Date: 7 July, 2017, Friday
Grade: 4 (A and B)
Students of Grade 4 (A & B) went on an exploration trek to the area around Makalidurga on Friday, 7th July, 2017. It is just a two and a half hour drive from Bangalore near Doddaballapur, offering various options to visitors like Bird watching, Trekking, Bouldering, and Rappelling. The place stands on top a huge granite hillock, huddled up amidst the chains of mountains, formed like a valley closer to Ghati Subramanya, a well-known pilgrimage center. It has a fort on top, at the height of 1,350 mts and a huge lake at the base of the hillock. You will get the glimpse of the mountain train; passing through the valley at the foothills of these Mountains.
We started from school at 6am and reached the foothills at around 8 am. Ms Kavitha Reddy and her group of mountaineers were with us to guide us and help us through the trek. From the moment we got close to Makalidurga we were stunned by how quiet and serene the location was. We saw a chain of hillocks and a lake at the foothills playing hide and seek with the fields all around. The trek was to take us to the well known Makalidurga fort, which is located right on the top of a granite hillock. Students were excited and worried that they had to trek up to the top of fort which was about 1700 meters (about 3 kms). The track had abundant overgrown grass and plantation. We managed to see a few locals who had got their cattle to graze. Ms Kavitha told us that this mountain also boasted of leopards that usually came out in the night. The twist and turns along the trail are guided through by red and white arrow marks throughout. As we reached halfway up, we stopped for a break. The view from there was breathtaking. At the base of the foothills, we saw a beautiful lake in the shape of the South American continent. Ms Kavitha told us that the rain that flows down the hillocks has formed the lake.
We continued the trek and reached the top by mid noon. We were amazed to see the fort premises surrounded by walls and gates which depict the history behind it. We were told that the fort was used by the Vijaynagar Empire to train their army. This was later captured by the Shivajis, which was again captured by Kempegowda. We stopped there to marvel at the genius of our ancient rulers who used these land forms to build their forts. We also saw a temple which is still used by the locals.
The lake and the horizon of the endless sky from the top of the hillock were spectacular to capture. The trek up was more or less a standard one with the only tricky part being the climb getting steep abruptly at regular intervals which took a considerable effort to pull through.
We had a session with Mr Kunal, where he spoke about the importance of regular exercise on our health. He also spoke about breathing rate and how it changes with exercise. He spoke about the importance of a healthy lifestyle on overall well being. Students also reflected on how they felt hot as they started climbing up and were sweating. When they reached uphill and rested they started feeling cool as the sweat started evaporating. We pointed out that this is a way the body maintains a balance in terms of body temperature. We also told them that this is called homeostasis which they will inquire more about. Students also reflected on the challenges they faced uphill and how they developed strategies to overcome it.
We rested for a bit, had lunch and took the same path down. Getting down was a bit more challenging as the force of gravity was with us and hence we needed more control. Ms Kavitha shared a good strategy with our students in which she asked them to walk sideways and put the ankle before the toes. With perseverance and grit, we managed to come down. We were exhausted but satisfied that we all had challenged our inner weakness and reached to the top. For the children, it wasn't easy but they showed a lot of courage, independence and cooperation. The PSPE outcomes of this trek were definitely worth it.