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Monday, November 30, 2009

Backpacking through the Western Ghats – Day 2: Mulaiyangiri to Baba Budangiri

After spending our first night of our trekking expedition on top of Mulaiyangiri, the next morning, we headed north-east to our next destination, Baba Budangiri.


We left the rear entrance of the Shiva temple on top of Mulaiyangiri and descended down a thousand metres towards the north-east. Then, we followed a cattle herdsman who took us to the forest camp near the road through the cattle trail. We took a brief stop at the forest camp and got proper directions to reach Baba Budangiri.


As the day wore on, it became very sultry and we felt that it might rain in the night. We kept climbing up and down through the long grass that adorns these hills. The only activity was us spotting a barking deer who ran in leaps as soon as he sensed us. Finally, after a long climb through cliffs, we reached a waterfall at the edge of the cliff. This place was a tourist spot and we halted here for lunch. The next 8 kms, we walked across the road to reach Baba Budangiri.


We camped at the grounds near the Dargah. The entire vicinity was dotted with coffee plantations. In the evening, we went to the Inam Dattatreya Baba Budan Swamy dargah to offer our prayers. The dargah is a cave shrine in the lower reaches of the Baba Budangiri range. Legend has it that Hazrat Dad Hayat Mir Kalandar, a Sufi saint, arrived in these parts in the 1650s from Mecca, where he had gone on a Haj pilgrimage. He is the person who brought coffee beans from Ethiopia and cultivated coffee beans in these hills. Both Hindus and Muslims visit this shrine. The Muslims consider him to a disciple of the prophet, while the Hindus consider him a reincarnation of dattatreya.


We had finished our dinner and retired to sleep in the confines of our tent. Locals warned us of bears and tigers. We prepared ourselves for any such attack, but our vigil was short-lived as we succumbed to our tired limbs and body. However, it was around 1 AM in the night when both of us woke up. It was raining heavily and heavy winds were battering our tent. We bore the full brunt of it as we were camped on an open ground. The piece of information that we had forgotten was Baba Budangiri is situated in a natural wind tunnel and hence is known to channelize and increase the wind speeds. The wind kept howling throughout the night. Our entire tent would get squashed to one side. We tried to distribute the weight evenly by placing our backpacks and our bodies for stability. Every hour, one of us would take turns to get out of the tent and put the tent pegs back in place and thus holding the tent together. Luckily for us, we survived that night and we were thankful to Coleman for producing such high quality tents!!

Total Distance Trekked: 20 Kms
Trekking Time: 6 hours

To view the entire set of photos, click the album below.
Backpacking through the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India



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