GREEN ROUTE: A place where beauty is at its peak

              

              Let me share with u guys those memories from my vault… dated back to engineering days.

              Luring passion towards playing with the wild transformed me from being a dandy to a flaneur.  I fantasized to trek a place that was free from human intervention, associated with risks and filled with challenges. Lush greenery, rich flora fauna, waterfalls all around, foggy atmosphere, frequent drizzles and refreshing breeze were my expectations. Honestly speaking, I wanted to momentarily break free from the restless city life. Though there was an exigency to make my debut to the trekking life, I was not ready to reconcile with the expectations. I anticipated my own fantasy world and waited.

               I  googled, I browsed, I  flipped through the pages of newspaper and the magazines, I read the blogs, I did all possible stuffs to find such a  place which can be praised as “breathtaking”, “amazing”, “mind-blowing”, “astounding”…..etc etc, but wasn’t satisfied with any. This lock broke when my eyes caught a television program telecasting the experiences of train passengers who travelled via “Edakumeri”.

              Yes, for the first time I heard about a place aliased green route comprising a railway stretch connecting Subramanya and Sakleshpur. The name itself suggested the beauty of the place alluring me to “Go Green”

              Like minded buddies joined and our preparations began…..

              When people of Karnataka were busy preparing for the state festival “Kannada Rajyotsava”, We, JCites (Student of SJCE, MYSORE) kept ourselves busy in bringing down huge hoardings and the banners that were hung all around the campus. Cost cutting made us to use them as free means of fulfilling the demands of a safe roof above our head. Complete dependency on our parents for pocket money pushed us to make this trip a low budget one.

              With all mandates fulfilled and after gathering handy information about the place ….. We boys were up against the jungle. 

             Cooking in a place like this was laborious and hence we backpacked a few dry and staple food items quantitativelyenough for our upcoming 2 days of hardship.

             On the night of October 31st.. We boarded into a dust filled luggage compartment of the train that would drop us directly to our desired starting point i.e Subramanya. Idea was to follow the track back, towards Sakleshpur, till we find an escape route destined approximately 25 km from Subramanya.

             The train departed Mysore station around 11:30 PM. With the trains pace picking up….We could see the bright city lights getting dimmer and later vanish, honking sounds of vehicles losing their frequencies to indicate us the truth that we were moving away from the busy city life to experience tranquility.   Soon... it was only we along with the sound of the engine and screeching noise of the compartment wheels beneath us.

             Most of our journey time was passed by playing cards, singing songs and pulling each others legs. We managed to grab some sleep by spreading the waste newspapers beneath us. However, the papers weren’t thick enough to combat the cold within the container. No sooner the train left sakleshpur and started entering the Ghats…we began understanding the difference between the words…cold, colder and coldest!!

             It was 5 in the morning when we reached Subramanya . As soon as we got down, the first person whom we met was a chai wala and we sipped a hot cup of tea. We freshened up from a washroom in the railway station.  We also purchased water bottles from a local shop and had small chat with the shop keeper about the clarifications that we had.

 

             With the first rays of light in the sky… We headed the track backwards…

             The sun had awakened and was barely peeking through the hazy sky with a warm golden light. It was quiet. Too quiet. The crisp morning air echoed with our voices….Enjoying the country side we sung all along the track. The wind along with foggy atmosphere still carried the last traces of our cold night.

             We had almost walked 3 km till we encountered our first tunnel. Though it wasn’t long enough to prove us to be a challenging one, it was a first of its kind to talk about. Following it was an ephemeral stream with freezing cold water and was being fed by rains falling on higher grounds. We took our first refreshment stop here to have a face wash and recharge our appetite. Few brave hearted friends of mine even jumped into these waters to bathe but soon came out running after realizing that it was infested with leeches. It took them some time to thoroughly examine their body for leech bites before we packed our bags to head further.

Few Streams that we came across

               All we did was talk and walk, hop on the rails, explore the vegetation around, count the number of streams that we came across and also whole heartedly adore the man who had this idea of building a rail route in these hilly areas and in turn providing an opportunity for the trekkers and travelers to feast on nature. We took a break to our blabbering when we encountered our first challenging tunnel which was around 350 meters in length. It was pitch dark inside and a curve in the tunnel masked us from seeing the other end of it. After realizing that for the very first time we were about to experience something unusual and adventurous, all freakish thoughts started running in our minds. Anticipating a few odds inside, we brainstormed and designed a plan to tackle all of them.

 

  1. Precautions to be taken while crossing.

Torch is a must. As the conditions inside is an ideal one for snakes and other small creatures to hide, its good if u tap the ground or make noises while crossing.  

 

      2. What if a train comes?

Do not panic and start running back. The tunnel has enough space in the sides for a person to stand.  In fact it will be the best part of your trek if you encounter one.

 

 

An act of bravery 

               We crossed many such tunnels and small bridges before we reached Shirabagilu, a railway switching station amidst the Ghats. The clock struck 2 pm and the sun was right above our head. It was the first place of human settlement that we came across after a treacherous stretch of 13 kilo meters. The place barely had 3 to 4 houses accommodating around 8 to 10 people. Majority of them were railway workers who were local to the place and a few others were officers from neighboring states destined to work here. A diesel generator was the only source of electricity and a small stream nearby fulfilled the needs of water at this place.

 

  

Few Tunnels and bridges that we crossed

                The first escape route for this portion of the stretch is right from this station. We need to trek few kilometers down the hill, cross the Kempuhole River and encounter a few elephants(if lucky enough)  to reach the Mangalore- Bangalore highway.But we were determined to continue and face the odds Instead of escaping from the ghats. 

 

             Info:  No accommodation for the trekkers is possible at this place.

 

            Just as we headed further we met one of the labor who was returning from his routine work of checking the joints of the rails. He had a very good knowledge about the place and our job was to extract a few of them which could be helpful for our journey ahead. We first enquired about our next escape route which he estimated to be around 7 km distance from where we stood currently. Though there are many routes that go down the hill not all of them lead to the highway was the advice that he gave. He even told about the longest bridge that we would encounter in a few kilometers and advised us to keep our senses open till we crossed it. After collecting the vital information about how to identify the escape route we thanked him and continued. 

 

           On our way ahead, we got a chance to closely check out a separated wagon wheel and a few other building blocks of the train and the track that looked abandoned in these deep forests from ages. We concluded all these to be the remains of the conversion process of these tracks from meter to broad gage. Not further had we walked 2kms, we were challenged by a bridge 250 meters in length with the kempuhole river passing beneath it. I guess this was the hurdle the labor spoke about.  The bridge poses to be a difficult one for acrophobiacs, with least chances of survival if they fall off. The bridge had few rescue points for standing off the track if a train is encountered while crossing the bridge.  But before we stepped on to the bridge we double checked with our senses if they were able to listen to any sounds of a speeding train.  With very least chances of encountering one for the next few minutes we confidently crossed the bridge.

 

 

The longest bridge that we covered

 

Few scenic places that we came across

             The sun was moving down the horizon and we took a break to witness the majestic view of sun setting over the ghats. We emptied a few food packets from our bag and took a few snaps to cherish our memories.

            

             The dusk was falling rapidly when we reached the 493 meter tunnel and yes it was the biggest one of our journey. A jungle trial which started right from the mouth of the tunnel and went down the hill was our destined escape route. It was a 4-5 kilometers descent beneath a thick canopy of rain forest which not only lacked visibility because of low penetration of evening light but was also home for the wild tuskers of Western Ghats. We did not have enough courage to take this risk of crossing and decided to stay back and camp instead.

 

             How foolish were we to search for a camping site in the middle of the ghats!! We failed to find one besides the track. We crossed the tunnel and searched the other end too but were in vain. Our failure to commit to a single decision made us march to and fro between the ends of the tunnel for three times.  And on the third time, on our way back to the other end we were greeted by an unexpected speeding train. Few of us managed to get cover inside a cave like portion in the middle of the tunnel and the remaining few stuck to the wall... Experiencing a freaky moment of train compartments moving one by one close to their noses.  A slight pull inside would have dragged them on to the rails was what they said!! In no time, the entire tunnel was filled with the dusty black smoke suffocating us.

 

            The stars had come down and pitch dark surrounded us when we came out of our stranded places in the tunnel. We flashed light at each other and dusted ourselves.  We had no options left other than spreading the banners and hoardings at a safer distance from the rails and sleep besides the track. And we did so………

 

The place where we slept the entire night(492 meter tunnel)

 

           We spoke, spoke and spoke till 11 in the night concentrating very less on the body ache and ankle pain that we had. We feared putting a camp fire in the night at this place as most of the railway wagons passing here carried petroleum products and other inflammable chemical substances. After emptying all the food items from our bags, we slept on the ice cold uneven surface trying to grab hold of some sleep.  The extra banners that we had brought were used as blankets to cover ourselves and combat the cold outside. Many trains passed by blowing the hot dusty engine air towards us, interrupting our sleep for a moment. However it wasn’t strong enough to drive our sleep away and force us back to sit. It was almost 4 in the morning when the honking sound of the train that we had come the last day woke few of us up telling “pack your bags guys, 1/4thof your journey is yet to be finished “. While we waited for others to get out of their sleep, we enjoyed seeing the mist covered mountains and feeling the freshness of cool breeze around us.   

 

The Early morning mist and cool the breeze

 

         A view of kempuhole river 

         “Life feels to be a cake walk when slept beneath a safe roof and on the thick cushions at our homes. But be homeless for a day…. The intolerable cold outside, the pricking stones beneath your back and the pains from inside of your body help you understand the real value of life.”

             For the last time we crossed the tunnel around 7’0 clock and followed the escape route going down the hill and into the deep forests.  It was a marshy jungle trial that looked unused from months leaving a big question in our minds “Are we on a right track??? “. We walked with our legs being feasted by leeches and socks drenched in blood.  Fact was that any pit stop to clean them would have just resulted in clinging on of more number of leeches all over our body and drain more drops of blood. We walked around 2 kilometers on this crooked path beneath a thick canopy till we reached a dead end.

 Our jaws dropped, heart rate increased and mind completely turned blank for a minute!!

We had unknowingly astrayed into a different path and there wasn’t any energy left in us to walk back uphill and check out the right one.   

 Each one of us panicked thinking “what next???”

 We gathered all our strength and shouted hoping that somebody would hear us. But no!! Nothing came back, not even a single echo of our voices!!! The forest was filled with the same dead silence that we experienced before!! 

 “Hold on!! “Exclaimed a friend of mine!! He had faintly heard the sound of a car honking at a distance!!

 Clearing all the bushes and obstacles, we walked nearly a kilometer towards the sound emerged direction till we reached a small stream that ran down the hill!! We followed the river along its banks and sometimes even waded though it till we found dungs of the cattle excreted besides a wider jungle trail. We followed the path, downwards, for a few hundreds of meters until it opened up to a pasture with few cows grazing on it.

 Yesss!!  After Shirabagilu this was the first signs of civilization that we came across!!  

                 We looked around and spotted a house nearby. Took a very deep breath relieving ourselves and decided not to attempt this trek again!!   We cleaned ourselves up and after enquiring about the right path to reach the main road we left the place with lots of memories to cherish!! We had a very little courage to turn back and look up the hill to bid good bye!!

 

We revitalized from one of the small coffee shop besides the road and boarded a bus back to Mysore!!

We were left with lots of unusual experiences worth boasting with other friends of ours.   

 

 

Experiences from our next trips to the same place:

 

  1. We trekked from Donigal to Edakumeri and had stayed in one of the railway houses of workers at Edakumeri. But we were robbed!! We lost 1000rs of cash and a camera !!
  2. We trekked from Donigal to Edakumeri again, and this time it was a breakage of nose!! One of my friends ran behind a train, slipped and fell on the rails breaking his nose.  

 

With all these experiences, our own definition of green route is as follows:

            "Green route is a combination of bridges and tunnels with beauty at its peak, accompanied with loss of property and sometimes breakage of noses."

hi this good blog on

hi this good blog on sakleshpur see photos are is nice

keep the good work thankyou

Thanks for your comment..

Thanks for your comment.. keep dropping by

hi this is good blog about

hi this is good blog about greenroot

thanks for your comment. keep

thanks for your comment. keep dropping by.

Hello,   Plannng for Green

Hello,

 

Plannng for Green route trek. Do we find guides fr it??? Is it possible to take permissin from the railway authorities and trek?

As per the most recent

As per the most recent update, Green Route trek is currently out of bound for tourists so you cannot get guide etc for this trek.

Very beautiful place and you

Very beautiful place and you described it in very interesting way. 

We have a small group in our office crazy about treking. They are always in search of exotic place to treck. I will let them know about you. 

Thanks for your comment. keep

Thanks for your comment. keep dropping by.

Hi Puneeth, Great adventure u

Hi Puneeth,

Great adventure u had trekking that route... i could visualize ur journey..... Had it been a simple straight forward organised trek ... u would not have so much to share with us .... right!!!!
This also reminded me of our Doodhsagar Falls trek (from Londa junction which is at Karnataka n Maharashtra border)of 14 kms on the tracks with plenty of tunnels n a couple of narrow bridges to cross...
Keep travelling n do share Smile

Regards
Poornima

Hi Poornima, Thank you for

Hi Poornima,

Thank you for the compliments.

Yeah, I have heard a lot about this trek. Had been to Doodhsagar many times but havent got a chance to try the trek. Will try completing it in the near future. Smile

Regards,
Puneeth Nv

It's indeed a pleasure

It's indeed a pleasure reading adventurous stories from Puneeth... Puneeth is an expert of Western Ghats of Karnataka....

I heard really exciting things about Doodhsagar but never got chance to visit... It's in my wish list... Waiting for puneeth to share his Doodhsagar experience as well...

Happy Travels
Vishnu Kumar

Its raining compliments from

Its raining compliments from Vishnu!! Thanks a lot!!

Hi vishnu we are planning for

Hi vishnu we are planning for green route trek on this december. is their anyway to get permission from railway officials??? please help us

Read the Green colored

Read the Green colored section of this blog to know the current status..

http://thinkingparticle.com/blog/green-route-trek-railway-track-sakleshp...

Hi Raghavendra, Authorities

Hi Raghavendra,

Authorities are very strict against trekking in this route. As Vishnu has mentioned in one of his blog " We were also informed by the station master at sirivagilu that permits can be obtained from Sakleshpur PWD, but its difficult and they sometime asks for huge amount of money for the permit", u can try testing ur luck once by reaching them on call.

Thanks for pitching in

Thanks for pitching in Puneeth and adding your expert inputs...

Awesome Write Up Mate..

Awesome Write Up Mate..

Yes... its quite engaging

Yes... its quite engaging indeed.... looking forward to read more from your trips now... Laughing out loud

bro... u should even upload

bro... u should even upload the video which we encountered on the bridge... !!

There is an option to include

There is an option to include video on Thinking Particle... will ask Puneeth to do the same...

Honestly...I was waiting for

Honestly...I was waiting for something from your end since long... although Green Route track is no longer open for trekkers, this account is simply enthralling and inspiring....you guys were in one of that dark tunnel when train passed...it would have been life-threatening experience... Very well articulated..it kept the pace till the end.. looking forward to read more of your adventures.... Forgot to mention that its highly informative as well...

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