Kunti Betta, located in Pandavpura village, 130 km ride from Bengaluru is a great location for a weekend activity. With a trek distance of less than 2 km and an elevation of 2,882 ft., it makes up for an easy trek, yet a bit challenging in it’s all dark night decor. Now, what fun would it be without a bit of spiced up challenge, isn’t it? The experience of starry sky, rocky and narrow routes here and there, navigating ones way in torch lights, bonfire at midnight, getting lost, staring at the sky in the calm breeze of night and friendly gossips and play, makes it one of the attractive packages for a quick weekend escape. Forgot not, the climax, a beautiful sunrise view making it a great picturesque location for impressive clicks.
Get-Set-Go from Bengaluru to base point of Kunti Betta
As a group of 15 people we booked a trip package in Thrillophilla organized by Escape2Explore for a cost of Rs. 1,350 per person, which covered total end to end expenses. Starting from traveling us from Marathahalli to Kunti Betta in a bus, conducting a guided trek, bonfire at the hill-top, room to freshen up and breakfast the next morning followed by Kayaking and dropping us back to Marathahalli. Quite a value for money. However, the same can also be planned on ones own as a group. I would strongly recommend a group, given the way to Kunti Betta cuts itself through some isolated surroundings and not so well laid path. Also being a night trek it is always best to have a group of people.
We all gathered at Marathahalli to board the bus which set sail at 9:00 PM. On the way to Kunti Betta we had an intermediate stop at Ramanagara at 11:30 PM, this is the famous Ramgarh village from movie Sholay, one of the India’s evergreen Bollywood movies. The place itself is a well-known weekend gateway for trekking and rock climbing activities. We had some refreshments, loosened ourselves of pressure and continued on our way to the base point.
Time to switch on the torch and begin the night trek to hill-top
We reached the base by 1:30 AM and unpacked our ammunition (wooden sticks, provided by the organizers and torch lights mandated to be brought by us for the trek). We immediately started on the trek and we could find many other groups as we ascended towards the peak.
The trail is a lot rocky terrain, not at least like the one to simple walk and reach the peak, and a path cutting itself through bushes. Some parts of the trek can be a bit challenging, requiring a little more physical effort or assistance from fellow traveler otherwise. A narrow path sandwiched between two rocks requiring to squeeze our way in and out. High rocks requiring a bit of climb and jump as one crosses them. Gravel on the stretch wobbling the walk. Invisible peak in the dark hiding the to-do distance. Series of lights from fellow travelers touch lights being the only indication of the trail to be followed. This is the trekking experience which one would take and rewind with a smile every after.
Light the bonfire and get lost in thought’s watching the sky at hill-top
We reached the peak by 3:30 AM by trekking at a comfortable pace and all the photo sessions and fun on the way. Once at the top, there is a wide space to accommodate a lot of people and individual groups to spread across and have their own round table conferences. The organizers lighted up a common bonfire, we borrowed some wood and fire and lighted one of our own at our privacy. We spent almost 2 hrs. till sunrise, talking, singing, acting and lying down at staring at the sky. The weather was quite cold even with our sweatshirts we could feel a strong chill breeze flowing across in the starting week of January.
Slowly and slowly the sun rose from below the land far away to right above us
At 5:30 AM, we could see the glimpses of suns rays and we selected club class seats and prepared for the cinematic climax of our trek.
For 40 minutes we were capsized to this stunning view. I have been to many sunrise points, be it Nandi Hills or Avala Betta, but this was a golden scene I could find nowhere else. After an hour of cinematic view, at 6:30 AM, it was getting hotter and we started to descend on our way back, realizing to our surprise the rocky way we have crossed at night. The descend was not so easy either with a slippery slope and same physical effort over the rocks.
After a sweating trek the coolness of water as we set sail on Kayak across the lake
We boarded the bus and head on to a small hotel near by, where we were provided multiple rooms for us to spread and freshen up quickly and have breakfast being served below. The rooms were decent to use and the food (dosa, puri, tea etc.) was unlimited and good. By 8:00 AM we left for the Kayaking spot for our final activity before we head back to city life.
It was a lake in the nearby village being used for the water activities, employment and revenue for the villagers. It was a vast lake, well maintained and in calm surroundings for a serene experience. One can even find fishes swimming here and there. From 9:30 AM to 12:30 AM, we spent 3 hrs. enjoying the chillness of water, swimming , kayaking across the lake, and rotating in the bowl boats, known as coracle. The captain of the coracle, an old villager, was so happy seeing us being terrified and enjoying that he kept rotating the boat at a faster speed with all the strength he could. His gesture was a symbolism of “Simplicity and good heart is the gift of humanity that radiates itself in ones expression”. He taught us the rhyme “Aye-sah” as we rowed on a tour. Kayaking was new to us, but it took just minutes to master the art. The key was to synchronize our rowing and the rhyme the captain has taught us came handy.
It was sad that 3 hrs. have flown so quickly and unwillingly we had to head back to bus which would ferry us back to the city life we have escaped for past 15 hrs. We started from the place at 12:30 PM and reached Marathahalli at 2:30 PM from where we dispersed to our own homes marking the end of the trip.
True to its reputation Kunti Betta is a must to trek weekend gateway with all the great moments it inhabits at every minute spent at the hill, from the start to end. The slow curtain raising and eye captivating theatrical sunrise and village view from the top, a relaxing time spent at the lake, amusing water activities and the great organizing by the Escape2Explore team just made the trip one of the best ones to be remembered ever after.