– Nagaraj S
Yes, its my first trip with CTC (Chennai Trekking Club) !! I met this gentleman Mr.Sankarnarayanan and his group from CTC at Himalayan Brahmatal Basecamp (10,450ft ) on 28th of December,2017. It was surprising to know that the group had come to Himalayas without a guide, as there are only a handful of people who take the guts to explore the nature as an adventure. That’s enough to explain the amount of experience the group can give anyone by being a part of it. The best part about CTC is about the initiatives they take on social issues.
Without much expectations, I was lucky enough to be as a part of the team which went to Gandikota ( The Grand Canyon of India) on 24-25th February,2018 . This dynamic lady Nisha was persistent in setting things right on track before leaving to the trip.Within a few minutes of my introduction to CTC members, I couldn’t realize when did I come out of the strangers zone. Irrespective of the diversity in the age group, there was unity of being adventurous and to help one another without being called for.
The nature is amazing when we give meaning to its existence and Its the wonderful people which gave meaning to this place.
The Thrilling SUV journey, swapping the cars, listening to each ones life’s experience and the influence it had, short beautiful snack breaks, Ordering the favorite meals , helping one another to set up our beds, sleeping under the Stars, waiting for the mesmerizing sunrise, sparkling water between the canyon , Wondering the history of the trails left on the temples and mosques, some massive number of photographs with these lovely people and then heading back home safely with fond memories and inspirational stories.
It was one heck of an experience that made my weekend marked in the calendar of cheerful moments.
Looking forward for a great trek with you all.
Over the Edge – SUV Trip to Gandikotta
-by Kumar Siva
“Sometimes it’s worth lingering on the journey for a while before getting to the destination.”
― Richelle Mead, The Indigo Spell
Road trips are blissful experiences if you are a driving novice. You get to enjoy the wondrous views of the journey and destination without having to strain yourself with the out of the blue crater in the road or the unmindful granny straying into the highway. I do makeup for my limitations, playing the roles of Navigator in Chief, Snack Distributor, DJ. So when CTC organises an SUV trip to an alluring gorge and an ancient cave, you just register and hope they take you along. Luckily enough my name was in the 23 members and 5 cars group.
The night before the journey I was excited and worried at the same time. Excited for the fun ride ahead and worried that I would sleep through the 10 back to back alarms on my phone. Luckily the third alarm woke me up (Suriya was not that lucky :D). Taking my backpack I rushed off to Porur.
CTC legend Arun Prabahar was there to pick up in his i20 and we zoomed off to the meeting point at Jains Motel Highway. After having a Dutch breakfast of Idlis and onion-less Sambar(so they said), we waited patiently for the fifth car driver to wake up and come along.
After roasting the driver a little bit, we started moving towards our destination 400kms away. Our car, the dashing i20 was leading the pack. Arun, the veteran of many battles drove the car and made sure that the journey was going to be lively. Dhivya and Arshath filled out the rest of the seats in the car. The veteran narrated us of his brave exploits along with yesteryear CTCians and how his comrades were now lost in the quicksand of Matrimony.
Lunch at a dhabha along the highway gave us a chance to meet the rest of the Special Teis. Oddly in spite of being with CTC with for 11 months, I didn’t know any of the faces. The group was a wonderful mix. A doctor, a doctorate scientist, a guy architect, a potty-mouthed gal architect, a creative designer, a homemaker, an astrologer, an event manager and yeah software engineers. Sounds like a cast of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. After the finishing with the awkward handshakes and name exchanges, we went to burn our tongues with the characteristically spicy Andhra meals.
After gaining several miles on the road, we reached the ancient Limestone Caves of Belum. Though not fully accessible due to rains flooding it, we sweated it out inside the caves. The claustrophobic and dark, damp feel is a different experience and reminded me of Neil Marshall’s The Descent. Then there was the icebreaker moment at the Gebauer Hall. The gal architect inadvertently took a wonderful photo, the floodgates were open and everyone wanted a similar pic of them. By the end of the photo session, everybody was taking groupies.
I switched cars for the rest of the route and after another set of mokkais and philosophical discussions along the way we reached Gandikota at twilight. Haritha resort was not your usual CTC sleeping place. The tireless driving souls cooled off with chilled Carlsberg. One group started playing card games of Bluff and another set Who’s the Ass. Fried rice filled our bellies.
As it is a CTC event, we don’t go to sleep like the normies do. What do we do? we venture out into the pitch dark, to have a sneak peek of the Canyon. After few wild lizard scares and blood spilt over thorns we reached the edge of the gorge. We discussed the Meaning of Life and other mysteries for an hour. Then we returned back to the resort, playing imaginary cricket. Somewhere along this midnight tamasha, a car key was lost, not to be found despite a full power treasure hunt for the key next day.
After sleeping beneath the stars, we made for the Gandikotta Fort to catch a glimpse of nature’s wondrous beauty, sunrise along the horizon. Many DPs, Selfies and Groupies later, the orange star rose over in all its beauty over the clouds. The deep gorge and river gave us a picturesque setting to start your Sunday with. The temple inside gave us more opportunities to do crazier stuff for pics. A breakfast and a stolen mobile later we started our journey back.
The Organiser in Chief aka Michael Schumacher chauffeured us the ride back. The accountant was already busy tallying the accounts. Then came the lunch with good chicken, decent fish and rotten prawns. I switched car one more time before reaching home with DJ Viji playing the choicest hits of Rahman and Raja, while Nagaraj and ProbG enlightened me of the things ailing the Chennai startup scene.
Shimmy shimmy yay, shimmy yay, shimmy ya !! Swalla-la-la. Seeya next time.