As I sit on my couch staring at my laptop, trying hard to concentrate on my work, my thoughts meander in the green hills of Sakleshpur. It has been more than a year since I visited Sakleshpur with a bunch of my colleagues or I would rather say aerobics batchmates ( yes, we have aerobics classes at office). Not wanting to take the headache of booking accommodation and transport, we had approached The Crazy Yatra, a travel startup to arrange the trip. Since quite a few in the team were first time trekkers, we choose to go to Sakleshpur which offered many easy trails with beautiful vistas.
We started late from Bangalore on a Friday night planning to reach the resort early in the morning. The journey started with a quick round of self-introduction in the TT. How can one not be crazy while on a trip organized by CrazyYatra. It all started when Ajay ( from Crazy yatra) asked each one of us to introduce ourselves by naming one crazy deed we did in our life. Each One tried to recall the crazy things they did. When myself and my sister said we travel 30kms daily to reach office from one end of the Bangalore city to the others, they sure felt it was crazy. Not stopping there, they even named us Nagarabhavi Sisters. Oh, I forgot to mention that my sister had accompanied me on this crazy trip. Of Course, the most crazy thing we heard was that Ajay had done a cabaret in female attire in one of his skits.
The journey till Sakaleshpur was quite smooth and we could get some sleep. The trouble started when we had to take a detour from Hanbal to reach the resort. The resort was located at the end of a long muddy road which meandered through multiple turns and ups and downs. It was pitch dark outside and there were no lights to guide us on the muddy road at 4.00am in the morning. After going up and down the hilly road multiple times because of a missed turn we finally made it to our destination.. As dawn broke, we entered The Ibbani Resort– the place where we would stay for the next two days. the resort had a rustic charm. The resort owners had made sure to use as much as local supplies as possible for all the construction. We learnt that it was earlier a cardamom plantation with many arecanut trees in between. The owners had very aesthetically converted the landscape into a resort retaining much of the plantation. Its location surrounded by multiple hilly ranges upped its ante . As the first rays of sun kissed the dew strewn terrain, we knew we had arrived at the perfect location for our weekend. The resort had no network coverage leaving us completely unplugged from the rest of the world.
After having a tasty and simple breakfast prepared by the cook, we again boarded the TT to go to a waterfall located somewhere amidst the woods. The TT took us through the same offroading lanes. We noticed that there were many more popular resorts on either sides of the muddy roads. The waterfall was a small trek away from the muddy road. Clinging on to the hanging branches and creepers, we slowly made our way down to the waterfall. It was one of the many unnamed waterfalls in the dense woods of Sakleshpur which come to life during monsoons. The water formed a beautiful pool in the shades of the woods. After playing in the pool and waterfall for quite a long time, we realized it was time for lunch. Since the pool and the fall was completely covered by the shades of the trees, we hardly had realized that it was mid noon. We finally had to leave the pool to make way for another group which was staying in one of the other resorts. Playing in the waterfall for so long had completely drained our energy. The tasty food prepared by the cook was such a relief…
The resort had many activities and the fun had just begun. The long swing, zip line, Burma bridge across a pond, coracle ride in the pond, mud volleyball, rain dance.. oh the list goes on. Th activities were so engaging that we hardly noticed the day had passed. Then there was the bonfire with lovely music and steaming pakoras followed by a game of Mafia coordinated by Ajay. We called it a day after enjoying a sumptuous dinner. The guys slept in tents while the girls stayed in the dormitories.
The next day was even more exciting. We rose early in the morning and headed on a trek to a hill which the locals call as Huli betta ( meaning Tiger hill- named so because a tiger was spotted on the hill some years ago). A loyal dog from the resort accompanied us on the entire trek. We crossed a small stream strewn with beautiful pebbles and crystal clear water. It was so much fun to walk barefoot in the chilling water of the stream. After a couple of photos and fool selfies, we continued our trek. Though the trail was quite flat initially, it got steeper as we climbed and at one point we were probably climbing at 60 – 70-degree slope. As the wind caressed us and the peaks of the hills played hide and seek with the mist, we reached the top to witness a beautiful vista with the tall grass swaying to the music of the wind. As our group jumped, hopped and giggled on reaching the top of the hill, another group which started the trek along will us were gasping for breath in huff and puff and made it to the top with great difficulty. We were so grateful to our Aerobics instructor for keeping us fit. The view from the op of the hill and the feeling of easily making it to the top had upped our energy levels. We jumped, screamed and did some aerobics exercises as well on the hill. The photographers in the team had a herculean task capturing everyone’s stunts. We sat there doing nothing for some time appreciating the beauty of the grass covered hills and the forests below, trying to identify the resort where we stayed from the top of the hill. The human aspect looked so minuscule and humble in front of the mighty nature. It was just a small hill that we had climbed but everything that was below looked tiny so tiny. Our white TT was looking like a small bit of chalk while the resort where we stayed looked the size of a small brick. As the mist got thin and the rays of the sun got sharp, we started our descent. After spending some more time playing in the stream on the way, we headed back to the resort. We quickly finished breakfast, took a tour of the large kitchen of the resort and bid adieu to the resort and the beautiful grasslands and hills of Sakleshpur.
Sakleshpur which is about 250 kms from Bangalore is the best weekend getaway. It hardly takes 4-5 hrs to reach Hanbal which houses many resorts. I would suggest you to stay in the Ibbabi Resort because the food and the activities in the resort are total value for the money you pay. If not Ibbani, you can also try Jenukallu or Rottikallu which are considered a bit costlier that Ibbani for more or less the same activities offered. If you wish to outsource the arrangements for any of your group adventure trips, I would safely suggest Crazy Yatra for they arrange each aspect of your outing so well that you will not be left with anything to complain. They also arrange adventure trips with fixed departures. Plus the never ending crazy thing they make you do- you will discover a new you which probably you had not noticed.