Our enthusiastic office group was aspiring again for one more trek, after we had completed the adventurous trek of Kumara Parvatha in December 2015. It was time for some action, we decided that our next trek would be Kodachadri.
It was May 2016, the thought to trek Kodachadri suddenly cropped up. The season was not ideal for a trek as it was the end of summer and the beginning of the monsoons. This would mean either we would trek under a scorching sun or wet due to the rains.
Initial planning for the trek
When I went through the blogs written on Kodachadri, many blogs said post monsoon is the best time to trek. But this did not demotivate, we proceeded with our plans. I was fascinated that around 30 people were interested in trekking the Kodachadri.
For a large group, some planning on transportation and accommodation was required. We decided to book in one of the private buses which had a starting point at Kundanahalli Gate. This was one of the ideal starting points as our office was located here and most of them stayed nearby. All the transportation arrangements were done 3 weeks prior to the trek date which was May 21. Then days passed on and it was one week for the trek.
This was a ripe time to think about the overall trekking plans. Many plans were proposed, considering the trek time and other information like weather etc.. We found that we had plenty of time for other activities apart from trekking. Some additional plans like visiting Sharavathi backwaters near Nittur and visiting Maravanthe beach were also put under consideration.
The plans were all finalized after all the feasibility checks. Since it was the end of May, it was raining in different parts of the Karnataka. It was raining heavily here in Bangalore also the week before the trek. Bhatre Mane, was chosen for the stay just one day before the trek. We were lucky that Bhatre Mane could accommodate us as not much people trek during this season. There is also one more option for stay at the PWD guest house.
- Planning is the most essential part of any trip if you going with a large group.
- Try to have many alternative plans to avoid any worst case scenarios.
- Travel, accommodation are the main areas to concentrate.
- Data gathering like reading blogs, wikis on the place you visit and then plan the trip accordingly.
The trip to Kollur
We all gathered in Kundanahalli Gate and boarded the bus to Kollur at around 8:00 p.m. The bus was full and almost the whole bus was occupied by our group.
At around 8:00 a.m. we were in Kollur. We had booked few rooms in the temple guest house near the Kollur Bus stand to get freshened up and to put the additional luggage. Everybody had breakfast and set out for the bus which goes to Nittur at around 9:00 a.m. Our initial plan to trek through the Kollur trail was changed as we come to know from the bus conductor that the backwaters had dried up. So there was a change in plan and we decided to trek from the Nittur trail and get down from the Kollur trail. With the food packed and water bottles loaded up we started our trek at around 11:00 a.m.
Trek to the Hidlumane Falls
The initial trail was same as the jeep route. We followed it, there were plantations around and we could see some houses here and there. The sun was directly above the head as we did not have much cover from the trees.
Suddenly there was a green snake on sight, it was hiding in the bushes. God knows who spotted it, but it was gracefully sliding through the bushes. Our photographers were on the roll to capture the glimpse of it. Western ghat is an abode of a lot of wild life.
We reached a house, this is the beginning point of the trek towards the Hidlumane falls. It also had a small shop attached to it. This was our first pit stop. Everybody had enough water, butter milk and bananas which were on sale in the shop. It was an opportunity for the photographers to roll their cameras. This was the much-awaited break, everybody was happy to spend around half an hour at this place before setting off to the Hidlumane falls.
On the way to the Hidlumane waterfall was full of greenery, plantation, fields. Nature showed up at its best, the serenity of it was very much relaxing.
Yes, we were at the Hidlumane waterfalls. Though the water in the falls was lesser but there was a stream of water flowing downwards just enough for waterfall lovers to take a shower.
I remember we had Idlies and Dosas packed up for lunch. All of these came in limited quantities as it would increase the weight of the things to be carried.
I saw many people carrying an extra pair of clothes, lots of eatables. No, we don’t need to show off our fashion statement or eat heavily if you are planning to stay at the peak. The rule of thumb here is when you are out to trek always carry whatever is essential.
- Reduce the baggage.
- Always carry things whatever is essential whenever you are on trek.
- Consume energy rich food.
- If you are planning to cook on the trek then carry the required utensils, stove, paper cups, plates etc.
Journey to the Bhatre Mane
After the lunch break, we proceeded with our journey to the peak. We could see there was not much greenery as expected. The trees were intact, only the grasslands were dried up. Gradually, we started feeling some inclination and trekking got little tougher at this stage. Many stops for water, glucose and eatables like Snickers, Chikkis came out from many bags which was carefully stored and saved until then.
The jeep trail was in sight now and when it was seen the major hurdle that was experienced were out of the mind. It now seemed that the route to Bhatre Mane was clear and not much far away from sight. It was a muddy trail with lots of dust around.
Batre Mane is the temple priests house.We were warmly welcomed as if we had achieved something to reach there and served with tea. After a small break, we hurried to the peak to witness the sunset.
To the peak
By the time we were there it was a perfect sunset. Shankaracharya Pita stood majestically at the peak.
But to our surprise, some people had gathered in front of the Pita. I could see there was a Bharatanatyam performance with all the musical setup. It was a pleasant feeling of joy, music, dance, nature all in one package.
It was a good sight to witness, the sunset always special at the hill tops as the sun appears much closer than whatever we see daily. Again, the cameras were out and photo shoots all around. Everyone enjoying the jolly moments of reaching the peak and the nature’s beauty was at the best in the whole of this trekking.
Gradually it was getting darker and we descended down back to the Batre Mane for our night stay.
Sunrise at the Kodachadri peak
We woke up around 6 a.m. with the intent to watch the sunrise. Then set off to the peak, but we could see that sunrise happened on the way to the peak. Though it does not matter, the morning environment at the peak was very pleasant and peaceful.
By around 7 a.m. we had set up the sleeping bags and sleeping on the edge of the rocks looking at the mesmerizing view of the clouds moving past us and into the wide open space. Gradually, we could see many of our friends coming up to join us. There were different categories of people among ourselves, some sleeping, some enjoying the nature, doing yoga, clicking photos and someone writing poems, someone listening to music. This environment around inspires you to do different activities that gives you happiness. I could feel the power of nature and how it could influence humans.
Trek though the Kollur trail
At around 9:00 a.m. we set down back to the Batre Mane had our breakfast and were ready to down trek down through the Kollur trail.
The journey down was the abode of leeches. The leeches were all around the place. The moist environment was like a heaven for these blood suckers. Every time you stayed at one place for some time, these tiny creatures would creep up to your body to feast on you.
Then we came out of the forest patch and into the grassland with the sun directly above the head. There were mangoes, cashews and jackfruit all around. We took breaks in between to pluck these and someone was also ready with chilly powder and salt anticipating raw mangoes.
Surprisingly there was a pond with tiny fishes. This seemed to be the best spot to take a break. Many of us got down to the pond and put out legs into the water. I could feel the fishes coming towards my feet and tickling gently. It was a nice feeling, some relief to the feet which had completed around 25 Kms of trekking.
At this point due to the mid-afternoon sun, many were thirsty and every bodies water bottles were empty. On the way, there were houses and people here were kind enough to offer some water. Since our group was so big, they told us to fetch water from the well and drink as much as we wanted and all the empty water bottles were filled up.
It was not much far from the main road, we gently proceeded forward and we were on the Kollur-Nittur road. The trekking is done we had completed around 30 Kms. of trek. I could see everybody exhausted now and waiting for the bus. The frequency of the buses that ply between Kollur and Nittur was around 30 mins.
By around 3 p.m. we were back at Kollur, had our lunch. We still had time till evening and visiting the Kollur Mookambika temple was a must without which I believe the trekking could be considered has completed. The temple seemed to be buzzing with lots of activities and devotees coming into the temple with large numbers. We boarded the bus to Bangalore at around 7:00 p.m.
Finally, back in Bangalore with an awesome trek with amazing people and a wonderful memory to cherish for the lifetime.
Thanks to — Shivangi Sharma, Sheikh Sanath Ali, Smitha Kamathi
Photography — Rakesh Rao