It all started when my bestie and I decided we both have to do an off beat travel together. We have never travelled anywhere outside together. So I started looking out for locations and options and that is when I came across Exoticamp. But then we did not decide it yet. We both were a bit hesitant about how good will they be with their claims. Yet I kept looking at every one of their events and would share it with her asking if we could maybe take leap of faith and give it a try. I actually started asking a lot of my friends if anyone would probably accompany me. And that is when another friend invited me for their beach camp at Kovalam. You can read more about that here.
Once I saw first hand how these people are at organizing such camping events I was a bit more confident and we decided we would definitely go for one event in the future, somewhere outside Chennai. And there I stumbled across their Camp Above the Clouds event located at Vagamon. The camping site was at Vagamon, a place near Idukki, Kerala. Sounded pretty exciting right?
So we booked our tickets and eagerly awaited the day we boarded a bus to Kumily from Chennai. Something magical I thought only happened in movies happened in the bus. The group travelling from Chennai bonded immediately during the 10-odd hour bus journey. We quickly became friends and from there on the adventures began. I no more felt like a traveller where I knew no one. It was more like a big group of friends travelling together. Our host, Berin pretty much became our cool dude friend the moment all of us met. Once we reached Kumily we finished breakfast there and took a jeep to get to the Base Camp. What should have been a two hour journey got delayed as we kept stopping to take pictures.
Hey! That happens when you let a bunch of city freaks in the midst of so much greenery…
By the time we reached the Base Campsite it was noon. None of us were even hungry. We were eager to jump in the cold water of the private water falls there. When lunch (consisting of rice, sambar, rasam, vegetable stew and fish curry) was served we all got out to eat a bit and then jumped right back inside the ice cold water. Who cares how cold it is. There is a water falls that we could enjoy and keep all to ourselves for now.
After a few hours we set out to our campsite which was located on the top of the hill. The bumpy ride was just too exciting as we kept climbing up the hill. The moment we reached camp, it was something out of a movie only. We could literally see clouds passing through us. So much of mist and cool air. Woah! I was not ready da… We all started clicking pictures and exploring. You could just keep following the path and it takes u to more and more beautiful scenic places.
As it got a bit darker we decided to cook up a little snack before dinner arrived. Cooking in that strong wind sure is a challenge man! Once the soup got over we just sat around taking in the scenery when they brought us yummy dinner which consisted of chapathi, fried rice, chicken masala and mushroom masala. With the campfire lit to keep us all warm and toasty in that cold wind, we all sat down for some fun chats and story sessions. Until the fire died down it was fun and frolic…
After the fire died down we decided we shall hike through the hills for a bit. In that complete darkness, unless you use a torch you won’t even be able to see your own hand. In the beginning I was a bit hesitant to go. I was too damn cold to hike in that wind. But then I thought ‘what the hell… I am never going to come back to such a place. Let me just live through every aspect of it’ BEST DECISION EVER!
We all found a nice clearing and sat there. We could see the city below us, the few lights shining like stars beneath us. Above us it was all just clouds. Only clouds and nothing else. That moment about ten souls wished to see stars. All of us wished we could see stars. I guess Mother Nature heard our earnest request and within minutes all the clouds cleared up. We started seeing stars. Some stars became few and few became a lot and finally we saw the frigging milky way. I never even knew it was that visible. But we did. The night was silent. A few fireflies here and there and a whole lot of galaxies for us to glance above us. I have no idea how long we stayed there in that cold. All of us were trying to sit close to each other in hopes that the body warmth would prevent us from shivering. I was shivering no matter what 😛 Man! That was one heck of a night I would never ever forget in my life. These are the kind of things we live for, don’t we?
When the cold got a bit more unbearable we all retired to our tents. The cozy tent and the warm blankets made us fall asleep easily. The crickets chirping around us was all the more soothing and sleep was pretty inevitable. The next morning we all woke up to much more beautiful scenery. All cloud covered hills before us and there was hot tea served along with some bread. I could never get tired of such mornings. After tea all of us wanted to go to that clearing again. Just to sit there for a bit more and let the day time scene sink in before we left. Breakfast was served which was aapam, puttu, vegetable stew and egg masala. These people sure know how to give us yummy but worthwhile food. I don’t think there could have been a better host than Berin. That guy kept us engaged and helped us with anything at all we would have needed. He even took pretty awesome pics for all of us. 😀
We bid farewell to the beautiful campsite and started to the vagamon meadows. Did you know that there was Zip-lining there? I didn’t. Thankfully one more thing was scratched off my bucket list there. After a lot of running around and a lot more photoshoots we went off to see The Seven Step Waterfalls. By this time we had all forgotten that a certain entity called lunch needed to be consumed. So we stopped by a roadside shop to have the most yummiest bajjis and some tea with some tea plantation as our view. Once all our tummies were filled we left for Kumily where our bus back home was waiting for us.
But honestly! This has become one of the best trips I have had in my life. I never knew camping on a hill top could be made this easy and luxurious. We didn’t have to eat half cooked food that people in the camp attempt to cook over the camp fire. We didn’t have to feel too embarrassed to look for a bush to use as a toilet. We didn’t have to carry heavy ass tents or sleeping bags or anything of that sort. Everything was provided by Exoticamp. All you had to do was pack some clothes and toiletries and you are set to camp out with them. Have an open mind, I guess. And if you think you don’t have company to go with, don’t even worry. Just go solo. You will find a bunch of friends like I did. If you ever think the city life is getting a bit overwhelming to you, this is the right kind of break for you. All their events/trips are planned during weekends. So you won’t have to take a day off or anything like that. It is pretty convenient for office going folks.
I am definitely going for their events in the future too.