September 16, 2013

A Trek to Mt. Fuji - Unforgettable

I and one my colleague had been to Mt.Fuji last weekend (Saturday, 14th September 2013). It was really a memorable one, awesome but one of the worst day of my life.

We started from home around 11:30 AM went to Center Kita, bought few accessories which were left out for trekking. From there on we started our travel (train from Center Kita -> Azamino, another train from Azamino  -> Shibuya and final train from Shibuya -> Shinjuku) and reached bus station around 1:50 PM. There we booked Keio bus to Mt. Fuji 5th station and the bus was at 4:50. We had around 3 hours of time, so we did some window shopping, roam around and finally had some food in MCD.

Exactly at  4:50 PM, our bus left. After 1 hour, we entered hilly region and the view was really a good one as the entire hills are densely populated with trees. I was wondering how spectacular it would be if it was snowing :D. After 2:30 hours, we reached Fuji 5th station around 7:25 PM. As soon as we got down, our body could feel the chillness and I wore a sweater to keep myself warm. As it was already night, we were not able to see anything around. All we could see was a inverted cone shaped mountain. We completed our dinner and started our trek at around 7:50PM. Sticks are required to trek and costs 1000Yen for a stick with bell, 1200Yen for stick with Japan flag and 1500Yen for stick with Mt.Fuji route map. We got sticks but we did not buy as we found those sticks lying near the start point (Trekkers who returned should have kept it so that it would help other trekkers).

It was really a cool and breezy night with moon barely seen. We started the trek by taking some snaps.  

As we proceeded we saw a map where it shows 2 routes, One route was closed from September 1st and other one will be opened till October 2nd. So we took the allowed route, but rest of the trekkers took the closed route as it was shorter one. We were the only 2 in this route and went through the forest where no one were there. In that wood, I saw one wooden house which looked similar to the house in Evil Dead, but I was not scared as i knew that there are lots to go to reach the summit.

After a hour of trekking, we reached a point where both the routes met and we were accompanied by other trekkers. As we proceeded further, slowly we could realize that air was getting thinner and our heart beats was increasing its pace. We reached 6th station took some rest for about 25 min.  By now we started to feel the temperature drop and I could feel chillness. I checked my mobile, I had full signal but it was of no use. My pocket WiFi was not having signal at all and it was really crazy as International roaming signal is full but local one is 0. I could feel my sweater becoming wet due to the cold breeze. So I covered myself with a thick Jacket and then continued to trek.

I could see clouds slowly covering the mountain and was feeling happy imagining how awesome it would be in the morning when I see a sunrise. Slowly things changed, it started drizzling and I was still happy as Sulfur dust will not be blown against us. I sat 3-4 times between 7th station to 8th station as my shoulders were aching due to backpack weight. As soon as we reached the eight station, the rain took its control and started to show its true color. Our gloves and shoes completely drenched and our bags was now around 12kgs as it got drenched in rain.The paths were really sloppy and was becoming really difficult to trek. The temperature was really dropping and I my body could not accept the weight anymore. So I sat for 10 minutes and rested then took some energy gel and again continued with trek. My Colleague was saying that we have almost reached the last station and we can rest here till the sunrises but I told him tat I saw a light which is at a farther distance and that should be the 10th and the final station and that is where our trek will complete but he did not accept. By now, my palm and feet was entirely in numbness. It was really difficult for me to go further but my desire was to reach the summit and take a look at the crater so we still continued. We managed to reach 9th station successfully. There was board setup saying that it is 9th station and 1.3km pending to reach the summit and I was right. There was a temperature sensor setup, we checked and it was 0degree. OMG!!! We have survived 0 degree for few hours after our hands and foot were drenched in rain. We were not able to move further anymore due to lack of sleep and body pain, so we decided to take camp and sleep for 2 hours at-least and then continue. We checked the camps and it was fully. They did not allow us inside, hence we decided to go little further and check for a camp and rest there. We left 9th station and started climbing the slope. The rain was really heavy and the wind was blowing around 80-90kmph but we somehow wanted to continue and we proceeded further till 30 meters. But it was really dangerous to go further as we were about to be blown away. We came back to 9th station and were searching camps but we coudn't find it. Everywhere it was full and though we were ready pay hefty amount, those Japanese were not even ready to let us in.

We stopped and stayed at the 9th station for about 1 hour but the camp was not getting emptied. By this time, we were almost freeze'd to death. We could not move our fingers and it was so numb that we had a feeling that we have lost it. We decided to go down to 8th or 7th station and find a camp to rest. There were totally 3 routes, first one was 4.8 kms to base station but this base station was a different one. Other 2 routes were for the 5th station. One was zigzag path which is about 17.3 kms and other one is 5.6 kms. 17.3 kms path was mainly for bulldozers and 5.6kms for trekkers which had all the stations on the way.

Instead of taking 5.6kms route, we took 17.3 kms route. Initially we could not realize this, but after coming around 3kms, we realized this. As this path was little easy to walk when compared to other routes, we continued. We walked, walked and kept on walking, all we could see it black debris with dark background. It was so windy and raining heavily, that we couldn’t even lift our eyes to see the path. As we descended further, our hands and feet numbness was decreasing and could breathe much better. After some time we were back to normal, but I was really not doing well, my shoulders, back, joints and foot was terribly paining. It was really difficult to keep steps further with that heavy backpack. When we flashed the light to check out the path, we could see lustrous rocks which were twinkling and really nice to see, so i took small rock as a remembrance. There came a troop of trekkers from behind, we joined them and continued our journey. They were pretty faster and I was the slowest among all. To be with them, i increased my pace with all those sufferings. At around 6:00 AM, the visibility was better but rain was still heavy, we reached the point where both the routes joined. I was really happy seeing it and my hopes of reaching the 5th station went high and I was sure now that I will somehow make it. Everyone took the closed path and kept on walking. Now I was completely exhausted due to the pain, I started walking cross footed, sometimes reverse way etc…. This made me to put strain on other parts rather than joints. At around 7:15 AM, we reached the Fuji 5th station. I just went into a building near the parking lot, sat with my legs stretched and relaxed for about 30 mins. I could see almost all the people were back and did not complete their trek due to the dangerous weather condition up there.

The rain didn’t stop at all. We checked for the bus but the ticket counter was closed and upon inquiry with the traffic policeman, we came to know that it will open at 8:40 AM. So we went into a shopping mart and sat on a bench and waited. Near the entrance there was big board saying that any person who carries rock or any plant from Mt. Fuji will be punished by Japanese Government, so i threw the stone then and there itself. When the ticket counter opened, they said that we can board the bus directly and the bus will be coming at 10AM. I was fully shivering, all my extra clothes were wet as my bag was fully drenched. I did not have any option other than facing the chillness. At-last, bus came and driver did not let us in first because priority was of reserved. So we waited outside in the rain and then finally boarded the bus. As soon as bus left, I slept for an hour. I missed all those beautiful scenery but was still happy that in some hours I will be reaching home. By 2:40PM, we reached home. Had sleep for around 3 hours then woke-up, sat in hot bath tub for about 45 minutes and relaxed.

Morning when I woke-up, in TV they were showing that Japan has been hit by a Typhoon and people are expected to stay in their houses. Then I realized that the reason for such an adventure was due to this bloody typhoon :( which made me not to see the summit nor the crater but gave the best trek of my life.

April 23, 2013

DERECHO: A wild form of GAYLE STORM :-)

Today was a memorable day for Bangalore's and Chris Gayle supporters. IPL Match number 31 was played between RCB and PWI at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. Toss went into the favor of PWI team and they chose to field first. Ah!!!! They would have not predicted terrible things which was on its way.

It was very cloudy and expectations for rain was on. But spectators would have definitely come to watch and enjoy the Gayle Storm. Pitch report was that it is a very good batting pitch and chasing will not be a problem at all. 

Chris Gayle and T Dilshan opened the batting innings for RCB. First over was bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and he gave just 3 runs in the very first over. Things looked pretty fine for PWI. Debutant Ishwar Pandey opened the second over and Chris Gayle belted first 2 deliveries for four. Rain interrupted the match, covers were on and there was delay. After few minutes, play resumed or rather i can say bad time for PWI started. There you go, followed by a good delivery, Ishwar bowled a no-ball which went for four and the free hit was given for Gayle which infact was also a boundary. Second over cost 21 runs for PWI. Gayle storm started to takes its shape and everyone started to feel the effect of it.

In 17 balls, Gayle scored his half century which is the fastest fifty in IPL tournament. This was the first record of the day. He started belting each and every bowlers and dealt with them mainly in boundaries. He scored his Century in just 30 balls which is the world record to be the fastest century to be scored in any format of the Cricket. He did not stop there, he continued with his contribution to the team and remained unbeaten scoring 175 runs in just 66 deliveries with a strike rate of 265.15 that included 13 fours and 17 sixes. There was AB show as well which was only for short duration. He scored a quickfire of 31 runs in just 8 balls that included 3 fours and 3 sixes.

RCB ended up their innings scoring 263 runs loosing only 5 wickets in 20 overs. This is the highest T20 team total surpassing Srilanka's 260/6 in 2007.

Many batting records was broken in one single IPL T20 match. They are,
Chris Gayle: Fastest IPL 50 (17 balls)
Chris Gayle: Fastest Century in any format like First class, List A or T20 etc.. (30 balls)
Chris Gayle: Highest individual score in T20 format (175 runs)
Chris Gayle: Highest number of sixes in an innings (17 sixes)
Chris Gayle:  Most runs scored only from boundaries (154 runs)
Chris Gayle and T Dilshan: Highest first wicket partnership in IPL (167 runs)
RCB: Highest team total in T20 format (263/5)
RCB: Highest Run-rate in an innings (13.15)

It was a mammoth total for PWI. They could not sustain Gayle's Storm and also could not recover from the after-affects. Last over was bowled by Chris Gayle and he took 2 wickets as well. PWI managed score a total of only 133 runs in 20 overs with the loss of 9 wickets. They hit only 3 sixes in their batting innings which is very less in number compared to RCB's 21 sixes. RCB won the match by 130 runs which is the second highest run-win in IPL. Definitely Pune Warriors will have nightmares tonight :D

I missed the visual treat but managed to check the updates on web. What a day for Chris Gayle. He broke many T20 batting records and also took 2 wickets in one over and gave just 5 runs. Man of the match was obviously Chris Gayle :D

I'm looking forward same performance to be given by RCB when playing on CSK. Though CSK is my second favorite team, when it comes to RCB i hate CSK to the core....

April 6, 2013

North Karnataka Road Trip in Car - Part IV

On the way to Aihole, while travelling, we all became bird watchers. We could spot so many birds (all were commonly found birds :P) which were sitting on the transmission lines or on trees. We could see the mountain range of Badami caves which still continued on our way to Aihole and we started to guess whether the other end of the mountain could be the place which we are looking for :-) "Aihole".

Aihole: Aihole, once was a  prominent city of the Chalukya dynasty. In many of the inscriptions it was also known as Ayyavole and Aryapura. This place has 125 temples which are grouped into 24 categories by the archaeological department. It should have been once a headquarters with the federation of trade guilds and a great city.

We entered Aihole village and could see so many temples here and there. The conditions of these temples are not so good and well protected.
Things to watchout are
Durga temple complex, Lad Khan Temple, Ambigera Gudi complex, Mallikarjuna temple complex, Chikki temple, Rachi temple, Eniyar temples complex, Hucchimalli temple complex, Ravanaphadi rock-cut temple, Buddhist temple, Meguti temple, Hucchappayya Math Complex, Kunti temples complex, Charantimath complex, Tryambakesvara group, Gauri temple, Jaina temples in the village, Rock-cut Jain Basadi, Ramlingesvara Temple Complex and Galaganatha Temple Complex

will continue.....

March 26, 2013

North Karnataka Road Trip in Car - Part III

In my previous post, i spoke about HAMPI and also shared some incredible pictures captured by us. Now this post will talk more about BADAMI caves and Pattadakal. In my next post, i will talk about Aihole and Sangama.
After having breakfast around 8AM, we left to BADAMI caves. We were first on that day to visit the caves. We parked our car, took entry tickets. The climate was little cooler as Sun was still on its way :)

First, let me tell you what exactly this place is:
Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas (6-8 Century AD), who had ruled much of Karnataka at that point of time. It lies at the mouth of a ravine with rocky hills on either side and a town tank in which water from the ravine flows.
The Badami cave temples are a complex of temples located at Badami, a town in the Bagalkot District in the north part of Karnataka, India. They are considered an example of Indian rock-cut architecture which is carved out on cliff of the sandstone hill.

There are 5 caves in total and among those, 1 is a natural cave. The caves are not very deep inside but OK type.

Cave 1: This cave is dedicated to Shiva.





Cave 2: This cave is dedicated to Vishnu.

Cave 3: This cave is dedicated to Vishnu.

Cave 4: This cave is dedicated to Jain Gods.

We saw a mill stones near 3rd cave. These are huge ones, you can see picture below.

Some of the carvings were not completed and i was wondering what could be the reason for the incompletion.

There were few markings which i found and assumed these were some sort of game which people used to play to pass their time. There were old Kannada inscriptions as well at many places.




From the cliff, we can see many temples and buildings of chalukyas all over. One among them is the "Agasythya Tank" which really gives us a picturesque scene.

After wondering about all these carvings, we were now ready for our next destination "Pattadakal". I was really happy with Badami caves and was never disappointed :)

The road condition to Pattadakal was horrible. The sun was really hot and we could feel the heat. Badami  to Pattadakal is around 22kms. On the way, we got a V-junction road, before we could open the glass ask the exact route, the villager staight away pointed the route to Pattadakal :-). We continued towards the pointed route, Ahhh!!! there you go.... we were blocked by a drove of bullocks as if they were doing a protesting for something. We waited till the way became clear to pass through.

We reached the destination after driving for 30 minutes. The sun was on high and we did not have a shaded place park our car.

Pattadakal lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River. These group of monuments are from 8th Century AD which are the culmination of the earliest experiments in the vesara style of Hindu temple architecture. The town displays both Dravidian (Southern) and the Nagara (Northern, Indo-Aryan) styles of temple architecture.
Pattadakal consists of Virupaksha Temple, Sangameshvara Temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Kashivisvanatha Temple, Kadasiddhesvara and Jambulingeswara temples, Jain temples and Galaganatha temple.

We bought the entry tickets and proceeded. Ah!!! we stopped seeing Pattadakal architectures and were driven by bird watching. There were different species of birds there. We started gazing at those birds and spent around 30-45 minutes. I am not a bird-watcher, but really i don't know how i started to show interest in bird watching :-). It was a new experience for me.

Later, we went on the see those amazing architectures.




 You can also view some ancient window carvings pictures in one of my posts as i have already posted too many pics in this post itself (Link will be udpated shortly).

After coming out, we ate village food offered by an village lady (jolada rotti oota - A typical north Karnataka unleavened indian bread made out of Jowar) + a small bottle full of Butter milk. We were full and went back to take our positions in the car. OMGGGGG!!!!! We were inside a oven.... It was so hot inside and i could feel my base and back burning due to heat. We opened the windows and turned on A/C. After travelling in the oven for sometime, we were little ok and finally were back on track.
Now what next? It is Aihole and Sangama... Wait for my next post :-)

You may also like to read :

North Karnataka Road Trip in Car - Part I

North Karnataka Road Trip in Car - Part II