal too *gulp*.
Forward march! (4 hours) 
At the foot of the hill, the height might have appeared to be childs play to the experienced trekkers who have present there! But to a person who slogs at the desk 40 hours a week without an ounce of sweat – INTIMIDATION was the word! 
Starting my walk, I found myself sweating profusely and panting for the first few minutes, I just thought I would not be able to make it. But the mind-body win happened in a matter of 20 minutes, when my pace became better / much normal and I actually started to catch up. We walked well a few paces up the hill when we met the cold water bath! A tub of water which gets filled by a crevasse in the rock (HOW? Reasons unknown) helped us quench our thirst and refill our water supplies.
From there on, we stumbled into a lovely banyan tree sorts with lots of prop roots. It was one kind of a scene and looked almost out of the world. (Check Picture) Radha Krishnan also managed to bring out the child in him (or) the animal in him *ahem* by making a dash to the farthest end of the reddish rock boulder and posed as much as he could for us – the ardent photographers! A few more fathoms away from the prop roots, we found the lovely Dil Chahta Hain rock that Arun told us about. It was SIMPLY beautiful, surrounded by the yellow flowers and brilliant bluish bees. There the photographers (Kaja, Gandhi et al) came out of their skins and we clicked some utterly lovely snaps here! I never wanted to come back from that place *sighs* But we had a journey to make.
A long walk later, we were *this* close to the top when the unpredictable happened. Gandhi, Ganesh and a few others were leading the path for the rest of the pack – Radha Krishnan, Padma, me and Immanuel. It so happened, that we missed the trail to the top and we ventured into a different path. After a few whistles, shouts and making communications with Arun, we started the march to the top of the hill again. The last lap.
Atop the hill was the much awaited Pedha masoodhi (Big Mosque) which held shape considering the fact that the enemies tried to bring it down by a siege that lasted for 18 months! We had our lunch at the top of the hill. With a beautiful breeze against our face and almost sodden dosas! That’s when the MAN of quips chimed.
He : Hey, Sambhar enga ya? Where is my sambhar??
Chella sir : iru iru.. ippo thaaney sollirukkom… varum! 😀
All : *LOLs*
Lunch time!
The home march : 2 hours.
Post lunch we started our downhill walk. Not being equipped with torches, we were to hit the foot of the hill before dusk. We rushed therefore, moving out in groups, swiftly adeptly crossing the points scored before Elephant grass, DCH rock, Water point. Where we stopped for a few minutes not having too much time to spare, we furthered down quickly and hit the foot of the hill around 6 PM.
Thereon, watching the dusk break was such a pleasure!
Thanks to all of them who initiated, joined and completed the trek! What an experience!
Bye from…
Courtesy : Sharon
Credit rolls:
P/s @Ganesh, Gandhi, Arun, Radha Krishnan sir, Prakash : HEAPS of thanks to you all for helping me throughout, consistently and making it possible for me to complete this trek! Its pretty motivating to have good positive spirited AND sportive people like you folks around! @Subha – mwhaha, you know for what! So glad to have met you! @Sharon,Kaaja – may your interest in photography flourish!! 😉 @Cabmates – Radha Krishnan sir again, Chella sir – whow, you men were fountains of information! Immanuel – chancey illa ponga, how to bring humor in death situations’nu you can host a seminar! Thanks for the safe drive! 😀 😀 @padma – thanks for the company and err… dry fruits!!
P/p/s Being a maiden trekker : I was under the pretension that Sunday I was gonna die of leg pain et al. But not at all! I managed to make a full fledged non veggie lunch and eat it too! 😀 PLUS I attacked Monday with a super fresh mind 😛
Write up by Sharoon
The moment I saw Arun’s mail in my Inbox I knew he had arranged the so-called heritage photography trip that which I had requested him. As I went through the mail, my eagerness to travel was triggered more. I knew i was to embark on a journey into the realm of the mountains and the wild. I was so very excited and willing to join. I completed all the formalities and listed myself to join the ride and trek.
It encompassed a total ride of around 650 kms and the trek was at the Easy + level.
The day before the trek I was too excited and overjoyed that I was merely able to catch some sleep.
Jaiswal had requested me to give him a Wake up call, and I did the same as I called up most of my mates to make sure they woke me up as the scheduled meeting time was at 3.30 in the morning. At the scheduled hour at 2.30 in the morning, I got my wake up calls and my alarms began ringing. I ran helter skelter just to keep them all at check. Then once I was up and running I began with my wake up call to Jaiswal. It just dint seem right to me, he had like hit the sack real hard the other night that he was kinda knocked off and he dint receive my call, which meant he dint wake up. So I hit the road on my own and reached Koyambedu, one of the last assembly points, apparently the closest to my house.
There I saw the entire party waiting for me and a few more participants. There was a small Tea Kadai that was open at that time, where we all grabbed a Tea each waiting for the others to join in. Once all of them reached, we began with the ride to Udhayagiri, there were 2 cars and a total of 6 bikes. The fun just began. It was decided that Arun would take the lead while I would sweep for all the riders. We hit the direct highway to nellore, the ride was smooth and the traffic was very less, it wasnt bad at all. Just the odd confusion for me as there were different bikes here unlike my trips with my Bullet Club where identifying the bikes and riders would never be difficult.
It was about 2 hours when we reached Nellore, where we had Padma a participant from Bangalore who joined us for the trek. We then had breakfast there in Nellore, munching bites of Idly, Dosa, Pongal and also got food packed for lunch, we requested the guy to spare us the chutney and just give us the food and dosa with just sambhar and no chutney.
Once we deviated from Nellore towards Udhayagiri, the roads became narrow and we began enjoying the picturesque views that nature had to offer. After about a ride of around 70 kms we reached another major deviation from where we had to take a right turn that lead us to Udhayagiri. There we took a break and waited for the cars to arrive.
Then from there it was another half n hour drive to Udhayagiri, where we all took bottles of water and packed food and all required essentials and clicked pictures on the base of the hill from where we were to start our trek. The hill was very inviting and less intimidating. We began with a slow and steady pace and continued to move on. The experienced trekkers just kept climbing on without any rest or breather, they were just at it from the word go.
On the way there were kids from the village bursting crackers and having fun near a point where water would continuously drip and it would be ice cold too. Clicked their pictures and continued on. Taking short breaks here and there we finally reached the so called entrance of the fort. It was the only door that was in tact, while the rest had worn away in time. It was brilliant and the view from most points was breathtaking. The architecture and the way in which it was all constructed was just amazing, it was just the thing that told us, that the enemy had to wait patiently for about 18 months in order to be able to get close to the fort and to capture it.
We got to a point from there on, which was referred to as Dil Chahta Hai Point, just because some shooting for the film took place there it seems. We helped ourselves to some neat photographs. Then we just followed the trail and also had a few painted arrows that was helping us navigate the terrain and trail. We came across huge elephant grass and most points one we were on top, then we proceed towards the Pedda Masudi ( Big Mosque ). On the waay we saw a bed rock and enjoyed our time on it and clicked a few memorable snaps. We lost our way wand ended up in a different cliff, then we walked back to find the correct trail before we managed to get to the Big Mosque, once there we took rest, had our chocolates and lunch, but the whole thing was kinda spoilt as the jerk in the hotel had packed the food with the chutney in it and so the food was irrevocably spoilt. But then some of them drew enough courage to still have it and suffice their hunger. I munched a few biscuits that i otherwise had stored in my bag for such emergencies.
Then we clicked a few pics, before beginning to start the downward trek. This was interesting as the climb at that point began t feel less painful as when we were descending all the force was to be borne by the knee and thigh muscles, even the stomach and kidneys began to hurt. But then without loosing heart and listening to my favorite myself, just kept moving continuously and slowly towards the base of the hill. Once at the base, it was only me and Raghul, the rest of them took at least 30 mins more to reach which gave us like an awesome breather and time for a very short power nap.
Once they all got back, we all changed back into our riding kit and began with the return journey. The roads were dark, the buses were unforgiving and the curves were never ending. It was a thrill ride, we rode to nellore and had dinner in the same place where we had break fast. Then we all proceeded, on the way we took numerous break only because i was kinda falling asleep on the saddle in spite of the constant chewing of the GUM. Then took breaks for Chai and constantly rode before we reached the last toll near red hills before we all met for the last time, bid farewell to everyone and got back home.
One huge round of applause to the entire team of participants and for Arun, who initiated the ride and trek.

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Arun Sekhar
“Life is best lived when its travelled.”

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