Saturday, February 27, 2016

Shishila – The Destination

The Desire:
About 4 or 5 years ago, I, appa, amma and Ankith went to a place called Nanya Bhairaveshwar. The ride was beautiful. It is about 25 kms away from my home and is a beautiful place. We had been there in the evening and we looked around. That is when I first saw the peak of Shishila. What a sight it was! As soon as I saw that peak, I wanted to climb to the top of it. I started suggesting that we should go there. Amma and appa tried convincing me that it was a bad idea to start at that hour. When I started making a fuss about it, appa made it very clear that it is not a viable idea. It was getting late and we had to walk in the wild to go to the top and without a guide there is a high possibility that we could be lost. I had to succumb, I had no power over this argument and we returned. For a minute I had the thought of wanting to get married on that hill top.

The Revival:
Last September when I was home, I spoke about my long lasting desire to climb the Shishila hilltop and Chetu helped me with Raju’s number. Raju is a villager in Bhairapura village (which is the nearest) and also acts as a guide to visitors. He spoke about leaches and other problems and suggested that we should plan to go there in November or December.

The Journey:
27th December 2015, me, appa and ankith left home at 12:00 noon. A junction near Agriculture College, before Mudigere, we took a left to go towards Bhairapura. At every junction we asked for directions and we were misguided once. We travelled extra for about 2 kms in the wrong direction and because we asked for directions all the way, we got back to the right road soon. After a while, in the next junction, where we asked for directions yet again, we could look at the Shishila hill top. Ankith noticed the excitement on my face and mentioned it was so much, as though I had already climbed up to the top.

We reached Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple and called up Raju. Oh! You will be lucky if you find any mobile network there, and we were lucky for a while.

The Disappointment:
Raju mentioned that wild elephants had been there at 10:30 in the morning. As we were only 3, he suggested it is better we go back now and come again in a group, instead of the planned adventure. We strolled for a few minutes, saw the way to the hilltop which goes inside the forest, and decided to go back. We could see elephant dump and the havoc they had created that morning, some broken trees, broken twigs and smashed bushes. It was enough proof for us to vouch our decision. We came back to the place where we had parked our bikes and started eating watermelon we carried.

Angels Arrived:
A toofan arrived with 17 people in it. Yes, you read it right, 17, aged between 10 and 45. 13 of them said they are going to climb Shishila. We all jumped out of joy and joined them. It did not take much time for us to get friendly. Together we started walking towards our common destination.
The path in the forest was well made but there were places where we had to walk up on dusty, stone filled roads. It was very slippery and very tiring. Once we crossed the forest it was again an uphill climb and it was extremely exhausting. Ankith held my hand and encouraged me to climb up, “a little more and we will be on flat land”, he would say.

I was breathless by the time I reached the flatland. It indeed was flatland and I rested for a while. Then, the next step was to climb to the peak. Appa said he won’t go up and suggested that I too stay back. I did not want to give up, after going so close. The kids started climbing fast and I took my time to go up. This time appa was with me, asking me to be careful and helping me climb. This was not tiring but very risky. It’s a steep climb and one miss step could lead to a disaster.

I did reach the top successfully along with appa. Ankith had already reached and had clicked some photos too. It took an hour to climb and what a view it was! We could see South Canara border from the top. This day and all its efforts were all worth it. Though not clear, we could still see range of mountains. We could see a river and a water falls at a distant location and we could see beauty in all directions.

It took lesser time to climb down, a small break and step two, and we had reached the gateway to the forest. We all gathered together and walked together as that was our best chance of survival in case wild elephants paid a visit. Four people who had stayed back had watched us climb the hill top and were waiting for us. We said a ton load of thanks to all of them and bid goodbye.

Known Turf:
You might have noticed I said very little about food, because we had very little. On our way back we ate some biscuits and drank some water. It was almost 5:30 and we were in a hurry to get back.

Our way back, we found new connecting roads. From Bhairapura we went towards Devavrunda circle, from there to Jannapura and finally to Gonibeedu. We followed the same protocol of asking for directions all the way till we reached the Devavrunda circle. Dad geared up, “no need to ask anyone for directions” he speeded up. We reached back home, tired, content and me, a dream fulfilled.

PS: Photo credit Ankith H S