Javadhu Hills biking and Divine Hike to Parvathamalai - Post Trek Write up
By Azeem Marecan
I got up with a start! Fearing the worst. I wondered why my alarm died on me. Or did it really ring and
it was just me who overslept? As these questions were starting to get me, I quickly came to senses and
checked my phone… I realized I had one more hour of sleep left. It was only 2 am. I had set my alarm
for 3 am, for the CTC rendezvous in Koyembedu at 4.30 am.
The alarm finally rang; I got up and geared up for my second outing with CTC – The Divine Hike!
This was going to be a bike cum trek trip. Having zilch experience in trekking and not knowing what to
expect, I decided to follow Arun‟s words to the dot, in terms of the items to carry.
I reached Nathan‟s café at 4.30am and met my partner for the ride, Bala, along with a few other
members of this ride – Anand Babu, Thanga (our discover man) and Gorakhnath. The rest of the team
already convened at this point a few minutes earlier and it took us a little while to figure which team
was going where.
At 4.30ish on a Saturday morning, this area was buzzing with about some 3 or 4 different CTC teams
getting ready for biking, trekking and cycling. There were a few of us who even had the idea of event
hopping, which looked pretty viable at that point. But, to the best of my knowledge, that didn‟t
happen, at least with our event :P
So, quick ad hoc introductions were made, while the rations being distributed and someone from the
team shouted LET‟S GO!!
I was like, Whoaaa!!! Heyyy!!! Hold your horses guys, who‟s leading? who‟s sweeping? But I realized by
the time I‟d have waited for an answer, I would have been sweeping . So I quickly checked with
Venky on the meeting point, which was the next toll, and throttled with Bala in that direction.
It was dark when the ride started and the sun slowly rising as we cruised towards the first meeting
point. After the reaching the toll, we all got down for a quick stretch. Managed to witness the rising
sun - a pretty neat sight – take a few snaps and then get back on to our bikes. The lead and sweep were
decided here and the ride resumed.
We drove on the Chennai to Bangalore highway, which was pretty ummm… well… straightforward, shall
I say? Yessir, no hanky-panky stuff. Just cruising on a straight road. For a moment, a vague thought of
„something is missing in this ride‟ crossed my mind. But, I quickly dismissed it, thinking it would
probably have something to with the lack of sleep.
As we were all cruising at 80-90 kmph, something zipped past us. Was it a bird? Was it a plane flying
low?? Nope!! It was our man, Thanga, on his Discover 135 looking down on us and even making the likes
of our 150-500cc bikes eat dust.
And this is when the confusion filled comedy of errors crept into our ride that gave us a good hearty
laugh and the ever so needed ice-breaker of the trip.
I‟m not going to get into the details of the confusion, but it was basically 4 bikes missing to take a turn
into Vellore and ended up going straight
Before I unfurl the events of the first day, I‟d like to give a quick gist of the 1st
We rode – we ate – we rode – we ate – we ate more – we rode – we ate – we trekked – we ate – we
trekked and ate and finally we ate. :D
The first place we officially stopped for eating was at this small joint that sold the softest idlis that I‟d
ever had outside home. A bunch of 15 odd CTCians „invaded‟ the hut and hogged down every last bit of
idlis and vadas that were available. We ate faster than they were able to make. It was not only due to
the hunger, but the idlis were sooo soft plus every side dish that they went along with it was perfect.
After satiating our appetites we were ready to hit the ghat road.
“Stick together, team” was the call given by Venky. Hold on to this line, I‟ll come back to it.
Ghat Road Entered!!
This was my first experience of riding a bike on a ghat road, and as the trip started to unfold, I started
to realize what was actually missing in the ride. The curvaceous hair pin bends, the cool and fresh air,
the awe-inspiring landscapes that unraveled after every turn and of course, biking in a group.
As we were climbing the Javadu Hill, Arun decided to stop for a few clicks.
So, coming back to our Venky‟s call of sticking together… Well, we did stick together… partially…
The team of 18 stuck together in two parts of 9 each :D
So, it was here that one our friends got a prefix as an identity to his name. It was… Long shot Bala. The
reason? Bala seems to have a knack in photography, or at least the way how HE poses when he takes
someone‟s else‟s picture implies so. And every time he clicks a pic, these are his words:
It was initially a little difficult to remember everyone‟s names at that point and hence a „tag‟ was
necessary. Long shot Bala got his. For the remaining guys, their respective bikes became their prefix :D
This is how it went:
Pulsar blue Venkat
Discover / 135 Thanga
200 NS Anand
Pillion Bala (My pillion)
FZ (Sorry machan, I still remember you as FZ )
The remaining, were easy… And I, was famous… So no tags required :D
It was time for some crazy clicks
We resumed the ride and on the way found the other 9 who also “stuck together”. Even they had a
photo session of their own. I guess, by now, it‟s become a protocol to take pics if you‟re lost / have to
wait / or don‟t know what to do.
Arun took us through a forest road that had thick trees on both sides, which gave a nice and cool
feeling as we rode down the road. The ride through the forest was nothing like I‟ve ever experienced
before. The very sight of greenness enveloping you while you‟re cruising on your bike, takes you into a
whole new world of serenity.
I didn‟t realize how long we drove as we sped through the forest, but I had a feeling that it ended real
quick. This was when our 135 Thanga‟s bike started developing a snag. Courtesy – The evil eyes casted
on his bike by the owners of the 150cc+ bikes :D
We arrived at a town and what we witnessed there was speechless. Or, if I have to put it in a more
appropriate manner, what the locals witnessed by watching a group of bikers traveling, left THEM
speechless. Some of them were turning their heads like how the audiences in a tennis match do. We
entered the bazaar road of the village and let our man search for a mechanic to fix his ride.
I did mention earlier that taking photos has become something like a protocol if you‟re lost / have to
wait / or don‟t know what to do. However, if there is food around…… ummm… no points for guessing
which one takes precedence :D ATTACK!!!! Nom Nom Nom down the bujjiisssss!!! Yea!!
Next up, Thunderbird Bharat had a worn out Woodlands and had to get it fixed with a cobbler. There
was a lady selling panniyaarum (a soft idli like dish) next to the cobbler and all of us were looking at
the panniyaarum and back at each other, contemplating if we should go ahead or not. For a change we
chose to stay put and wait till Thunderbird got his shoe fixed.
Finally the shoe and 135‟s bike was fixed. We couldn‟t stay off riding any longer and this time we
decided to cover a considerable distance before we take a break. So on our bikes we got, ignite the
engines we did and throttled our wayyy…… to the next tea shop, crossing hardly a couple of kilometers.
Not only tea, they had bujjis as well, so what did we do… We ignored it. Naaa…
Finally, we started for good and proceeded to Paruvadha Malai. The ride, again, was pretty pleasing.
We were a lucky bunch on that day. The climate was awesome and made the trip even more relaxing. I
had the phrase Mausam Awesome ringing in my mind throughout the ride.
After a couple of hour‟s ride we reached a place where we all had lunch and proceeded towards the
base of Paruvadha Malai.
We were able to see a few hills, and when Blue Pulsar Venkat asked Arun to show us which hill we were
trekking up, Arun pointed at a small structure on the peak of the tallest Hill with a smile on his face.
We smiled back at him mockingly. We ain‟t buying that from him.
We geared up and started the trek. What started out to be Mausam Awesome, slid into a hot afternoon
just as we were warming up to the trek.
The trail was pretty dry and fundamentally involved climbing rocks (a little exaggeration there, but you
can catch my drift).
During the initial part of the climb, we struck up a few conversations on various topics ranging from
video games, to Game of Thrones, to what not. But as we progressed through the climb, there was
more panting than talking. Then we progressed into only panting, no talking.
We kept climbing up the never ending trail of steepness, where each step meant lifting our feet up a
knee-level high step. The “fit” ones breezed through the trail, while the ordinary mortals took quite a
Even with the breaks in between I started to feel fatigue kicking in. It was just plain „climbing‟ with an
occasional glance over the left of the shoulder to see the progress made in the form of the elevation
As we climbed, we met our “fit” Venky who was taking a break from the climb, since the ghuska he ate
for lunch decided to play spoilsport and exited thru his mouth. I‟d say it was a blessing in disguise
Fazer Gorakh, who was with me at that point of the climb, casually checked with Venky on the
distance left to reach the Temple. Feeling that we had completed at least 75% of the climb and
expecting a response of 30 mins, Venky said 2 hours… Minimum… Pointing at the same peak that Arun
pointed earlier. I‟m like, dude, we‟re too tired for jokes, plsss. And when he gave me that blank look,
the realization hit me that, „THAT Peak is Where We Are Actually headed!!”
Managing to just pull ourselves through to the first potti kadai, the sip of lemon soda felt like a dose of
resurrection – A sip from the Holy Grail. That pinch of lemon gave so much of strength and fueled our
„engines‟ enough to take us to the top… that we decided to park ourselves in front of the potti kadai
and have some more of the lemon soda :D
The climb resumed with the evening starting to wear in, while most of us wearing off. The temperature
started to drop, and the burden of the heat was reduced.
Darkness started to set in and the view of the mountains covered in bluish dark hue seemed eerie yet
mystifying. It started getting cold as we gained altitude. At this stage, I had only one goal in mind –
Reaching the summit of the hill.
The phenomena of mind over body started to set in. My legs started feeling fatigue all over again but I
didn‟t want to stop. The experience of „climbimg‟ felt so fulfilling, that to stop and wait, seemed like
a sin. I wanted more of what I was going through. I wanted to cover more steps, gain more altitude and
keep going. It was all so good… Well… Until we reached the next potti kadai selling panniyaarum!!
Gorakh, 135 Thanga, Shinoth and I stopped for some panniyaarum and the yummy pudina chutney that
went along with it. And this is the last stop for the night… God promise!
We resumed climbing while I was still licking off the last bit of the chutney from the leaf plate. By
now, the trail was pitch-dark. Lights on! And Team work on, as well. We came to a place that required
us to climb a steep, narrow and precarious ladder. And it was just not straight up. You had the
boulders protruding, and so the ladder turned left. We worked our way up in unison. With one person
taking the responsibility of lighting up the path of the other and then taking turns to light up while the
others were climbing.
We crossed the ladder and came to a place, that had a steel plank like bridge to support us to cross
over from one end to the other. We met up with long shat Bala here, who waited to show us the route
or was probably in need of a torch :D
After crossing the plank and a narrow stone stairs and a little bit of figuring out of where to place our
foot with every step, we finally reached the top. And I was like, wow! We finally made it!! Thanks to
the chill climate, we were able to push ourselves and reach the top along with the other “fit” guys,
just at the right time when they were just about to start with their paniyaarum. We all joined Arun,
Blue Pulsar Venkat, Venky, R15 Vinod, Unicorn Vijay for some quick snack before heading in for the
dinner in the Temple.
As we were trying to figure out a flat surface to rest for the night, we learnt that sleeping inside the
Temple was also an option, besides them feeding us dinner.
The Temple had a set of rules that must be followed in order to get your meal. You‟re supposed to
offer prayers and all the guys have to go in bare-chested (without the top). This was my first
experience inside a Temple and I had zilch knowledge on what to do. Thunderbird Bharat turned out to
be my life saver during this experience. I just followed his suit. We all gathered up in a common hall to
„wait‟ for the head priest to make his entry. Going back to the protocol that I had stated about CTCians
waiting… Well, Long shot Bala did the honours by taking a few snaps of us while we were meditating…
The head priest finally came in and addressed the gathering. There was also a puny dog called Mani
(Mani = bell in Tamil) who had a bell tied to him and that kept ringing with every cute little step he
takes. I was a little intimidated with Mani at the beginning. Not because it was a dog, I love dogs, but
because I was scared he would sniff me out – being the odd one. I had scenes of different Tamil, Hindi,
Chinese, English etc. movies playing in my head where an animal‟s intelligence is used to sniff out the
odd one in the group. I also had scenes playing of Mani barking relentlessly at me, and the whole group
starting to stare at me. I started thinking aloud in my head, trying to communicate to the dog, in case
it‟s able to read my thought. I said, “I came here only for food, Mani. I mean no harm. ”
Mani did go around incessantly, with this bell ringing, sniffing people sitting there. And I sat there
repeating those lines in my mind. Mani then seemed to ignore me and it was then that I started
breathing a little freely. Bharat was there advising me on what to do, while I sat there following his
advice to the dot. The priest was done with his talk and it was time for dinner!!!
We were given a dish that looked like curd rice, but wasn‟t curd and wasn‟t rice, and a masala that
went along it with. The food was too good, with the spice of the masala that complemented well with
the blandness of the „rice‟. I loved what I was eating, NOT KNOWING what I was eating.
After dinner, the “lazy bums” of the group laid their sleeping bags and were ready to hit the sack. The
rest of us stepped out and experienced the umm… fog filled chilly night.
We all had a plan to wake up early and witness the sunrise. We were on top of a hill and to witness a
sunrise from this altitude sounded like something that I should kill for. As we were setting up the
alarm, one of the “lazy bums” said he also wanted to witness the sunrise. So he suggested us to take a
pic of it and tag him on fb
As everyone snuggled up in their sleeping bags/mats, there was sound of someone opening a packet of
jujupee (if that‟s the spelling). What seemed to be a bunch of guys fast asleep, remained to be a bunch
of guys fast asleep, except for their hands that sprung up and into the direction of the sound, with the palms wide open. Seemed like a scene out of a horror movie for a moment. After getting a jujupee
each, the hands retracted back to their respective bodies.
It was finally morning, most of us got up ready to brace ourselves for the breath-taking view of the
sunrise. The lazy-bums also got up, just in time to remind us on the fb tag. The souls that were up to
watch the spectacular sunrise were Arun, Long shot Bala, Prabakar, Bharat, Pillion Bala, 135 Thanga
and I. Venky and blue pulsar Venkat also joined during the course of the „wait‟ And yes, we did „wait‟
so we did take pics:
We‟ve almost neared the time to witness the spectacular sunrise. According to the websites, sunrise
was supposed to happen at 6.35am. It was 6.45 am. We thought, since we were up this height, it
probably takes time for the sun to penetrate through the thick fog. So we waited and clicked more
It was 7.15am and we finally decided that this was the sunrise:
Yessir! „plain white‟ beauty… no other words to describe the „spectacular sunrise‟ we all got up early
for to witness. The sun decided to reveal itself after it rose completely. And not while it was rising
Before I continue with the descend, I‟d like to cover a few instances of Surya‟s activities, which would
be a crime to this write-up if I ignore.
I can start a different write-up for Surya alone, based on his antics, but will settle down for some of
1. Surya had a watch that could tell the temperature. People would normally use the watch to check
time and if required check the temperature. He felt that was too mainstream for him. And instead,
used the watch for temperature and occasionally to check the time. And when the temperature
didn‟t seem to display properly, he removed the watch, held it high above his head and started to
jumping, to expose the watch more to the environment in order to tell him the temperature.
Though he had his sweater and all the thermal gears on, we was insisting on the watch to show him
the darn temperature :D
2. We all had connectivity issue on the top and Surya‟s phone was no exception. He happened to
misplace his phone somewhere and was frantically searching for it. Then an idea struck him out of
nowhere. He decided to give a missed call to his connection-less phone. We all know how „well‟ the
3. After finding the phone, Surya had to make an urgent call to his girlfriend. His sim didn‟t seem to
be able to pick up signal from the top. And Voila! Another idea struck him. He decided to use his
sim that had connection problems in another phone to make calls. Now now now, guys, we all know
that Surya knows how a sim works. I‟m sure he got just a little apprehensive about not being able
to speak to his girl and in the thick of things would have lost a little data on a sim‟s functionality :D
To ‘Divinity’ and beyooond! Contd…
The descend started in groups again. I could hear Unicorn Vijay calling out the name of all Gods and
praying to them. To be honest, the descend felt a little more intimidating than the ascend.
Well, one is, it was extremely foggy. And two, we couldn‟t what was beyond the edge. It was covered
in plain whiteness.
The very sight of plain whiteness was awing. Imagine falling into the whiteness. It felt like falling into
nothing. A pretty cool thought at that time to add more vibes to my already shaking legs.
We almost froze when we came to the narrow and precarious ladder. It looked deadly. We paused for a
bit, contemplating a way to get down and realized the only way to get down safely is to do it in
reverse. This helped mainly because, we were all carrying bags and to go down the ladder in reverse
means you don‟t run the risk of your bag being an obstacle in your journey down.
Though the descend was slightly intimidating, we went down pretty quick.
Then it was time for breakfast. Our R15 Vinod preferred to go with Koozhu “WITHOUT ONIONS”, since
buttermilk wasn‟t available, to cool his burning stomach :P . Vinod seemed to be in some kind of a
hurry and left immediately after having his koozhu.
We hogged like usual for breakfast. Bread + MTR mix + Koozhu + oorga made a square breakfast for the
likes of 15 odd guys.
We waited for the next group to come before resuming our journey down. The descend took a lot out
of my thighs and by the time we reached the base, my legs were trembling because of the force at
which my heels kept hitting the ground with every step. And, those hits translated into jerks to my
We freshened up, and waited for the remaining guys to join us. Once all of us reached the base, we got
our respective bike‟s engines warmed up and ready to take our exhausted pair of legs home. We
headed through Vellore to Aryaa‟s restaurant and had one last heavy meal before we shot one final
group pic and parted ways towards our destination.
Okay… Don‟t get the idea of all the bikers heading in different directions when I said “parted ways”. I
just wanted to add some drama and hence used the phrase “parted ways”. We actually drove on the
same road homewards, but not in a group.
This was my first experience with CTC as a trekker and I started to get a feel that I was missing out a
lot by not trekking so far. I loved the feeling of pushing myself, gritting my teeth and experiencing the
mind over body phenomena.
The entire trip was fun-filled, right from when the bikers got lost, to Surya‟s antics, to the monkeys
understanding what we spoke in Tamil and Arun started using sign language so they can‟t understand,
to Long Shot Bala for a moment didn‟t know who was Arun– who was his partner for the entire trip,
besides being the organizer :D
Kudos to Arun for organizing and pulling off another successful CTC bike cum trek trip! Which actually
introduced me to trekking, and which will be my „terminus a quo‟ to many more treks to come in the
This trip was definitely worth the fun and the pain that our legs went through for the subsequent days.
Before I end this write-up, I‟d like to leave you guys with an anecdote that could leave you thinking:
While we were trudging down the trail, there was a black dog that kept following our group. This
fellow seemed a little different from any of the other dogs I‟ve seen. For instance, he doesn‟t seem to
even flinch an eye lid when a potti kadai owner tried shooing him away with a stick. He stood his
ground and was firm in following us. Frankly, I thought this one went cuckoo. He would just sit there,
wait for us regardless of anything and would move only with us.
This fellow even managed to irk our cool-cucumber organizer, Arun, who lost patience when the dog
kept running in front, behind, on the sides and in between his legs :D . He would stop wherever we
stopped and continued till we reached our base.
A week after the trek, I was talking to a friend of mine and was telling about this trek. He then asked if
2 or 3 dogs followed us. I said only one did, but became curious and probed on what‟s the deal with the
dog(s). He said the priest on the top told him that the dog(s) are sent as a guardian, by the divine
force, to accompany us and ensure we reach the base safely. Every time, there will be at least one dog
that would accompany us. When he went there a year ago, he was accompanied by 2 dogs.
Now, the dog could have followed because we gave him some buns.
But, I did feel something different about this fellow when we stuck to us relentlessly.
Could it have just been a coincidence that the dogs also followed my friend down to the base during his
I‟ll let your imaginations run amok on this. Because, as I try connecting the dots with this „Divine Hike‟
“I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it.”
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