Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Aiyur - Kodakerai Trek on 4/5 April 2009

After much planning, several emails and phone calls, the long awaited trek to Kodakerai finally happened on April 4/5 2009 when Karthik, Guru, Sudhakar, Tanu, Shan, Avishek and I made the 'full monty' from Aiyur to Kodakerai.

Sudhakar drove down from Chennai the previous night while the rest of us left from Bangalore on 4th morning. Met up at Denkanikottai (at Shankar Cafe...where else??) and then headed straight to Aiyur FRH. After parking the cars and re-filling our water bottles, we started the trek at around 10 am. Within few metres we came across a local who said that there were elephants further down the road. Thereafter, we met people at regular intervals...some warning us about elephants and some saying that it was safe. We anyway continued our trek and after 45 mins of steady walking, we took our first break at Sami Eri..around 3 kms from Aiyur FRH. By this time, all 7 of us were behaving like we had been childhood friends despite the fact that not everyone knew each other just about an hour ago.

Subsequently, our pace began to slacken as the sun's intensity grew, the tar road became hotter and the turn leading to Kodakerai did not appear. We began to wonder if we had missed it somewhere. Fortunately we sighted the hand-pump and opposite to it, the mud track!! By now we had covered 7 kms and with a spring in our steps, we got onto the mud track and for a strange reason the breeze also picked up. Spider valley showed up after few minutes and all of us took sometime to drink in the beauty of the view.

As our gaze swept Spider valley, we could see the mud track winding its way up, deep into the Gutherayan ranges and we wondered how we would make all that distance.

Thereafter, the breaks came faster and lasted longer than the previous ones. Every villager we encountered had his own estimate of the distance to Kodakerai...from 2 kms to 12 kms.

After sometime, we decided to ignore all estimates and carried on gamely. Stopped at a bamboo grove for lunch of puris, sambar, sagu and chutney (which we had packed from Shankar Cafe) and resumed the journey and finally reached the village at around 4.30 pm.

While we relaxed and drank the 'sweet' water from a tank and made enquiries for a guide, we got to know that Kodakerai was still 1 mile ahead! Picked up our back-packs once again and headed towards Kodakerai.

Shan used his charms to arrange lime tea for us while the rest of us busied ourselves in sourcing a guide, equiring about the forests etc. The headman finally organised Lingappa to take us into the forest to our camping site at Gutheri.

After an ardous trek of 2 kms, we finally reached the rocky ledge overlooking Gutheri. It was 7.30 pm...a good 9.5 hrs and 18 kms and several nutri bars since we started from Aiyur in the morning. However all fatique vanished as we sensed the dense shola forests around us. After some exploring around the lake, we came back to our camp site. We got a good fire going and soon we were enjoying a nice night in the middle of the jungles and under the dark sky, munching biscuits and cakes.

After deciding to take it easy the next morning (attempting to reach Gutherayan peak, which is a good steep climb of 4 kms, would have delayed our return to Aiyur), we all slipped into our sleeping bags while Karthik took to the safety of the tent. He was soon joined by Shan and Guru as the night turned colder.

Woke up in the morning to the sounds of birds all around us. Guru went down to the lake for birding and the rest of us slowly crept out of our sleeping bags and tents. Sudhakar got the gem of an idea to toast bread on the camp fire. With a stick poked into the bread, he got into the act and soon we were all served with hot toast and green apple jam.

With our breakfast done, we all went down to Gutheri and after some exploring and photo sessions, came back, packed and traced our steps back to Kodakerai.

Our aim was to reach the main road before 2 pm and catch the bus to Aiyur. However, when we noticed that a Tata Sumo had come to the village to repair the bore-well, all thoughts of walking down the mud-track went up in hot air (literally!) and we asked the driver to drop us to the main road. He adamantly refused and did not give any reason also for it. Fortunately, as we were having tea (milk tea this time), we were given the welcome news that a tempo was on its way to the village to drop some provisions and we could go in that. Much to our relief, the tempo came in soon after and thankfully, we agreed to drop us till Aiyur. We then quickly distributed all remaining biscuits, chocolates, cakes etc. to the kids around, boarded the tempo and in 50 mins were at the Aiyur FRH.

After a quick and sumptuous meal, we parted ways..with Sudhakar heading to Chennai and the rest of us to Bangalore, but not before deciding to return soon, scale Gutherayan and have a barbeque on the camp fire!!

Civet cat
A gun-shot
A growl + Loud rustle

Approx. 300 families in Kodakerai.
Around 15-20 hamlets surrounding Kodakerai.
Total population 3000-5000.
Source of water - borewell.
Conflicting reports about wildlife presence, with majority saying that there is no wildlife. But one gentlemen named Chandrappa stated categorically that the forests are teeming with all varieties of wildlife, except Tigers.
No schools and hospitals.
Most of the people practise farming or work as contract labor in Hosur and Bangalore.
No public transport. People normally walk 9 kms to the main road to catch the TNSTC bus.
Laxmeesha Acharya
Kenneth Anderson Nature Society

Guru Timmapur
Tanushree Das



Blogger Anuradha Shankar said...

that was interesting, especially since i am reading Kenneth Anderson's 'junlges long ago'. i read one of his stories about spider valley and wondered what it would be like today... your post came at the right time......


April 7, 2009 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger Laxmeesha said...

Thanks...hope to trek through Spider Valley sometime...start from Aiyur and reach Kempakerai..or the other way around :)

April 13, 2009 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did you encounter the civet and the growl? At night I presume. We were down there a couple of days ago. We saw old signs of elephants, but encountered no fauna ourselves. I’m absolutely amazed to find a place so beautiful and so “jungly” as Anderson would have used the term right outside of Bangalore.

April 17, 2009 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Laxmeesha said...

The civet was towards evening and the growl was at dawn.

May 18, 2009 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger The wild said...

Good interesting trek indeed,i would be interested in knowing about your activities


September 23, 2009 at 2:55 AM  
Blogger service-hyd said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

Your site is giving very good information about water, It is very useful in our dailylife, Now a days due to lack of sufficient water so many persons are facing many problems. In this circumstances Borewells in Hyderabad is doing some help to dig and get water. Some of the Borewells in Hyderabad.


Borewells in Hyderabad

November 7, 2013 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Interesting trek Laxmesh and Karthi!!!! got a link to read entire trek..

May 16, 2015 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger sedhiyur said...

Nice trip we had

July 16, 2015 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We have visited Aiyur on march 2016, And had published the report, Please visit http://kennethanderson.in

April 1, 2016 at 11:55 AM  

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