1. Subhasis Ray
2. Neelima Sharma
3. Somya Mani
4. Srinivas R.
Date: 4th December, 2011
Mode of Transport: KSRTC Bus
The Green Route “Trek on the Railway Track”, as it is well known, is a trekkers paradise, stretching from Sakleshpur to the Subramanya Road Station. Though the track was being abandoned some years agao, it has become active with with replacement to the tracks and goods train plying through the track. The trek forms a part of 56.80 kms stretch from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subrahmanya, which is dotted by 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and about 25 waterfalls.
Since we had only one day at our hands we decided to start the trek from the Donigal Railway Station to Yedukumari Railway station and be back, a distance of about 17.20 kms one way. This stretch has around 17 tunnels with around 24 bridges (not the exact count).
Time: 21:56 hrs
The tyres finally moved towards our destination. A pit stop in the Hotel MTR at 00:47 hrs.
Time: 03:00 hrs
The bus reached Sakleshpur. We were in two minds of whether we should continue on the same bus or take a local bus. When contacted with the bus conductor, they informed that they would drop us near Donigal Railway station.
Time: 03:30 hrs
But to our good/bad luck, we were dropped near a group of small tea stalls, after around 20 minutes ride from Sakleshpur bus stop. We decided to have a cup of tea on the small stall and also inquire about Donigal railway station. There the person informed that we have to walk around 3-4 kms to reach the station. So, be it. We all decided to walk. With torches in our hands, fog/mist all around, the screeching sound of vehicles passing by, smell of burning tyres, we en-devour the journey on the Bangalore Mangalore Highway on foot. As we travel, we have the sights of the coffee estates, Shentha Estate on the right and DoddaMane Estate on the left.
Time: 05:00 hrs
After moving for around one and half hours like nomads we were finally able to get to our first destination, Donigal Railway Station, from where we planned to start the trek. We had to walk back for almost half a kilometer, after consulting a local, to reach the road leading to the station. We reach the station only to find it empty. Even the station master was in deep sleep. Since it was still dark, we plan not venture out of the station, but gave some time to revive ourself by taking a small nap under the open sky.
Where is Donigal Railway Station?
Donigal Railway station, located in the outskirts of Saklespur is a small railway station, which caters the needs (signaling only) for passing good trains. It is located just around 1 kms from the passing NH 48. One has to cross the Muthappeswar Seva Trust on the right and just after crossing the bridge get down (in case you are taking a bus/cab) and go on the right (broken tar) muddy road. In case you plan to trek from Sakleshpur itself, Donigal would be around 4 kms from there.
Time: 06:30 hrs
The short nap was quiet reviving for us as it make ourself feel fresh. We went hunting for the station master but still he was not to be seen. We thought of going ahead instead of waiting for him, since we would loose valuable time if we don’t start early. We went ahead and started our trek from the station. We planned to reach Yedukumari Station and move onwards to reach the highway from there through the jungle (though it did not materialize later). We started from Donigal at 50/0 as the railway mark.
As we move along the trek, we came across a series of bridges and tunnels. You can see the beautiful ridges, canopy of the far forest from the bridges. The view from the top is breathtaking. As we moved into the first tunnel, it was all dark. My first on foot experience on a railway tunnel. As we enter the second tunnel, there is a small opening and as you move out you hear the loud roaring of a stream flowing down, as it makes it ways across the stones. The view is very beautiful.
Time: 10:45 hrs
We reach 59/400, where we got into another station. I don’t remember the name of the station. But we took some time to rest in there. We inquired to a gentlemen, about the distance to Yedukumari station to which he informed that it would be another 8-9 kms from the current location. We had to pass through one of the longest tunnel which was about 592 m and one of the longest bridge over a stream. The tunnels were a marvelous piece of constructions dated that time around the 1950-1970’s.
Time: 12:35 hrs
Finally reached Yedukumari. Milestone 67/200. It was a quiet a relief to see the the station name on the board. We have walked a continuously for 2 hrs without any break. Much needed lunch break. There is also a canteen in there. We had omelette’s and rice. It was nice speaking to the gentlemen from Delhi who serves you in this canteen.
P.S: Try avoiding meeting the station master Mr. Rakesh Singh there. Seems like a troublesome person, as we experienced.
Time: 14:20 hrs
We decided to head back to Donigal itself since the route through the forest is not convenient. As informed by the people therein, the forest homes to a lots of tuskers and leeches. And from the station, it would be around 5 kms to the highway. We asked for assistance but since it was Sunday there was no one around to take us through the forest area. We had to make it on our own. With sun going down by the hills, we decided to head back on the same trek.
Time: 16:30 hrs
Reached back 59/400.
Time: 18:30 hrs
We were able to get on to the highway just after the underpass. There is a small trail which leads you to the highway. We tried stopping some buses, but in vain. Finally we had to walk for some more time on the Bangalore Mangalore Highway before getting a lift by a private jeep. They dropped us at the Saklespur KSRTC bus stop, from where we planned to take a bus back to Bangalore.
Time: 21:00 hrs
Hungry and dying for some food, we managed to grab food in a small veg restaurant in the bus stop itself. Our feet and shoulders were all giving up now and there is no point waiting for Volvo/Rajhamsa, since those would only ply after 23:00 hrs. So we went ahead and popped into a KSRTC bus to Hassan.
Time: 22:50 hrs
The bus dropped us at Hassan, from where we took another bus to Bangalore. We dozed off just as the bus started to move towards Bangalore.
Time: 02:50 hrs
Reached Majestic bus depot, which marked the end of the eventful day in the lush green mountains and and the stony railway treks of Sakleshpur.
Looking back, at the end of the day we walked around 43 kms. I would like to thank my fellow trekkers for having such a wonderful/unforgettable trek.