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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kudremukh was a long awaited trek of mine and badly wanted to go  there. Bangalore ASCenders came up with a great itinerary and 13 of us left to Kalasa, the nearest town which is 11 kms away from Mullodi village, which is the starting point of the trek. I had read some blogs n Newspaper articles saying that the National park will be converted into a tiger reserve and trekking will not be allowed and stuff like that but its still possible if you go through locals/guides. Getting permission is also not easy so its better to contact the guides n go.
Kudremukh is at approx height of 1890mts [internet] and according to our guide its somewhere around 1700mts above MSL. There are as many as 13 routes to the peak [some say 18]. The name is derived from the shape of the peak which looks like Horse’s face. You can’t get to know it looks like that unless you go to another peak next to it. Some say it looks like that from Kemmangundi too. It comes under Chikmangalore Dist near the Udupi n Dakshina Kannada borders. It is very famous for its flora & fauna and the Shola forests.
Day 1 –
After a decent sleep, we were in search of a place where we could freshen up. A local suggested us to go to Ambu/AmbaTheertha [A river]. It was supposed to be half a km walk but we screwed up the route n after much roaming around we found another local who lead us to the place. It is an accident prone area. It is a very nice place where the water was at its full flow. We went a little away where the water was gentle n freshened up. It was a foggy morning and we went back to Kalasa in search of food. We got a pretty good breakfast and headed inside the Kudremukh National Park to Hanumanagundi Falls [Also called Suthanabbe]. Was passed through Samse village which looked like Munnar to most of us. There were beautiful tea gardens.  We also went to Lakya dam on the way which is not in use now so nothing to see. HanumanaGundi is a pretty small falls where the water plunges down from around 40ft. Nice place to take a dip and most of us were inside the chill water soon. The water is not flowing down but the drops with full flow were hitting you like pins. Nobody cared for it, Standing under a fall is an amazing feeling anyway! Couple of pics and we were going back. We went to a place called Ganga Moola, a place where Bhadra&Thunga rivers are supposed to originate. It’s a kms walk in the grasslands and into the forests. We didn’t find the place we wanted but found the leeches instead! I had already got four for the day with more expected the next day.
It was noon by then and we headed to Mullodi where Rajappa, our homestay guy was waiting. We got into a jeep and headed to his place. It’s a bumpy ride of 6kms on the jeep track. Just a km by, we saw a snake live& it was first time in life it happened but it just swiveled away as we stopped. We were really hungry by then so we had lunch in Rajappa’s place as soon as we reached. You can hear the sound of water from his place and we headed to the Somavathy falls, just 5mins walk away from where we stayed. Most of them got into the water but I planned to do it after the trek and also due to shortage of clothes :P
  We had to leave very early the next morning so we hit the bed pretty soon.
Day 2 –
It was early morning around 6.10 by the time we left. We had packed Breakfast & lunch and I felt this was the right time to leave to avoid the evening rains and the heat of the noon. You need to walk for half a km to see the peak and once you see, it looks a really long way. We were accompanied by our guide Arun who was friendly. The trek is 10kms one way and it takes 3-4 hours to reach the top according to your speed.
You go through varied vegetations in the first half. There are forests, tall bushes, little patches of plains and grasslands. All of them are really different from what you find in other treks. You cross a number of streams throughout the route so there is no problem for water. The currents will be very high in monsoon but it was pretty easy now. As your move further, you move into the bushes which are as high as you and then you start ascending small lush green hills which take you to the other side of the valley. It was around 7.30 by then and the sun was shining in all its glory and it was giving a beautiful touch of gold to the green hills. It was a really soothing view to your eyes and it looked the same all through the ascent. The farther gigantic mountains were still a little misty to give a really good view but you knew, it was big and you are heading there!
  You could see the TirumalaGuppi peak behind which too was covered by mist most of the time. A little further before the Onti Mara [Stand Alone tree], we stopped for breakfast and it was 8 by then. We had to make it really quickly for the leeches weren’t allowing us to take our time. A quick bite into some Rice Kadabu [local idlys] and we started again. The next patch of around two kms is through forests and bushes. The bushes were all over you and it is itchy. The next patch of forests was filled with bamboos and more so with wet leaves which are home for the leeches. I could see so many and most of them were huge. You need to be really quick to avoid them. I almost hit out 10-15 leeches form my legs. Once you get through this, you would be at the absolute base of the peak. You could go in the actual route which goes round the peak but some in our group wanted to cut through to the left where there is no route but it leads you to the main route very near to the peak. Its pretty steep but you can save a good 30mins if you go that way. We saw only a single deer far away but the guys who went the other way spotted a bunch of them. The last stretch is full of ascending but it gives breathtaking views of the valley and you can see the route you came along. The last 500mts is a kinda flat. You can see an abandoned Church built by the britishers just a little before the peak. It was starting to get misty by the time we reached the peak.
   It was 10 by the time we reached the top. You couldn’t actually get to know the horse’s face unless you are too imaginative. You can actually see it from the peak to the right of KM but since it was too misty, we didn’t go. At the top, looks were as if the clouds we kissing the peak often. A pretty sight! We spent good 40mins at the peak, clicking snaps & munching snacks and headed back to a small stream 100mts away, where we had kept out lunch [only if you can call it so] to eat some more and start descending.
After that quick meal we headed back. It is not easy to descend quickly as the path is steep and slippery. Guide told us it would take 3 hours usually but we did it much before that.
We spotted huge group of bisons but it was too far for us to get a good pic of it. As we were getting down, the background we getting engulfed by the mist. All the way while getting back it was completely misty behind us. It was as if the mist was trying to catch us but we were too quick ;) Though there was no hurry we literally ran back. We were back by two itself and we badly wanted a dip again after a sweaty day. Except for the late comers, everybody jumped in and it was much needed. We were really hungry and Rajappa was ready with hot lunch and everybody hogged on and we bid adieu to Rajappa and Arun who gave us good facilities. We visited the famous Hornadu temple and headed back to Bangalore!It was a wonderful trek. Kudremukh lived upto all my expectations. This is the right time to trek here like most other places.  The route is long and it might drain you if you’re not fit or a regular trekker. It was a much awaited trek and it was worth all the wait. Special mention of a young & enthusiastic Tanish, 7thstd guy who came along with his dad & completed the trek. Usually I would be the youngest among the lot but felt really happy that a guy 5 years younger to me also had the passion to trek. The group too was great & thanx to Girish for organizing the event. Will surely do this peak again from a different route even if its after a long time. Kudremukha is really different & a must on a Trekker’s CV ;)

Event Name: Trek to Kudhremukha Peak: K/2_Oct-22-23-2011
Written by: Sharath
Event organized by: Girish


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