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The team for this trek consisted of me, Guna, and Jagadish (sometimes three people do make a team). We boarded the bus towards Dharmasthala from Bangalore and got down at Kokkada, 15 km before Dharmasthala. Kashinath, owner of Stream of Joy Homestay (ph08251-268225) was to meet us at Kokkada and there he was with his jeep ready for a ride to his homestay.
Stream of Joy Homestay is a nice place to spend time (though somewhat costly), just on the bank of river Kapila (included in the pics) which is at most knee deep with crystal-clear water.
Kashinath introduced us to our guide, Ananda. Shingani Gudda is basically 1-day trek, but we decided to camp on the peak. So, we were at our leisurely pace and started pretty late (partly to digest the huge mude, kind of idle, we had consumed) , around 11 a.m. and asked Ananda to take a long route.
The route is not very difficult except a stretch of two kilometers or so where it becomes troublesome to climb on loose soil and rock covered with thick foliage. But otherwise, it is a pleasant walk through thick forest. Even though it was dry season, four leeches had the fortune of tasting my blood. King-size mosquitos were there to serve us as most leeches were on leave. It seemed as though it would be very difficult to trek in monsoon or post monsoon because of leeches and many parts of the route becoming water streams and moreover Kapila would become turbulent too which we had to cross.
We reached the peak by 5 p.m. and were a little disappointed because of sun being behind clouds and not offering a nice sunset. But soon we witnessed the amazing drama of clouds, seemed as if they were being colored in pink, orange and thrown in pieces by sun, crowded near the sun and fading as the distance increased. The peak being small, we could see all other peaks in that region.
That night we had to sustain on chapatis and MTR curry which we were tired of. There is hardly place to pitch single tent at the peak and we did without the tent, just sleeping bags. Next morning, after a spectacular sunrise and cup noodles, we headed towards the homestay as no one was in a mood to have chapatis again. Thankfully, we were greeted by a lunch the taste of which is unforgettable, with more varieties of food than we could manage. We were left with 4 hours to laze in the waters of Kapila and enjoy the man-made waterfalls. Finally, we boarded the bus to Dharmasthala and from there to Bangalore.