Monday, September 08, 2008

Team Safari - Jawadhu Hills

We used be a scattered team working for the same project. I remember most of us don't even interact thinking that each other is from different planet (?). May be it was that we were from different geographical and technical background. Probably that is how everyone felt. The whole attitude changed with our Jungle journey to Jawadhu hills. We travelled to a reserved forest which is fenced by forest department where one can truly experience nature's nirvana. Since the day we planned the trip, I was overwhelmed by the excitement from team members and their support to make the trip alive. Pretty soon, I picked up the catalyst position to make the plan into action. Myself(Siva,Web team), Tamil(Service Delivery Manager), Gopi (GAM team) all started looking for list of to-dos as we had 100+ team members to be invited. However due to the service model and team members personal commitments the 100+ members made way for the 40+ people team outing.

Before I took the execution, Internet came into picture by providing first hand information about organizing a corporate tour, that was an eye-opener towards the possibilities. There I got to list Food, Accommodation, Transport, Activities, Locations, Safety, Route and Location guide into a checklist format. As we have chosen Jawadhu hills among three other proposals for team outing, the immediate attention was to organize accommodation and food, because the place we choose got not much of facilities, even though it was a beautiful place with lots of opportunities for fun. The first call to the Block Development Office at Jamunamarathur in Jawadhu hills for guest house booking was a success announcing our first action plan with right symbol in the checklist. The BDO's office got newly build guest houses with very attractive accommodation tariff. Since it is not a major tourist location, there is no restaurant.

So, with some influence of known people in the village I got a local villager to prepare food for our team. We had worries about the quality of the food even though we have placed the order for preparing food for us. People realized later in the trip that the food prepared by villagers are much better and changed our perceptions drastically.
Keeping few of my previous team-outing lessons in mind, I routinely started communicating people with what and what not to be expected in the village. In fact that’s one thing created a greater influence in teammate’s mind to join the trip. Mr. Tamil’s voice (I should call yard stick) drove the whole team to come out with a positive appearance to the trip. That’s when the transport arrangement had got kick started. Next to Accomodation, Food and Transport it was time to grab some articles for memento and prizes for the team games and activities.,, hmmmm "Saravana Stores" thats the magic. On the 6th September, early in the morning, my mobile started screaming at me to wake-up...opps 30mins to go, before I reach office as per my schedule. I really remember the 30mins time how I spent to make myself fit into the car to rush towards office. The trip was scheduled to start at 5:30am from my office building with two mini buses which can accommodate 20 adults each.
Though the plan was to take 40+ people, few had to stop due to various reasons hence we had 39people boarded on the bus in various pickup points. By the time the bus crossed the borders of Chennai we have already reaching 8:30am in the morning, I heard my soul saying I was behind schedule and for my fate we totally delayed 4 hours when we reached the top of the hill.

Leaving the highway drive back, each of the trip mates got full fun in spite of their hungry stomach for the lunch. We saw the mountains covered with a green carpet (should I say bed sheet?). The clouds passing the hills with mild cool atmosphere continued to become cooler and cooler as we started climbing upwards. After multiple delays we reached the top with little more than a smile at everyone's face. That was positive sign to me that the trip is going to make every one into a single circle. Obviously at the end of the trip the result was evident, the team outing made the team really bonded.
Quickly we served the food prepared by the villager. Much longer before we arrived at the top, the villager was punctual enough to bring in the food at right time. The empty stomachs of our folks made the food to taste more than delicious. You know what, I got a pass mark from the team about food arrangement. That was clearing all my worries about how the food going to taste like?
Our first challenge with the trip was food as it got cleared, the next one to take the fully tired team to the world 2nd largest observatory. A 91" telescope installed in Vainu Pappu Observatory in Kalavalur village of Jawadhu hills, it was around 10kms distance from the guest house we stated. The trip from guest house to observatory was fun as we were guided by a local person who explained couple of paths where the machine and wild life meet each other. Yes, he said many times the Bisons and Elephants cross couple of places we were driving. We got another reason for excitement, some started even praying that the animals should cross our path so we could encounter the all new experience of meeting the wilder animals at their court.

Driving in an unknown territory with full of hope to meet the wild without getting hurt, hmmm too much of expectations. Taking such a big numbers into the jungle was no joke. Many things could go wrong, bad road, nature’s mood, no prior experience, high possibility of breakdown, etc. In spite of all, we got very excited about driving down in an Jungle. After couple of minutes driving we reached the VPO at Kavalur. The gate was closed for security checks before allowing anyone into the facility.
The guys had real experience in seeing the largest telescope from outside as the day we visited got clear sky with lots of scientific observation happening, so we lost the opportunity to go inside the largest telescope. The largest telescope was in the height of 8 story building and the dome was designed to facilitate 180 degree rotational view for the telescope.
We were allowed to the 6" telescope for star watching, though we were shown the Jupiter and moon. My collogues from HCL were looking at the telescope with their eyes wide open. Tell me who wants to miss out such an opportunity to see a planet which is much far away from our home?

Now it was time to return to the guest house through the same jungle, hmmm there you go. The experience now is to drive the buses into dark jungle with same hopes of encountering our wild friends. Oh Boy! same bad luck, none of them were ready to show their faces, but we were not really disappointed as all of us were looking forward to the forth coming fun in the camp fire.Quickly the attender in the guest house built the infrastructure for camp fire, few bottles of cold drinks and of course the safety measures to ensure that we create no wild fire ;-). We finally gathered again to lit the light, the temperature in the hill top was already cooling down and the campfire added a unique weather around us. We also achieved the attention of passer by crowd.
Nothing worried any of us and the party began with added joy of hill station visit. It was really great to see highly trained IT professionals to perform the tribal dance. The time was ripe and all of us jointed our hands together creating a huge success to the trip and team. We played few team games with music to add some background fun.
After the team enlighten with real team spirit infront of fire god again, Now it was time for food, our dinner session. This time we were ran out of food to fill everyone's hungry stomach. But I received no negative feedback and everyone started smiling back with their support and cheers for making this trip in a right time. After camp fire was put out, we rolled over the sleeping bags to get back with the scheduled activities.

In the next morning with freezing cold weather, we woke up each other by increasing the ceiling fan's speed. ha ha ha I still remember how people expressed their reactions. hmmm but as per our plan we were about to reach the water falls to enjoy the morning bath. Quickly after few minutes the whole team was set into trekking mode towards the waterfalls in the jungle. We started marching on the village road which directed us to the jungle path.The trekking added more excitements to the team, they were started creating new fun by lifting stones, capturing the villagers and the nature in their tiny little digi cams.
We had even clicked a beautiful tribal kid wearing birth day suite who was doing cultivation :-).
The village was scenic with mountain cultivation and tribals. We had terrific experience of 360 degree filled with camera friendly landscape.
Guys in our team couldn't control themselves posing for pictures too... I remember hearing again and again "take my picture here please".
Now it is man who made the green out of nature. Green Green Green every where the color Green with lots of Green shades.
Hey forgot to tell that the professionals had already forgotten their computer screens and started acting like Tarzans. Wow.. the creepers and hanging folks Yaaahoooooooooo my camera had full fun too.We finally reached the water falls, setting a chorus “WOW” into every ones mouth while the eyes wide opened with load of excitement.
“God! Where in the earth you got so much of ideas to create such a wonderful facilities?” A rocky terrain with white broader line passing towards the earth that is called water falls. We observed many of us already lost our most of dresses and started moving forward to the water falls to take a dip. I too immediately rushed forward and waved the team and started loosing the clothes. The water fall was too chilled creating a wholly new experience, the nature's water massage and stone therapy all good for health.
The area was filled with lots of herbal aroma creating a fresh mood. I think this is going to create a envying effect to the people who read this article. Ladies and Gentleman that’s the nature's effect we can't help.
By this time, I had to push everyone to wind-up as we need to rush for our break fast. It was too difficult for me and Mr. Tamil to bring people out from the falls as no one seemed to be moving out. Later we got to extend our farewell to the waterfalls and walked in the very straight and deserted stretches of the forest. I also took the opportunity to share the information about Jawadhu hills to the team while we were walking on the narrow stretches. The walk was thrilled with the wild birds saying cookoo cookoo and green party shadow effect from leaves.Already we were behind the break fast schedule, but who cares as already the nature filled our mind with so much of happiness. After some time we filled our internal vessels with food. That is the point where we started moving towards boat club and cricket ground. Hence few guys joined with me for boating and rest of them pulled into the cricket pitch. That was a pedal boat with four seater arrangement, but I had six people to push in the water. Hence two boats with three member in each pedaling all the way around the lake.
End of Boating and Cricket was set for lunch session, Though some of us didn't miss the opportunity to play in the kinder's park at the lake side.

I realized our team is full of childish adults... he he he beer and bear seems to be always attracting the grown kids.
Wow.. we had experiences that is beyond our countable range. Everyone's contribution was excellent. The lunch was served with few veg and non-veg dishes. It was time for ringing bell for winding up our trip itself.
The prizes and mementos were distributed and already everyone was pushed into the buses, it is now down hill trip but I hear no sound from anyone. All of us looked some what sad face, as we were leaving the natures protected place.

After a while, a serious rain looked imminent. so we closed the side windows, and drivers were pushing the accelerator pedal high. Since we are driving forward, we wanted to reach home before late in the night. Otherwise transport the individuals to reach their home may become an issue. But for our luck, all were under control and I started receiving pager from everyone about their early reach at home.

It was a real good experience and fun for those who attended. Cheers!

21 comments:

manoj said...

nice snaps dude!!

giddi said...

You’re the best Organizer!!!

purushoth said...

Hey really it was a wonderful feeling's we all had, especially trekking & waterfalls. Overall it was a nice & fun experience.

Thanks Dude.........

Sharad said...

I will simply say IT was greattttt... feeling. It helped me understand all team members very much. Team outing has built the Merck team very storng thanks Siva!!!

Ramesh said...

Hi Siva,

This is Ramesh from Wipro Chennai. I would like to organize a similar trip to Jamunamarathur. Can you please share the contact names and numbers who can help me to organize this. (Jamunamarathur Block development office numbers, Names to organize to food etc). Thanks a lot. Looks like you guys had a fabulous trip. Cheers! Thanks!

Sivakumar said...

Hi Ramesh, Unfortunately you had left no contact information. I don't think I can leave those people contact number in public forum. Anyway let me also share this info, I went back to Jawadhu again last week with my family and the waterfalls was already became thin, hence you got to wait for next rain.

If you need more info, write an email to me on the following email address:

siva underscore kum at yahoo dot com

TS.Thirumal said...

nalla eduthu erukeenga by; JMR SINGAM

TS.Thirumal said...

ROMBA NALLA IRUKKU BY; JMR SINGAM

gmagesh14 said...

Hi Siva, I'd gone through your blog ..You're a very good narrator., Excellent pics.,

I'm riding down to Jawadhu Hills this saturday with two of my friends from Chennai.. I need a little info about Biman Falls, is it possible to park our bikes near by the Falls? any parking lot?

We'd planned to visit Biman falls and Vainu Pappu Observatory.,, Any suggestion from your side is highly valuable for a starter like us....

Sivakumar said...

@gmagesh14, Yes there is a parking lot near to the falls (atleast one km) and you need to walk down to the falls. The pictures with guys hanging on the creeper is on this path.

This parking lot is unguarded and you need to take it on your own. In my opinion you shouldn't have any issue as there is a forest toll gate before reaching the falls and the whole village knows who is who.

InfoMine2012 said...

Hi Sivakumar,
Me and my family are planning to go for 4 days trip to Jawadu hills ( 2 Families). Our main aim is to spend some time with nature without any hectic sight seeing at the same time surrounded by nature. We have 2 small kids too. Please provide us some details about the stay and food and also the weather. You can mail me at contact2604@gmail.com

Regards,
sanjay

InfoMine2012 said...

Hi Sivakumar,
Me and my family are planning to go for 4 days trip to Jawadu hills ( 2 Families). Our main aim is to spend some time with nature without any hectic sight seeing at the same time surrounded by nature. We have 2 small kids too. Please provide us some details about the stay and food and also the weather. You can mail me at contact2604@gmail.com

Regards,
sanjay

Mohanram said...

Hi Shiva, I wish to go and see the place. I would love stay there for a day with my family. Could you kindly share me the BDO office number and booking process.

Thanks and regards,
Mohan
pnmohanram@yahoo.co.in

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Myself Planning a Trip to Javadi hills ... Can i get suggestion and advice from ur end ...


LEO

LEO ANTONY said...

Hi,

Myself Planning a Trip to Javadi hills ... Can i get suggestion and advice from ur end ...


LEO

Anonymous said...

Hi siva,

Very nice info, after seen this I am also like to go there. Could you kindly share the contact details of jawadhu hills BDO office number.

Really thanks for Jawadhu hills info.

Regards,
Raja.s
Rajas@ramco.com

nisha gupta said...

Hi MR. SivaKumar,
I am Nisha from Chandigarh. Will be visiting Chennai in the third week of June. Can you tell me how will be the weather in Jawadhu Hills at the time. Can you please guide me what procedure is to be followed to visit
the observatory. Kindly send me the
information on my Email ID gpt.nisharajesh@gmail.com
Waiting for a response.
Thanks.

Sivakumar said...

Hi Everyone,

I wish I could have some way of helping many of you who are looking for additional information on Jawadhu Hills. Unfortunately, I have moved out of country for several years after this trip and current situation is unknown to me. I hope you will find other ways of getting all your support.

Based on what I have heard from known resources, the guest house has been used by locals for marriage and other parties and not in good condition.

Also the observatory is open during Saturday's with prior appointment from the observatory itself ( you got to search the internet for email ids).

I wish you good luck

Unknown said...

Very well narrated. Thanks

Thiyagarajan sekar said...

hiam Thiyagu from chennai last weak i visit jawath hills its look good to see with family and spend lot of fun there but due to no rain there is no water in falls any one interested to visit pls visit 2nd and 3rd of july two days kodai festival is there its really peoples to enjoy if any one need help to organise please mail me Joeraju22 at gmail dot com be cashual

Anonymous said...

Hi siva! Thanks for ur blog.im planning to go jawadhu Tom morning.. Is this right to njoy water falls.. Is thu is right season?

Pl revert back..

Pm venkateswaran eswaranmechanical87@gmail.com