Surya Namaskara Mantras

ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 12, 2014

Suryanamaskara is typical done in the sets of 12 and each iteration is usually preceded by a Mantra which involves salutation to Sun using his various names. I have given the Mantras in Kannada as well as Sanskrit here. The short form (which is what is chanted during the Suryanamaskara) and the long form (Shloka from which it is derived) are given here.

Suryanamaskara is usually started by chanting this Shloka:

ಹಿರಣ್ಮಯೇನ ಪಾತ್ರೇಣ ಸತ್ಯಸಾಪಿಹಿತಂ ಮುಖಂ|
ತತ್ ತ್ವಂ ಪೂಷನ್ ಅಪಾವೃಣು ಸತ್ಯಧರ್ಮಾಯ ದೃಷ್ಟಯೇ ||

हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम् |
तत्त्वं पूषन् अपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये ||

Each iteration is then preceded by the following Mantras in the order given:

1. ಓಂ ಹ್ರಾಂ ಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रां मित्राय नमः

ಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ಲೋಕಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ಕಂಜ ಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ತೇ ನಮಃ|
ಆಮಿತ್ರಹಾರಿಣೇ ತುಭ್ಯಂ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ||

मित्राय लोकमित्राय कञ्ज मित्राय ते नमः |
आमित्रहारिणे तुभ्यं भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

2. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೀಂ ರವಯೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रीं रवये नमः

ರವಯೇ ರತ್ನಗರ್ಭಾಯ ರಾಜೀವಾಕ್ಷಾಯ ರಾಜಿನೇ |
ರಾಮಾಯ ರಮಣೀಯಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

रवये रत्नगर्भाय राजीवाक्षाय राजिने |
रामाय रमणीयाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

3. ಓಂ ಹ್ರ್ರೂಂ ಸೂರ್ಯಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रूं सूर्याय नमः

ಸೂರ್ಯಾಯ ಸುರನಾಥಾಯ ಸುಖಾಯ ಸುಖದಾಯ ಚ |
ಸುರೂಪಾಯ ಸುಭೂಷಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

सूर्याय सुरनाथाय सुखाय सुखदाय च |
सुरूपाय सुभूषाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

4. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೈಂ ಭಾನವೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रैं भानवे नमः

ಭಾನವೇ ಭವದೇಮಾಯ ಭಯಾಯ ಭಯಹಾರಿಣೇ |
ಭೋಗೀಶಾಯ ಭವಜ್ಞಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

भानवे भवदेवाय भयाय भयहारिणे |
भोगीशाय भवज्ञाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

5. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೌಂ ಖಗಾಯ ನಮ:, ॐ ह्रौं खगाय नमः

ಖಗಾಯ ಖಗಹಂತ್ರೇ ಚ ಖದ್ಯೋತಾಯ ಖಗಾಂಶವೇ |
ಖಗರೂಪಾಯ ದೇವಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

खगाय खगहन्त्रे च खद्योताय खगांशवे |
खगरूपाय देवाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

6. ಓಂ ಹ್ರಃ ಪೂಷ್ಣೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रः पूष्णे नमः

ಪೂಷ್ಣೇತು ಪೂರ್ವಪುಣ್ಯಾಯ ಪುರಾಣ ಪುರುಷಾಯ ಚ |
ಪುಷ್ಕರಾಕ್ಷಾಯ ಪುಣ್ಯಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

पूष्णे तु पूर्वपुण्याय पुराणपुरुषाय च |
पुष्कराक्ष्याय पुण्याय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

7. ಓಂ ಹ್ರ್ರಾಂ ಹಿರಣ್ಯಗರ್ಭಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रां हिरयगर्भाय नमः

ಹೇಮವರ್ಣ ಸ್ವರೂಪಾಯ ಕಾಮಕ್ರೋಧ ಹರಾಯ ಚ |
ಹಿರಣ್ಯಗರ್ಭದೇಹಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

हेमवर्ण स्वरूपाय कामक्रोध हराय च |
हिरण्यगर्भदेहाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

8. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೀಂ ಮರಿಚಯೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रीं मरीचये नमः

ಮರಿಚಯೇ ಮಹೇಶಾಯ ಮಾಧವಾಯ ಮುರಾರಯೇ |
ಮಂತ್ರಾಯ ಮಂತ್ರರಾಜಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

मरीचये महेशाय माधवाय मुरारये |
मंत्राय मंत्रराजाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

9. ಓಂ ಹ್ರ್ರೂಂ ಆದಿತ್ಯಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रूं आदित्याय नमः

ಆದಿತ್ಯಾದಿ ರೂಪಾಯ ಆಕಾಶಪತಯೇ ನಮಃ |
ಆರೋಗ್ಯದಾಯ ಆರ್ಯಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

आदित्यादि रूपाय आकाशपतये नमः |
आरोग्यदाय आर्याय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

10. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೈಂ ಸವಿತ್ರೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रैं सवित्रे नमः

ಸವಿತ್ರೇ ಸರ್ವಲೋಕಾಧಿಪತಯೇ ಸರ್ವದಾಯ ಚ |
ಸರ್ವಾಭೀಷ್ಟ ಪ್ರದೇಚೈವ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

सवित्रे सर्वलोकाधिपतये सर्वदाय च |
सर्वाभीष्ट प्रदेचैव भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

11. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೌಂ ಅರ್ಕಾಯ ನಮ:, ॐ ह्रौं अर्काय नमः

ಅರ್ಕಾಯಾಕ್ಷರ ರೂಪಾಯ ಅಚ್ಯುತಾಯ ಮರಾಯ ಚ |
ಅನ್ನದಾಯನ್ನರೂಪಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

अर्कायाक्षररूपाय अच्युताय मराय च |
अन्नदायन्नरुपाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

12. ಓಂ ಹ್ರಃ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रः भास्कराय नमः

ಭಾನೋ ಭಾಸ್ಕರ ಮಾರ್ತಾಂಡ ಚಂಡರಶ್ಮೇ ದಿವಾಕರ |
ಆರೋಗ್ಯಮಾಯುರ್ವಿಜಯಂ ಪುತ್ರಾನ್ ದೇಹಿ ನಮೋಸ್ತುತೇ ||

भानो भास्कर मार्ताण्ड चण्डरश्मे दिवाकर |
आरोग्यमायुर्विजयं पुत्रान् देहि नमोस्तुते ||

Disclaimer:
संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥


Books for Life

ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 27, 2014

I have been collecting books (and of course reading them!) for a long time now and realized that lately I have acquired quite a few “complete series” kind of books. Now when my existing book shelf
is unable to accommodate the new additions, I thought of writing about a few books that are close to my heart.

Sriman Mahabharata

This is a monumental work that provides simple Kannada translation of Vyasa Mahabharata. Published by Bharatha Darshana, this work consists of 32 volumes with more than 600 pages in each volume. I have been looking for this kind of work in Kannada which provides just the faithful translation of the original Sanskrit Shlokas and nothing else. Though this work doesn’t list and provide full translation of 100000 Mahabharata Shlokas, it includes quite a few shlokas in each of the version. Bharatha Darshana staff tell me that they have included only the important Shlokas but for the rest only the translation exists in the books. For those who want basic translations without any
interpretation of all 100000 Shlokas of Mahabharata, Gita Press provides such a series, but it is in Hindi.

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This entire series costs Rs. 2300 which comes to around Rs 75 per book. Needless to say that the price is heavily subsidized.

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Srimadvalmiki Ramayana

Last year I purchased this 3 volume series of Valmiki Ramayana in Kannada from Gita Press. These books provide basic Kannada translation of all the 24000 Shlokas from 7 Khandas of Valmiki Ramayana. I am actively reading this work from last year and till now completed Bala, Ayodhya and Aranya Khandas. I always wanted to read and understand the original Shlokas of Ramayana and this book is exactly serving the purpose. I have now acquired enough hold in Sanskrit language that I can follow the Sanskrit Shlokas with some help from the Kannada translation present in this book. I am
thoroughly enjoying this book both from Kavya perspective and the Sanskrit language learning perspective and I usually manage to read and understand at least one Sarga in a day. After reading 3
Khandas, I am realizing that we have been fed with many wrong interpretations of Ramayana which I plan to write about separately some other time.

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This 3 volume set costs around Rs.600 which is of course heavily subsidized considering the paper and printing quality.

Kumaravyasa Bharata

Sometime back I happened to read Kuvempu’s autobiography Nenapina Doniyalli which includes hundreds of his poems. This inspired me to read (and of course write!) Kannada poetry and I bought Kumaravyasa Bharata edited and translated by A R Seturamrao. This book provides Kannada translation/interpretation of Kumaravyasa’s (aka Gadugina Naranappa) epic work Kumaravyasa Bharata aka Gadugina Bharata. In Kumaravyasa Bharata, Kumaravyasa has retold Vyasa Mahabharata in the form of Kannada poetry composed in Bhamini Shatpadi meter. For Kannadigas, this is like what Tulasidas Ramayana is for Hindi speaking population and it used to be the primary source of Mahabharata for my parents’ generation where singing, listening and interpreting the verses from Kumaravyasa Bharata used to be favorite evening pass time in many households.

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The liberal amount of Ganjifa art work throughout the book by Ganjifa Raghupathi Bhatta is an added attraction in this book.

Anything related to Mahabharata must be huge and so is this book comprising of 1300 pages. With high quality paper and printing, this single book costs Rs. 2500. This is the most expensive single
book that I have invested in till now!

Rigveda Samhita

The word Veda is so commonplace to us that I am sure most of us don’t know or never had opportunity to really know what’s in Vedas.  In 1950s, Mysore Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar brought together a team of Vidwans led by H. P Venkatrao to provide a version of Rigveda for Kannada speaking population. This monumental work resulted in a series of 36 books which are now being reprinted by Kannada and Culture Department, Government of Karnataka. This book lists each Rigveda Mantra, with word by word listing of the Mantra, description of it from Sayanacharya’s Bhashya, word by word meaning, translation, English translation, special notes and grammar notes.

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This is a collector’s item and over last few years, I have managed to collect all 36 volumes with the intention of reading them after my retirement 🙂 However quite a few retired people are advising me to finish this reading before retirement as their experience tells them that such work can’t be done with reduced mental faculties of old age!

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Each volume has more than 750 pages with high quality print and paper. Each volume is available for a subsidized average price of Rs 250 per volume.

The History and Culture of Indian People

I picked up this series from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan mainly as a reference book and not really for page-to-page reading. This is a set of 11 books covering Indian History from Vedic age till
Independence.

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Shivaram Karanthara Sahitya Shreni

This is a series of books over 25 volumes that aims to include the complete works of Kannada writer K Shivaram Karanth. This was published by Kannada and Culture Department, Govt of Karnataka. Most of his novels and plays are included in these books. Each book has 2 novels and when I bought this, each book was available for as low as Rs.50!

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The complete works of Swami Vivekananda

This is a set of 9 books (when I bought long time back) that includes Swami Vivekananda’s writings, lectures, discourses and more. Published by Advaita Ashrama Kolkata, it is generally available in Ramakrishna Ashram book shops.

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DVG’s Jnapaka Chitrashale

This is a series of 8 books written by D V Gundappa (of Manku Thimmana Kagga fame) which describe certain aspects of DVG’s association and experiences with different kinds of people whom he came across throughout his life. He has categorized them into different categories like “common people”, “Patrons of Art” etc. This series should give a good insight into the life of DVG
himself.

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पक्षिणः जननम् (Birth of Bulbuls)

ಜೂನ್ 29, 2014
मम गृहस्य परिसरे विद्यमानानां पक्षिणः विषये अत्र, अत्रअत्र पूर्व्ं मया लिखितमस्ति | गृहसस्याणि खगान् आकर्षयन्ति इति विचारे मम गृहमेव प्रमाणमित्यहं मन्ये| एकदा पाकशालायाः नालिकायामेव नीडनिर्माणं कृतं पक्षिणा| अद्यत्वे द्वौ पक्षिणौ अस्माकमुद्याने निवेशनं कृत्वा शिशू प्राप्तवन्तौ । अस्य वृत्तन्तस्य विवरणं करोमि अत्र|
Bulbul's nest

Bulbul’s nest

उद्यानस्य एकस्मिन् भागे मल्लिका लता अस्ति। तत्र वयं अनेकवारं न गच्छामः । एकदा तस्यां लतायां नीडमेकं दृष्टवान् । सामान्यतः पक्षी सुरक्षितस्थले नीडस्य रचनं करोति, किन्तु एतत् नीडं भूम्याः निकटे एव आसीत्। अपि च नीडे अल्पाकारयुक्तौ पिङ्गलवर्णबिन्दुयुक्तौ द्वौ अण्डौ आस्तां!

Bulbul's eggs

Bulbul’s eggs

अण्डं तु दृष्टवान् किन्तु कस्य खगस्य अण्डमिति ज्ञातुं पार्श्वे स्थित्वा पक्षिणः निरीक्षणं कृतवान्|  किञ्चित्कालानन्तरं नीडस्योपरि उपविशन्तं मस्तके किरीटसदृश पक्षयुक्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवान्| एषः पक्षी बेङ्गलूरु-नगरे सामान्यतः दृश्यते| अस्य नाम आङ्गलभाषायां Red-whiskered Bulbul इति अस्ति| K N Dave महोदयेन लिखितं “Birds in Sanskrit Literature” पुस्तके अस्य नाम गोवत्सकः इति दत्तमस्ति|

Red-whiskered bulbul

Red-whiskered bulbul

पश्चात् नितराम् नीडे एव उपविशन्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवन्त:। दिनद्वयानन्तरम् अण्डाभ्यां द्वौ अरोमयुक्तौ शिशू बहिरागतवन्तौ। जन्मस्य तत्क्षणं तौ पक्षिणः शिशवः इव न दृश्येते स्म ।

Bulbul chicks - right after birth

Bulbul chicks – right after birth

यदा द्वित्राणि दिनानि अतीतानि, रोमं पक्षं च प्रप्तवन्तौ। शिशोः प्रथम-उड्डयनं द्रष्टुम् अस्माकम् आशा आसीत् किन्तु कदा पक्षिण: सर्वे नीडं त्यक्तवन्तः इति न अवगतमेव अस्माभिः!

4 days old bulbul chicks

4 days old bulbul chicks

Disclaimer:
संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि  न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥


Trek from Jenukallu Gudda to Shivaganga falls

ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 13, 2014

Any day I would prefer bone-chilling cold or even rain to scorching sun during my treks. Apart from Ombattu Gudda trek and beach treks, I haven’t done treks post December in any trek season. So I was a bit weary when Pradeep Hegde invited me to join his group which was attempting to trek from Magod Falls to Shivaganga Falls during 1st weekend of April. I have visited both of these falls but the challenge in this trek was to follow and walk beside the river between these two falls. But the invitation was hard to resist as I would be venturing into Karnataka Western Ghats region in Uttara Kannada District for the first time. Moreover, I was just a participant in this trek as opposed to being an organizer in most of my treks which sometimes is easy.

Though I had booked the bus ticket till Yellapura, I got down at Sonda for a quick visit to my in-laws place, had a good breakfast and got myself dropped at Magod falls (around 35km from Sonda) in bike by my brother-in-law. While I waited at Magod for rest of the group to arrive, Pradeep asked to me instead come over to Jenukallu Gudda, a view point overlooking a valley and which is around 4km from Magod. Apparently a local had advised Pradeep to attempt the initial descent from Jenukallu Gudda since descending down the Magod falls will be difficult and will need ropes. Though our group was equipped with ropes, we decided to start with an easy descent. The group had 12 members: Pradeep, his neighbor Satheesh, Avinash, Venkataraghavan, Vinayak, Nagarjun, Bharath, Ravi, Naveen, Sriharsha, Abhishek and I. The original plan was to reach Bedti river at Magod, follow it downstream till it joins Shalmala River and continue following Shalmala river upstream until it reaches Shivaganga falls.

View from Jenukallu Gudda

View from Jenukallu Gudda

We started the descent from Jenukallu Gudda (470m) at 10.45AM. The descent was mostly steep with dry leaves on the forest floor making the descent a bit more challenging.  We lost altitude quickly and hit a jeep tack (80m) at 11.30AM. We took right deviation into the jeep track and started walking with the hope that we will reach the confluence of Bedti and Shalmala rivers along the way. After a few hundred meters into the track we could see a dried up river bed towards our left and we continued the walk for an hour or so under direct sun before reaching a Siddimane (A house belonging to Siddi tribe) at a village called Kelase. To our surprise, we learnt from Siddis that we are way ahead of the confluence point and are in fact walking in the opposite direction! At Siddimane, we took a break to prepare lemon juice since fresh water was available here.

Dried up river bed near Kelase village

Dried up river bed near Kelase village

At around 1.15PM, we reversed our direction, continued to make progress on the jeep track and reached another Siddimane at 2PM. We had a good lunch that included “Avalakki oggarane” from Pradeep’s house and “Masala Majjige” (butter milk) mixed with lemon grass. Post lunch, a Siddi boy briefly accompanied us till the river and after which we were on our own walking upstream along Shalmala river (after the confluence with Bedti) which had a good amount of water in it considering that it was summer. We were now on the right bank of the river and the path mostly consisted of boulders. The heat was a bit too much for me and the walk was made further difficult by the blisters I had all over the feet.

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We went past a few Siddis who were fishing and finally reached the confluence (125m) of Bedti and Shalmala at 4.45PM. While the confluence point had a bit of depth and hence calm waters, the Shalmala side had gushing water and was rocky.

The confluence of Bedti and Shalmala rivers

The confluence of Bedti and Shalmala rivers

Many of us spent some time cooling ourselves in Shalmala while most of the group had an extended river time at the confluence point. Swimming and breath-holding skills were at display: while Satheesh excelled in swimming and managed to crossover to the other bank, Vinayak could hold breath under water for more than 2min!

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Our camping site was on the river bed at the confluence point which already had arrangements for stove (made of stones), all we needed was to get some dry wood which was available in plenty. Boiled rice Ganji with pickle, curd and butter milk was on the menu. Ganji was so very filling and was a bit unusual for me since we usually stick to ready-to-eat stuff to keep the logistics simple in our treks. The night was cloudy and warm and sleeping inside the sleeping bag wasn’t an option for many.  There was even a light drizzle past midnight.

On Sunday morning, we got up fairly early and wanted to end the trek before noon to avoid the harsh summer sun. The combination of pickle and freshly obtained honey (given to us in the morning by Siddis from their night’s catch) gave a distinct flavour to yesterday’s Ganji and I could see Ganji was more in demand than the freshly prepared maggi noodles! We started upstream alongside Shalmala river at 8AM after a round of lemon tea with honey.

Shalmala river side was very rocky and we were mostly walking over huge boulders. We had to cross over to the opposite bank multiple times whenever forward progress on one bank was difficult or impossible. With the amount of water in the river in April, we mostly could negotiate the river without much difficulty and I am sure the challenges on this trail will be totally different if the water level was high. But we were facing a different challenge and that was the dry heat. The rate at which I was loosing water via sweat seemed to be more than the intake rate. Given that we were walking beside a river, there was never shortage of water fortunately.

River Shalmala

River Shalmala

At 10.30AM when I was feeling a bit down, we had a lemon juice break. I must have taken close to a litre and it really helped to get my energy levels back. Next we climbed over to a small hill only to realize that it was more difficult than a small jump over the rock that we were planning to originally avoid. Thus we had to backtrack and make progress over the boulders itself. The quest for the end (Shivaganga falls) continued and we kept making progress in the hot sun. I even reached a stage where I felt just drinking loads of water wasn’t helping me and had to resort to Glucose which Pradeep was carrying. I can’t remember when I had taken Glucose on a trek, must have been in the last decade, but such was the harshness of this trek for me.

Shivaganga falls

Shivaganga falls

Finally we reached the base of Shivaganga falls (270m) at 1PM where we consumed chapattis for lunch with Chatni pudi, jam and honey. Next it was a steep climb to reach the view point of the waterfalls (465m) from where we had hired a jeep. Thus ended one of the most difficult treks I have done in recent times. Though the trail distance and the terrain was manageable, the summer sun brought out a whole new challenge to the trek. I have done treks earlier in other extreme conditions like winter trek at -20°C in thigh deep snow, altitudes upwards of 5000m etc, but this summer trek in seemingly easy terrain turned to be a trek to remember as far as endurance is concerned.

Map of the route we took is here, courtesy Vinayak.


मेघाक्षेपः

ಜನವರಿ 10, 2014
When I was in Himalayas last year during the Animal Pass and Sara Umga Pass trek,  I was forced to spend an idle day at Shamshi Thach, thanks to the bad weather. There was nothing else to do on that day and it was a bit depressing to look at clouds engulfing the peaks all around.
A peak seen from Shamshi Thach camp

A peak seen from Shamshi Thach camp

The same peak masked by clouds

The same peak masked by clouds

Now that depression has come out in the form of a poem in Sanskrit. The poet (who is also the trekker here) isn’t amused by the clouds covering all the beautiful peaks and gives a piece of his mind to the Clouds and also gives a bit of free advice!

The poem is set in Anushtup chandas. This being my 1st attempt in Sanskrit poetry, I am sure, will have mistakes, but I thank my brother-in-law Krishnamoorthy Bhat for suggesting some corrections and improvements.

मेघाक्षेपः

रचितं कालिदासेन खण्डकाव्यं तवोपरि |

प्रेमयुक्तं मनोहासं मेघ ते मधुरान्वितम् || १ ||
[O cloud, Kalidasa wrote a lyrical poem on you which had love, sweetness and that was enjoyable]

रचयाम्य्ल्पकाव्यन्तु एतत्त्वं श्रोतुमर्हसि |

उद्दिश्य त्वामहं सत्यं आकाशचलनप्रिय || २ ||
[One who likes to move in the sky (aka Cloud), (Now) I am writing a small poem addressing you that you should listen to]
मेघदूते गुणी भूत्वा अकरोत् कर्म वै सुखम् |
मत्काव्ये किन्तु आक्षेपं  निश्चयेन करोम्यहम् || ३ ||
[In (Kalidasa’s poem) Meghadoota, you did a nice job being a good person. But in my poem, I am blaming you for sure]

शिखराणि अनेकानि शोभन्ते तु हिमालये |
हिमावृतानि सर्वाणि श्रेष्ठानि धवलानि च || ४ ||
[A number of snow-covered, white, high peaks adorn the Himalaya]

भ्रमसि त्वमहोरात्रं नित्यं मेघ हिमालये |
त्वमावृणोसि शैलानि यथा राहुः दिवाकरम् || ५ ||
[O cloud, you roam around the Himalaya day and right regularly, and cover/mask the peaks like how Rahu masks the Sun]

कान्तिहीनं प्रभाहीनं पर्वतं च करिष्यसि |
अविवेकं कठोरञ्च कार्यं तव न रोचते || ६ ||
[You take the shine out of the mountain and this thoughtless and cruel act of yours isn’t liked by me]

मित्रमस्ति गिरेर्मित्रः दुर्दशां न सहिष्यति |
क्षणमात्रेण ते गर्वः द्रविष्यति न संशयः || ७ ||
[Sun, who is mountain’s friend will not like his (mountain’s) bad situation. No doubt that your arrogance will melt in a jiffy (thanks to Sun)]

त्वामेव हि निरीक्षन्ते जनाः मीनं बकः यथा |
जलधर भवान् गत्वा वर्षधारां तथा कुरु || ८ ||
[People wait for you like crane waits (patiently, eagerly) for a fish. O cloud who holds the water, you go there and cause rain]

भवान्तु कुत आयातः यत्रकुत्रापि गच्छति |

तेन तुष्टो भविष्यामि मावृणोतु हिमश्रियम् || ९ ||

[Where do you come from ? You roam around aimlessly. Don’t mask the mountain and I will be happy]

Disclaimer:
संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि  न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥


2013 in review

ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್ 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Kudremukha Trek

ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್ 25, 2013

My last tryst with Karnataka Western Ghats was in 2011 when we trekked to Deepadakallu and Jenukallu peaks from Maragunda. A couple of disturbing incidents involving trekkers getting lost/killed in the forests  dissuaded us from exploring any new routes. Having completed most of the exciting trails in Charmadi and Shiradi range, we were mostly content doing an yearly Himalayan trek. But after a partially successful Himalayan trek to Saraumga Pass, we were longing to get back to the forest trails of Western Ghats. There are only a few options if you want to trek in Karnataka Western Ghats with proper permission from Forest Department – Kudremukha and Kumara Parvatha come to my mind. Since I had done Kumara Parvatha already twice, we decided to do the famous Kudremukha peak.

Kudremukha peak seen on the left side of Gaumukha peak

Kudremukha peak seen on the left side of Gaumukha peak

Kudremukha has become synonymous to trekking in Karnataka and it is a favorite beginner’s destination. Though we knew it would be crowded during the weekends, we decided to go ahead since it was one of the few officially permitted trekking trails. The trek was planned for the last weekend of November. The group comprised of 7 trekkers: Naren, Austin and his friend Prashanth, Preeti, Pradeep and I. The group had two beginners: Preeti for whom this was her first Western Ghats trek though she had done Animal Pass Himalayan trek earlier this year and Pradeep who was an absolute fresher. I contacted Sathish from Mullodi village at Kudremukha base who provides lodging and guide services to the trek. Logistics-wise this is an easy trek since everything including permission, food, guide and accommodation was being arranged by Sathish.

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We boarded the Horanadu bus on Friday night from Bangalore. What to expect in next 2 days was evident when we got a a bunch of over-excited trekkers in the bus for company who hardly allowed us sleep. We reached Kalasa at 7AM where Austin and Prashanth joined us. Next it was again a short bus journey to reach Balagallu village. From there it was an uphill climb through the winding roads in a jeep and we reached Mullodi village at 9AM. Mullodi village (1180m) is situated at the base of Kudremukh mountain range. Our accommodation was arranged in Sathish’s house which would be hosting 15 other trekkers we were told earlier. But we were surprised to find out that there will be at least 50 more trekkers camping at this house for the night. Fortunately most of the people had already started the day’s hike, however there were still enough people to form a queue at the only one bathroom that was present at Sathish’s house. Since bath was out of question, we gulped down super-hard idlies with a beverage that tasted like anything but tea.

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Hirumarguppi peak

After paying the Kudremukha National Park entry fees and trekking fees (Rs 275/- per person per day) to a forest department official who was present at Sathish’s house, we hit the trail with a guide at 10AM. There are two main routes to the Kudremukha peak from Mullodi. First one is a longer one that touches Gaumukha peak. The second one is a more direct route to Kudremukha peak with the trail distance of 10km one way. We chose the direct route since longer route was out of question when we start the trek as late as 10AM.

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The trail quickly leaves the village behind and enters the forest. We crossed a couple of streams in the forest and by 10.30PM, we could see Gaumukha, Durgadabbe and Kudremukha peaks clearly. Hirumarguppi (Thirumalaguppi – the corrupted form) was also visible towards our left. By around 11AM, the real ascent started and we met scores of other trekkers who had started before us. The groups had too many first timers and hardly followed any trail discipline by resorting to extreme shouting and whistling. Unwilling to spoil our trek, we increased our pace to maintain a considerable distance from this noisy crowd. The pace set by Preeti, Pradeep, Naren and I was a bit too high for rest of our folks to follow and we gradually left them as they settled into their own pace.

Kudremukha peak

Kudremukha peak

Kudremukha peak is at around 1800m, so this trek involves an scent of 800m from Mullodi village. While the ascent is mostly gradual, the final ascent to the ridge line which leads to the peak is challenging. The guide took us via the straight ascent path instead of the usual zig-zag winding route. We made good progress, thanks to the oranges we were carrying in plenty. At 1PM we reached a stream and were just 100m below the peak. We completed the packed lunch provided by Sathish. Unlike our other treks where we carry our own food stuff with us, in this trek we had completely outsourced food and stay to Sathish. I had to force the chittranna down my throat due to lack of other food options. Here we decided to wait for rest of our group and they joined us at 1.30PM.

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Views around Kudremukha peak

Views around Kudremukha peak

The final 100m assault to the peak turned out to be easier than anticipated and we reached the Kudremukha peak at 1.45PM. As we reached the peak, another group which had come via the Gaumukha route left giving us some silent moments on the peak. The weather was mostly cloudy and cleared up intermittently to give us glimpses of the mountain range around Kudremukha peak. Our guide offered to take us down via the longer Gaumukha route, but we declined since some of our folks were really tired and we wanted to reach the village before it turned dark. It does become dark very early in the forests in the winter.

Chundi peak

Chundi peak

As the noisy crowd of trekkers started to arrive at the peak, we made an exit at 2.30PM. The descent turned out to be longer and strenuous than anticipated. The trail which we had covered enthusiastically in the morning now appeared to be never ending and we dragged our feet along to reach Mullodi at 5.30PM. We had left Austin, Prashanth and Chinmay with the guide behind and they reached around an hour later.

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The sight at Sathish’s house wasn’t that pleasing as new bunch of trekkers for tomorrow’s trek had arrived. Tents were laid out all around the house to accommodate them and there was contention for all the resources in the house from food till bathroom. When resources are in short supply, people let go of courtesy and staying at such place is no longer enjoyable. We had come in the anticipation of washing ourselves with hot water. With one bathroom catering to 25 odd people, that wasn’t possible. Naren, Pradeep and I washed ourselves in the cold water of the running stream. Though it was extremely cold, it was simultaneously refreshing after a hard day’s trek.

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We were given a room inside the house and most of us were carrying our own sleeping bags. Already crowded house became even more crowded with the arrival of BMC crowd. In all there were more than 50 people staying in that house with two toilets and 1 bathroom!  Things were in such short supply that Sathish struggled to provide us the required floor mats. As the tired trekkers hit the bed, BMC folks started playing Anthakshari and the idiots refused to stop even after our objection. Finally Sathish had to intervene to settle the matter.

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Some of us got up as early as 5AM on Sunday to use the most precious resource, the toilet! We had asked to our guide to take us to a hill locally called Chundi that is located adjacent to Hirumarguppi peak. This route is not frequented by many and we hoped to get some real trekking experience since there wasn’t any well marked route to this peak. While Chinmay, Austin and Prashanth preferred to stay back, Pradeep, Preeti, Naren and I started on the 2nd day’s trek at 8AM.

The initial path is via hills covered by fern shrubs and it soon led to grassland where the head-high grass was seen at many stretches. The ascent was also very rapid and we felt like doing some real trekking. We started attacking the Chundi peak head on and were doing some serious ascent on its grassy slope. We reached 1235m at 8.50AM, 1500m at 9.45AM an with just one tiny break we reached Chundi peak (1630m) at 10.15AM.

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Unlike yesterday where we had reached Kudremukha peak in the afternoon, we were at Chundi peak well before noon. The cloud cover wasn’t there and we got good views of the peaks around. In fact Chundi offers a very good view of the Kudremukha peak and the abrupt fall in the rocky face of Kudremukha peak is nicely visible from Chundi. We started the descent at 11AM. To make the descent interesting, we choose a different route that consisted of multiple adjacent hills and we planned to take the ridge line to cover all those and then descend at the last hill. This part of the trek turned out to be very good with nice views of the charmadi range on the other side. The route involved multiple ascents and descents and the extra grass growth made it more challenging. At one point the descent was so steep that sliding down was an easier option that walking down. We also passed beside a cluster of rocks that had all the signs of an active bear den.

We hardly took any breaks and reached Mullodi at 1.30PM and had a nice bath in the river. By 4PM we reached Kalasa, visited Kalaseshwara temple and then proceeded to Horanadu where we joined rest of our folks. After a good dinner at the Annapoorneshwari temple, we started back to Bangalore.