Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sakleshpur ~~ In touch with nature

Sakleshpur -- The little known paradise

Towering peaks to trek, off roads to bike, small hills to spend an evening with your loved one or  just sit by the campfire and read a book or laze away . If any of these is what you like to do on a weekend then look no further than Sakleshpur. Located at the foot hills of the western ghats 240 kms from banglore on the manglore highway, Sakleshpur is definitely one of the places that you can visit on a weekend if you intend to get away from the blaring horns and pollution of Banglore or Chennai and still be in touch with nature.
After some research and a dozen phone calls, Ranjani and I decided to stay at Baalecool a relatively new resort. Though nothing much had been written about it on the net, we decided to go for it as it was located quite far away from the city and deep into the ghats. We informed them about our arrival and they arranged for a jeep to pick us up at Sakleshpur.

We arrived at Sakleshpur at about 2 PM after a rocking ride in a pre-independence era jeep. The resort was very inviting and nicely themed to have very less impact to nature. After a delicious Malnad lunch, we were shown to our room and told that we should be ready at 5 for a trek to a nearby peak from where we could see the sun set.

Halkulla peak
We promptly buckled up at 5 and went downstairs and met Gagan who was the guide for our trek to Halkulla peak. He took us through a small trail out of the resort into the jungle. We gradually ascended to the peak. The views from the peak were nothing less than stunning. It was a surreal experience to be surrounded by mountains and forests. It was the first time we watched the sun set from a mountain peak. We sat there absorbed by the beauty of the mountains whilst hearing Gagan’s experience with the wild at this same spot where he even claimed to have a seen a lion. We then spent the rest of the evening singing songs around a campfire, atop a small hill, with a lovely Marwari family

Nannebhairaveswara and Ettinabhuja:
The next morning we visited theNannebhairaveswara temple, a 100 year old structure which held the deity of Shiva. The winding road leading to the temple took us deeper into the Western Ghats, a perfect place for an off road bike trip.
From the temple, we trekked for about 2 hours to reach the peak of EttinaBhuja. It was the first time I had ever seen a peak which had a gradual slope on one side and a straight vertical drop on the other. The views from the peak were just spectacular. The temple seemed light years away from the peak. We then returned back to our resort and spent the rest of the day lazing around.
Route to Nannabhaireveswara temple

Ettina Bhuja as seen from the temple

Dalduddhi Peak
The next morning I went on a short hike to the see the sun rise from the peak of dalduddhi. It was an eternal feeling to bask in the first rays of the sun. Once the sun started rising, the clouds started drifting apart revealing the peaks hidden which was like a revelation. It was a sight to behold ! 

Sunrise from Dalduddhi 

“Miseries are like the clouds blocking the beauty behind. All it takes is a warm smile to get rid of it”

Directions –
Drive 240 kms on the manglore highway from Banglore. If you plan to reach by bus, take the A/C Volvo from banglore. Ensure you do not leave any carbon footprint behind.

Places to stay
Baalecool nature stay (2500 per person per day)
Rottikallu resort

Tip – Ask your hosts to take you on nature walks / treks in the surrounding areas. There will not be any phone signal except BSNL. The nearest ATM/pharmacy is at Sakelshpur so ensure you are well stocked. 


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