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Monday, December 24, 2012

This trek was motivated by Nitin's blog i.e. http://questsofavagabond.blogspot.in/2009/08/nadumale.html
This was my first trek organized through BASC.
Place: Bagamandala is a village situated at a distance of 24 miles to the west of Madikeri and connected with it by a good all-weather motorable road. Bhagamandala is the name well known to every pious Hindu. It is here that the sacred rivers, the Cauvery and teh Kannike meet. Tradition has it that Sujyothi, a subterranean stream, joins these rivers here. Hence the place is popularly known as "Trivini Sangama". Madikeri is around 250 kms from Bangalore.
Plan: Our plan was to start the trek from Talacauvery towards Nadumale, night halt at Nadumale, (13kms trek). Next day trek towards Kanoor side (11 to 12kms trek)  and exit. But the actual trek went through a different route after we begun the trek from Talacauvery.
The team: Srivatsa, Devendra, Ramkumar, Anoop, Niranjan, Manoj, Sudhir, Girish, the Gujju, Deepak Jain, Deepak HK, Tulasi GV and myself.
We started from Bangalore on 21st Dec night.
22nd Dec: We reached Bagamandala by early morning 4:30-5 O clock. It was little chilly and quite dark. Somehow we found out the range office and parked our vehicle there. No one was ready to get out of the vehicle as it was quite cold. Soon we finished our breakfast at nearby hotel, packed our lunch and bought all the necessary raw materials for preparing dinner. Thanks a lot to Tulasi, Niru and Deepak HK for assisting me. A special thanks to Tulasi for giving us a perfect idea of the raw materials. It was 8:30 AM, me and Deepak HK went to forest office. I was in constant touch with the RFO Mr. Uthhappa. We paid the trekking fee and the guide fee and left the forest office. The TT got jam packed as the RFO sent two guides named Jayaprakash & Ayyapa. Soon we reached Talacauvery. In a jiffy, we prepared ourselves to begin the trek.
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Hike to the Horse Head Hill.

As I left home, on the evening on the 7th of September, one thought kept eating me. I wondered why I was about to travel almost 400km to a tiny village called Kalasa for a single day of hiking. The hike in question was one to a hill called Kudremukh  (roughly translating to horse face), in the western ghats of Karnataka, organized by the Bangalore Ascenders group.
I reached the pickup point on time, exchanged pleasantries with our 20 strong travel party and braced myself for the bumpy and sleepless night ahead. It was about 6.30am when we reached Kalasa. The plan for the day was little more than sightseeing around the area.  The places we covered that morning were a lovely stream just a kilometre from Kalasa, the town itself, a rather crowded waterfall by the name of Hanmangundi, and a spot called Ganga Moola, apparently the origin of three rivers.  Ganga moola seems like an interesting place as there is a trail that follows a small stream up into the hills. Unfortunately we did not have time to explore the trail but I’d recommend the curious among you to check it out.

Lakhya dam road A view of the road from the windshield
 
I found the time spent in the bus itself to be the most enjoyable. I sat right on the front stairs of the bus revelling in the stunning vistas as they zoomed by.
By midday most of us were itching to get on foot and roam about.  The next agenda for the day was to get to the base village for the Kudremukh trek. This miniscule village, by the name of Mullodi, can only be accessed on foot or by jeep. We decided on the latter. The jeep track appears treacherous to say the least. With 11 of us stuffed into a single vehicle and me right at the back, every muddy switchback, and every boulder had me gripping on to anything I could get my hand on and holding on for dear life.
We reached Mullodi in about an hour and a half, but I swear it felt much longer. At the village we had a pre arranged homestay and a very pleasant one at that. We enjoyed a late lunch and proceeded for a dip in the stream that runs near the homestay.

Damselfly - mullodi stream A Damselfly spotted by the stream. ID needed.

The evening was spent playing a multitude of campfire games….rummy, dumb charade et al. Post dinner everyone retired into their sleeping bags hoping to get a good night’s rest for what lay ahead.

The Need to Know Bit:
Kalasa, is 360km from Bangalore by road. KSRTC buses to the place are available. I wouldn’t recommend any of the tourist places close by. An ideal plan would be to head straight to the hills on arrival and spend the entire weekend trekking. There is more than one route to the peak, the easiest being from Mullodi.
Permissions for the trek and hiring a jeep can be taken through homestay owners in Mullodi. The place we stayed was called Mullodi house, owned by Rajappa, who can be contacted on 08263-249333. Food, accommodation, guides and hot water is available at the homestay.
Cost of homestay (inc of food): Rs. 500 per head, cost of jeep: 2000 for a round trip (depending on your bargaining skills)
We set off for the Kudremukh peak at about 8am.This was more than an hour later than we had planned.

Kudremukh peak trail Harish moving along on the trail

At 8 we finally set off.  The weather seemed favourable, with sun playing a constant game of hide and seek and occasional bouts of rain. The terrain itself isn’t too taxing either. There is an omni-present trail all the way to the peak.
The route started off with many ups-and downs constantly moving from grasslands to forest and crossing many flowing streams along the way. I waited and waited for the ascent to get steep, but such a section never really came.

Kudremukh Shola forests A picture perfect example of Shola forests
 
What makes made this trek exciting was the effort to reward ratio. For very little effort one is treated to some amazing vistas of the endemic Shola forests. The stretches of Shola here are some of the most intact, continuous and pristine sections I’ve seen anywhere in the Ghats. Due to this fact, the Kudhremukh range harbours a wide array of bio-diversity. Kudremukh would make an awesome hike for any naturalist.
With a group of 20, it was highly unlikely that any wildlife sightings would happen. We still managed to glance upon Chital and Gaur in the distance. I get an equal kick from the little things on the trail and the variety of wildflowers and insects present was simply amazing.

flower on the way to kudermukh peakThis pretty pink Impetiens was to be seen all along the trail, near water bodies.

The peak can be reached within 4 hours time if one moves at a decent pace. I have to give a shout out to my group mates, many of whom were on their first real trek, all of whom made it to the peak in good time.
Once on top everyone was eager to see the horses face only to be told they were standing on it and it is only visible from the adjoining hill. Here we broke for lunch, some rather nasty packed upma.
Unfortunately, the forest department doesn’t provide permission to wander off further than the peak.  To the east (i.e other side) of the peak is never ending undulating terrain of prime un-explored Shola habitat. If I had my way I’d keep wandering there till the sun went down. There is also a prime camping spot by a stream just near the peak.

Lobos church kudermukh Arches of the Ruined Church.
 
I was informed at the peak by our leader, Jinu that I had missed checking out a ruined church on way up. Ruined Church I quizzed, with a whimsical look on my face. All the way up here? Who would build such a thing and why? I never did find the answers to those questions but I did find the ruined Church. It is quite a sight, bang in the middle of montane rainforest.  I entered the structure hoping to find some creepy crawlies but no such luck.
The way back was a bit more treacherous. The bouts of rain had made the trail rather slippery and each of us landed on our bottoms at least a couple of times. The group was divided and this gave me time to amble down at a slow pace clicking photographs.  It took us about three hours to get back to Mullodi. Most of us concluded the hike with a dip in the stream followed by a warm bath and some tea at the homestay. Thus, concluded our trek, well almost. We still had the bone rattling task of taking a jeep back down to Kalasa and getting into the bus. And the even more bone jarring task of getting into that nightmare of a bus that was to take us back to Bangalore.

Kudremukh monsoons on flower A hibiscus like flower spotted after a brief downpour.
 
So to answer the question I had kicking off this trip was, yes, it was worth it. We had a fantastic team and each one of them made it a memorable outing. Though, I’d love to visit the area again for a more thorough exploration.

The Need to Know Bit:
The Kudremukh range was declared a national park in 1987. It is one of the largest Shola forest corridor in India and may soon be declared a Tiger reserve.
Officially, one cannot enter the forest without a guide and permissions are only given to hike till the peak and back. Camping in the National Park is banned. The trek is made easier by the fact that luggage can be left back at the homestay. Packed Lunch is provided at the homestay. Kudremukh has all the ingredients for a perfect first trek.

Chances of wildlife sightings are good. To spot wildlife, set off before sunrise and maintain silence

Geographical Co-ordinates: 13° 7′ 46.24″ N, 75° 16′ 6.79″ E
Write up by: Aniruddha Gupte
Original Post at: http://footloosegups.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/a-hike-to-the-horse-headed-hill/

The team,

SONY DSC


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from Surendra,
Came bit late to the shantala house in a hurry assuming that i am "THE ONE" for being late....but like u know "har ek friend zaroori hota hai" i too have who follows me...:). As always i started thinking(after seeing lot of new faces) why am i going to make my weekends busy again....
Not like usual way...introductions started on the journey itself including the funny ragging too...:)


Villager kalasa

Morning refreshments happened in a really natural way...with the morning walk.. gone to some water stream....after that got energized with garam garam idlies, dosas....and the last night poories..:)
Fun has started with Hanumangundi waterfalls...now most of the "UN KNOWN" become "KNOWN"...started enjoying the team...
Had Adventurous jeep trek while going to homestay in kudremukha. Last but not the least day ended with "bathing in nearby water falls", "home-made bhel-puri" and the "Dumb-C". i won't forget the "PC-2....." by utkarsh and the trend set he made...:) and had a singing performance by an upcoming singer swetha...:)

Kudermukh stream Stream near Kudermukh

Kudermukh rainsMonsoon ride through Kudermukh 

Day 2 has begin little early (by 6am...sunday morning 6am..seriously it's too early.haa:))...with few leach forests, grass lands ,small water streams  and what not ....we ended up reaching the top.. not able to fill in words abt what i felt while travelling..."too awesome" is too small word to say...while coming down it was a different experience...people are creating their records in falling down....but luckily we didn't have any serious injuries...
Don't want to finish without saying abt "seema"...cute little baby, daughter of Rajappa (who was our guide and the owner of the homestay)....now also i can't  stop smiling if i remember her face....also thanks to Jinu for having  an organized and fun-filled trek as usual....

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from vinuthna,
Kudremukh is the first highest peak,Second and a challenging trek for me.

Sep8th,
We had a cup of tea at 4am @ Kottigehara,This place is very cold and fully covered with mist, We explored Amba Theertha stream near Kalasa by 6.30 am, its very beautiful and the road we walked is covered densely with different trees,bushes and monkeys too.

lakhya dam Lakhya Dam

Lakya dam is the next place and we are there by 10.00 am, From the dam One can have a view of lush green mountains all around,Kadambi waterfalls will be viewed from the road side and we reached here by 11.30 am. We went to the Hanumangundi waterfall by 12.15pm,

kadambi waterfalls
Kadambi waterfalls from roadside

Hanumn gundi waterfalls Hanuman gundi waterfalls

The water strikes on to the rocks from 100 feet.We started walking in between the green mountains which are covered with midst to reach Gangamoola and reached there by 2.00pm, This is a water stream flowing through a cave. We are at Belagal by 3.30pm and from here we need to take a jeep to reach Mullodi House which is 5-6kms from here.Atlast reached our home stay Mullodi house around 4.30pm,In the evening we went to the near by water stream and enjoyed for a while,I’m very much scared of leeches. All these places are full of leeches only,First day is almost like a horror movie for me, I’m not able to enjoy the beauty of Nature in fear of leeches,That night I realised I came to feel and enjoy the beauty of Nature and so I stopped thinking about them.

Sep9th,
We had our breakfast and we carried lunch with us. We started trekking by 8am and crossed through the thick forests,Streams,You can hear the sounds made by different kinds of birds, Flowers will be like welcoming us, Streams make a background music, leeches will be start dancing by seeing us,Green grass on the mountains and the cold breeze to make u feel fresh, Slippery rocks to alert ur steps. Slightly raining in the journey towards the peak, We spotted Deer and Bison on the mountains. There are many Streams in our journey, the water will be sweet and pure. I was not even looking on my feet for leeches, I’m just enjoying the nature to my best. After seeing many breath taking views towards Kudremukh I felt that these leech bites are nothing, Reached the Kudremukh by 12.30pm.

IMG_6873Kudermukh grass lands

Enjoyed a lot on the top of horse shaped mountain Getting down from the peak is very challenging as its raining slightly and slippery too, Finally reached down by 6pm.We walked on the jeep track road for 1-2 kms in the night and took a jeep from there, This is the painful and horrible journey for all of us. Finally we successfully completed the trek and back to home. I was called as Virtual trekker by my trekking friends and now I’m not a virtual trekker any more. My happiness after doing the trek is inexpressible in words. My dream to do a trek in monsoon that too in a lush green mountains is fulfilled.
Thanks a lot Jinu for giving a chance to prove myself as a beginner because I was rejected for Moderate treks by many organizers due to my health concerns.

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from Viswanath HN,
Can I also write-up on my experience of horse face hiking? Cos I fear that my story will not be shared as I am banned from BASC. ( for drinking honey in Beer bottle...)
My 4th trek with BASC and third with Jinu, I have seen people sticking to Brand Jinu (Trecknics), cos he really cares and makes every body feel not the difficult during the last lap.....Hats off to his patience and enthusiasm to encourage more and more people to trek. Thought this was not really a trecknic...
We started the journey from bangalore and reached a place ( i dont remember the names), went in search of a stream and relaxed there for some time, had a wonderful poori (though it was made the day before) and dosa break fast, went around the kudhremukh mining areas, factory, residue dam and many other small stream and water falls.

Amba teertha kalasa Amba teertha

Kudermukh team at amba teertha Kudermukha team posing near Bhadra River

Hanumagundi on day 1 was the highlight we took bath under the falls, the pressure of water was pushing us down in to the water which was at places extremly deep and at places slippery stones to push us in to the deep rocks.
Had some leech bites on the way up and down. Pineapple was yummy and the fight with monkeys was good. Jeep ride to homestay was scarry... and evening bath in the near by stream was relaxing and soothing to the body....

Day 2
I was really excited to see the horse face (shaped rock), but to my utter appointment clouds played spoil-sport and we did not have a proper view during the hike, initially it was a little hike but later on it was comfortable grasslands, while crossing from one hill to another we had to bargain hard with leeches, with presence of trees and water streams.
The last hike on the hill was too steep and very slippery due to algae and the path we used to hike must have been where the water runs down during heavy rains, had a tough time, I felt very scared at times,one skid could end u down in some forest. But some guys managed to trek very fast and reach the peak 30 mins prior to the rest of others (Navneet, vijay etc.,)

IMG_6891 Kudermukh range


Had a very tasty upit on the peak brought from the home stay, any food could have been good at that place and after a hard hike. Coming down was a tremendous task considering the slippery path and the terrific view ( it rained a bit to add to the difficulty). It really took a long time for us to get down. but Marathi gang to much of our surprise were down too early and by the time we got the home stay they had finished their bath in the near by stream. Had some snacks cum dinner kind of food lemon rice and idlys, packed back-packs and walked down to reach the jeep which could not come till the home stay.

IMG_6863

The jeep ride down to the road was horrifying experience, many a times i thought we will fall from the jeep thanks to the Jeep driver he got us down to the  Mini bus safely.The ride was made more horrifying thanks to the rain again...
Night travelling back to Bangalore the people were suddenly charged up thanks to Vijay and body builder (harish) (jai mathadi).... Had fun singing.. sharing experiences about the trek....
Good morning and we are back to Garden city ready to go back to our routine life.... :-)
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from Vijay Mali,

Kudermukh iron ore Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited

Thank you so much for organising the trek and allowing us to participate. The best thing about trekking with Bangalore Ascenders is, we not only get chance to explore the nature but also to learn how to protect and love nature. This was my second trek with BASC and each time when we reached the peak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mullayanagiri and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudremukh), we felt as if nature is thanking us for taking the efforts to walk through the dense forest, steep hill, encounter with leeches....., by allowing us to enjoy the splendid view from top of the green lush mountain, amidst the misty fog, up above the clouds and cool us down by the fresh breeze...!!! 1hr walk in any shopping mall in city could make us tired and exhausted, but trekking for 10km uphill and 10km downhill that too at fast pace never made us feel tired and exhausted.

IMG_6926 Waterfall on the trek route

Infact, after the trek taking a bath in the near by stream was much better then the jacuzzi. The Jeep ride and yes...that was another added bonus adventure ride this time...believe me that was a best adventure ride. Hats off to Mahindra (...after all apni desi company) for producing such a beast at no price. I still can't forget the mud road.....the bumpy, suuuuuuper slipppppppery, narrow road with deep hill on one side...damn !!! and fully loaded with 11 passengers....yet conquered successfully....pheeeeeew!!! Thanks to the well experienced driver...its a no non-sense job guys...believe me!!! Last but not least...the BASC gives us an opportunity to meet like minded people, make new friends...and every individual in the group made the whole trip so much fun. Trust me...I enjoyed each and every second of the trip !!!
So, looking forward for more and more such treks.

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Event organized by:Jinu John
Image Galleries: Vijay, Sreeraj, Jinu

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nandi hills does not need any introduction its Bangalore own hill station. But hardly any might know that there is a trekking trial to the hills and only handful of them might have trekked this trial.
Picture 001-1Among the selected 8 participants, only 5 turned up at the Bangalore railway station. We boarded Bangalore Chikballapura passenger train that departs at 8.40Am. There was another big group from BASC that was going to trek Bramagiri hills adjacent to Nandi hills. As we were approaching the Nandi station we could see both the Nandi and the Bramagiri hills at our left. It was a beautiful Saturday with a clear bluish sky. Finally we all alighted at Nandi station at about 10.30 Am. We the Nandi hills team hired an auto to Sultanpet, the trek starting point which is around 8kms from the station. The auto ride was good passing through small villages, watching people doing their every day chores. Took the drivers cell number and sent him asking him to be back at the same place by 3.30. The trek started with the customary introduction of participants.
Picture 020-1 

The trial is a stone stairway used during the king’s regime and most of the trial is intact even now. The trail is shady with huge trees planted along and also has small mantapas at frequent intervals to rest. We started to ascend slowly discussing about trekking, photography and taking snaps of the trail and the birds. The stretch has good number of birds too. As we gained altitude we could see the surrounding peaks and the development (read real-estate) activities happening at the base of those hills was quite disappointing. Never the less we continued to ascend at leisure pace. The cool breeze blowing through my hair made me feel free like a bird. The sky was colorful blending with the surrounding landscapes. Finally after one and half hour we reached the back fort entrance, continued further to find a cave temple, the place was very cool with fresh air. Another couple of steps and we reached one of the Nandi hills attraction Tipu’s summer palace, here onwards we will be seen as tourists.
Picture 030-1

Picture 033-1
Bramagiri
team to arrive, finally got a call from them saying couple of them are way too behind while descending and they would not be able to catch the train in time. Anyways we boarded an empty coach of the train and said good bye to the deserted station. On the way calculated and settled the expenses of the trek. After few power naps we could see our train lugging into Bangalore railway station around 6Pm.
Picture 039-1
Information to the visitors:
Distance: Nandi hills is around 65 kms from Bangalore. How to reach:By own transport: Take Bangalore-Hydreabad highway, after Devanahalli bypass turn left at Nandi cross, drive straight till dead-end Karahalli cross, turn left and proceed further and then take the first right, you will end up at Nandi hills. There is ample parking space, cars are let till the Mayura hotel and charged Rs 80/car; bikes have to be parked at the main fort entrance.
By train: Take a Chikballapur passenger 8:40Am train, get down at Nandi station, hire a auto to Nandi hills. Return train is at 4:00Pm. Auto charge is around 100/head each way.What to see: Many tourist attractions as mentioned above. Recommended for trekking, macro & bird photography or just a relaxed outing.
Best time to visit:
Any time, winters will be a bit chilly. Early mornings and late evenings are foggy and chilly.Food: At hotel Mayura managed by KSTDC here the food available is lot better than the other KSTDC hotels. A ice-cream and coffee parlor is just beside this hotel. Also at the fort entrance (bustand) there are couple of small eateries.Accommodation: Hotel Mayura managed by KSTDC has 3 double rooms. Rooms have to be booked in advance. Click to Book.
Also the horticulture department of Karnataka has couple of guest houses (currently under renovation) for reservation contact. Things to remember: The main fort gate/s are closed at 6Pm (people who have reservations at hotel/guest-house are allowed inside till 8Pm) and reopens at 6Am so plan your travel as per above timings. Trekking solo or in a small group is unsafe. Do not litter and keep the place clean.
Cost: We spent around 200/head for a days trek.Picture 056-1

Written by: Mudassar
Event organized by: Mudassar
Image Gallery:
Mudassar

Thursday, November 15, 2012

 Kodachadri Trek , Hidlumane  Falls and Arishinagundi falls

The Sahyadris – Its majestic quintessence

Conquering a decent stretch of the Sahyadris is one of the things in my to-do list for this year. And I decided to make it happen despite the odds. I had returned home three days before the trek, after several weeks of on-site work. I was drained out and dead. I pushed myself to prepare for the Friday night. I sighed in relief when I made it to the pickup point. A cute and enthu couple gave me company as we waited for the others to gather. Soon many eager trekkers joined us one after the other.



The mini bus was filled with a motley set of 21 passionate trekkers. With an intro session on the move we bade goodbye to the hustle and bustle of the Bengaluru roads. We quietly chit-chatted and mingled amongst ourselves while some slipped into deep slumber, cautiously, saving their energies for the trek ahead.




Day 1 – Towards that much awaited twilight and the shimmering skies
A bright, misty morning filled with dew awaited us. We woke up to the winding roads with the view of the Sahyadris. Yes, the mighty Western Ghats would be another apt way of referring to it. As we yawned and stretched a peahen and a few flycatchers greeted us Morning!!Morning!!. We were famished and were looking forward to reach Nittur to nourish our souls. But, before that we had a surprise!!! We stopped on our way for breakfast in Nagara and paid a visit to an 18th century old ‘Shivappanaika fort’.



nagara fort sunrise

It was a quick, five-minute hike to the top and it offered a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding villages in the ghats. A scattered set of traditional houses amongst the plantations of Supari, Paddy, Coconut and Jowar was covered by a tightly clung chain of clouds resembling a giant puff of smoke from a cigar.

Nagara Fort

Some clicks and snaps for the cameras—a few up-in-the-air and capture-me-if-you-can jiffs from the peppy ladies and we juggled our way through the exit and drove ahead to the breakfast point.
The breakfast was simple and yummy. We gulped down hot idlys and vadas with lip-smacking chutney and sambar. The breakfast point had tender-coconut vendors and stalls selling topis made from quilted-supari leaves fashionably tied at both its ends. We hopped into the bus with happy bellies and reached Markutka in no time. We unloaded our backpacks and tucked in our packed lunch and were all set to go. It was past 9 in the morning on a sunny day. We followed the jeep trail that unwound itself into lush green cover and fresh-water creeks. The chirruping of the birds, the dancing butterflies and the line of trees with its tops touching the skies; it was the beginning of our trek to KODACHADRI!!!!

Marakutka

The trail was filled with Acacia trees; the bark of this tree is used for making paper. As we chatted and warmed up to each other a plethora of butterflies greeted us; yellow orange tip, crimson tip, swallow tail and common castors—were some among the many which I could identify. After some distance of trek we reached a tuck shop in a village that served butter milk and boiled corn. This was a perfect brunch on a sunny day. This was also the starting point to our trek down to Hidlumane falls. The peak looked closer and more beautiful from this spot. It was a post-card shot with silhouettes of green standing tall and still. I couldn’t take my eyes of it. It was an absolute treat to the eye.

hidlumane falls We began our trek to the falls and it was a downward, forest trail with mushy soil. A few miles down the path, we could hear a gushing sound and we knew that we had reached the falls. Many of us bathed under the force of the falls. It was a gleeful moment for many, as we played around in the splashing of the water. Around 2 in the noon we gathered for lunch and moved ahead on the hike to the sunset point. The trail to the peak was clear-cut and was uphill. The sun was at its peak, blinding us at every step. We continued to hike and take short breaks. The magnificent view of the Sahyadris looked larger than life. It was an entire range filled with a canopy of dense forest. As I ascended towards the peak, each step made me wonder what could lie beneath that canopy—may be, wildlife at its exotic best???, horn bills??, flycatchers?? And much more??. I secretly wished for a free fall into the underlying valley..”It could have been another place that I could have been, or could have seen”. Before I hallucinate more I thought I should get back to the trek. As we hiked and trekked we all made new friends and got comfortable with one another. Venu a fellow trekker injured his leg and was groaning in pain. He was escorted and taken care of by Lakshmi throughout the hike.   Only towards the end of that day could I realize this simple but magnanimous gesture of hers. Simultaneously, it also made me realize the human potential these activities can unleash.

towards kodachadri peak 

Kodachadri jeep track 
We had almost reached the peak. The plan was to reach a temple top with a food joint and from there hike up a few more meters to witness the dusk.

Kodachadri as we all know is famous for its setting sun and dawn.

After reaching the temple top we took a good hour’s break. We snacked and rested. Venu, tired and in pain offered to stay back at the food joint. He offered to keep an eye on our backpacks. We quickly gathered ourselves for the last stretch of the day and rushed uphill. The climb was short and we were just in time to witness the shades of golden yellow turn into a concoction of orange, pink, purple and grey. It was a perfect dusk in the quietude of the backwaters from the Arabian Sea. The valley slowly fell asleep as the colors in the sky disappeared giving rise to a galaxy of stars.


Sunset kodachadri


Sunset at kodachadri We decided to have some dinner at the joint and spend the night in the front yard of the Inspection Bungalow. While we waited for the food to arrive, the owner of the joint possessed some traits worth mentioning. He seemed to cast a magical spell on Venu’s leg.

Ayurveda/Acupressure/Blah—strange oils, violent attitude towards the patient etc…but, it seemed to have done some trick. Although I found him primitive and strange, Venu’s condition had improved a bit. However, he was unable to trek the next day and had to stay back.

The dinner was atrociously spicy, but, it didn’t matter to us. It was food nevertheless and that’s all we needed. We soon reached the IB premises and spread out the tarpaulin and fell right asleep.




Day 2 – A day of leeches and loathing, A trail through the woods
 
We woke up at 5 in the morning to see the sun rise. We had to pack up and hike. It was pitch-dark and I couldn’t take my eyes off the sky. I stared at its brilliance for a while. It was star studded and crystal clear. I could see the Milky Way and the planets shining bright. “Someday I shall make enough money to own a telescope”.

kodachadri cooking

There was hot, lemon tea being made by Jinu and Ravi. I missed out on it while the others gave it a 5/5 for its exotica. We reached the sunrise point just in time and bowed at its glory.

Sunrise at kodachadri
Sunrise Kodachadri
Kodachadri Sunrise
Kodachadri Grass lands

We moved downhill as we had a long day ahead. After a few hours of descent we reached Santosh hotel for breakfast. Post breakfast we began on our trail through the deep forest. We had to reach Arshinagundi falls which was a few hours away.

Santosh Hotel

The trail was uneven and led into deep forest. It was infested with leeches!!!!!!! I have a strong aversion towards them and to top it all, I had coin-sized blisters on both my feet. The leeches bit right in to them and I clambered in pain. They annoyed the hell out of me. I slowed down at several points and asked myself “ why are you putting yourself through this torture? ” . I wanted to scream and flee. I kept bugging the sweepers—Ravi, Suresh and Karthik by slowing down to clean up and shoe away the leeches. I had no choice but to trek.

Way to arishinagundi

We soon reached the falls and they were roaring in full force. Some of us took a dip while the others managed to make space for some fire. We made Maggie and soup and shared the other eatables.

arishinagundi falls arishinagundi waterfalls

We had to hike back the same way that we had descended and I was terrified by the leech trail again. I absolutely loath them, the very sight of it disgusts me. I quickly moved ahead. This part of the hike was the most difficult one. The ascent was steep and long with loose soil and mulch. After a good hike we reached a leveled surface and we continued to walk. The path was filled with bracket fungi emerging from the sides of the damp wood. We walked ahead for nearly 5 kms on a flat trail in the direction of the exit.
We were in the Mookambika wildlife sanctuary area. We passed through the markings in the form of mile stones reading MPCA-Medicinal Plants Conservation Area. The smell in the air suddenly turned fragrant and we were surrounded by many varieties of trees conserved by the forest department. It was 4:30 in the evening and we could see the exit gate ahead of us. It marked the end of a two-day trek.

Kodachadri Trekkers
The bus driver was happy to have us back and I quickly changed while the others took a dip in the nearby stream.
The last bit of our adventure ended on a soothing note. We paid a visit to the Mookambika temple in Kollur. It was an archaic structure with a deepa sthambha at its main entrance. The walls and the doors of the temple were carved in silver and bronze, each having a story of its own. The sight of the sthambha was biblical. It contained 1000 dias which are lit on a daily basis with contributions by devotees. I shamelessly gobbled a few ladoos from the offering counter and took an aimless stroll around the shrine.
With the last drop of energies being saved for a good night’s sleep we boarded the bus after grabbing a quick dinner. To my surprise this wasn’t the end of the day. We managed to turn the bus into a dance floor with rocking Kannada beats. The bus had a hilarious set of lights to complement our energies. YES, They were disco lights!!!! With in no time I could see everyone on floor swinging in fervor. The floor simply rocked till midnight and then we had to finally call it a day. We mulled over the panorama of the Sahyadris and surrendered to sleep.
What a glorious weekend it was!!!!

Writeup by:  Aishwarya

Another write up by Chandru : http://chandropanishad.blogspot.in/2012/10/kodachadri-trek-last-trekking-as.html

Another write up by Raveendra: http://mullukallupustakamatthunataka.blogspot.in/2012/11/the-trek-to-hills-of-kutaja-flowers.html
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Kodachadri trekking information:

Altitude - 1343 metres

Places to see around: Sarvajna peetha, Iron Pillar, Ganesha Guha, Hidlumane Falls, Arasinagundi falls, Nagara fort, Kollur Mookambika Temple, Sunset and sunrise from kodachadri peak.

Direction to kodachadri : Bangalore-72Kms-Tumkur-75Kms-Tiptur-25Kms-Arsikere-65Kms-Tarikere-44Kms-Shimoga-70Kms-Hosanagara-15Kms-Nagara-24Kms-kodachadri( via Nittur)
Trek Guide: Guide not required as there is a proper trail till the peak. Arishanagundi may need a guide if you are not sure of the directions and terrain.

Food: Food can be arranged at the hotel before the peak. Also santosh hotel at Valur on the way to kodachadri can serve food. Also you can pack your parcels  from Nittur.

Best season: October to January

Accomodation: Can book the PWD guest house near the peak, or pitch a tent and camp.

Trek permission: No trek permission required for kodachadri peak but Arishinagundi may require as it falls in the Mookambika wildlife sanctuary.

Trek Routes:

All the trek routes end near the temple premises and PWD guest house before the peak.
There are 3 routes usually used,

Route 1: The jeep track which is 15Kms long. There are plenty of jeeps available in Nittur and surrounding villages which can take you through the mud tracks. In monsoons it will be fun and tough to go in a jeep.Negotiate for a better price.

Route 2: Via Hidlumane falls. From Nittur towards Kolur side continue on road for may be 1 or 2kms reach a small bus stop called Marakutka. The Jeep track starting from here Continues till Hildumane house.
There are some different jeep tracks in between going here and there. As a landmark you will see a primary school in between after some time. Take the right track from the primary school. If having doubts asks village houses which comes in between. Hildumane house can serve Butter milk, and refreshed start hilking from there to the Falls.
Also jeeps can take you till the Hidlumane house. In monsoons if Hidlumane falls is overflowing it may be difficult to walk in the slippery rocks and dense jungle trail to peak.Don't confuse with 2-3 small falls, go up little and you will find a vertical falls, thats Hidlumane fals. From there take the right side trail going up. Little steep climbs and we are in the grasslands. look behind and clear day you can see the backwaters.
Continue through the trail in the grass lands which will lead you to the Jeep track. Continue in jeep track for 2-3kms till you reach temple and then to peak.

Route 3: From Karakkatte.
From nittur travel another 6 kms to karakatte.There's a proper jeep track of 5 to 6kms till Santosh hotel, Valur and fromm there needs to take the trail going till te peak. From santosh hotel after food may be 4-5 Kms climb will take you to the temple before peak.

Arishinagundi:
From santosh hotel needs to take a forest trail deviation downhill to reach Arishinagundi falls. Advise not to take this route with out proper route information and guide.This forest route can be bit dangerous in monsoons with lot of leaches and overflowing streams.
Also there's a proper Jeep track route for some extend and a marked trail from the Kollur side. The Jeep track starts from Kollur Mookambika wild Life Gate.
Take permission before venturing to visit Arishinagundi falls.

References:
 Kodachadri – On Cloud Nine! K/4
Kodachadri Trek/2
Kodachadri/1Kodachadri/1
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Event organized by: Raveendra
Image Gallery:  Ashok , Krutika , Jinu , Navneet , Suresh
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Start of yet another cycling Trip after a long gap, I organised for BASC friends with help from Rajesh. Even after organising many treks & cycling events, still I feel the same excitation of my first event. After two cycling trips to Munnar last year, thought of doing cycling to famous Kodaikanal was there from many days,. Finally fixed the event on Nov 1 as we got long weekend, and thought Neelam cyclone will make cycling easy and memorable. Rajesh suggested to take two vehicles as many cyclists were waiting for a cycling event. So after hard work, planning we both did, and finally the day has come to kick start the event. As neelam bought heavy rain in bangalore, it made things difficult. Participants were late in reaching common pick-up point and tieing cycles on top of TT under heavy rain was a challenge. All these delayed our plan by 2hrs, and finally we left Bangalore by 11:45PM!





Day1: Palani → Kodaikanal → 55km


Day2: Kodaikanal Lake → Coaker’s Walk → Pillars Rock → Guna Caves (25km)




Day3: Kodaikanal → Manavannur → Berijam Road → Kodaikanal (70km)




Day4: Kodaikanal → Ghatt Road (Theni→Dindigul Highway) (55km)



I must thank Rajesh for supporting me in all ways to make this event successful and memorable one. Also thank all participants Ajitha, Amit, Anusha, Datta, Druva, Giridhar, Girish, Guruprakash, Krutika, Nagaraj, Naveen, Nitin, Rajesh, Sarvesh, Vinay and Viswanath.




Event Organiser: Ambareesh Karanth
Write-up: Ambareesh Karanth, Ajitha Madan
Photo-links:
Ambareesh Karanth:
Rudra Aradya:
Vinay MP:
From Krutika:
From Nagaraj N:


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Event organized by: Ambareesh Karanth
Written by: Ambareesh Karanth