I strongly Believe long weekends are the best time to be in Bangalore. The reasons are obvious. Many residents leave for their home towns like Hubli, Mangalore, Mysore during this time. Besides, a Significant number of Bangaloreans plan holidays in attractive resorts in and around Karnataka. This means Negligible traffic and insignificant noise pollution in the city. Most of the long weekends, I have enjoyed visiting my favorite eateries and friends due to these reasons.
But This Deepavali, I thought I would add to the outgoing traffic. Three of my classmates were also in a similar mood! So, with their families, we packed our bags and headed to Chikmagalur. The weather forecast wasn’t great, and it was raining forecasted to rain further. But, we thought we would take our chances and drove.
When You have four families traveling the logistics of planning the travel, stay & itinerary; food is complicated. The consensus is impossible, and with six kids in the mix, we had to manage their expectations too. Travel was the first complexity. Our kids were refusing to sit in the third row of the SUVs (when will the automakers think of the 3rd row as seats for human beings?). One of them said when he grows up, he will pack his mom in the boot when he owns his car.
Though it’s only a 5-hour drive our children were pretty irritated by the time we reached there.
On day one, we drove up to Mullayanagiri, the tallest peak in Karnataka. As monsoon is still fading, treks are yet to resume in this part of the world. Hence the climb was about 10 minutes to the peak, not much of a trek. However, the clouds kissing us on top of the mountain is an experience by itself. After all the hustle, we experience in Bangalore the serenity on top, and the chilly weather was refreshing. The pictures I have posted only give a glimpse of what one can experience there. Goes without saying that you have to be there to feel it.
The Night gave us the opportunity to bond, yes there was music, dancing, and some deep conversations facilitated by our children. Everyone had to answer a question 1) The most memorable event in our life so far (other than marriage and passing exams), it was quite revealing to hear what touched our friends’ lives though we bump into each other so often. Seldom we reflect on what touched our lives. Our children had fun listening to us in a different setting, relaxed amongst friends. This was becoming a Family offsite.
Then we got into another exciting but more familiar offsite territory! We had to pay a compliment to one non-family member in the group. As we concluded that compliment round, I realized how we don’t take time out to acknowledge people who mean so much to us. I always rationalized that by spending much of our time with friends, we sort of implicitly tell them how much they mean to us.
On the contrary, when we acknowledged some of them in public, the flow of oxytocin was felt in the room. Some new facets of people experienced by others came to the fore. Like my daughter said later along the mountains and the trek, the conversations were equally exciting.
Next The day we reached Horanadu for another trek. Horanadu is, in fact, famous for Annapurna temple. After the temple visit, we rented a jeep to Kyatanamakki, which is a 20-minute jeep-drive. The roads up there are treacherous, and we were told our cars wouldn’t be able to climb; it was real, and only the power and ruggedness of a jeep can navigate through those challenging roads. The roads had caved in, so the last 2 kilometers, we had to trek reach the top. When you arrive on top you will forget that you climbed 2 kilometers; such is the sight of green mountains around you!
Chikmagalur: Locals Call it Switzerland of Karnataka, and I have to admit its breathtaking, and you can sit there forever; we were lucky that we were the only people on top at that time. It’s a beautiful sight, wherever you see lush green mountains. I haven’t seen a view like that in Karnataka. We spent a couple of hours and walked back to the jeep and the temple for lunch.
Annapurna Temple’s lunch was sumptuous for the tired bodies, and reluctantly, we got into our cars heading to the concrete jungle called Bangalore. I know we used to call Bangalore the garden city once upon a time
It was Three days of greenery and fresh air with four families. I am sure this would be one of the memorable trips we would have gone to as family friends. Come to think of it its 30 years of our friendship, which started as classmates and now extended to our families.
The eating together, travel, music, dance, and the conversations only deepened our bond.
We have Thrown a challenge to our kids. If they can cement a bond with their friends for 30 years and make a trip like this in their life. I know that sounds arrogant, but we were also making a point around making relationships work.