Oct 2nd – 2.30am
Damn, I’m too jumpy about the alarm.
4.45am–  Seriously?  Swearing once again, I pulled over my blanket.
5.45am– Finally it’s about time and I feel surprisingly fresh. Why not, given the fact that I literally snapped my neck over 2 false alarms. It’s time to “dress to impress” as I feel over-prepared of meeting my time to target of at 6.30am.
Surprise surprise it has rained all night and it is still raining! Perfect weather for an outing I would say, considering we got roasted just a week back at Shivgange  and reading on my darkness meter shot through the roof.  Overconfidence makes one lazy said once, a punctual man as I was, finally took leave at 6.50am.

On the way up.
On the way up.
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Scene out of a painting.
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A panoramic view :)
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The Vegetation
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A view of the highway.
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Anthargange caves
Steps leading upto the temple.
Steps leading upto the temple.

As I stepped out into the falling rain, the crisp chilled morning air made me nostalgic about the old Bengaluru weather. The otherwise unkempt streets looked as if they had been washed by a housemaid. The large pools of standing water were a grim remainder of the city’s infrastructure but today I cast those thoughts away as I soaked in the pattering rain and the dark clouds was an omen of the things to come although I was pretty sure that the sun would come out with vengeance later on in the day.
11 of us had planned to visit Anthargange in Kolar about 70kms from Bangalore. The starting point was deemed to be Tin Factory near KR Puram. After a very reluctant breakfast we all boarded the very infamously known red KSRTC bus. Amid a lot of chattering we didn’t fail to notice the lovely vegetable farms, the vibrantly colourful flower fields, the rocky landscape coming into view as well as the cat and mouse played out between the sun and clouds. After trying to win an already lost argument with the auto drivers, we reached the Anthargange temple base at 10.30am. Well this is also known as ‘Kashi of the South’ and we were immediately greeted by an army of monkeys and were trying to get hold of our backpacks but with a secure defense mechanism we sent them away scurrying.
The temple itself did not ignite much interest but the steps leading to the temple along with the surroundings were a photographer’s delight. The path continued from a well defined set of steps to a disentangled random array of boulders. The crowd looked thin despite being a public holiday and yes the climate was surrealy cool. As we gained in altitude, the view of the highway was enchanting as it ploughed through the settlements dotted on its either side. The peak as it stands cannot be called as one and if it is referred to as a place at a higher altitude would be more appropriate. As we sat contemplating our next destination we saw another group of 6 trudging through the fields led by a self proclaimed guide- a young boy studying in 5th grade. He willingly agreed to take us to remains of a fort adjoining another hillock.

             It was another short climb and I snapped several photospheres and panoramas. The stark dry landscape against the scattered cloud structures threw some fascinating pictures. There are seven towns around this range and there are several KSRTC buses at fixed timings. Finally we started our descent in pursuit of the most spoken about thing in Anthargange- cave exploration. It was first time for most of them and after witnessing the initial way, I knew that this would be one amazing experience. We barely had enough room to nuzzle in and once we managed to get ourselves in the view was eerily dark with sunlight playing peeping Tom. The flash-light of our camera came in handy as we all helped each other, with one going as far to suggest what angle and as to how should we position ourselves in order to sneak in through. Sheer drops, rolling slides were the order of the day as we absorbed the cooling effect that recharged our batteries. Special mention has to be made of Siddesh, our ‘chotu’ guide. His energy and enthusiasm was second to none as he merrily held sway over 3 groups. The thought of exploring more caves was enchanting but we decided to take leave in view of the fading light. The cave exploration was indeed a trip deep down Into The Abyss. The sky was lit up by the setting sun’s colours on the way back giving an enthralling end to a satisfying day.
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