Bramhagiri — A trek 5 years in the making

Bramhagiri a mountain nestled in the Bramhagiri wildlife sanctuary has been on my radar ever since I started trekking couple of years ago. In spite of climbing numerous peaks over the years this is one peak which has been eluding me for a long time. Numerous attempts to scale the peak have been proved unsuccessful either due to lack to company or due to other factors. I had decided to summit the peak this year as the wait was becoming increasingly frustrating.

For the opening trek of 2012 I had asked kiran to check if we could get permission to climb bramhagiri. Kiran who had been to the peak told me it can be done in a day as the climb to the peak is towards the end, and the grasslands provide an easy walk. The forest dept have also hiked the prices for trekking and one needs to pay Rs 500 for the guide excluding the permission fee of Rs 200. If one needs to stay in the narimale guest house the fee has been hiked to Rs 1500 for 2 ppl which is rather expensive. All these factors made us to consider doing the trek in a day.

Kiran took care of calling the forest dept in srimangala and checking for the permission and booking the tickets. A few calls to the regulars(Prashant, Mohan,Hemanth) and couple others (Sabreesh, Krishna, Ramchandra),the team was formed for the trek.  We met up at the satellite bus stand and after the customary introductions, we headed off to gonikoppal.  A good night sleep and we reached gonikoppal at 4.30 in the morning. We had to catch a connecting bus to srimangala and then head to the forest dept office to get the permission. The next bus to srimanagala was at 5 and we spent some time relaxing near the bus stand while having a cup of tea to beat the chill. We boarded a bus which we thought was heading to srimangala was actually on its way to Bangalore!!. We got down near the turning and the conductor told us the bus to srimangala would be arriving shortly.Pulling each other’s leg and cracking some jokes we whiled our time and soon the bus arrived. An hour’s journey took us to srimangala which we reached by 6. Since the forest dept would open only by 9 we slept for a couple of hours at the bus stand before freshning up. After filling our stomachs at the local hotel we took a jeep to the forest dept office and completed the formalities. The guide for the trek would be present at irrupu falls.

Reaching irrupu we submitted the permission letter at the counter and found the guide who was already waiting for us. A brief photosession and we were about to start the trek when we recieved a shocker saying a one day trek would only take us till the narimale guest house. If we were to reach the peak we have to halt at the guest house which means we need to cough up extra cash, which we werent ready to do. We assured the forest gaurd that we were regular trekkers and it is possible to do the trek in a day.

Entrance to Bramhagiri WLS

The trek to bramhagiri peak starts from irrpu falls and the total distance is 9kms from the falls. Mohan, Kiran and myself were ahead with the guide while the rest were taking it easy. The guide who was appointed, kept saying we wont be able to reach the peak if we slow and he wont be responsible if we were late. Taking a short cut we reached the trail and kept walking at a brisk pace. The route is initially uphill till the guest house and is an easy walk in the grassland for few more kms before the final climb from the base till the top which is about 70 degrees. Mohan and I were at the front while kiran, krishna and others were behind. Krishna who had bought a new SLR recently was busy taking photos much to the dismay of the guide.

Trail to Narimale FRH

A couple of breaks and we reached the first grassland from where we could see greenery everywhere. A few snaps and we were heading to the rest house. Our plan initially was to have a good break at the rest house before sumiting the peak and for that we had to move fast.

Distant Mountains

Kiran had caught up with us by then, while the others were far behind. The guide was getting more and more cranky and when we stopped for the next break, he told us he wont be able to come any further than the guest house. His main concern was the slow pace and the numerous trails enroute to the peak from the guest house where anyone can get lost. He cited numerous incidents where people have wandered off trail and landed up in kerala. Kiran and mohan tried reasoning with him, however he wasnt willing to budge. While mohan went ahead with the guide to ease the situation, kiran and I waited for the others to catch up. We told them if we r to reach the peak, the pace has to increase and photo stops would have to come down.  Since I was eager to reach the peak, Prashant told that the faster ppl would move ahead, while the others would come at their pace and they would not be sad if they didn’t reach the peak.

With the agreement reached we headed off to the the rest house which was a km away. The guide who had reached the guest house with mohan kept complaining to the other group as to how he was forced to come all the way to the peak! inspite of his insistence on not coming. When we reached the guest house, everyone was told the same thing, increase the pace in order to reach the peak. Dropping our bags at the guest house we headed off. With no luggage except for couple of bottles of water and food in a bag, our pace increased. The scenery also changed as we moved ahead. There was greenery everywhere. Taking a few photos we moved along.

Lush Greenary

The guide would look back every now and then to ensure no one would wander off as there are a few trails which leads to kerala. We met another group who had stayed the day before in the guest house and the guide who was with them also tried to de-motivate us by saying the peak can’t be climbed in a day. Seeing in comrade our guide also began the rant which he started earlier. This was getting a bit tiresome and we just continued on our way. Soon we had the peak in our sights and the guide showed us the border between karnataka and kerala

No Man’s Land

Soon we could see the peak from the close range and this made us walk even faster.


The final ascent was one of the difficult parts of the entire trek. The loose gravel made it difficult to climb and the steepness meant more breaks. Slipping and trying to maintain our balance we continued on our way. The scenary however compensated for the tireness and kept us moving

The climb and the scenary

It was quater past 1 by the time everyone reached the peak. A small photo session to celebrate and we had our lunch atop the peak.

The gang atop the peak

Spending an hour at the peak, we headed back. Descent was a little tricky and everyone were careful not to go down face first!. A slow descent which took us an hour,we met up with the guide and headed back to the FRH which took us an hour or so. A short break and it was back to the base. As it was only a descent on the way down, we reached irrpu falls by 5 thus proving to the guide it was possible to do the trek in a day.

Since the majority of them had to come back to bangalore the next day, it was decided we would catch the bus from gonikoppa. We reached gonikoppa around 7 and back to bangalore in the wee hours the next day thus concluding a long pending trek

Snaps can be found here

Thadiyandmol – Solo Trek

After a month and half sitting idle in the house due to some functions and official work, i finally decided to head out to the mountains as I could get only the last weekend of may to go out. I had got a mail from shimoga YHAI regarding a malnad state trek which was for 3 days, and when i called the organizer to check if i could attend on the weekend, I was told, I had to attend all 3 days.

With kiran heading to shimoga and srikanth staying back at home, I decided to head solo to bramhagiri. Upon checking with srikanth, I got to know that i had to arrange for the guide and chances of getting a guide are slim, upon reaching srimangala. When even after many attempts i couldnt reach srimanagala forest dept, i decided to go to thadiyandmol as the route was pretty clear and it was also an easy trek.

Srikanth send me a link which showed the presence of tigers in thadiyandmol range, and I knew i was going to the right place :).

After an uneventful journey i reached virajept at 6.15 AM on sat morning. After finishing my morning abulations, I headed to the bus stop and after a short wait I boarded the bus to kakabbe, which is the starting point of the trek which took about 40 min.

Start of the trek

I began the trek at 7.40, and began the steady climb, towards nalknad palace. Since the road towards the palace was winding and was long, I took a shortcut through a couple of fields and reached the palace shortly, as it was closed, i decided to head to the peak and then visit the palace when coming back. I met a couple of people coming down and asked them about the tiger. They confirmed that tigers are present in these parts of the woods, however it cant be spotted easily.  Now that I knew there would no danger, I proceeded further.

Nalknad Palace

Taking few breaks, i continued the climb, and after a short while, I heard some rumbling in the trees, and I paused for a moment, to hear. I hadnt seen any animals till then and I wasnt sure what the sound was. I decided to continue and turn back in case things get a creepier. Thankfully no 4 legged animal emerged and I continued my ascent.

With beautiful peaks emerging at every turn and the scenary becoming more spectacular i continued my ascent. I soon reached the flat land, where people normally camp. After a late breakfast i continued the trek. The climb became a little steep in some places and my lack of fitness was apparently showing. With a few longer breaks, i reached the forest and managed to reach the peak in a little over 3 hrs.

Lush green Peaks

Spending some time on the peak, i began my descent.  After crossing the forest , i took a small nap before resuming my descent.

Greenary all around

Filling up my bottle at a house, i reached nalknad palace. While taking rest at one of the shops, i asked the owner regarding the apparant tarring of roads, and he told me that there are a few people living close to the peak. As per the shop owner, commuting for these people is becoming an issue and they are planning to have road constructed, which enables them to commute easily.

Inside Nalknad Palace

[Note: The path birfucates into two, and the flat path leads to the houses of the people. If you take the road going up, it goes to the peak]

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