Kumara Parvata

Pushpagiri or Kumara Parvatha, at 1,712 meters (5,617 ft), is the highest peak in Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in the Western Ghats of Karnataka.

About 36 kilometers (22 mi) from Somwarpet and 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mi) from Kumaralli, it is located amid the jungle. Trekking can be done from the base, Bhagati, which is a 10 km, three-hour walk. Otherwise, trekkers can cross Kukke Subramanya, located in Dakshina Kannada district of Pushpagiri Range. The trekking zone can be approached from Pushpagiri or from Kumaraparvata peaks.

Kumara Parvatha trekking path leading to the peak is completely covered by the evergreen forests coming under Sulya forest belt, with different trek routes, we have 2 different routes to explore and conquer the peak. On a clear day, one can view sunrise as orange ball popping out from the deep blue background of the Arabian Sea surrounded by lush green forests on the sides.

The trek to Kumara Parvatha took us through the lush green forests and meadows, with steep pathway. A close work between body and mind was required. We encountered several water streams, adding a bit of blue to the greenery around. Monsoons can be really chaotic because of leeches. As we reached the Pushpagiri peak, the scenery blew our mind. We unleashed the photographer in us and captured some smiles. Then headed to Shesha Parvatha, this being a difficult trail, entirely because of the steepness, was quite alluring.

 

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The tough one

Bandaje falls is formed by a tributary of Netravathi river and is located in a remote area of western ghats, which can be reached through trekking with the help of guides. The height of waterfalls is about 200 feet. The path to Bandaje falls from Valambra goes through a thick evergreen forest which ends in grasslands and those who trek without a guide are likely to be lost in the forest.

To visit Bandaje Falls, there are two different routes. If you are traveling via Mangalore – Ujire, it is located 25 km from Ujire. Travel 6 km from Ujire towards Charmadi Ghat, take left at Somanthadka, travel for another 6 km, then take a right turn, and travel for 2 km to find a village named kadirudyavara, from where you can have the remote view of the Falls. However, you have to trek for 10 more km from Kadirudyavara to reach the falls. Locally this falls is called as Bandaje Arbi, where Arbi means falls in Tulu language. Permission from Belthangady wildlife range office, Kudremukh national park is required to trek to Bandaje falls.

The trekking route literally tests the trekkers’ strength and determination. We planned to drop the idea half way through considering the long and tough route ahead.

Its almost 15-kilometre journey to reach the hill top from the basement. However, a spectacular visual treat awaited us on the mid-way. Bandaje falls, which is considered as the best waterfall in Belthangady taluk is located in Bandaje hill offering relaxation. In fact, several trekkers trek on Bandaje only to view the amazing beauty of Bandaje falls. The falls is situated 700 meters above the sea level and flows as a single stream and falls from approximately 400 meters height in between the valley of the Western Ghat. It then flows as one of the tributaries of River Nethravati.

On the way to the falls, we found a stream formed by the water generated from the waterfall. We had to trek for four to five hours to reach the base of the waterfall. The trekking journey was more complicated further as we moved towards the source of Bandaje falls. Another major attraction in Bandaje is an ancient fort, Ballala Rayana Durga, which is about two-hour trek from the waterfall. The fort was built by Hoysala Kings and was plundered later. At present the fort is in a dilapidated condition, nevertheless, we went to watch the remains of the bygone era.

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Kodachadri

The outskirts of the state of Karnataka are blessed with some of the most amazing landscapes that are home to numerous peaks and waterfalls. One amongst them is Shivmogga, also known as Shimoga. Famous for its numerous waterfalls and mountain peaks, it is one of the most ideal nature getaways close to Bangalore that one can embark on. The destination rests peacefully on the banks of the Tunga River, making up for its soothing and pleasant climate.

In the varied beauties of this awesome destination lies the Kodachadri Peak, which boasts of lush green forests on its summit. The peak also holds the distinction of being a Natural Heritage site as declared by the government of Karnataka. Situated in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, Kodachadri is located at 1,343 meters above the sea level. The name of Kodachadri is derived from the words Kodacha and Adri, which in the local language means home of the hill jasmine flowers.

Kodachadri forms a background to the famous temple of Mookambika in Kollur. It is located at a distance of 21 km from Kollur and 15 km from Nagodi village, in Hosanagara taluk. There are different routes to reach the Peak of Kodachadri and the difficulty varies highly with respect to the route chosen. However, it is challenging to reach the peak in monsoon due to heavy rains that make the routes slippery. Kodachadri receives an annual rainfall of 500 cm to 750 cm and it rains for about eight months in a year.

The peak of Kodachadri is perfect canvas like the backdrop to the famous Mookambika Temple and also the Mookambika National Park. Designated as the 10th tallest peak in the state and a precious natural heritage location, Kodachadri trek boasts of compact forests, beautiful waterfalls en route gorgeous jungle trails and picturesque landscapes. .On the Kodachadri Trekking experience, you can experience the best of what this land of the varied beauties of nature has to offer and experience the serene environment with camping right in the middle of the woods.

Kemmannugundi Z Point

Kemmannugundi is the name of a hill station located in Chikamagalur district of Karnataka in south India. It is situated at 1500 feet above the sea level. This hill station is a part of Bhadra wildlife sanctuary. The name ‘Kemmannugundi’ is a combination of three kannada words Kempu (Red), Mannu (Soil) and Gundi (Pit) and is attributed to the nature of soil available locally.

Kemmannugundi is 53 km from Chikkamagaluru and 17 km from Lingadahalli by road. The nearest National Highways, NH-206 or NH-48, connect to Bangalore. There is another route via Mullayyanagiri, a scenic drive. If you are dependent only on public transport then you can catch a private bus from Lingadahalli at 9.30am and the same bus (last bus) comes at Kemmanagundi at 4.30pm goes to Birur via Lingadahalli.

When we started the trek, we only knew by name about a place called Z-Point. We reached kemmannugundi, asked the locals over there about the trek. They told us that we are here in a right season (winter). Rainy season is the worst time to go on this trek as the paths are narrow and very slippery. We got some advice from the locals and started our trek.

As it was winter, and the peak stands 1500 feet above sea level, it was too foggy and we could barely see the path. We proceeded and after 3km , we reached Shanthi falls. It didn’t seem to be a tough trek till then. It was as exciting and adventurous as it could get. We thought we could easily make to the peak. But that was not the case. Walking along the edge of the cliff on the final stretch, we realized it was not as easy as we thought. All of a sudden we were dragged in the direction of the wind and the winds were strong enough to have pushed us aside if we had proceeded further. It was our first time experiencing gusts of this sort. An experience that will last for a long time. We then started to walk slowly laying each step cautiously till we reached the end point. It was equally exciting and frightening to have experienced such high-speed winds. The view from the Z-Point was amazing. The Greenery of the Western ghats, Golden yellow light spread across from the setting sun, it was a Treat to the eyes. We sat there for an hour, taking it all in. Took some pics, screamed our hearts out!!! And started our journey back. It was an easy trek compared to others, but nothing can beat the beauty of the nature that we saw from above the peak.

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The One Where It All Started

“Walking on railway tracks isn’t called trekking”

This was my reaction to my friend’s comment “Let’s go to Sakleshpur trek”.

One of the magnificent hill stations in the Hasan District of Karnataka, Sakleshpur is often called as the hub of the nature lovers and trekkers. Showcasing the most pristine beauty of nature, an array of scenic and aromatic coffee plantations, the many different Sakleshpur trekking routes and much more, this quaint hill station town entices plenitude number of adventure seekers from across the country.

Sakleshpur is well connected by bus and train from Bengaluru. It takes almost 5 hours to Sakleshpur by bus or train. Go to Anemahal, situated on Bengaluru-mangalore highway, a nearby town just almost 4 km from Sakleshpur and the following route shows you the way to go to railway trek to Yedakumeri after Anemahal.

I went for the Sakleshpur trek with my buddies back in 2009. Actually, we started from Donigal, a small station near sakleshpur. At 6 am in the morning, during the winter, we headed into the fog in excitement. The tracks disappeared into the fog. We weren’t able to see anything. At around 6.30 am, the fog started to clear. It was a sight to see!!! The true beauty of the western ghats. One side of the railway track is a valley and the other side is mountains with thick forests.

Through the trek, we crossed a few waterfalls, tunnels and streams. Tunnels were the exciting part of the trek. 300mts long, spooky, pitch black. Entering the tunnels with the torches, scared, and upon seeing light at the end of the tunnel, running towards the light like something is chasing us. The memory is still fresh. After the 10 hours long trek, we decided to stop and camped in a station near a small village, in the middle of the forest. The station master suggested that continuing the trek was not safe in that season. So, in the morning, we packed up and reached sakleshpur in the evening. It was my first trek and I was hooked. Throughout four years of my college, I went for around 10 treks.