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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ramanagaram Rock Climbing & temple

This write up was published in Ergo issue dated 3rd March 2009. Read it online here or scanned images below (click to enlarge)
Ramanagaram Rock Climbing article in ErgoRamanagaram Rock Climbing article in Ergo
Ramanagara, 50 kms from Bengaluru on Mysore road, is famous for its rocks. Rock climbing and adventure enthusiasts come here from all over the world to indulge in hard core adventure. Ramanagara is also known for other reasons- The legendary bollywood movie, Sholay was shot here. Most of the residents of this town still recall the days when the sets of Sholay were put up and shooting was being held. It is also known as Silk City as cultivating silkworm cocoons is a main occupation here.

On the evening of 13th December we reached Ramanagaram for our rock climbing expedition. It was organized by Chennai Trekkers’ Club and Mars Adventures Bangalore and turned out to be a memorable mission. We trekked uphill, ignoring the steps, navigating through dense forest, gigantic rocks and vertical walls. Heavy backpacks made it even more challenging. We reached by night time and set up camp uphill, near the Pattabhirama Temple. We were about 16 in number, excluding our instructor, Kameshwar Rao of Mars Adventures and his crew, Bala and Nagu.
Day 2 was when the real adventure was. Next day, early morning, Kamesh and his men were already at the rock climbing spot, doing a lead climb (the initial climb where the support rope is positioned appropriately such that subsequent climbers will have a rope to fall back on, in case they slip down…). Rest of us got ready and joined them wondering how are we going to climb that huge vertical rock.
tents, temple and rock climbingKamesh briefed us on the basics. Rock climbing is more of a will power than physical stamina… you need to balance yourself on one feet and one hand while using the other leg and hand to position yourself on a higher level- he explained. Wearing harness we got ready for the climb, with the confidence that there is a rope to hold us if we happen to slip. Sanjay was the most knowledgeable among us about rock climbing and related activities and he opted to climb first. With special purpose shoes (made of the same rubber used in aircraft tyres, designed to give maximum friction), fingers wrapped in tape and soaked in chalk powder (to get extra grip and to prevent sweating respectively) Sanjay slowly made his way to the top, pulling himself up. While it too several minutes of painful effort to climb up, coming down was kids play- its termed rappelling, just loosen the rope and hop down in multiple leaps…

3 sets of ropes were set up in parallel and everyone tried their best to reach as high as possible with most of the climbers succeeding in it, to their own surprise. As there was enough time left, many did multiple climbs.

The legend has it that while flying towards Himalayas to get Sanjeevini, Lord Hanuman kept one foot in Antaragange and another in Ramanagaram. It is interesting to note the story behind Sri Pattabhirama temple of Ramanagram. The temple priest told us that post Lanka war, Rama, Lakshmana, Sugreeva and Seeta were returning to Ayodhya via Ramanagaram along with an Idol and as they entered Ramanagaram they were attacked by Rakshasas. While fighting with the Rakshasas Lord Ram had to put the idol on the ground. After they defeated the Rakshasas and decided to move ahead, they just couldn’t lift the idol from ground. As they made desperate attempt to lift it, they heard an Ashareeravani which instructed them to install the idol here itself as it is a divine place. That’s how the Pattabhirama temple came into existence. (I think several temples have similar stories of accidentally keeping the Lingam down and then not being able to lift it- Gokarna is one such example)
Lord Pattabhirama temple, Ramanagara
As we returned to the campsite hot puliyogare sourced from a nearby Udupi hotel was waiting for us. After visiting temple and enjoying our breakfast we decamped to head towards Bangalore. Previous day evening, our tempo traveler was intercepted by police near Kengeri who gave an instant printout showing photo of the vehicle and speed reading, which obviously exceeded the permitted limit. While we were discussing this is a foolproof system wherein police can’t pocket the money, it appears our driver was offered a generous discount of Rs 100 for not insisting on a receipt…


I also learnt that what we'd done earlier at Binsar was Zoomering and not Rock climbing.

Other places: Skandagiri * Wayanad * Yercaud * Coorg * Talakona

5 comments:

Nithya Dayal said...

Was it scary? Was this your first time?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, first time (other earlier ones are not significant enough)

More than scary it is demanding...

shashidhara hebbar said...

Srinidhi,

Your article is good and I enjoyed reading.I also did rock climbing in Ramanagaram once, under the guidance of SPARK, Bangalore - to be frank, it was scary for me and that was my first and last rock climbing !

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sir,
You're still young at heart. You can try again

Shrinidhi Hande said...

View an update to this: http://www.enidhi.net/2011/09/revisiting-ramanagara-bengaluru.html

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