March 7, 2012

Kudremukh TreK : A Tale Of Sweat,Tear,Tan and Sunburn

Split Personality

Woah !!!! no travelogues from my side from the past 4 months... got to be some sort of personal record. But as quoted by some unknown person "The only thing constant in life is change", a very big and expensive change indeed :P. Initial plan was to trek to the mysterious Ombattu Gudda which has eluded us for the past 2 years, but due to an unfortunate incident of a fellow trekker meeting his end and the forest officials on their toes, made us to look at some alternate options. After a lot of speculations finally it was decided to trek to Kudremukh and Kurinjal Peaks on 2 successive days. Since Kudremukh area was recently converted to a tiger reserve, there were rumors that this peak might be shut down permanently for trekkers , hence we were a bit keen to cover this easy trek as early as possible even though the season we had chosen to go was a bit unconventional, with pretty much everyone getting a tan under the hot sun in the open grasslands and some even getting sun-burns :P.


As is the norm wrt our weekend treks we (Shravan, Shashi, Vineeth, PPR, Umesh, Raghu and Myself) left Bangalore on friday night (2 Mar 2012) on a 10.45 pm KSRTC Volvo bus to Kalasa. We had expected this to be a dry - hot season but as soon as we got down at Kalasa, 6am in the morning, it was literally freezing. Surprisingly the interiors of the ac bus seemed warmer than the outside climate at Kalasa. Kalasa town at this time of the day was pretty much deserted, with a few shops selling tea/coffee just opening up. We had previously contacted  Satish , a trek organizer cum home stay owner who stays on the fringes of Kudremukh Wildlife santuary. He had given the directions to reach his place , the first stage of which was to catch a bus to Balagal which was around 15 kms from Kalasa. The first local bus was at 6.30 am.


Light and Shadow
Landed at Ballagel to continue towards Satish's home at Mullodi, but now the route was through rough terrain and the means was a 4x4 Mahindra Jeep. Reached Satish's home, which was a traditional village home with tiles for roofing and red oxide flooring. Finished our morning chores and had out breakfast for the day. Unlimited Idlis ...  A "stuff till you burppp" invitation :P.

Peak In the Background
After that we started the trek at around 9 am. Loaded with water and our afternoon lunch. Since this was a protected forest, one needs to take prior permission from the forest office at Kudremukh town. For us this was arranged by Satish himself, but unfortunately one doesn't get permission to camp overnight. Hence one has to trek the entire 20km or odd km in a single day, even then this trek can be termed as an easy one. Initial part of the trek was alternating between grasslands and shaded forests. Within the shaded forests we came across quite a few water bodies , so I guess water wouldnt be a problem even in the summer seasons. The name of the peak was kept so, since it supposedly resembles a Horse's face, but to me it resembled more of a human's nose... a very big nose indeed :P.


Milestones
But by this time the temperature was soaring and we were getting roasted in this weather. It was really a freak weather condition, freezing mornings and nights and extreme heat in the afternoons. Even then the views were pretty decent , and with the bright sun its pretty much a treat for photographers with deep blue sky against brown grasslands offering a very contrasting image. Some mountains were even turned to black thanks to grassland fires that seems to be starting by itself every now and then, at some random location and we were witness to such fires quite a number of times.

Peak Snap: The Group

With A Flag At the Peak
Atleast in such conditions one would expect the participants to be properly prepared with caps, glasses etc but Vineeth, Shashi and Shravan didnt even bother to get one. In the end they were more or less the worst hit. Technically speaking this route doesnt require a guide with the route pretty much straight forward, but a guides presence ensures that you can access some hidden watering holes which are plentiful enroute. After trekking continuously for about 4hrs we hit the peak at around 1 pm. Having conquered the second tallest peak in Karnataka at 1894 m. Of the 10 km we trekked from Mullodi village only the final 3 km can be termed as a climb with the rest of the distance being just a walk along a flat gradient. The view from the top was pretty mesmerizing. On one side you had endless grasslands and on the other we had endless mist/cloud filled regions which we couldnt make out whether it was land or (quite preposterous as it might sound) 'the Arabian Sea' :). The only animal sighting we had during this trek was what looked like a giant Malabar squirrel :).

Lunch Spot


After spending 15 mins near the peak we started descending and our guide took us on a detour to have our lunch. The lunch spot was a cozy place in the afternoon sun, with trees for shade and a stream gurgling beside it. We spent close to an hour having our lunch and relaxing under the shade. After resting we descended the peak pretty quickly and at around 5 pm we reached back to Satish's home, taking 8 hrs to complete the trek. We then went to a small waterfalls nearby (Somavathi Falls), spent some time having a dip in the chilled water. Spent the remainder of the day indoors playing UNO pretty much until the middle of the night.

The Contrast
Woke up the next day, and we were still planning to attempt Kurinjal trek. But when Satish informed us that we might have to spend 275 bucks/head again (we paid that amount for Kudremukh permission, dont know to what extent we got ripped :P ) for permission to this relatively unknown trek, the majority of the gang was against this trek and with Raghu having a mild sprain it was finally decided that we would spend the day checking out nearby places. First destination was Hanumagundi Falls and we got a direct local bus from Balegal. After descending a lot of steps we reached the falls, which eventhough had lesser quantity of water looked gorgeous. We explored a path which went to the top of the falls , which quite frankly was quite a taxing climb. Finally at around 12.30 noon we were about to leave this place for Horanadu after getting to know that there were no more places worth visiting.

Hanumagundi Falls
Reached Kalasa at around 2.20 pm, went to the best restaurant in the town which was Hotel Suprabha which was pretty decent. Caught a bus to Horanadu, reached within half an hour , rented a room in the temple premises and spent the rest of the day sleeping , visiting temple and roaming around. Finally at around 10.15 pm caught the Volvo bus to Bangalore and reached Bangalore sharply at 5 am in the morning. This was how a quarter break was spent in a life of a poor management grad. The things people do to breathe in some fresh forest/grassland air, quite insane indeed :P.

Peak Snap: You Shall Not Pass

Trek Details --->
Total Trek Distance--> 10 + 0.5(lunch detour) + 10 -> 20.5 km
Difficulty Level ---> Easy
Total Cost Per Head --> 2100 bucks

Price Charge By Satish :
Home Stay + Food (2 Breakfast+ Lunch+ Dinner+ n no of teas)----> 400/head
Forest Permission ----> 275/head
Jeep Rent -----> 450 per side
Guide Charge ------> 500/group


Contact Info Of Satish ----->  08263-249595 / 9481074530 / 8722847688

Tree Of Life

Snaps Link ---->
https://picasaweb.google.com/112114250378515450499/KudremukhTrek
https://picasaweb.google.com/100919899222671268664/Kudremukha?authuser=0&feat=directlink 
https://picasaweb.google.com/108118793084917245817/KudremukhaTrek
 




22 comments:

  1. The last pic is beautiful and serene... major reason why we visit such places.. :)

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  2. he he... right :).. between thnks for the complements :)

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  3. I loved the first one..the first pic with the apt caption..

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    1. thnks ankita... I intentionally made it b/w so as to focus on the tree and its shadow and not distract with the surroundings :)

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  4. Nice blog and great pictures.

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  5. Enjoyed reading many of your "earthly experiences" ! Thanks for putting in all the details. Some very good photographs too ! cheers to many more travels! :)

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    1. thnks Merops for the wonderful comment :)

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  6. Hi Nithin

    Super awesome blog and so are the pictures. I have to say a trekking trip amidst the scenic beauty of Kudremukh is worth a shot. I really had a great time while going through your blog.

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    1. thnks a lot manish :)... i heard trekking in kudremukh just after monsoons is d best... havnt tried tat though

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  7. Hi Nithin,
    Nice info and lovely pics..
    I am actually plannin to travel to Kudremukh with my husband.. explorin kudremukh/kalasa stay options.. dnt wanna spend much on stay.. searchin for homestay kinda setup.. would request you to suggest.. suprabha one of them.. wanted ur suggestion for ths two options suprabha residency and satish's homestay.. if u can lemme knw what kinda teriff thy may charge, how much decent is d place for women etc. really looking forward to your response. Thanks.

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    1. Hi
      Satish's is an actual home stay. So u will be sharing the house with a family. There is a small room and a big hall offered for guests. There are no attached bathrooms for either of them. Since we were primarily an all male grp we stayed/slept in the hall. In ur case i suppose it makes sense only if that room is available. Overall the place was neat and clean.

      I cant comment on Suprabha residency since I never stayed there.

      These are the prices charges in 2012, might be dated though.
      Price Charge By Satish :
      Home Stay + Food (2 Breakfast+ Lunch+ Dinner+ n no of teas)----> 400/head
      Forest Permission ----> 275/head
      Jeep Rent -----> 450 per side
      Guide Charge ------> 500/group

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    2. Hey thanks Nithin for wonderful info.. appreciate quick response.. will try and figure out bout room availability and all.. thanks again. :)

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  8. nice blog Nithin. Helps a lot to understand the area and terrain with your description and pics as well. if you don't mind could you please share your contact no on pvenkatsainath@gmail.com. will call you. we are going next month, Thanks. Venkat Sainath.

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  9. Nice blog..
    Also visit @ http://www.letzstepout.com

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  10. superb blog nithin! I with my husband and sister, am planning to come on june 2nd week for kundremukh trekking.
    what is your opinion for bhagavathi nature camp?

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    1. thanks.. june 2nd week you would be in middle of a full blown monsoon. If not interested to get drenched completely during the trek I would recommend going from August month onwards. Further not much idea about the nature camp

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  11. Hi Nithin,

    I m planning kudremukh trek from 29th July to 31st July, is it a good time for the treks...i dont mind drizzles here and there..:) but if there is a constant downpour..then please let me know. Thanks!

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    1. There will be constant downpour during this time... if u want reduction in rain then try mid Oct onwards and if u hate leeches then november onwards... infact I think November would be the best month with green grasslands, reduced leeches and rain...

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  12. How about february and march time for the trekking here. Is getting permission difficult, if not can you provide me details how to do so?

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    1. Feb March might be too hot for a trek... I would suggest Oct-Nov-Dec to be best season... Unfortunately in this case I had got permission via the home stay.. so not much experience there..

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  13. Great article. In fact, we're organising a trek to Bhavikonda in the month of December and I was hoping to getting in touch with you regarding the same. Could I have an email or a contact number which I can use to communicate with you?

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