Share this article on:
Weekend Getaway: Tadiandamol Trek(Karnataka)
Hello fellow BHPians, this is my first post in the forum, for I have been a mute spectator here for over a year. There were multiple instances where I thought about writing, but never really had the patience to do so. Thanks to the long weekend, I finally decided to share my experience with the trek I had been to last weekend, i.e., on the 9th of this month.
It’s been a year since engineering days were over, and pretty much all my friends were busy with their life, including me, that is. The idea of going on a trip through planned several times, never really happened because of reasons that mostly happened to be lame! And then, everything changed when a friend posted this image in our whatsapp group!
Having spent four years in Mysore for Engineering with numerous trips around that place, Coorg was no stranger to us. We had covered almost all the areas in Coorg district in those four years, but Tadiyandamol was one place that we haven’t conquered. So after a lengthy discussion, out of the 9 of us, only four agreed on going on this quest, and the rest chickened out, but we didn’t want to cancel the trip, and so, the planning phase began.
From a reliable web source, we came to know that the trek was supposed to be relatively more straightforward compared to other destinations in Karnataka, like the Kumara Parvatha trek. If one were to trek from the base (there’s an old palace called “naked palace” for reference), it is about 7-8kms to the peak, but it also said that the roads were still motorable for 2-3 kms, provided you had your vehicle so that the actual trek would come to about 4.5kms.
We initially planned on renting a car, but soon realized one of us had bought his car, tallboy WagonR from his hometown! Phew, Lot of bucks saved! Rented a tent suitable for the four of us, sleeping bags, a portable burner, bought some ration required, chocolates, glucose, Lot of packaged mineral water, yep, we were going to camp there! The route to the base of Tadiandamol Trek from Bangalore:
The plan was to leave Bengaluru at 0600hrs on Saturday, the 9th of January, reach Mysore at 0900hrs, refresh our memories from the engineering days, leave at 1100hrs from Mysore, reach the base at 1400hrs, trek 4.5 kms, reach the top at around 1700hrs, camp there, spend the night, get up, watch the sunrise, snap some pictures, descend from the peak, return Bengaluru at 2000hrs on Sunday after taking a slight detour towards Cheluvaraya falls near the palace! But things don’t always go according to plan now, does it? More about that later.
We left according to the plan—first checkpoint: Mysore. The Bengaluru-Mysore road is all too familiar to us, crowded roads with tons of speed breakers, but to our surprise, many of the speed breakers which were previously there were now removed.
Fun fact: What happens when you catch the best people after a long time?
The answer, The Music system never turns on in the car, instead endless catching up for hours together!
We reached Mysore on time, a couple of stops here and then finished up the work we had there, and headed back towards our destination. The road from Hunsur to Virajpet was simply marvelous! Two lanes, smooth tarmac, non-existent traffic, and excellent surrounding view to sum it up! Here are some shots of it:
About 2 kms before our car broke down; we could sense a foul burning smell entering the cabin, but chose to ignore it as there were parts of the forest which had burnt, and we thought of that as the source. But then, smoke started coming out from under the bonnet, an over-temperature MIL lamp suddenly started blinking in the instrument cluster!! We parked the car, and tried to assess the situation, opened the hood, and to our horror, the engine coolant level was ZERO! The engine bay didn’t look wet, nor were there signs of any leakage, and yet, the coolant was nill. Luckily, there was a petrol bunk nearby, and we purchased a suitable coolant, started the car, and refilled the coolant, waited for several minutes to check if there was any leakage, but there was none!! It was bizarre, what had happened to the earlier coolant.
Anyways, we started our journey back, and to our surprise, the same thing happened after just 5kms!! This time, however, there was a massive spill in the engine bay, the coolant was splashed everywhere on the engine, but even after checking for a long time, we couldn’t spot the source of the leak! It was clear the car couldn’t go anywhere without help.
We called up Maruti customer care, and they routed us to the nearest service station, i.e., Mandovi motors in Gonikoppal (15kms from our position). Upon checking with the service station, they assured us they would send a towing vehicle in an hour, (Called up at 1310hrs, it was lunch break until 1400hrs). We waited till 1340hrs, and it was then that we realized we had lost the radio reception on all our phones, and no matter what we tried, we couldn’t get the response back, and there was no way we could contact the service station. The trek was already looking in jeopardy. But we made a pact among ourselves,” No matter what happens, we are completing this mission,” and so we start the engine, fill suitable old coolant liquid; the water in the coolant bay, and slowly start moving the car, kept the speed as minimal as possible while continuously checking for overheat MIL lamp in the instrument cluster, how we missed having a proper temperature gauge in that situation! Sadly most OEMs choose not to include this on all their cars! Anyways, the roads also helped as there were a lot of ups and downs, the latter being more, we would switch off the engine if there were no oncoming traffic and if the roads were straight. After a couple of rounds of warning lamps –> stop the car –>let the engine cool –> fill water –>drive, we finally reached the service station at 1500hrs with the vehicle in one-piece.
The service guys checked for the leak by using water as a coolant, and they were able to spot it. The pipe hose around a common had developed rust, and it had resulted in a small crack. I could not take a picture of it, as it was tough to see for the naked eye itself in all that mess.
It was difficult for me to understand the situation: How can a coolant pipe fail in a vehicle which was four years old, just 42k kms on the ODO, sure my friend had missed the routine 40k service interval 2k kms. The car was mostly used in the coastal region, but still, it was unable to digest the fact that a coolant pipe that too in a Maruti WagonR had failed!
Gurus, can you enlighten me on this?
To add to our problems, there was no stock of that part in the service station, and they said they would have to get it from Mysore. Error!!! We told them our situation, and they promised to get the part from Mysore by that day and get the vehicle ready by Sunday afternoon. So we bid adieu to our companion, the tallboy, and continued towards the destination at 1530hrs. And after Lot of stress and trouble with all that luggage, we reached the base near the palace at 1700hrs.
Since we had no vehicle, we had to trek the first 3 kms on the tarmac! It was sure that to reach the peak, we would have to do it without sunlight in the night! Risky, true, but we were desperate to reach the summit! Half an hour into the trek, we get lucky and get a ride to the actual base for trekking in a Mahindra Jeep! But it turns out, they were working for the forest department, and they said no one is allowed to trek or camp at the top after 1800hrs! This was a new rule which was enforced recently they said, we couldn’t argue with them, but at least the view from the base was excellent, and we found a beautiful place to set up our tent, and we decided to do the trek early in the morning and reach the top by sunrise.
It was 0900 hrs when we started to descend the peak, and only then we could see the path we had taken, some being extremely dangerous! Thank God, we couldn’t see that while climbing or our confidence would have come down.
We encountered a lot of fellow trekkers while coming down, and I felt sorry for them, as they wouldn’t be able to see what we saw at that time of the day. Anyways, we reached the foothill i.e., at the nalknad palace at 1100 hrs. But all this time only one thing was running on our mind, please God, let tallboy be beautiful and ready!! We called up the service manager at 1200 hrs once we got a network, and nope… the vehicle wasn’t available. They were still waiting on that part to come, we told him our situation, on how we had to travel 200 kms to reach Bengaluru, our home. He assured us he would get the vehicle ready somehow. We reached the service station at 1400 hrs after finishing lunch. The service manager personally comes to us, tells us they couldn’t get the part, but they were providing an alternate solution i.e., they welded the piece and got the crack fixed. He assured us again that we could take the car at max 1600 hrs and asked us to rest up in the customer lounge.
As promised, we got the vehicle at 1600 hrs. Indeed Maruti Suzuki is known for its customer service! We were happy with the job done, and it didn’t cost much for the repair as well! We thanked the technicians and the managers profusely for fixing the car on such short notice. And then we headed back to Bengaluru, to the same old traffic-ridden city!
It was about 2330 hrs when I reached home. As I went to bed, I couldn’t help but thank the higher being, for having made me born in this beautiful country, a country with such diversity, surrounded by countless places filled with absolute beauty, areas which will take forever to cover in a lifetime. It is truly worthy of the name, “Incredible India”!
Thank you for reading.