I woke up when the bus swerved off the highway onto an asphalted narrow village road. All that could be seen were silhouettes of trees and scattered houses as the cold breeze rushed in when I opened the window pane. A short drive on the bumpy road and the bus stopped at a school ground. The little town of Pandavapura was wrapped in darkness and it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere at 2.30 AM. Blurry eyed and half asleep, we disembarked from the bus to pitch darkness to scale Kunti Betta. We were yet to get a grip of the the surroundings when the silence was broken by more vehicles and noisy visitors. Assembled quickly and patiently waited for the crowd to move ahead. The torch lights came out shortly as we made our way to Kunti Betta in the silence of the starry night. Not sure if it was a moonless night or a cloudy one.
Situated in Pandavapura, a detour off the Bangalore- Mysore highway, Kunti Betta is frequented by both night and day trekkers. With boulders all over, Kunti Betta is mentioned in Mahabaratha as the place where Kunti, the mother of Pandavas spent time during the exile. There is a large water body nearby known as Kunti kund, which also gets its name from Kunti. The trek is quite popular with trekkers from Bangalore and is frequented by hordes of adventure enthusiasts during the weekend.
The group followed the trek lead and a while later he stopped and shone the torch light to a huge monolithic rock to our right. The climb was to begin. Slowly, we pulled ourselves to the top of it, despite a few sliding steps. The decibel levels from the other group turned high and we let them pass as we soaked in the eerie silence of the cold night. The constant short breaks helped. It was not long before we had the first real challenge. The almost ninety degree rock stood before us with just a small crevice for a foothold. While a few managed to climb over, the others took a winding narrow route wedged between two rocks to come out on top. A short climb later, we were right below popular the croc- face rock, which we didn't notice in the dark until the trek lead shone the light. This rock which looks like the face of a crocodile is visible from a distance during a day trek.
We trod past boulders and rocks to hit the infinity point shortly. A popular place of rest, the infinity point is above one of the hills en-route to Kunti Betta, which offers nice views all around. Despite the darkness, we could make out the Kunti Kund, which lay way below. Kunti Betta, our final destination too made its presence felt. A few torch lights flashed from Kunti Betta as we made ourselves comfortable at Infinity point. It was past three in the morning and we had some time to while away before we got onto the trek trail to witness sunrise atop Kunti betta. It was cold, windy and a bit eerie with large silhouettes of boulders everywhere. What better way to make it eerier than some paranormal stories?
|A hillock and Kunti kund|
The final climb to the summit was an easy trail over more boulders. The trek culminated at the stone pillar which stands tall atop Kunti Betta. Cold wind blew hard and more light spread as the group scattered and went in search of their preferred vistas. Farm lands, paddy fields, coconut trees, tiny winding roads, distant shrines and houses, boulders, jutting rocks, water bodies- there was no dearth of vistas. The landscape looked breathtakingly beautiful. The only disappointments were the presence of a large crowd and the sun not showing up. It remained cloudy for long, but the vistas more than made up for it. While a few souls stared in oblivion at the landscapes way below, some attempted climbing the stone pillar and many headed to the vertical point for a photo shoot. Vertical point is a long jutting rock which seems like would break off and take you a few hundred feet down. Looks scary, but is definitely an adrenaline raiser and is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Kunti Betta trek.
All the action came to a halt suddenly as the clouds opened up. The lost souls and adventure junkies ran for cover. Though not for long, the short burst of rain curtailed our stay on top.The cold and wet morning greeted us with a hint of sunshine once the rain subsided, but it remained cloudy for long. The trek down was through another route, a bit slippery because of the rains but much easier than the climb. Waded, jumped and slid over boulders, and in a short-while we were in the plains. The stone pillar atop was visible at a distance and the huge boulders in various shapes looked unique and beautiful with patches of green in between. The walk led us away from the boulders and we trespassed a few coconut groves before hitting the waters of Kunti Kund. A splash in the waters was followed by a sumptuous breakfast at a tiny hotel in Pandavapura and then the long languorous walk back to the bus. Content, happy and refreshed, we returned to the concrete jungle.
|Kunti Betta- hillock on the right|
Kunti Betta night trek is one of the easier, comfortable and enjoyable night treks from Bangalore. Check out Get Beyond Limits, who offers this trek quite frequently.
Route- Bangalore- Ramnagara- Maddur- Mandya- Pandavapura
Distance- 126 Kms