Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli 

20th May 2017
Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  1/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Vrukshaasana on the banks of river Krishna

Just the weekend before this trip, our enthu cutlet family had a wonderful time at Bandipur, Nagarahole and Iruppu falls. My twin girls of 6 yrs could not digest that I don't have summer holidays. My lovely wife as usual would not show her emotions openly, but hope that somehow I would stay back miraculously. I alone traveled back to Hyderabad. Ramya and kids continued their summer holidays in Mysore at my in-laws home.

On Monday, my wanderlust got the better of me as usual. Sweltering summer temperatures in Hyderabad could easily douse the spirits of a toughened soul, but I was far from giving-in. The thought of staying at home on coming weekend was not allowing my mind to rest at peace. WhatsApped a few friends I know from and bingo there was an overnight camping at Kambalapalli just 150km from Hyderabad. Prudhvi and Babu Reddy, my good friends from Climbon were the hosts. Checked who else had RSVPd and found a few whom I traveled with on previous occasions. It was an opportunity to exchange travel notes. The backwaters of Krishna river at Kambalapalli was the clincher though... What could be better than soaking in river water... backwaterssss... and that too on a clear night...

Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  2/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Camping site - View from the plateau from where we would eventually trek downhill

We all met at a common meeting place at 2:30pm and proceeded towards Kambalapalli in the direction of Nagarguna Sagar... 5 cars and about 7 bikes. Chai break at 3:30pm and with a couple of stops at view points... We reached the quaint village called Kambalapalli by 6pm... Cement roads, houses with proper roofs, people with content but distraught looks (blame it on the heat)... Villagers were looking at the sudden onslaught of vehicles... We parked all the vehicles and our guide from the village was ready to lead us... He would later cook for us at the camping site which is about 7km from the village...

Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  3/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Sun setting over Kambalapalli village: View from the hill top

A small road lead to a hill nearby... ascending the hill was no big deal... Then there was a plateau for about 4km which was fairly easy to walk... Different groups getting to know each other and discussing things close to their hearts... Some bitching how bad their IT job is.. And some others just happy to sing along the way... And then it was dusk and there was just enough visibility to walk without a torch...

Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  4/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
The whole group

Then there was a descend in the night for about an hour... It could have been done in an hour if it was not night... Down slope had a sufficient gradient to tread carefully and was full of loose rocks... Angling the ankle right for every step was important for a firm footing... With one or two people slipping and twisting ankles.. We all came down without an incident... Would encourage people to wear full sleeves to save their arms from thorny bushes along the descend... Night trek was fun and saved us from the heat... Though that is not the way it was planned originally...

After the climb down to the plains... Our village guide showed the water marks on the rocks... Where the water stops at the end of full monsoon... However now it was dry and beach like with lots of bushes... We had to walk another 1km to reach our final camping site just on the shores of Krishna backwaters... Everyone was drained by the two hour climb down... Legs trembling for many and took a break before proceeding...

Another kilometer and finally there it was... Waterrrrrrr... Without speaking another word dumped my small Quetcha backpack... Went to a place with least light flashing from everyone's mobile... Quickly slipped into swimming tracks and ran into the water... And lo... just 4 feet into the water and my feet sank a foot into the water... It felt yewwww initially.... Slimy... It was clay at the bottom of the lake... Most of the water bodies near Hyderabad (Pocharam, Koil Sagar, etc) are similar... It is very safe to play in such waters... After a while caly stars to cushion every step... No chances of cuts on your feet :)

Then the most beautiful thing happened, I decided to lie on my back, a small stone as my pillow, water just enough to be below my ears... Gaurav my good friend seemed to like the idea and he took the same route too... As our eyes got accustomed to the low light, what seemed like a few stars when we reached the place, turned into a billion fascinating stars in the sky... Remembered the time spent at Kolar Gold Fields as a kid... On top of our house when the power failed in summers... The whole family would sleep on the terrace and watch a billion stars... Whatever makes you relive childhood once again... If that is not bliss, what else is? We also saw four metors streaking through the sky... I was seeing them after sooo many years...

Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  5/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Awesome dawn at the camp site
Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  6/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Full stomach has a way of making me do stuff

After the water play, changed over to dry clothes and the dinner was being cooked... People were playing music or singing and dialogue baazi was happening around the fire... Pulling everyone's legs... Climbon meetups are always full of fun... Never a boring moment... Dinner was ready by around 10ish and both veg and non-veg was available... I just grabbed a plate.. Ate to my full... There was a tarpaulin already spread near the shore for those who didnt want to sleep inside a tent... I was the first to go sleep there and I ddn't even know until I woke to the awesome morning...

Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  7/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Perfect sun rise
Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  8/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
At about 7ish in the morning: View from a hillock near camp site
Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  9/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Played in the water again in the morning

Breakfast was being cooked and we all had a lot of fun in water... Lots of GoPro moments... Underwater... Overwater... Shots with the tents and by about 7ish we all had our breakfast, packed our bags and headed back... Our village guide lead the trek back to the point of ascent... The sun was thankfully behind our back.. None the less scorching already at 8am... The ascend was about 2 hours... It was not easy... But not very hard either... We were a gang of about 5 to 6 people who went along with the village guy...

Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  10/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Here are the guys
Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  11/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan
Yoga on the way back up the hill

After making it to the plateau, it was a cake walk finishing the rest of the 4km back to Kambalapalli... We all had multiple topics to chat... From how runners get a high... To how Army hospitals treat wounds... It was enlightening and getting to know people well as well... We were the first to reach the village and we knew it would take some time for others to reach here... We got to know about the village... Speaking on my broken Telugu... Managed to bribe a few kids with candies :p... The people in the village were kind enough to offer food, but we declined gracefully...

Photo of Camping - Backwaters @Kambalapalli  12/12 by Gangadhar Krishnan

By the time everyone came back to the village it was about 12 noon... Everyone was drained... People drank water from hand pumps and we all parted our ways... Only to meet for chai at the same point the we met last day... Then I shifted into a car that was going towards ORR... Then reached home by about 4pm... What can I say... It was simple... But it left me thoroughly refreshed...