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Kudremukh: An unfinished trek, Somavathy Falls and Tirumaleguppi Peak

It had been almost 2 months since I had been on a trek with the climb to roopkund being the last.  It was rainy season by the time I came back from roopkund(After completing the trek in rain there too) and increase in work meant there was no treks could be done.

Srikanth had also registered for Roopkund trek due in Oct and he wanted to acclimatize himself to the rigorous of trekking in the himalayas, so this prompoted us to discuss a trek.  We zeored in on kudremukh as it was going to be converted to a tiger reserve shortly n this was our last chance to scale the peak.

We had last trekked to kudremukh in 2008 and in January. The landscape was barren when we had visited then.  We could see nature at its best now, as it would green everywhere.

Kudremukh in January

As usual tickets were booked and we set off to kalasa on Friday night.  To our bad luck the bus developed a snag which meant we reached kalasa later than the planned time.

Day 1: Trek to Kudremukh

Kalasa in the morning

The bus to kudremukh has just left and the next bus was not due for another hour. After finishing our morning duties we waited for the bus to arrive. A couple of buses passed and the bus to kudremukh had still not arrived. We waited for some more time to see if the bus would arrive. Even after waiting for another hour,when the bus didnt arrive, we inquired again only to find out the bus has been cancelled.

Time was running as the permission to trek to kudremukh is given only for a single day. Overnight camping is not allowed and one has to return back before nightfall. It was already 8.45 and we decided to hire a auto to mullodi as time was running out

Wet roads all the way

We began the climb to mullodi and to satish(guide’s) house at 9.45. The jeep track was covered in slush and we passed a bridge with the river flowing in full force.

Muddy roads and full rivers

The scenary improved as went higher. Clicking snaps went proceeded. Kiran who had been to satish’s house earlier had asked us to take the jeep track till the top as satish’s house was the last one. We reached a fork in the track n took a wrong route and reached a house. Upon inquiring there we came to know we had to proceed along the same road further and we would reach the house.  This excerise cost us another 15 min and by the time we met satish it was already 11.

The scenary had improved dramatically by the time we reached satish’s house. With the rain still continuing to come down, the surroundings looked even more breathtaking. More amazing scenes was in store for us.

Scenary enroute to sathish’s house

It was 11.30 by the time we reached satish’s house and chances of reaching the peak looked bleak. We still decided to go ahead and see how much we could cover. It was 12pm by the time we left for the peak. Passing somavathy falls we began the ascent with the guide sathish had appointed leading the way.

The lush green carpet had spread itself everywhere, the scenary was mesmerizing everywhere we turned

Greenary Everywhere

Crossing a couple of overflowing streams we continued on our way to the peak. The current in a few streams was high and we crossed them taking the help of the guide. We continued the climb while taking snaps. Soon we reached a flat place and stopped for a short while to take in the beauty and a few snaps. It was already 1.45 and the guide told us it was already late for us to reach the peak, as it was raining intermittently and the water level had gone up. The guides worry was that it would be evening by the time we reach the peak and crossing the streams at nighty t would be a problem.

With the possibility of reaching the peak ruled out, we decided to go till “OntiMara” which is the half way point to the peak.

As usual I was busy with photoshoots, as we continued the climb

Meadows and Mountains

It was 2.15 by the time we reached “OntiMara” and it was already raining.  We spent some time there getting soaked in the rain before heading back.

Ontimara

We left ontimara around 2.30 and started the trek back to satish’s house. We took it easy as there was enough time left for us to get back. A couple of shots of the overflowing streams and a longish break to empty the snacks we had carried with us and we reached satish’s house around 5.45-6.

Overflowing Streams

Evening was spent discussing options for the next day. The guide had gone us thirumaleguppi peak which he said could be done as a day trek.  Speaking with satish we decided to keep our options open for the next day

Day 2: Somavathy Falls and Trek to Thirumaleguppi Peak

It was raining continously throught the night and it was still raining by the time we woke up. We were pondering what to do as we were in two minds as to whether to continue with the trek or go for a sightseeing. Srikanth was keen on doing rafting as we had seen a board indicating rafting on our way to mullodi. However with our finances, rafting looked a bit bleak.

I was however keen on trekking to thirumaleguppi, as we couldnt come back here again and this may be our last chance to climb a few peaks in the Kudremukh NP.  We decided to head to somavathy falls which was flowing very close to sathish’s house and then decide on next course of action.

Somavathy Falls

The weather was beginning to clear as we were returning from the falls and this prompted us to rethink our decision about trekking to thirumaleguppi.

We informed to satish that we could like to trek to the peak and he arranged a guide for us. It was estimated that we would require about 2-2.5 hrs to reach the top and the same amount of time to get back. After having breakfast we began the trek

Crossing the overflowing stream like yesterday we proceeded towards the peak. It was drizzling intermittently as we climbed. The paths to kudremukh and thirumaleguppi peaks diverge after we cross the stream. While we had to cross a lot of streams on the way to kudremukh there were relatively few of them towards thirumaleguppi

First look at thirumaleguppi peak

The path towards was relatively flat with a few elevations along the way. We were proceeding at a fairly good pace, and after an hour of trekking we were at the base of the peak.

The lush green mountains at the distance looked like a picture perfect setting as we climbed the steep ascent to reach the peak.

Mountains, Mountains and More Mountains

Finally after hour and half of climbing, the guide n I reached the peak with srikanth following us.

Hurray!! We reached the Peak

The weather which was sunny suddenly turned misty and it began to rain.  Kudremukh peak was briefly visible before the whole area was engulfed in mist. We spent some time atop the peak waiting for the weather to clear, before heading down.

Another couple of hours of descending and we were at satish’s house. Packing our things and settling the final accounts with him, we bid goodbye to them and headed back to the main road, thus concluding an amazing monsoon trek

Kudremukh Fact File

Distance from bangalore: 350kms

Places to trek in KNP: Kudremukh Peak, Gomukha — which is a detour from the peak. The path deviates from the church which is present near the peak

Thirumaleguppi Peak, Kurinjal and Gangatigal Peaks — These can be trekked from bhagavathi nature camp.

Note: Permission is required to trek to all these peaks. One can obtain permission from RFO paying a nominal fee of 275 per head.

There is a proposal from the govt to convert kudremukh national park to a tiger reserve. This is already in the implementation stage as the trek route from belthangadi has already been closed as that part has already been turned into a reserve.  From our conversation with the guides we have come to know that the main trek route through mullodi may take a while to be turned into a tiger reserve as there are houses in the vincinity and it may take a while for this part of the woods to be turned into a tiger reserve.

Those interested in trekking to Kudremukh Peak can still do it as long as the route is open.

Satisha Kudremukh Contact No

Mob: +919481074530

Snaps can be found here

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Roadtrip Day 3: Raid De Kudremukh

After getting a good sleep the previous night, I got up early, as I was excited to be biking in kudremukh, which is considered to be a bikers paradise. I was initially thinking of seeing barkhana falls in agumbe and then going to kudremukh, however I had to drop the plan of visiting agumbe as I wouldnt be able to reach udupi by sundown. Agumbe had to be done separately.

Sirimane falls was just 16kms from sringeri and I went there first. Passing through kigga, I reached the falls. One needs to enter their name and phone no at the registration office.

Around Sirimane Falls

One can reach the falls, after climbing down a short flight of stairs. A few people were already there at the falls, and were having playing in the falls.

Sirimane Falls

Experimenting with various exposure levels, I spent my time at the falls. I noticed the camera’s battery was running very low, hence came back to the registration office and put the battery for charge, and relaxed for an hour. While speaking with the guy there I got to know that one can get permission to trek to narasimhaparvata just after nemmar. However, no camping is allowed on the keep. One has to return back to base before nightfall as the area is a hotspot for naxal activities.

Once the battery was charged, I began the ride to kudremukh. In order to go to kudremukh, one has to come back to kigga and then head to nemmar-> Eska border->Kudremukh

All vechiles entering kudreukh range has to be obtain a reciept at the entrance of the checkpost. Checkposts are located for vechiles coming from sringeri/karkala. One needs to go out of the park limits in 1 hr and fine for overstaying in the park limits is Rs 100 per hour.

Kudremukh Highway Pass

Having obtained the pass I continued on my journey to the junction which is 16kms from the checkpost. As uusal roads were pretty bad and had to drive slowly. Reaching the junction, after taking a small break at a shop I went to hanumangundi falls. The scenary and roads were simply amazing and I was enjoying the views as well as the ride. Stopping frequently for snaps i continued on my journey

Scenary near hanumangundi falls

Reaching hanumangundi falls, I took the entry ticket and dumping my luggage in the ticket counter i went down the steps to the falls. I had visited kudremukh a year back as an office trip and due to the crowd and time constraints, I had to miss out on a lot of snaps. With very few people present at the falls, I made the most of the oppurtunity,  by taking various snaps before the place became tooo crowded

Hanumangundi Falls

As expected a large crowd shortly afterwards, while I was heading back to the top. Taking my luggage, I procedeed to lakhya dam. The scenary got even better, and I couldnt resist stopping at every turn and taking smaps

Scenic Kudremukh

Reached Lakhya Dam in a couple of min. Met a couple of bikers there and had a chat with them. Photography is not allowed inside the dam and one can spend some time enjoying the scenic views

View From Lakhya Dam

Managing to click a few snaps, I returned and then headed to kudremukh forest office to inquire about how to get permissions to trek to kuremukh peak and to few other peaks in the kudremukh range. Upon getting the info, i headed back to the junction, another few kms of descent and I was out of kudremukh NP, thus fulfilling my desire to go biking on the route :).

A small break and it was time to head to karkala and to the udupi. Few more hours of driving took me to manipal, where I had another break in CCD, and then it was all way to udupi. After checking into a hotel, I went to kapu beach to see the sunset, however I managed to reach the beach just after the sun had set. With people leaving the beach, I managed to get a few shots of the lighthouse, before I went back to the hotel

Lighthouse @ kapu

It was again time to hit the sack , thus concluding an exciting day of riding

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Snaps can be foundhere

Kudremukh Trip- Paladion

The daily mundane office routine was making everyone bored and everyone wanted a break from the projects, client calls etc. As a result a team outing was announced. Initially the trip was announced on 22-23rd Aug. This had to be postponed as ganesh chatutrthi was on 22nd and many people were busy with the festival , it had to be postponed to 29-30th. The trip was announced a month in advance , at that time around 60 ppl had agreed to come. However the dreaded swineflu made a few people rethink about them joining the trip. The resort and transport for 60 ppl had already been booked. Finally 45 ppl left for the trip on 29th night.

The fun began the moment we entered the bus. With beer and jokes to keep us awake we left bangalore. The first pit stop was made around 12.30. Actually it was the beer that made us to stop Smiling. After a short photo session we proceeded further. The next round of pitstops was much later , I dont remember the time as I was fast asleep Smiling. We reached kudreukh stretch around 6 in the morning. The valleys was illuminated by the rising sun which i wanted to capture desperately, however i couldnt as the driver was in no mood to stop Angry as we were already late. Finally we reached the resort by 7.30.

After reaching the resort which was admist hillls , myself and another guy went around the resort for a short photoshoot. I was really impressed by the hills surrrounding the place as it offered a excellent view which made my lens very happy

Scenary from resort


Once everyone entered their respective rooms and freshened up , it was time for breakfast. There was a swimming pool which was ultilized very effectively by many of the guys and later the girls.

After breakfast , it was time for some corporate team games for one group and the other group in which i was in , headed for rafting. Once the rafting was completed , i was discussing with the organizers regarding the plan for the next day. During our chat i came to know they were accomplished mountaineers who have done quite a few treks in himalayas. Hope to join them for a himalyan hike in the near future.

We headed back to the resort for lunch and it was time for the first group to go for rafting and for us to play the same team games which i wasnt much interested. As evening approached i was dissapointed with the cloud cover and drizzle as i couldnt get the sunset. Once the weather cleared myself and my colleague headed out for a short photo session.

Fields

Fields

While shooting the fields and the mountains surrounding it , an old woman came to us and asked us to cough up 100 bucks as i had taken a photo of her field. This really suprised us , we however went back without paying anything Smiling.

The campfire started once everyone was back in the resort with drinks aplenty. Once the festivities were over , we retired for the day.

The next morning those who were interested in a short trek got up around 5 , and we began the hike to a viewpoint which was a short distance from the resort. For me the hike was like an acclimatization for the upcoming trekking season. We proceeded further and managed to get some views which was promptly captured. We reached the top after an hour of trekking. After spending some time there it was time to get back

View enroute to the peak

View from top of the peak

After freshing up , we headed out for some sightseeing. Since we started late , it was decided we would cover hanumangundi falls and lakhya dam. Once we reached hanumangundi falls we had to climb down a series of steps to reach the falls. Since we went to the falls on sunday , the falls was overflowing with people Smiling. I went further down and found a good spot from where I could take photos.

Hanumangundi Falls

Once that was done we headed back to the bus.It began to rain once we reached the top and we had to take shelter as the bus tire was punctured. After fixing the puncture we headed to lakhya dam. Luckly the rain stopped as we reached the dam. Photography is prohibited near the dam. However the valleys surrounding the dam , made a very good landscape which i promptly went about clicking. Those who wanted to see the dam went ahead , I was busy with the photography.

Lakhya Dam

Finally we left the resort around 3 and headed back to bangalore.

Paladion Team Photo

We had arranged for cabs for drops. I finally reached home by 5 in the morning

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Snaps can be found here

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