Anthargange night trek is probably the most popular trek to do near Bangalore. Located just 70 km from the city, the trek is riddled with beaten pathways flanked by thorny bushes, intruding boulders, narrow crevices and uncaring gravels and creepers.
The trek is hardly an hour long, but bottlenecks at various points on the route and high influx of fellow travelers on weekends ensure that one does not reach the top anytime soon.
The cave-exploration route is actually a detour from the original route. One has to leave their luggage outside the cave and is not allowed to go in without a flashlight. It requires strong grip and well-balanced stance to move within the cave, the way is not straightforward and one can meet 10 feet fall if not careful!
Cave trekking in Anthargange is no joke; it's tedious, athletically demanding, and a strict no-go for people with large waists! On top of it, the darkness and slippery terrain add to the difficulty. One can only imagine how difficult will it be in the rainy season when water seeps in the caves. All that said, after crossing 4-5 notable obstacles, there is another 15-20 min hike before one reaches the top of the hill. The rest of the trek is covered with huge boulders, dry vegetation, pointing flashlights and bumping travelers until one reaches the top. The summit is a different story altogether!
The view was breathtaking! Once, everyone got settled in their preferred location and handheld lights went off, the only things visible were the dark shadows that moonlight casts upon the vegetation and the silhouette of rocks against the city lights from the nearby town of Kolar. As the night progressed, the crowd became quieter, comfortably tucked in the warmth of the sleeping bags and watching the starry night and the full moon. A cool breeze blew continuously, making it necessary for us to wear jackets and rendering the music from the speaker almost inaudible. Turning back, I saw the crowd perched on different rocks; all turned east, all waiting for the dawn to arrive...
Gradually, the sky turned purple, then dark blue, and finally red announcing the arrival of the sun. It appeared like a giant red ball that had been pushed inside gallons of water and released. It swiftly pierced the horizon and turned into a yellow funnel, its side rapidly spreading across the sky. Almost like a flower blooming in the sky. All this happened in just 20 mins. Makes one realize how fast time flies!! It was time to head back.
There are multiple routes to reach the summit and an uninitiated mind gets lost on the way to the top. Keeping that in mind, we booked our tour via Thrillophilia, which turned out to be 12 hr hike and cost us around ₹1000 per person. This fee included sleeping bags (which are given at the beginning go the trek and have to be carried individually), bonefire preparation and breakfast in the morning.
Overall, a trek to definitely check out over the weekend!
Pooja Waikar, Shivam Johari, Shalini Bansal, Nikita Singh