Lucky are those, to who the hills call. The hills have a serenity enveloped, which soothes the body, mind and soul. The hills are like a balm to the aching heart, especially of a hackneyed city-dweller.
I first experienced the magical aura of the Baba Budan Hills (also known as Dada Pahad, named after the Sufi Saint, Hazrat Dada Hayat Khalander) in the year 1973, but I have vague memories of them now. Later on, we consecutively went there with my family for seven years. So, whatever childhood memories I have of these lovely mountains is when I was in my 7th STD ie., roughly of the age of 12. But this repertoire is not culled out of those old memories, but of a very recent visit again after nearly a gap of 36 years.
The main peaks in the Western Ghats are Mullayanagiri and Baba Budangiri. Both the peaks are famous for wild treks. Collectively these peaks are called Chandradrona Parvata Shreni, because of its shape of a crescent moon. A lot of trekking groups visit here and camp over night in the wilderness. Its an experience to be experienced, and not something to merely read in blogs.
But, it appears global warming had left it's mark. The places were the same, the mountains were also the same, but still, something seemed amiss. Back then, when I had visited, at almost every short distance, there was a cool stream (which you could call as mini waterfalls) dripping from the mountains. As children, we were so thrilled to see those mini waterfalls. The water was so fresh, so pure and so tasty. We almost always quenched out thirst with it at every stream. Back then, it was not the era of bottled water – No Kinley, No Aquafina. Our trip lasted for a full week. Early in the morning, when you go for a walk here, the mountains are so high, that you can see the clouds hovering below between the mountains and the valley. Ever seen such a scene…? Come here to Baba Budangiri for such a visual delight. May be, Manisha Koirala was right in singing, "Aaj mein upar, Asmaan neeche". It sounds so apt here.