Shivagange Hike with ALAG
It all started with one of my friends posting on our college WhatsApp group if we ladies were interested in hiking to Shivagange. I immediately jumped in and told her to book a seat at the earliest as the number of seats were limited. So we three friends from college - Shilpa, Rama and myself decided to go on this trek and have fun.
After booking, I totally forgot about it and absolutely did no preparations for it. On the previous day to the hike, a WhatsApp group was created with all the fellow hikers and information on the various pick up points, schedule for the day and other details were published.
On Sunday- I started at 5-45 from my residence to reach the pickup point-Shantala Silks. Ajita- our effervescent guide for the day arrived on time with the vehicle to pick us up. She readily accommodated the young girl who decided to join her mother on the trek only the previous day. At the next pick up point, Yeshwantpur metro station the rest of the group joined us.
With a few friends and a few strangers started our Shivagange trek with ALAG-All Ladies Adventure Group. The group had people belonging to different ages with the youngest one being ten years and the oldest one in their forties... Once we all were seated Ajita introduced herself and briefed us up on the schedule for the day. She did a wonderful exercise of breaking the ice by asking us to introduce ourselves with our names and hobbies. This got the ball rolling and the chatter that started never stopped till the end.
We stopped briefly for breakfast on the way and once back inside in the Traveller, Ajita did something more amazing. She paired each one with another and told that they must watch out for their partner throughout the trip. She ensured that the kids were together and they were given the task of learning /teaching other languages such as kannada/English. We adults learnt about each other and it was motivating to hear the voluntary contributions made by some to the society.
Once we reached Shivagange Ajita warned us about the monkeys and told us not to carry eatables in the bag. We started the hike and within a few meters got a beautiful view of the city below. High on enthusiasm, we clicked several pictures before moving ahead. Every few meters there were vendors selling juice, water, fruits, Bhel puri, Bajjis, Ice-creams etc. We decided to eat all these yummy food on the way back.
The ascend got tougher with altitude. The railings and the shade that was present in the early part was no longer there. We had to climb on the boulders and our physical fitness was put to test. Most of us wanted to stop, but Ajita was there constantly motivating us and pushing us to go furthermore. She ensured that she stayed with the slowest one and took the right decisions whenever required. Breaks are a must, but if taken for long will make the hike more strenuous. She ensured that we kept up the pace and nudged us to keep walking. Nandi on the top was our goal and we had to reach there on time.
The final stretch was the steepest and also the most dangerous. At some points the place is so narrow that it becomes like a one way- people can either climb up or down but never both at the same time. Absence of railings and the afternoon Sun made the ascend more challenging. But what amazed me the most was the view of few ladies, climbing the hill carrying their babies and were bare foot. Here I was struggling with a Sun hat, shoes and a light back pack. A few more ladies- who looked well in to their sixties climbed the hill with such an ease that it put the youngsters to shame.
Finally, we were on the top and as a custom we had to go around Nandi- the riskiest steps that we took. There is no rock around Nandi and there are just 2 metal railings on which you step to finish the circle. Climbing down the Nandi is not easy as there is no steps again…Ajita was guiding from below to just turn backward and get down as we do on a ladder. You can feel the adrenaline rush-with this part of the hike. Once on the highest peak - you get the best views of the city below and is most picturesque. Took selfies, groupies there and rested for a while. Our young girls were attacked by the monkeys here and would advice all to be a bit careful around them. The screaming and running could easily lead to fatal accidents. The descend was equally challenging, with your knees and your balance put to test at regular intervals. We kept the promise and snacked on the yummy masala cucumber, bhel puri in the eateries on the way back. We reached the foot of the hill and was glad that I completed the hike successfully.
On the way back we had a sumptuous lunch and had a happy time chatting about our experiences on the trek. Back in to the van- Ajita showed us as how to communicate with deaf and dumb with the sign language. She also gave us tips as how we can avoid muscle cramps the next day and spoke about her experiences on her trek to Himalayas. Even at the end of the trip, she had the same level of energy that she had in the morning…truly passionate about ALAG.
This trek to #Shivagange was an exhilarating experience. It not only taught me to be more physically fit but also to be more positive in my thinking. With a strong will, you can achieve whatever you set out for. Thank you ALAG- for this wonderful and cherished memory.
Experience shared by: Ms. Rashmi