Tuhina - May 01 2022

My Skandagiri Night Trek Experience 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to witness the sunrise after a night of trekking under the stars? Well, all my imaginations came to life when I decided to join the Skandagiri Trek with Escape Limits. An escapade filled with adventures, making new friends and beholding once-in-a-lifetime sights, this trip gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself as well as about our beautiful country. This is the story of my adventures, which I hope can nudge you to go seek out your own!

My journey

My journey started when I boarded the night bus from Banashankari at 11:30 pm which my travel agency had informed me would drop us at the Skandagiri base in a few hours. I was traveling on my own, and I was nervous, rightfully so. But the minute we reached the Skandagiri base and met our agency’s guides and formed our traveling groups, every negative feeling faded away. Everybody was very amiable and excited, so making friends was the easiest task. The guides were very friendly and after a short talk about guidelines, we were a solid unit ready to embark into the night that held so many unanswered questions.The trek itself began from the Papagni Mutt which is an ancient temple leading up to the Forest Checkpoint. Trek guides told us to fill up on water at the water tank as it would be the only time we could do this before the trek officially. Up until we reached the forest checkpoint, the first 800 meters of the hike was a flat stroll on a dirt trail. Then, at the check post we presented our identifications to the forest guard who entered our details in the registry.

The next section of the trek involved going from the forest checkpoint to the first rest point. It was almost an hour before we reached it and according to the guide, we had traversed approximately 1900 meters by then. Throughout this walk, we walked on a mud trail and followed arrows marked onto rocks and scattered boards along the way. There were enough signs everywhere to make sure nobody got lost as we progressed further into the forest. From this point on, the trail becomes a little more difficult, with uneven rocks, a slick mud trail, and dense vegetation all around.

We were told to make sure we located places to securely grasp our feet and avoid slip of foot. It was really daunting because from here on the trail has started to steadily ascend and at times was becoming extremely steep. Nevertheless, our excitement proved to be a great deal more than our fear, and we continued with our trail until we reached rest point 1, where we stopped to admire the beauty of the surrounding nature. The sounds of a sleeping forest enveloped us in a comforting cocoon.

After a well deserved break of 5-10 minutes, our trek guide warned us that the hike was about to get steeper in the next section and chances of an injury occurring was the highest here, so we should be extra vigilant from here on out. We carefully began the walk and after 20 minutes of ascent we were finally at the famous ruins of the fort. There were fort walls, pillars from what appear to be abandoned huts, and some writing-covered granite slabs. Following this were some narrow sections which we had to travel very carefully on because of one slight misstep, and you could’ve fallen from 100 ft, and nobody wants to do that without the proper equipment.

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After a well deserved break of 5-10 minutes, our trek guide warned us that the hike was about to get steeper in the next section and chances of an injury occurring was the highest here, so we should be extra vigilant from here on out. We carefully began the walk and after 20 minutes of ascent we were finally at the famous ruins of the fort. There were fort walls, pillars from what appear to be abandoned huts, and some writing-covered granite slabs. Following this were some narrow sections which we had to travel very carefully on because of one slight misstep, and you could’ve fallen from 100 ft, and nobody wants to do that without the proper equipment.

After this, we had to climb a 50-foot steep ascent on a rock until we reached shrine-like structures and broad steps that were covered by vines and reminded me immensely of the 18th century lifestyle which I read about on the agency’s informative travel brochure. After a few more minutes of tricky climbing on slippery slopes, we finally reached a big slab of rock which was the awaited summit. This was just in time as the sun was just beginning to peak out from behind the pillow-like clouds. The 360 degree view completely took my breath away. It was like being engulfed by the warm hues of the sunrise. There was an ancient temple there as well that we explored before sitting down to eat our refreshments and watch the sun come up.

The descent down was no easier as we had to go carefully in case the mud caused us to slip and fall. By the time we reached the base where our return buses awaited us, I felt like a completely different person. I couldn’t help thinking of how I was glad I had made the choice to go on this trek with the Escape Limits family and gotten the chance for this one of a kind experience. It was hassle-free, extremely exciting and something I couldn’t wait to try again. As I drifted off to a well deserved sleep in the gently rocking bus, I thought about how I had so many new memories, friends, stories and of course the gorgeous view of a sunrise in the early morning in my head to share with the rest of my world. And I couldn’t help but have the biggest smile on my face

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