Feb 19, 2012

A trek to the insti lake

"Let us plan a trekking trip", Prasanna said.

"How about Tada? Or we can go to Gingee fort", I suggested few places.

"I have a place in mind. It's nearby and not much explored", he replied.

"A place which is nearby the insti, but not much explored? Which place could that be?", I asked myself. "Somewhere in the ECR?", I asked him.

"No. The place is inside our own campus! The insti lake!", came the reply from him.

I knew about the insti lake from the signboard that says "Lake view road" which I saw when I once walked from the main gate towards the stadium. But it never occurred to me to explore the lake area, or the lake itself!

"Excellent choice! Let us go! But when?", I asked him.

"Let us start our journey with the rising sun", he said. "Wear your shoes. We never know what is going to greet us in that jungle", he warned me.

The next morning, we both met in front of Cauvery, and started walking towards the Mandakani hostel, the hostel on the south eastern end of our campus. Until we undertook this trek, I thought Mandakani marked the eastern boundary of our insti!

We reached the back side of Mandakani and started our journey towards the direction of the lake on an unpaved road, when we heard a voice stopping us with the question "Where are you going?". We turned to see that the question came from a man in a blue uniform. "To the lake", we answered him.

"Are you students of the insti?", he asked us. After verifying our identity cards, he warned us "There is no proper route in this direction. You may come across bushes, thorns, snakes and what not. Take care". We thanked him and continued walking towards the lake.

After walking for about twenty minutes, we reached a broad, shallow and dry pit. While wondering if that was our insti lake and if it had gone dry, we spotted a few deer on the other end of the pit, munching on leaves and playing around, thoroughly enjoying the sunrise. We tried our best to capture the moment in our eyes through the lens since we decided not to disturb the deer by walking closer towards them. We continued our walk in the same direction.

A broad, shallow and dry pit

At a short distance from the shallow and dry pit, we reached a marsh land, which indicated to us that we were nearing the lake. Our guess was soon confirmed when we came across another broad and shallow pit filled with water. We observed the deer's footmarks on the banks.

Marsh land

Broad and shallow pit with water. Deer's footprints can be seen on the banks.

"Do you think this is the lake?", I asked Prasanna.

"There is a path further down this pit. Let us continue in that direction and see where it takes us", he replied. "It may lead us to the 'Lake view road', I guessed.

After about twenty minutes of walk, we came across a mossy trail which I guessed was connected to the culvert behind our campus restaurant on the upstream side. "This means what we saw was not the insti lake", Prasanna pointed to me. As we had guessed, we finally reached the insti lake after walking further across the mossy trail.

Mossy trail

The insti lake

I had heard that IIT Madras campus was carved out of a beautiful forest. But I thought it is so for the number of trees we see in between the concrete structures. The serene and pristine surroundings of the lake area revealed to us what the insti area once looked like!