Green Route Trek: Railway Track from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subramanya.

Sakleshpur Yedakumari Trek
                                       Sakleshpur to Kukke Subramanya
Introduction:

The Railway Segment from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subramanya road junction is known as green route trek and very popular amongst the trekkers in Western Ghats. The length of the trek is some 52 km which comprises 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and about 25 waterfalls. The railway track was closed down in 1996 for converting it to broad gauge from meter gauge. Goods trains started running on the track since 2005 and operations for passenger trains resumed in 2008. Most of trekkers starts from Sakleshpur and continues till Yedakumari which is some 22 km distance. Green route trek offers absolute wilderness to the nature lovers. Length of the tunnels varies from few meters to 600 meters and these tunnel are unexplored eco regions with high possibility of poisons snakes, insects. Bridges are breath taking and a challenge to those who suffers from acrophobia.
Sakleshpur Railway Station
                                               
Sakleshpur Railway Station
Points those were against me during this trek:
- I was doing this trek alone.
- I was not carrying torch, any food and any other stuff from the trekking gear, not even a blanket. Sheer underestimation of the trek.

- I cannot speak/understand Kannada.
- I started from Sakleshpur rather than starting from Donigal which could have saved some 6-7 km.

This account to Sakleshpur Green route trek will unfold some of the mysteries of emotions, strength, idiosyncrasies, sighs, hope, and hopelessness of human nature.... and may be much more.

Reaching Sakleshpur:
- One can get the direct bus from Bangalore to Sakleshpur (Bangalore- Hassan- Sakleshpur). There are many busses from Bangalore to Hassan and then you can get a connecting bus to Sakleshpur very easily.

- There are many trains Bangalore-Hassan-Mangalore route and few also stops at Sakleshpur.
Western Ghats at Sakleshpur
                                               
Western Ghats at Sakleshpur
Journey: 11:30 PM to 5:30 AM (Bangalore - Hassan - Sakleshpur)

I started from Bangalore at 11:30 PM by a bus and reached Hassan at around 3:30 AM. Luckily I got the connecting bus to Sakleshpur and I reached Sakleshpur at around 5:30 AM in the morning.

Accommodation and Sleep: 6:00 AM to 8:30 AM (Sakleshpur)

near new bus stand at Sakleshpur, there are not many hotels/lodges to stay. However if you walk to the main town, there are many near old bus stand. In early morning it was difficult to get a room but somehow i got one (not as economical as i expected). I woke up at around 8:30 AM, took bathe, prepared my backpack, had a light breakfast at a restaurant and headed out for further enquiries on the green route trek.
Green Zone Sakleshpur
                                              
Green Zone Sakleshpur
Enquiries and findings:8:30 AM to 9:00 AM
- One can start from Sakleshpur Railway Station or Donigal (Donigal is connected by buses from Sakleshpur).
- You will need a permit to trek on the railway track.
- After some 18 km from Sakleshpur one will find a railway station named Muringad (Fake information which led to this blunder).

- Encounter to elephants, leeches, snakes, insects is quite common in this region especially near the coffee plantations.
Start of Sakleshpur Trek
                                                         
Start of Sakleshpur Trek
Sakleshpur Green Route Trek: 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Initially I thought of starting from Donigal but later I started from Sakleshpur railway station which is very close to the new bus stand. I was expecting to meet other trekkers on the way. Initially the trek passes through the paddy fields, small villages. Surrounding was picturesque and refreshing and i was able to see humans around at some far distant doing farming or fixing the railway track. I had heard a lot about rich biodiversity of this region and it was certainly meeting my expectations. At times, I could also see coffee plantation. After proceeding further, I have witnessed bridges on the waterfalls, rivers. These bridges were offering incredible view to the landscapes of Western Ghats. Small streams were flowing beneath the valleys. Peaks were enveloped with the clouds. Soon after it started drizzling then I changed in the sorts and put over my raincoat.
Workers at Green Route Trek
                                                 
Workers at Green Route Trek
Till Donigal, I had not met any other traveler on the trek which made a bit concerned but I was much excited in the anticipation of a tunnel for those Green route treks is popular.
Donigal Railway Station
                                                 
Donigal Railway Station
Finally at around 11:00 AM, I reached Donigal which was a deserted station with no staff or office. I was also bit apprehensive of being caught by railway staff. So i passed the station in hurry. So far I had not encountered any tunnel. Finally I met a group of travelers from Bangalore. They were much interested in self-photography and taking bathe in waterfalls. They were planning to go back to Donigal to catch the ride further. I could not have a long accompany with them and headed further straight while they went down to a valley to enjoy in the river.
Amazing Water Stream Beneath
                                               
Amazing Water Stream Beneath
Going further, again i was expecting other trekkers or railway stations but I could see nothing. Now even there was no sound of people, civilization, transports etc. It was just sound of a jungle, chirping birds (some birds were whistling like humans that scared me at times), flowing rivers, and roaring waterfalls. Surroundings were pristine, green, complete, organic and original to nature with no influence of civilization. It was showcasing the version of planet that would have been thousands of years ago.
Bridge on Sakleshpur Railway Track
                                        
Bridge on Sakleshpur Railway Track
After another kilometer and so, I crossed a bridge and saw the first tunnel. Tunnel 1&2 are adjacent to each other and are not very long. While I was crossing the tunnel, a passenger train arrived and I ran back. Finally i crossed the first tunnel, then second and so on. enroute there were many tunnels and I was successfully crossing those till i saw the one 350 meter long and I was shaken. Following ideas prompted in my head.

- Wait for other group of travelers who may be carrying torch [possibility was very less and waiting was just a waste of time].

- Return back [Could have been a prudent decision].

Finally I decided to enter into the tunnel without a torch.
Tunnel 383 meter
                                              
Tunnel 383 meter
How to cross a tunnel without a torch: First I was thinking that my retina will adjust with the darkness and I will be able to see through that sheer darkness. I stood in the tunnel for sometime but nothing was helpful. Then I thought of using my camera's flash light which was
offering me light for an instant but it was also making me completely blind just after flash. I was able to walk further with those continuous flash lights of Camera. Flash light turned out not a fruitful alternative. There were curves in the tunnel so every time I was falling on the ground, hitting the tracks and i even got hurt once. After few minutes of brain storming, I came up with a new strategy. I sat down and hold a railway track and started crawling further. It was painful but much consistent and reliable.
Longest Tunnel Sakleshpur Green Route Trek
                                      
Longest Tunnel Sakleshpur Green Route Trek
I kept crossing the tunnels in the same pattern and then I saw a tunnel at some distant and it was 569 meter long. So far the longest tunnel I passed was 378m. Suddenly so many self contradictory thoughts enveloped me. I would not be honest if I say that I was indifferent to the length of this tunnel. The major concern was "While crossing the tunnel there should not be any train coming from any direction". I used the best of my senses to listen to the sound of the train and after confirming I headed inside the tunnel, every inch was a challenge in that absolute darkness. It was a sigh of relief when I saw the light from the other end of the tunnel. Just after passing this tunnel, first time i was apprehensive about near future.
Misty Afternoon in Western Ghats
                                         
Misty Afternoon in Western Ghats
Will I encounter longer tunnels before the next station?, It was a dire strait situation and I withstood with it till I saw the railway track diverging into double track which signaled the presence of some railway station ahead. The first glimpse of the platform drenched me with immense happiness. Finally I was relieved to see other trekkers relaxing there and waiting for the goods train to reach kukke Subramanya. But life is dramatic as it is life... Who knew what lies ahead?
Yedakumari Railway Station
                                              
Yedakumari Railway Station
Night at Yedakumari Station: [3:30 PM to eternity]
- Trains going towards Sakleshpur do not stop at Yedakumari station, not even the goods trains [may be due to the steep slope]
- Trains going towards Subramanya road stop at Yedakumari station for 2 minutes (Only when station master is paid hefty bribe)
- A mighty river was flowing on one side of the station and which was impossible to swim across in monsoon season. On the other side there was high and steep mountain series which was again impossible to climb up. A natural prison it was.
Western Ghats from Yedakumari
                                       
Western Ghats from Yedakumari
After reaching yedakumari railway station, I was quite content and hungry at the sametime. I had delicious Sambar rice at one of hut of railway staff. I caught up with the other travelers and decided to join them in the journey ahead till Subramanya. They already arranged the stop of the next goods train which was supposed to arrive at 6:30. Station master asked for the bribe for stopping and it was settled by the group. We all were desperately waiting for the train and finally train arrived but It was just an engine with 2-3 boggies. The train left and none of us could board the train and the patience of the individuals bypassed the threshold because this train was the last hope of getting out of this natural prison. All the 15 young chaps invaded into station masters office and engaged in aggressive altercation. We had escaped from a physical encounter just by a brisk (It's against traveler's ethics).The series of nasty arguments continues till 9:00'o clock and we lost all the hopes of catching a train from this station after humiliating the station master. The station master also did not agree to provide us the shelter for the night. Finally we realized that the only way out is to trek back and we decided to start early in the morning. We spent the entire night on the platform in the middle of the dense forest. Continuous downpour and wind made the night severely unfavorable. Despite of exhausting trek none of us could get proper sleep due to hunger and cold.
Colour of Green
                                                   
Color of Green
A Blissful trek in the morning: [6:30 AM to 9:30 AM]
As per the plan, all the weary souls started to trek back to Donigal at 6:30 AM. but luckily we met a local on the way who directed us to a shorter route which was a trek uphill to cross the mountains. We were ecstatic with the new route as it was taking us back to the human settlements in less than 2 hours. This mysterious route will fall just after crossing the long bridge while coming back from Yedakumari, There is a narrow trail on the right which heads uphill. It is just after the long bridge. Our gifted guide accompanied us through-out the way. This route is only known to the locals and less traveled. It passes through dense forest, thin waterfalls and has some steep patches. When we were walking on the hill top, we could see amazing view of Western ghats.
Agriculture Western Ghats
                                                
Agriculture Western Ghats
A thick layer of clouds was floating over the peaks and overlapping the green blanket of forest. The trek was some 5 km long which finally reached to a village from where there was a direct bus to Bangalore(Via Sakleshpur-Hassan). Before boarding the bus, guys arranged delicious breakfast (may be because of hunger) from one of shop of the village. Village was truly picturesque surrounded by lush green valley’s in Western Ghats. Finally the bus arrived and we all occupied our respective seats. It took some 2 hours to reach Sakleshpur from that village and time for me to say good bye to my fellow travelers. I got down, picked up my stuff from the hotel room and headed back to Hassan and then to Bangalore.

Recent Update (As of 17th Nov, 2013 from Anoop):

Railway police have gone strict against trekking on the tracks. Squads are stationed at Yedakumari during weekends and holidays. If you are caught, they will ask for your mobile and ID cards, which they will seize and will hold you there until Monday or Tuesday. Regardless of whether you bribe them or not they will register a case against you.

During our trek from Sakleshpur to Subramanya road, we saw two squads of RP passed us never bothering to stop and question. We were under the impression that may be they are ok with people trekking now even though we met quite a few workers who insisted that we should trek back.

We had stopped at Sirivagilu station 5 kms before Yedakumari and this is what we learnt from the station master there. It made sense then why the squad didnt bother to stop us or question us. He also told us that the squad picked up 8 trekkers from Yedakumari, who were camping there, took them back to the station at Sakleshpur and kept them there until Monday. These guys tried bribing them, they kept the money and a case was registered against them for trespassing railway property

 

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

Latest update from the Green

Latest update from the Green Route:

Railway police have gone strict against trekking on the tracks. Squads are stationed at Yedakumari during weekends and holidays. If you are caught, they will ask for your mobile and ID cards, which they will seize and will hold you there until Monday or Tuesday. Regardless of whether you bribe them or not they will register a case against you.

During our trek from Sakleshpur to Subramanya road, we saw two squads of RP passed us never bothering to stop and question. We were under the impression that may be they are ok with people trekking now even though we met quite a few workers who insisted that we should trek back.

We had stopped at Sirivagilu station 5 kms before Yedakumari and this is what we learnt from the station master there. It made sense then why the squad didnt bother to stop us or question us. He also told us that the squad picked up 8 trekkers from Yedakumari, who were camping there, took them back to the station at Sakleshpur and kept them there until Monday. These guys tried bribing them, they kept the money and a case was registered against them for trespassing railway property

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

Hi Anoop.... Thank you very

Hi Anoop.... Thank you very much for dropping by and providing such useful information on this trek... It's not advisable to do Green route trek any longer... I am adding your comment in the blog...

Brave Soul...

Brave Soul...

Thanks... Keep dropping by...

Thanks... Keep dropping by...

Sakaleshapura Subramanyada

Sakaleshapura Subramanyada railu haliya charana ondu adbhuta, Jeevanadalli omme charana madabekada charnigara svarga idu. Idu romanchaka.

Thanks for the Poem

Thanks for the Poem Ramesha... I am trying to translated it despite of my limited knowledge in Sanskrit...

Hi Please send me the

Hi Please send me the details,from where and whom we need to take permission and route what u taken and other stuff.... we are planning to go in Next weenend....

As per my knowledge,

As per my knowledge, permissions are very difficult to get for Sakleshpur trek... following comment might be helpful...

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

=== Vishnu

Hi ShivaPrasad, Even a

Hi ShivaPrasad,

Even a friend of mine and myself are planning for it. Please let us know too if you find more details about it. We are from Bangalore.

Namaste Vishnu ji, I really

Namaste Vishnu ji,

I really felt very nice after reading your blog ... great job, I would like to take a group of my friends on this to enjoy the nature.. Basically we are green lovers Smile

since i do trekking on a regular basis.. I would love to add this in my trekking resume Smile
please do mail me: what are all the necessary thing's which i need to carry with me??
one day trek is gud ?? or a two day ???
which is the best scenic route i shall take ??
and also it would be great help if you tell how to get the permission details as you've done to others...
my mail id : megharajrk@gmail.com.

Permissions are the major

Permissions are the major hitch for Sakleshpur Green Route Trek.... One day trek (with overnight stay near Yedakumari) is the most preferred itinerary.... Dhonighal to Yedukumari is scenic stretch and I heard good things about Kukke to Yedakumari stretch as well....

For permissions, please read the latest update in GREEN...

==== Vishnu

Hi, Could anyone please let

Hi,

Could anyone please let me know from which part of the route do i need to take to catch the highway or the other way round. I mean from the highway, can v go through the forest and then join the rail track?

Many Thanks,
Prakhyat

From where you want to take

From where you want to take the highway ?...from Yedakumari ?

Hello Vishnu, Very well

Hello Vishnu,

Very well written blog!

Thanks for dropping by

Thanks for dropping by Radhika...

Hi Vishnu, Your blog was

Hi Vishnu,

Your blog was really interesting..I was more interested about the way you have come back.. the 5km way uphill to reach the village.. Do you think we can go that way, by your directions, without a guide now? We would be lucky to get some local people to help us.. if if we cannot, then is this way dependable?

and if you remember the name of the village where you got the return bus to sakaleshpur? we might try to check with others there..

that would make the trek length 18 km(Donimalai to Yedakumari)+ 5KM in the forest.. which can be finished in a day.. if started early.

Yes...you guys can take that

Yes...you guys can take that trail to the village while returning from Yedakumari...Except the smaller steep patch in the beginning, trail is well outlined...just don't try to find shortcut through bushes.....After first 2 km, you will see agriculture land where you can talk with locals in case you find yourself lost...Checked the gmap and seems like it was kadagaravalli estate...

If everyone is the group is experienced trekker then i think you guys can do it in single day (from Dhonigal to Yedakumari and then to that village)...Dhonigal to Yedakumari is just a walk with no hiking involve...but you will not find any accommodation in that village and neither will you find any bus to get away... Sad... I remember there was just 1-2 busses from that village... If a group is small then you guys can take shelter in the school or somewhere else in the village.... Food can be arranged at the shop opposite to bus stand...this is what i can fetch about that village from my rapidly sinking memory...

===Vishnu

Hey Vishnu, How about doing

Hey Vishnu, How about doing this the other way? like --

Take a train from Bangalore to Subrahmanya taking train 16517
get down@Yedakumeri@ 4:00 AM morning and fresh up start trek to Donigal and continue to trek to Sakaleshpur
Night halt @ Sakaleshpur...We can try getting off the track and walk in the forest for some length. I have got a local guide contact information who might help us do that.

This might be less adventure..but we might have something to do in Sakaleshpur the second day. Will we miss anything by doing this, as I see most of them have not tried the trek this way, at least as many blogs I read.. Please comment.

Hi Radhika, It

Hi Radhika,
It seems a good option... are you sure that train 16517 stop at Yedakumari station.... If you guys will start early in the morning from Yedakumari, you should be able to reach Sakleshpur by evening.... It is equally adventurous because you are taking the same trail..In reverse....

Taking a Local Guide will be a prudent call considering the restriction on the track...

==== Vishnu

Hey Vishnu, Happy to let you

Hey Vishnu,

Happy to let you know that we have completed the trek yesterday! Smile It was just the right time and the weather completely co-operated. The train 16571 starts from SBC @ 8:35PM and reaches Yedakumari @ 4:45AM and stops for about a minute, its neither a stop nor a station. You should be just cautious not to miss the station which comes after tunnel 17. We did go for taking a local guide (although it was really not much needed). who greeted as we reached, which made us confirm that its the station. Taking the advantage of having a guide along with us, we stepped into the forest after crossing tunnel 15, we could have a very close view of a roaring waterfall, due to the nice rains from Wednedsay! We were lucky that it was much less on the day we went. We got over the track at tunnel 12 , continued to Donigal and reached by 4 in the evening.

Guide information : Mr.Nayan (9481667295). A local with good knowledge of the route between the forest. Can speak only Kannada. Just be careful to take his advice after doing some initial research yourself.

please tell us abut the

please tell us abut the permissions . and we are planning on september 19th

You can go for the Guide

You can go for the Guide which Radhikha hired while doing this trek... Permits won't be possible...

Thanks a lot for all the

Thanks a lot for all the useful information....Good to hear that trek is do-able...

Hi Vishnu,, I think u enjoyed

Hi Vishnu,,

I think u enjoyed the trek very well and now u became the trekking guide for the western ghats..so please guide us also in the right direction ...

can we trip for 2 days to sakaleshpur ? can we travel in bus, car, TT ? can we get the good hotels or restaurants over there ?

You just want to visit

You just want to visit Sakleshpur... there is a lot around Sakleshpur and the town itself is quite scenic... Post monsoon is the best time to visit.... Sakleshpur is well connected with other cities of Karnataka..You can get KSRTC busses... Hotels and Restaurants are also good in Sakleshpur...In fact you can get some high-end resorts as well...

How to get the

How to get the permission.
Please reply

As you can read, there is no

As you can read, there is no way to procure permit for Sakleshpur track...

Hi Vishnu, Thanks for the

Hi Vishnu,

Thanks for the details, Plz share the info about where to get the neccessary permissions for the trek.
We are planning for the trek on Mar-16-2013.

Plz mail me the details ASAP.

My mail id is "vijay.raaju@yahoo.com"

Can you plz share the info on

Can you plz share the info on how & where to get permission for the trek? my mail id is karthik_madyastha@yahoo.com

Hi Vishnu, I've read your

Hi Vishnu, I've read your experiences and am in love with this spot. However, I grew skeptical once I started reading the comments. I just want a few clarifications.
1) Can we trek during this time of the year?
2) Permissions. How and from whom should we take them?
3) I think the rail trek is banned. Is there an alternative route? If yes, will we be seeing the water falls midway?

This is not a bad time to do

This is not a bad time to do Sakleshpur Green Route Trek but permissions are an issue... trekkers were caught by railway officials...

How do we get those

How do we get those permisiions? Can you give us a few pointers for obtaining those permisiions!

Please do not attempt the

Please do not attempt the trek without the necessary permissions. We were caught by the Railway Protection Force and were made to pay a fine of Rs.200 per head. The RPF threatened us that he would produce us to the Magistrate. Somehow we were just let of with a fine.

Thanks for the update

Thanks for the update Sai....including it in the blog...

Man Vishnu & Team: Wonder

Man Vishnu & Team:

Wonder full guys. Why didn't you call me?
I was searching images.google.com for Kukke Subramanya but eventually landed in your blog with railway tracks and tunnels.

Ya, I like trekking on a mountain range but it might be difficult now.

Do you or shall we plan a group visit during rainy season? I really would cherish the very idea of trekking on a mountain with train tracks and guha's with rain and happy people screaming and take photographs all the way up and all the way down.

Err.. when does it start raining in mountains?

Regards to all, especially to Lord Vishnu Smile
- GANI (Ganesh) 7204088674 (Raggi Gudda, 9th Block JayNagar)

Hi Ganesh, Thanks

Hi Ganesh,
Thanks for your overwhelming accolade...

I am not a team.... I am mostly traveling alone.... Smile....I wish i could have joined you in doing some trek to Western Ghats but presently I am in North wandering around my bit of India...

I hope other visitors may join you...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Hi Please send me the

Hi Please send me the details,, abut the permission and route what u taken and other stuff.... we are planning to go in November....

hey vishnu, great job man,

hey vishnu, great job man, please do mail me the permission getting details as you've done to others...
my email-narprasan@gmail.com

hey vishnu good job man...

hey vishnu good job man... appreciate your patience....
we too planned for this trek... suddenly it got cancelled due to permission issues... i being a travel maniac was completely disappointed.. so it'll be better if you post the permission taking procedure in this site... it'll be helpful to other people also...they can directly look into it instead of asking you to mail it every time...

You are not permitted to walk

You are not permitted to walk on the railway trek but there were few tricks those were working in the past to do Sakleshpur trek.... Now Officials are very strict and it is almost impossible to do this trek without getting into any trouble... I wish i could have helped with the proper permission channel but there is no such process as of now....

Hi vishnu... Me and my

Hi vishnu...

Me and my friends are planning to trek from donigal to Yedakumari by this weekend. I read you blog and very excited!!! could please let me know is trekking is still banned or we need to take the permission. Kindly provide your inputs..

Thanks in Advance

Please reply to my email id deepakrajendran.ncb@gmail.com

I am eagerly waiting for your reply:)Smile

Thanks,
Deepak

Hi All, Finally me and my

Hi All,

Finally me and my friends had successfully completed the trek from donigal to yedakumari. Experiences cannot be explained in words!!!!!! every one has to go there and have to feel it:)Smile

We went without permission. While trekking the pwd he came in the trolley and not allowed us to go head. we were just waited him to go and we continued our trekking. Before starting we just got the instruction from the Donigal station master not keep any stones or wood on the track which will dangerous for those who take trolley and he didn't even ask our trekking permission. Only in the Yedakumari railway station area which is restricted area, But still people who want's to go can have DD's Permission. You have mysore or Bangalore DD's permission for trek.

I Hope my shot note may help others.

My kindly request to all of you, please don't through water bottles, plastic covers or whatever waste you produce while trekking. Carry a bag to collect your garbage.

Happy and safe trekking:)

Hey Vishnu! A couple of my

Hey Vishnu!

A couple of my frnds and me are planning a trek on this route in the near future and as mentioned we need to contact the Bangalore/Mysore DD for permission. Would like to know what DD stands for. Also would it be possible to get permission from some authorities in Sakleshpur itself ??? What are the worse consequences one could face if caught without a perm. Would be really helpful if you could mail me the details.

Thanx.

Murtaza
murtazasurti@yahoo.com

Even i don't know what DD

Even i don't know what DD stands for but getting permission for Sakleshpur is really a tricky affair.... Authorities are now very stringent if caught walking on this trek.... read the note in Green...

Hello Deepak, Thanks for the

Hello Deepak,

Thanks for the recent comment.. Can you also tell me how have you go back after reaching yedakumari.
What is the full form of DD? in your line (You have mysore or Bangalore DD's permission for trek).

Will the place be full of rains now? Is it go there after 2 weeks?

Even i am not sure what DD

Even i am not sure what DD stands for....I guess some officer in Indian Railways...

Thanks for asking...

Yes, Place will be full of rain...but i believe it (monsoon) is the best time to do this trek...

DD should mean a dirty dog as

DD should mean a dirty dog as the permission is almost impossible it seems.

hahahahhaha... true...

hahahahhaha... true... permission is nearly impossible...

Thanks for that Vishnu!

Thanks for that Vishnu! Smile

Thanks a lot Deepak for

Thanks a lot Deepak for sharing your experience... I updated it in the blog.... Will be a great help for fellow travelers...

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