Rolling Hills, Shola Forest, & Natural Grassland - A Hike to Kudremukh Peak

7/28/2009 10:22:00 AM

Kudremukh is Kudremukh National Park? Well cant say I knew it already.

Kudremukh peak aligns to the same vertical line as Shringeri and Shingani Gudda (another hiking peak near Dharamathala) which is almost in the center of that line. Okay, I love to make maps in my mind if you dint get that already, the route from kalasa-kudremukh-hanumangundi-bajagoli-belthangadi-sakleshpur-ujjire, thats the round we are about to make, and trek to a peak exactly at the center point of the circle, the two state highways SH64- and SH66 are forming.

Its a lovely misty morning at Kalasa, a small hilly temple-town in Chikkamagaluru district in Karnataka. and we, a group of 25+ geeks or politely, the trekking enthusiasts, are busy breaking our incredibly long fast in a restaurant on the ground floor of the building in the same building of our stay, or shall I say are feasting on Neer dosas and mangalore buns. No we dint have anything to eat last night. But I am hogging a few extra, because I love neer dosas.

Few pals from my Goa trip this may,  a bubbly set from january-mulliyangiri trip organized by the same trekking club, a birthday boy, a few couples and this good size group planning to hike Kudremukh peak today, seemed quite lively. I do not remember now,  how long did it really take to reach the bridge from where we were supposed to start trekking, I was in deep thoughts. perhaps it was  an hour or two that it took us to reach the start point.

Kudremukh, meaning horse-face peak is clearly visible from this point. the trail reminds me of tadiyandmole path ( my first trek in western ghats of India), except that fact, that road is tarred for quite a  good distance. there is this long, noisy stream that runs along the path, It peeks in a few times and I love it. Apart from the occasional valley views, the trail is full of mangoes and jack-fruit trees and few huts and houses we pass by. we pluck mangoes and eat along the way, I however decided to do it on my way back, got a few packed for back home, for I wanted to eat them all next week with nothing but salt and red chilli powder. Yes I am greedy when it comes to raw mango or anything food for that matter. Oh and did I mention the blackberries, wild fruits have their own unique taste, that rest in your buds forever. 

We were trekking in late June. i.e. rainy season in the western ghats of India. evidently everyone was worried about the leeches/earthworms. this was perhaps my 4th trek, and I have had my time with leeches already, was n't really bothered and yes I came in sandals. one of us tore his shoes and was walking bare foot. Generally that is the case of any religious hike or even flat altitude yatra. people do walk barefoot to the temple of the deity. but in this case nope there aint no temple at kudremukh peak, its purely enthusiasm.

We crossed the green forest slowly. there were certain streams wide and narrow. I am guessing it was the same one all along, just changing side in our trail.  each time we were crossing it a bit faster than anyone would otherwise do and the only reason for that was that leeches were coming to suck our blood out of our veins. until we reached and rested a while near lobo's grave, and everyone started pulling out their shoes and socks to find how many wounds they had got, we clearly had no clue the trek was full of blood sucking monsters who made us run for our blood and sweat. Apparently my leech count for the trip turned out 5 to 7 and with no marks, quite an achievement, yes very proud indeed.

All the running and leeches and no one knew only until now that we were  not hiking the actual kudremukh peak and that we will reach a peak about a km away from the main peak. this was due to forest permission, that made some of us really upset, but we anyway went ahead.

We crossed the grassland and ascended to a hill a bit shorter in height than the close by peak or looked to be, the sun was a bit on the high side, and it was already past 12. not to hurt anyone's sentiments, I personally felt the opposite mountain was far more enchanting and exhilarating then the famous peak itself. the hide and seek game, that it played with us turned out as my most memorable experience from the trip.

From the top, the valley across was spectacular, and we could see a waterfall too, think it was either kadambi or bandajje, ( Bandajje I hiked on a later date)  and the stream that were accompanying us all along was originated from the same. we had trekked for about 12-13 km and it was great feeling to be on the top, specially seeing the green mountains on one side, and open lush green grassland on other. looking down there was this vast valley, and across laid the forest, everything, all of it, at one place.

and Guess what, then we spotted some bisens too, though I could get a foggy shot of em due to clouds coming to us at a extra high speed and they soon wrapped us all up. on the way back from the trek, it kept drizzling, and by the time we were back in the lodge, it was 8 and we were totally exhausted.

The dormitory back in the lodge so reminded us of the hostel days, well honestly I dint have many days to compare really, but this time sure was fun. we shared pictures, chatted all night and though we did promise to get up at 5AM to witness the morning mist and sunrise and also to visit the temple, we could not really get out of the bed until 7. while few folks actually did manage to visit the temple. we headed straight to Hanumangundi for our second day of fun.

[Okay did you know?, thats the best part about Trekking in western ghats of India. Hike a Peak on first day, Enjoy the getting drowned in a new water fall the second day and thats the story of every trek. fun right? ]

The bus ride to waterfall was nothing less than spectacular. full of picturesque green mountain views, forest formations, this has to be one of the most gorgeous drive I ever been to. well people do call monsoon is no trekking season, but according to me thats the best season to enjoy western ghats, and while I write this I wish go to my most favorite peak in WG, Mulliyangiri right now, and see how the most vast valley in western ghats must be looking like. 

On our way we did see lakshya dam, and soon we reached soothanabbe falls. well dont count the stairs you have to climb down or dont count the crowd, but that huge rock and the force with which water falls on your back, might give you the best spa experience in the world. trust me there is nothing like a natural spa and falls in western ghats, they deserve an award, as for me no hiking is complete with out a long long bath in a waterfall.

View Kudremukh in a larger map

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