Saturday, August 3, 2019

Thattakaldurgam – Vanagiridurgam Part -1

As per records with regards to the Baramahal or the 12 forts built in Krishnagiri district, one of them was the 'Thattakaldurgam' or the 'Thattakal' fort. As not much information was available (including its location), finding this fort was a real challenge.  We finally managed to get some reference to this fort and its location. On a Sunday, we, accompanied by one of our friends headed towards exploring the fort. After enquiring at a few places, we reached the village of Thattakal. The locals informed us that not many visit this fort; and the 2 routes leading to the fort are equally difficult to trek. Now, trekking here with kids was our next challenge and after looking at the massive hill, we felt it was next to impossible! We then tried to find a guide who knew this place well and would take us around the hill. But sadly none agreed. One person even confessed that reaching the hill top was a tedious task for them too and hardly anybody ventures. However, we took the details of the route and decided to explore it on our own.
Thattakaldurgam Fort
Little did we expect that this would turn out to be one hell of a trek! While there are many reasons for why this trek is a difficult one without being accompanied by a guide, the most important is the absence of a proper trail and much of the trek is through thorny shrub vegetation. With whatever information we gathered, we began our trek. Locating the starting point of the trek itself became a major challenge. We finally zeroed in on a point that seemed like the best one to begin. We kept following the track and reached a big boulder, which was one point that the locals had told us to keep in mind as the route from here takes a path from behind this boulder. We did find the trail as informed and following it, we reached the place from where the thorny shrub vegetation began. 
In Search of the  Hidden Path
The Never Ending Trails
Young Trekker Leading The Way
We took a short break here and after a while, I went in search of any traces of the route hereon. I went ahead and found the presence of two trails. While one was a straight path and led us to the portion of the final stretch of the hill (which was quite steep and this we only realized after climbing it half way), the other went through deep forests. Obviously, we preferred the hill route as visibility was high and the route seemed shorter.  I hurried back to my trek partners to take their suggestion about the route to proceed and finally in unison, we agreed to go by the hill route. Thus began our misadventure, and as we reached another big boulder walking through the thorny vegetation, we realised that a short climb from here would lead us to the fort, although unsure about this being the correct route. However, we started to climb the boulder which was almost a 70-degree inclined slope. It was only after we ascended cautiously half way of this extremely steep portion that we concluded it would be stupid of us to even think of climbing further as the terrain only turned steeper. With two young ones, venturing further was risky. We were five of us in total (three trekking independently plus one carrying the youngest partner) and each one was at different levels of ascent. It was our friend who was ahead and was almost nearing the hill-top. As she climbed, she realised that it was impossible to cross the  further portion in order to reach the fort and all of us would get stuck if we proceeded. We immediately decided to withdraw our trek and slowly started our descent on the steep hill.  We had to be extremely cautious and watch every step as any wrong step could lead to a  mishap. With nobody around except us, it was indeed a wise decision to retreat. Looking back at that portion of the steep hill, it was hard to believe that we had actually even tried climbing it!
The Impregnable Fort of Thattakaldurgam

This post is also our 350th one and we are excited to put forth this adventurous place!