Kudremukha….just came to my mind in a flash I had been to this place some 7 years ago. Still the lush green grassland is afresh in my mind.After establishing contacts in kudremukha & knowing real time situation their, invitation was sent out through our trek group Bangalore ASCENDers.
We were told that the trek route is likely to be closed in summer & it is better we do this trek ASAP. Date was finalized as march 06th & 07th. After last minutes drop outs, the team size was blocked to 13.
Team – Ameet Pai, Arunkanthan, Mithun, Rajesh, Ranjith, Sathish, Snehal, Sushil, Saurab, Srikanth, Sreedhar, Tanoy and Vineeth.
A 13 seater tempo traveler was hired & decided that all will meet in front of City railway station (Majestic). We all met in majestic as planned @ 10.30pm. It did not take my much effort to introduce everyone to each other. This enthusiastic ramblers were all set to go. By 11pm we started our journey. To avoid the traffic on Tumkur road till Nelamangala, our driver Raghu took magadi route. The plan was to reach kunigal by magadi road. Our main idea was to reach kalasa first & then check out the nearest tourist spots & then head to Kudremukha peak on day-2. Kudremukha in Chikamagalur is a hill station overlooking the Arabian Sea, 1894 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountain ranges. The distinct shaped peak after which the place is named, (Kudremukha means horse face in Kannada) is home to one of the biggest reserve of tropical evergreen forests in Karnataka. Retaining its natural beauty, with perfect grassy slopes, abundant green forests and sinuous streams, Kudremukha is untouched and unspoiled by pollution and external influences. You can enjoy trekking through the forests, sighting birds and wildlife.
By early morning we reached Kalasa. It was decided that we visit Horanadu Annapoorneshwari temple in the morning & then head towards other places.On the way to Horanadu by 8am we halted near a river bridge to freshen up. But the river did not seem fresh at this spot & we were reluctant to get in to water. As we were thinking what to do, the petty shop guy near the bridge told us about Ambha Theertha. This place can be reached either by vehicle (3-4 kms) or walk along the river upstream 2 kms. We started to walk along the river, 15 mins of walk & we couldn’t believe our eyes, we were in a totally dif ferent world. We couldn’t believe that this was summer. The place was awesome; the whole place was covered with fog. Just a kilometer away from the bridge the world seems so different & this was the best place to get freshen up. After mast-bath in river & photo session we headed to Horanadu temple for Annapoorneshwari devi darshan. After a peaceful darshan had break fast in the near by hotel. (Additional info : Free Break fast in temple is served between 7 – 8.30 am & lunch starts at 11 am) By 11 am we reached Kalasa. The next plan was to cover Hanumanagundi falls , Gangamoola, Lakya dam & by evening reach Mullodi. Kalasa (0 kms) – Samse (8kms) –Balgad/Mullodi (9kms) -Kudremukha (20kms) –Lakya dam – Ganagmoola (36kms) -Hanumanagundi falls (38 kms)
Our next spot was Hanumana gundi falls. As there are no hotels & not even shops near the falls, we decided to get our lunch packed from Kalasa. This falls also known as Soothanabbi falls is 38 kms away from kalasa. We reached Hanumanagundi falls by 1.30 pm . The waterfall was heavily guarded as it was a naxalite affected area. I would say summer is the best time to visit this falls, as this is the only time one could reach the rock bottom of the falls. The water was falling from about 50 ft, but it was gushing down with vengeance. As we stand under the falls, It was as if we were caught between a soft hammer & anvil, enjoyed this wonderful mother nature’s water massage. After a nice bath, showed some concern to the stomach, emptied all our lunch packets . Then we headed back towards kudremukha, en route covered Gangamoola & lakya dam. Gangamoola is few kilometers from Hanumanagundi falls & it is said to be the birth place for river Tunga, Bhadra & Netravathi. A kilometer walk from the road we reached Gangamoola, as it was summer the place was totally dry. Then we reached Lakya dam by 4pm. This dam was built by kudremukha iron ore company (KIOCL) to collect the waste materials from the mining operations and it is a dam of silt not water. From far the view of dam was just like a desert & it is surrounded by hills. The view just seemed like all the hills are holding together & hugging this dam. It was time now to head towards for what we have come for, to conquer kudremukha peak. Kudremukha peak can be reached by Mullodi from Samse side or by Naavuru from Belathangadi side. But the trek route to peak from Navuru is around 17kms & since it is banned to night camp in peak, this trek route is almost abandoned. The only feasible option is by mullodi as the trek route is around 10kms. By 5 pm we reached Balgal, (a kilometer before Samse) from here we have to reach Mullodi village which is 7kms away. The only option to reach this village is by Jeep or by walk. We parked our vehicle(TT) in Balagal as we were trek thirsty from morning, decided to trek from Balgal to Mullodi. After some refreshments & tender coconuts, started our trek to by 5.45 pm & reached Mullodi by 7.15pm. Our guide Arun was waiting for us. The night halt was planned in Arun’s house. He took good care of everyone & even hot water was available for bathing in the night. But most of then enjoyed the normal water bath. We all had a small song/dance session & mean while Arun (guide) helped us to cook the mixed vegetable soup we carried. The soup was yummy, perfect body warmer for chilly mullodi climate. Then dinner was served in tra ditional banana leaves. Dinner was great & the ripe jack fruit palya was superb. Then it was time for our intro session. All trek mates gave their intro in detail. Although Mithun’s intro was long (very long..) it was interesting. Ranjith menon’s “Baa Baa Black sheep” in carnatic style was entertaining great improvisation. Our chocolate hero Snehal let everyone know that he was engaged. Congrats mate..! Everyone was surprised to hear Srikanth’s encounter with wild animals in his trekking career. As usual Amit was a great entertainer,forgot to mention he has brought his laptop to trek to complete some office assignment. Guess appraisal time. Is his manager listening??? helloooooo…( but I did not see doing much work , again….. is his manager around & listening) After all this intro entertainment, finally it was time to take a nap. Saurab & mithun would have cursed me for telling people that sleeping bag was not necessary as it was march summer. But the reality was totally different, it was damn cold in mullodi, as this guys were near to window there were shivering. However I sneaked into Vineeth bed sheet since I missed mine at home.
Woke up early morning, got freshen up & had hot tea. Arun was ready with freshly cooked dosa in a big carrier. By6.45 am we started our trek. All were busy with their morning photo session & trying to capture the foggy hills. We crossed the Onti-mara on the w ay, trekking was mostly through jungle & open area. By 9 am we halted for breakfast; the dosas made their way to our stomach, by 9.45 am resumed our trekking. As we were nearing the peak the common question was. Why this is called Kudrermukha(Horse face)? We tried to convince ourselves by matching peak top portion to a horse face as shown in wikimapia. Then it was time to climb the steep grasslands. Although it was sunny, the cool gust constantly blowing made the things easy. The views of the surrounding hills were splendid. Water is available all the way right almost up to the peak.The last water source available closest to the peak is roughly few 200-300 meters before the peak. Although the stream is very tiny, it is enough to fill the bottles. On the hill top before few hundred meters from peak, there is an old church. Myself, Shreedhar & Arunkanthan went near & spent time for our photo session. As we came out Saurab & Rajesh told us that they saw brown bear running in to the jungle. As we stand their, we all could hear the bear voice from the jungle. We just prayed & thought lucky to be safe. It was very close to the old church & lucky it did not come out. By 11.4 5 am we reached the peak. The only next thing we could do from here was to get in to the cloud. Captured the views all around in our camera. It was breath taking to look down from edge of the hill. A strong wind then we may have to parasail down to the ground without parachute. The peak was spread across wide & we could see one more peak with a flag. This was kilometer away from the peak we were standing & almost at the same altitude.
Saurab, Rajesh, Sridhar Srikanth & my self headed towards the other peak in curiosity. On the way to the other peak, in the mid way we just turned back,We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Rajesh & Saurab was the one to notice this one. The peak we came from is the actual Kudremukha peak, but it has to be seen from the other side. It is very clear that our picture shows the actual Kudremukha peak. BASC is the first to post the actual Kudremukha photo online & we are proud of it. An extra mile is always worth it & special thanks to Rajesh/Saurab. Hearing this Mithun & Arun ran to see the actual Kudremukha. Although cloud had covered by then, they just could get a glimpse. By 2 pm we started our descend. We braked for lunch at 3pm. Started cooking our MTR ready to eat food. In the meantime Srikanth was preparing cucumber salad. All was well till this time, little did we know that this guy has added lot of chilly in the salad. Many got their stomach upset & ran in to woods. We resumed our trek & reached Mullodi by 6 pm.Jeep was waiting for us to drop to Balgal. 13 of us were packed in this jeep & headed towards balgal. Had great fun session in the short journey. In Balgal got back in to our vehicle(TT), on the way back decided to visit Horanadu again. Took bath in Horanadu public bathrooms (well maintained & clean) & had darshan of Annapoorneshwari devi. Had free dinner/prasada in temple. The bisi bisi rice , sambhar , butter milked filled our bellies, with great satisfaction we headed back to Bangalore & reached majestic by 7am.
Destination – Kudremukha peak
Nearest KSRTC Reach – Kalasa/Horanadu
Nearest Spots – Horanadu Temple, Hanumanagundi falls, Gangamoola, Lakya dam.
Bangalore – Kalasa = 300 kms
Local Route details:
Kalasa (0 kms) – Samse (8kms) –Balgad/Mullodi (9kms) -Kudremukha (20kms) –Lakya dam (30kms) – Gangamoola (36kms) -Hanumanagundi falls (38 kms)
Day 1 – Kalasa – Horanadu – Hanumanagundi falls – Gangamoola-Lakyadam – Mullodi(home stay/Night camp)
Day 2 – Kudremukha peak – Mullodi village water falls & river
Economics/expenses – Roughly 1000Rs/head. (Includes Transportation,Home stay charges,Guide charges,Forest entry fee & others).
Home stay details – Arun - 08263214235/9481578065