Its been over 2 years that I parted my ways with Software AG but remained friends with many of my colleagues (even till today). We had one group of ourselves consisting of 7-8 people who used to go together for breakfast, lunch, tea break. It was such a fun hanging out with them and we use to discuss many things: from office gossip to share market conditions especially at Tea break. We had been to a couple of trips when we were in the same office. Now, that I was the only one who separated from the group, we were planning for a trip since 6 months now but one or the other guy wasn’t able to turn up due to their family commitments.
A week back, Harsha had called to ask if I’m up for the trip to which I replied “Tentative” because I wasn’t in a mood to go. After discussing with other people, they picked SAKLESHPUR for the weekend trip. I had already been to that place a couple of time now which demoralized me more not to go but my wife persisted to go and have fun (as she knew them from a couple of years now). They booked a homestay called “Mystique Falls” which was outside the city and somewhere inside the jungle. Travel date was set to Saturday, 21st July and pickup time was 6 AM. Everyone had their pickup points planned accordingly the previous night and decided to meet at Nelmangala-Hassan flyover.
As planned, everyone reached the first meeting point to have tea and snacks. From there on, we drove for an hour before stopping for breakfast at Hotel Mayura Veg (near Bellur cross). We quickly filled our stomach and were back on the road in order to reach the homestay on time for lunch. After stopping once or twice in the middle, we reached the designated place as informed by Homestay owner. We were informed to park our vehicles there (as the road is not suited) and from there a jeep picked us up and dropped near the homestay. In order to reach the homestay, one should cross the bridge.
My first impression of the homestay was negative and it wasn’t nowhere what I had expected (even others to some extent). We dropped our bags in the room provided and went for lunch. Lunch was OK with not many options for Veg or Non-veg. We had our lunch and were back to our room thinking what to do next as it was raining outside. Staff informed us that no water activities due to heavy rainfall and rise in water levels. Everyone was dejected and there was nothing else to do apart from relaxing in the room. After much deliberation, we went to play mud volleyball. It was a thrilling experience as guys were excited, fearful (due to leeches), feeling cold (due to continuous rain). Everyone had a great time for an hour before we decided to go back to the room and rest for a while.
It was just 5 PM in the evening when I, Prashanth and Harsha went to the common area asking staff to prepare for snacks, coffee & campfire. They were kind enough to prepare hot snacks (Mirchi bajji) with coffee and lightened the campfire for us. An hour passed when other friends arrived and sat around us. Everyone was making their body warm around the campfire, chatting and discussing various things. It was drinks/dinner time and we were still there chilling ourselves. We moved our ass only when the wood turned into ashes (time was around 11.30 PM) and retired to our room. The staff informed us that they would take us to the trek tomorrow morning around 6 AM, so be ready.
Next day morning, most of the guys weren’t ready for the trek but we pushed them to come. In order to not get drenched, the staff provided a plastic sheet to cover our body in case it rains. It was hardly 10mins of the trek, there were leeches on everyone’s feet. A couple of guys frightened and returned back whereas others continued. We tried to apply salt as and when leeches were on our body but later on, it didn’t matter as we ignored and kept trekking. The last part of the trek was difficult due to the steep and slippery nature caused by continuous rains.
After an hour, we reached the top and the view from it was just refreshing. The wind was breezy and the clouds were moving with such a rapid pace. On reaching the top, everyone’s phone was buzzing as there was network reception. They called their respective families to inform about their whereabouts. After that, we sat there changing our positions every few minutes in all directions to catch the glimpse of the forest. The climate was changing drastically, that’s when the guide signaled us lets get back to the camp. The trek to down was even more dangerous as there was no support to lean/catch. At one point, one of my friends slid down taking another with him but luckily the guy in front balanced somehow and they stopped after a few meters. It was such a scary sight to watch and everyone’s heart was in their mouth. In an hour, we reached back safely.
Breakfast was ready and everyone was hungry. We had our stomach’s full and went for our room, got fresh in no time to travel back to Bengaluru. We had planned many activities but nature played its course and we ended doing nothing but eating & talking about love stories, linkups, family responsibilities, and many other idiotic topics. Even though it didn’t go as we planned yet it was fun and relaxing with such friends.
- By Road (Preferable)– The road condition from Bangalore is excellent till Sakleshpur. It is at a distance of 230 KMs from Bangalore taking Bangalore-Nelmangala-Hassan-Sakleshpur NH.
- By Train – One can get down at Sakleshpur when traveling from Bangalore. From there, one has to reach Hanbal in order to get picked up by Homestay staff.
- By Bus – There are direct buses to Sakleshpura from Bangalore.
- The best time to visit – Monsoon (July – August).
- Carry extra clothing, shoes, umbrella/raincoats etc.
- Carry a medical kit in case of emergency as its remote place.
- Download the maps offline which is very important as the network signals become weak.
- Keep contacting the homestay staff in case of confusion/dilemma. [sometimes address in the google maps is wrong which is informed by the homestay staff prior]
- If you have friends who booze, it is recommended to buy it en route or at Sakleshpura.
- Pack food items of your interests as it will be needed due to various activities.