Saturday, 14 May 2016

Trek to Narayangiri & Kayaking in Manchanabele Dam – 13 & 14 MAY 2016

View from Narayangiri hills

"Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill you soul."

This trek was a first of all sorts. Reason : This was the first time a trek plus get2gether planned by our friends from Kendriya Vidyalaya (Vizag Steel). Our friends Srinivas, Vamsi, Rajeev, Soman, Manmeet, Veena, Kanchan joined this trek. We had additional members for this trek : Hemanth – Kanchan’s husband and Kanchan’s colleague/friend Divya.
Also the trek was planned to Ramanagara (where the famous blockbuster movie Sholay was shot), God had different plans for us – the rain god department played truant by dispatching a heavy rain to Ramanagara and almost all of Bangalore.

Narayangiri hills
The Narayangiri hills lies on Jalamangala village which is around 20 Kms from Ramnagara and is famously known for the boulders and vast number of caves. This mountain is 3800 feet in height and has something very interesting things for everyone to explore.  Also there is a small temple built in peak having idol of Lakshmi Narasimha which is open to devotees only on weekends, also there are parts of many forts which was constructed by the local ruler under surveillance of maharajas of Mysore (Wodeyar Dynasty) in 16th century. Remains of the fort are like encircling the mountain which can be seen from the peak. Also there are vast number of natural caves, which can explored on the way to peak, you can find the footsteps near the foothills up to a point and then start trekking by entering the thick forests of Jalamangala which hosts many small wildlife.
Narayangiri Hills
2300 HRS : Our Tata winger van arrived . Wow .. I was extremely happy to meet all my friends !  
Baba was our driver + guide – Yes the same baba jaan whom I had mentioned in my Antharagange trek!

We embarked on an exciting night trek to Ramanagara. However upon reaching the base station, Swamy (the in charge of trek organizer) informed that rains had made it impossible to trek the Ramanagara route. He suggested the Narayanagiri trek. We discussed among our friends and soon started moving to Narayanagiri Base. We reached by  by 1230-1245 PM. Upon arrival, the sight of scorpions near parking area sent up shivers down the spine!

We were joined by another bus load of trekkers and then we all started climbing the steep Narayangiri hills. The terrain was full of rocks, mud & we crossed dense foliage and shrubs! Babajaan did inform me that this was a difficult trek involving 4 km – with steep inclines.  He also mentioned that this area gets frequent wild life visitors (sloth bears) from the neighboring forest !
There was mother and kid from the other trekker group. We also had Mr.Shakthi and his son whom we had met in the Antharagange trek!

Tip  : Bringing children below 6-7 years might not be the best idea as these treks require stamina and the child might find it difficult to do such treks!

We arrived close to the peak by 0230 hrs & took a break – now the entire terrain was rocky. Small steps were cut into the rocky surface and rods were fixed at certain places as handrails.  We reached the peak by 0300 hrs. Baba and his assistants quickly made a bonfire. Our group was able to enjoy a relaxing bonfire. We chatted for quite some time… Roasted a few corn cobs on bonfire. Also snacks were shared by thoughtful members who prepared and packed them for this moment. Dr. Soman performed a micro surgery on Manmeet’s "injured finger”. Dr.Kanchan’s help was also enlisted to remove the wicked thorn – Operation was declared a Success..probably at the insistence of the doctors!  

I decided to wear my jacket and sleep inside the cozy sleeping bag- obviously I just cannot miss my sleep! I dreamt of the galactic clouds, nebula, Andromeda galaxy and milky way galaxy that Srini had spotted and shown. Yes.. you can watch the starry sky, galactic clouds and galaxies from these mountains on a clear sky.

By sunrise, my friends were up and taking pictures of the sunrise near the Laxmi-Narayana temple
We started to descend downhill from the peak by 07:00 AM. I do not have words to describe Mother Nature’s beauty at Narayangiri. I could not believe that we had trekked through such beautiful locations. The descent is not simple as we need to carefully place our steps (as per guides advice) on rocky terrain and climb down.

Our Guide - Mr.Baba who led us through uncharted and unfamiliar territories...safely!
Tip : Follow the guide/guru’s instructions – Donot try to be creative!

Please carry your garbage back to base for safe disposal - respect mother nature!

Mr.Baba's assistant ! The Steep descent from Narayangiri hills.  
We found mango plantations at the base. Kanchan took the intiative to collect the mangoes…. Soon the entire group was relishing on the harvested mangoes. I chatted up with the locals and got to know that the government was planning a 700 step route to the temple. They did inform that it takes one day to cut a step on the rock!

Post this, we reached the base camp by 08:00 AM.  Baba drove us through some very tough terrain to the camp site of escape2explore at Manchanabele Dam. We freshened up and attacked a delicious buffet breakfast. Swamy briefed us about the kayaking activity with dos and donts.

Escape2explore does conduct programs for corporates wrt team building at Manchanabele – combining it with water sports.

We wore safety jackets and got into kayaks. This was a first for most of the friends except Veena. Kayaking through azure blue waters of Arkavathi river cannot be described – you need to just do kayaking to experience the thrill and fun.

Manchinabele backwaters
Manchanabele dam a reservoir, about 40kms from Bangalore was built for irrigation purpose across the river Arkavathi. This place is a well known film shooting spot. Backwaters at the dam with Savanadurga on the backdrop, make it very picturesque.  The dam may not be an exciting piece of architecture but what takes your breath away is the beauty of the water and the mountains around them. It is an excellent picnic spot. Various adventure activities are offered by escape2explore like rappelling, kayaking, swimming,  paintball. 

Please carry your trash back. It’s disheartening to see a lot of people litter and spoil the beauty of the backwaters.

Kayaking in Manchinabele dam

Post the water sports and swimming session, we hopped into our Tata Winger and drove back to the Bangalore city. We bid goodbye to each other with a promise to meet at Barleyz for dinner!
We hope to meet more often and for treks and sports activity.

Our Tata Winger Van


  1. Beautifully written Raghu, with lots of interesting information... It was an amazing trek, memories of which will always linger like fresh breadth of air.
    Thank you for this amazing trip.

  2. Dear Soman, Thanks for coming with us and making this trip with KVVSP friends so joyful and memorable with your presence and participation... Thanks again for reading this travelogue about our trip and providing your wonderful feedback.

  3. Beautifully written and the images you shared about your trek are really awesome.Loved reading your blog.Thank you for sharing the information about your trek.If you want to travel and enjoy then book tickets in Meghana Travels and enjoy your trip.