Sakleshpur railway trek is one of most famous treks in Karnataka among seasoned trekkers. Situated in the Sakleshpur district of Karnataka, this railway trek also known as Green route trek starts from Donigal railway station and ends at Yedakumeri railway station. Though this trek is banned now but I see trekkers still going. Here are more details followed by my trek experience.
How to reach for Sakleshpur trek?
Sakleshpur is well connected by bus and train from bangalore. It takes almost 5 hours to Sakleshpur by bus or train.
Go to Anemahal, situated on Bangalore-mangalore highway, is a near by town just almost 4 kms from Sakleshpur and the following route shows you the way to go to railway trek to Yedakumeri after Anemahal.
Route map to railway track from Sakleshpur town:
Where to camp at Yedakumeri?
Sometimes, Yedakumeri station master won’t allow people to stay inside station. So be prepared to pitch your tent on platforms too. So, Carry tent, torch, sleeping Bag and raincoat etc.
Exit route for Sakleshpur trek at Yedekumeri?
In worst case walk back to Sakleshpur (20 Kms) or proceed further to Subramanya road (25 kms same route ahead).
Walking back would be tough after trekking fo around 20 kms from Sakleshpur to Yedakumeri and same applies to proceeding for Subramanya road.
However, Yedakumeri having good frequency of goods train, you can talk with guards of goods trains to help you out till Sakleshpur or Subramanya road depending upon the direction train is going to. Though there are other routes too from Yedakumeri but I have not much idea about them. I personally find the train exit plan much suited.
There is no canteen at Yedakumeri and if run out of food, you can request the railway worker to cook for you at some paid charges as of right now, some construction work is going on the track. So, carry enough eating stuff and enough money too.
Train Timings at Sakleshpur railway station?
Karwar – Yesvantpur Express/ 16518
Starts At CANNANORE , Kerala
Ends At YASVANTPUR JN , Karnataka
Train Arrival Time : 01:15
Train Departure Time : 01:20
Yeshvantpur – Karwar Express/ 16515
Starts At YASVANTPUR JN , Karnataka
Ends At KAWR , Karnataka
Train Arrival Time : 12:40
Train Departure Time : 12:45
Yeshvantpur – Kannur Express/ 16517
Starts At YASVANTPUR JN , Karnataka
Ends At CANNANORE , Kerala
Train Arrival Time : 02:45
Train Departure Time : 02:50
Karwar-Yeshvantpur Express/ 16516
Starts At KAWR , Karnataka
Ends At YASVANTPUR JN , Karnataka
Train Arrival Time : 15:15
Train Departure Time : 15:20
Is Sakleshpur railway trek illegal?
Yes, but a lot of people, amateurs and from organized clubs go on weekends. For more information, drop a question in the comment section to get quick reply.
7 wanderers on 7 hours of trek on railway track. 19 green kilometers through more than 20 tunnels. Fifties of railway bridges and waterfalls throughout the trek. Yeah! People call it Sakleshpur- Yedakumeri green route railway trek – Sssshhhhh!! (It was one among many to-do treks on my wishlist)
Till 3 AM, Under Warm Sleeping Bag: Sakleshpur Railway Station
– Creep inside the fleecy sleeping bag like a child. Lift the window-pane. Let the cold winds sip in through your bag (haha, better say it let the air force come in). And watch the sullen shadows running behind the train under dark cover of night.
First step which get us down in Sakleshpur ships me to the lake district of archaic 17th century England. It reminds me of William Wordsworth. He must have got inspired with valleys, woods-land, fells, lakes, rainfalls, red squirrels, fell pony, herdwick, meadows, heaf and tarns. I tried to look for these with my thirsty eyes and I found the world presented before my eyes in different shapes in nature.
Wooden benches; water dripping down from tin roofs. People smoking in the dark corner. A light blanket of mist depriving a yellow bulb of its yellow light and whole station bathed and vitrified in rain shower.
4.00 AM: To Donigal- The Starting Point of the Trek
If a plan is according as plan then remains as a plan, Where is the adventure in it? We walked under rain to bus stand. Unexpectedly, it was lively with sound of burning stove and rain drops pitter-pattering over tin shades and screeching of tires.
Donigal was some mysterious place floating across our minds. A secret magical place hidden somewhere in forest where the trek would begin. Almost as secret and enigmatic as Ninja-dera’s labyrinth of corridors.
Ask locals; they suggest to ask bus drivers; no fruitful result. Finally, a shopkeeper comes up to help us out and calls an auto-rickshaw guy who would drop us somewhere along highway in dark around Donigal where from we would walk for almost a kilometer till we find the railway trek.
On the way to Heaven (Yeah! Someone called it a Heaven and he was not wrong):
Applauds for the person who came up with this heaven-hell idea. Amazing! Yeah! Indeed we were on our way to heaven and hell lot of hell was left behind back In Bangalore (Most of the IT people who come from Bangalore must have realized it)
And the Journey Begins:
– little drops of rain spattering over raincoats
– fear of wild elephants (Most of the elephant herd cross the railway lines in morning)
– lights fading out in feet away
– slippery rail sleepers and seven souls wandering into the wild.
Crackling boulders were never such sweeter. You place your feet firmly over slippery sleepers like a bride and move on. Frigid winds are trying to cast raincoat off the shoulders while you try to hold it on, the same way you would hold your mother when it were dark.
You can hear the sound of gushing water somewhere around, but its dark and you can’t see ’em. Someone one among us tries to shoot light searching all around but the light dies out too helplessly. Desperation for seeing a water stream kicks in but mortal man can not over take the immortal nature. The darkness is meant to be dark always.
O sun! when would you come out and bathed us with your bright ray.
O sun! when would you pierce the sky and make it a lovely day.
Walking under open dark still forms a dark closet restricting the visibility and senses’ perpetual experience area to few feet only. We always prayed for the sun to come out and send us a warm smile but nature keeps a strict clock meter over everything and sun won’t come out before rooster’s crow.
Oh Sun! Come out soon.
It was obvious from the heavy rushing sound that there was a mighty stream flowing wildly direct below us but the agony of not seeing the water in dark made us unhappy for a while.
Donigal, Humans meet Humans:
Remember Christopher Mccandless from “in the wild” when he kayaks down Colorado river and meets hipsters, if I am not wrong, on the way. The same feeling we got when we saw a few old men looking like Mexicans, standing under Donigal railway’s dark shed waiting for the rain to let up. Believe me, If it had been few days, I surely have shout out:
After seeing us walking under rain they joined us too eventually. Dark Dementor Clouds and the Sun comes along:
Lazy dark clouds are still hovering in the sky like dark dementors not letting up the sun to come out of their black cloaks. The dark game of Quidditch has begun and light would vanquish darkness eventually. Though they would always linger in the dark rebellion sky.
Seam-foam blue mists are ascending along the dark hunter green forest over the ridge. As they rise little higher and meet the colorless thin air they turn into spin-drift blue. When this mixed mist further rises up and meets arsenic clouds, they turn into cerulean frost.
While on the earth, head of silver grey rails are shining over ash grey sleepers but the web and bullhead are rustic amid slate gray boulders. Mosses wearing chartreuse bridals are holding the black walls along the railway trek. The new ones look brighter.Brighter are the grasses too. Bright and light green.
Look down the rustic bridge into the valley. You have almost dived into a colorful world. Top sprouting leaves are lime in color as well the new Bamboo leaves. Bigger and older leaves are forest green and the leaves which are hidden and seldom see the sunlight are dartmouth green.Not only this but some trees also bear mahogany and sandy brown fresh leaves.
Encounter with the First Goods Train on Sakleshpur trek:
And I see an iron monster smoking crawling towards me from behind.
“Train, train”– I shout in haste.
British soldiers patrolling on the hunting ground of Helmland province Afghanistan come directly under fire from Taliban machine gun insurgents and we are in haste to take our cover position.
The train screams at us. Those yellow monster lights and those screeching solid iron wheels roaring and running towards us while we are standing aside holding on to rocks, waiting for the whole dark magic show to get over.
And, We meet the First Waterfall and the Gang-man. So, my friend had warned me before that this was an illegal trek and sometimes, gang-man would ask trekkers about their whereabouts but don’t panic, face them and move ahead.
Excitement of Entering inside the First Tunnel First time in Life:
Are you aware of giant Murud-janjira bastions in Mumbai, made up of big rocks? I got the same feeling when I saw the tunnel. A man-made cave with no endings. Big structures of stone bricks arched and stuffed in. A mixed feeling of excitement, fear, surprise and adventure.
Second Encounter with Train Inside a Tunnel:
I see a dark arched tunnel at a distance I am excited. It feels as if I am going to travel back in time to see Egyptian wall sculptures and Roman stone paintings coming live out of black walls of the tunnel. I am expecting to see out of the world things Like mythical gods, human performing hunting, elements of life descending down on earth from the sky.
There must be big cobwebs holding water droplets. When I would put a light over them in dark they would shine like a pearl. There is a waterfall just in front of the tunnel. In front of black shiny stones, I see many colors of the water. Albumen, transparent, immaculate, Milky and many more. There are algae and mosses plastered at the front wall of the tunnel. I can see rail tracks disappearing under the darkness of the tunnel.
I am excited but I am little afraid of dark too. I step inside and switch on my torch as if I am going to witness wonders live in front of my naked eyes. The echo of crunching of boulders under my heavy trekking shoes makes a heavy resonant sound.
Water is dripping out of holes over the iron rails and they resound across the walls of tunnel. Tip! Tip! I am sure you can imagine them. A tunnel presents you with a totally different world. Bitter dark cocoa with sweet chocolate syrup. Each step that you take towards darker side makes you realize that how important is the light in life.
The drippage of water washed-out along curves of the walls of tunnel when reflected under light from the other end of the tunnel gives a silvery appearance. Those shiny silvery washables looks argent. I try a load of silhouettes over them.
I am almost a few yards away from the other end of the tunnel trying silhouettes at argent water sips. But gradually, those silver drippage start turning into golden drippage. I am awestruck. When I take my eyes off the lenses, I realize that these are reflections of yellow halo of engine approaching towards me.
I did not want to run away. I have a insane rebellion inside me. She calls me an insane and childish so does sometimes others call too but I want to stay young forever at my heart. This is my theory and my assumptions of this world.
Someday, I would tell her, “Hey sweety! You know what, maturity signs a deal of compromises with risks and there is no adventure without risks”.
I want to capture those million-dollars moment for long and for good. I want to capture those dark walls and silvery water changing their color thousand times each moment. From white to cream, cream to Citrine, Citrine to Amber, Amber to orange, orange to Tangelo and tangelo to crimson.
So, I get some idea of the space in between me and the train. I am standing in middle of the rails for the projection of the life. I capture, is the golden tunnel. Train creeps in as a deadly tank in the war-field. It is puffing heavy black smoke and smoke has blackened the tunnel. My vision is hazing out under yellow halo running towards me.
Did driver see me standing in middle of the track with a long shadow projecting behind me. He puts on a long terrifying horn. Ah! the horn stays in tunnel more than the time it was blown for.
The echo effect.
I hurriedly jump towards side and hold on to the wall. “If a cat can creep through its head through a vent then she can pull out her whole body”, the same way when Engine, the head crosses away, I was relieved.
After the train leaves the tunnel, its smoky everywhere. I can feel the smoky smell and when you walk out of the tunnel and see the light and greenery around for again, you realize how precious your life were and how graceful are you to see the life again.
Fearsome walk over railway bridge:
You can face this world standing alone but facing your own fate requires another fate working behind you. You can anticipate the future but you can not run away from them unless future gives you sufficient time to walk away silently.
A lonely iron bridge stands there with rare stands at sides, the only place where you can walk is in the middle of the railway tracks. What happens if a train comes and you are in middle of the bridge almost 100 feet away from the nearest end?
Run! Its a run of your life. You know that you can not be lucky all the time.As you step over iron grids and plates, the spiritualist inside you heart realizes the price of your life. There is a care of life in your soul. But the water stream gushing and yelling down below the bridge is making it tough to anticipate the horn of the train from a distance. The vocal denotation is dying down. In this resonance unison, every note of music is being played at same scale and it has become very tough to differentiate between the high note and the low keys.
There is something inside you which pulls you towards the bridge and this fear of running out of control seem to be never ending. You want to stand in middle of the bridge, but before you stand you make sure there are not any trains creeping up towards you silently within a radius of 200 feet.
you take a snap; look around; make sure you are in safe zone and the procedure repeats itself. And finally, when you are done with capturing the beauty of the nature, you walk past the bridge very fast and when you have crossed the bridge, you turn around with a feeling of veneration (Oh Yeah!)
Ah! Finally I did it: Yedakumeri at 3 Kilometers:
Did I hear something?
I can’t believe it.
We have been walking for past 7-8 hours and journey never seemed to end. Feet pain; Calf muscles got caught; Back is stiffened; hunger and rigid shoulders, but this mellisonant sound of “three kilometers” gives a thrust to the heart and boost the blood pumping rate. It feels like as if we are on verge of conquering something which wealways have coveted for.
Longing through out the day, through out the night, in the dreams, in the sleep. The orgasm of reaching the destination is pushing me slowly closer to the moment of intense pleasure.
It has been almost 15 minutes of walk and I see a rail crossing.
“Guys! we are almost there”- I could not stop myself and I almost run.
The station smiles back at us. Like a mother smiles at her warrior child returning from battlefield. There is a whole lot of space to embrace and fall in love with.
A green hamlet. The railway tracks crossing each-other, Lonely iron benches sitting alone under rain for years, Trees almost hazed out in heavy rain and mists, Greenery all around, those red signals of victory. The station master standing with green and red flags in his hand.
Rain intensifies, its pattering hard over us, clouds are ascending along the ridges, water streams are filling each dry void of nature. And we seven souls have finally stepped over the Yedakumeri railway station. Yes! we made it much before our estimated time.