November 3, 2010

Exciting trek to Kumara Parvata

Last week my friend have visited Kumara parvata. It was superb.

Please read through the story about his experiences.

 Exciting trek to Kumara Parvata

Located in the border of Kodagu and Dakshin Kannada district, Kumara Parvata peak stands tall at around about 5900ft tall, and is the second tallest peak in Karnataka. (The tallest peak is Mulyangiri). This peak is one of the most beautiful peaks in the whole of Western Ghats. And the trek to this place is usually two days with different start and end points. The peak stands almost in the middle of this trek. You can either start from "Bidalli" from "Somvarpet" (Coorg) side (in Kodagu district) or from "Subramanya" (South Kanara – in Dakshin Kannada district) side.

The trek is a total of 27 kms (approx). From Somvarpet side to the peak is approximately 13 kms and the trek from the peak to Kukke Subramanya is around 14 kms. The entire trek route is surrounded by green hills, and you can rarely take your eyes of the greenery and the thick forest trees. It is not a popular tourist spot and hence it is still in its pure form, without any pollution or artificial flavor added to it. This is also one of the challenging treks in Karnataka (both in terms of distance and some steepness). Many people prefer to start the trek from the Kukke Subramanya side and I am not sure if that makes it easy. But we guys started from Somvarpet side.

How to Reach:
There are KSRTC buses from Bangalore to Kukke Subramanya and Somvarpet. The closest railway station is Hassan. Somvarpet is around 5 hours by road from Bangalore and is close to Kushal Nagar (in Coorg). If you reach Somvarpet, you need to take a local transport (hire a jeep?) and reach Bidalli and start the trek from there. Somvarpet to Bidalli takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

We started the trekking from Kukke Subramanya to Bhattara-Mane, from Bhattara-Mane to Mantapa and Mantapa  to Bhattara-Mane. Took rest at Bhattara-Mane to night. The next morning we started from Bhattara-Mane to Kukke Subramanya.

Morning breakfast and start of trek:
By around 5.30 AM, we reached Kukke Subramanya. We got in to a hotel nearby and everyone was set for the trip by 7.00AM. There were lots to carry in terms of tent, sleeping bags, enough amount of food to last the full trek (which included oranges, apples, biscuits, dates etc.), water, etc. We shared the load. First we visited the famous Kukke Subramanya temple. After a quick breakfast, we started the trek at 8.30 AM. We made sure that we had our water bottles.

Entering the forests: Sunny, tasking and the Leeches:
The first 1 hour was trek through a road. It was more like a jeep trail and the heavy bags on our back made the steep trail look even steeper. It wasn’t long before we started having views of the amazing and never-ending landscapes. The initial part of this stretch witnessed quite a few local people in their fields. The sun was starting to pinch and we were just hoping the trek wouldn’t be so scorching once inside the forest areas and amidst trees.

People were getting exhausted pretty fast, though surrounded by trees, as the climb was steep and it was a bit humid too. The trail had a good number of leeches. For many, this was the first experience with leeches. Instead of walking, people were more concerned about a leech on one of their shoes and while they try to remove it, another couple more would stick to the other shoe. Though people were scared as to what the leeches would do, we carried spray to get rid of leeches. With some initial jumping and shouting, people learnt how to get rid of the leeches or how not-to-be-bothered about leeches.

A quick break on the Bhimas rock:
Around 10:30 AM, we took a break for around 15 minutes. Oranges and Apples helped re-energize. The place we took break was called Bhimas Rock, had a good number of leeches, and people were trying to remove their shoes and socks to make sure there aren’t leeches inside the shoes. We continued the trek and this time people started going at their own pace.

We got the first glimpse of the entire stretch of greenery and untouched forest cover around noon. There was a heavy rain while trekking in the middle. We are all trekking in the rain and good experience and sensed the good feel of trekking than that was at the start. A quick break and we were on the way and it was around 12:30, the trail came to an end and we reached bhattara-mane.

Reaching bhattara-mane:
The next place we wanted to break was bhattara-mane. People spent the next one hour going all around the place to enjoy the natural beauty around, a few had a chat with the two other groups from Bangalore who had camped there in the night. We had lunch around 1PM and took rest for while and started to Mantapa. On the way there is a forest department office where we need to register and pay the trekking fee Rs 115 per head and started to mantapa.

The last frontier:
After two hours of trek on the green and grassy hills which gave a very good view of the hills around from bhattara-mane, we saw this place, which I assume is Mantapa (where most trekkers camp). We took a break and had some apples and Oranges. We had a small photo shoot session. The other hills around with some dense forests and black clouds added to the scenic landscape.

The Mantapa:

This was the last point we reached in our trekking event. From mantapa there is a Mountain Peak which is 3kms and from there is a route to Somavarpet. As there is no time and its rainy too so we have decided not to go further from this point and enjoy the nature for a while here. After an hour we started to bhattara-mane.

Lightning strikes:
The lightning and thunder scared the hell out of almost everyone. The visibility was no more than a couple of meters. Atlast We reached to Bhattara-mane. We had tea and were chatting about the experiences we had from the morning.

Preparation for the night:
Around 7 PM, There was a heavy rain and we were sitting idle and discussing about how the people will reach to this place who left after us to mantapa. Our plan for the camp fire went in vain. The day we had rested at bhattara-mane was a festival day - Dasara, All the relatives of the Bhatt’s family gathered at Bhattara-mane place from Kukke and nearby towns. They were performing puja and we were watching their traditions and celebration of Dasara. At around 10PM they served us delicious Dinner with prasadam. We have went with our tents and others stuffs to stay in the forest but because of heavy rain the tents were not used and we went to bed at 11PM in Bhattara-mane home carridor.

Starting to Kukke from Bhattara-mane:

The next morning we woke up at around 6.30 AM and were setting all the stuffs to head back to Kukke.  We have taken a photo with the Bhatt’s family. We started at 8.00Am in the morning and reached Kukke at around 10.30 AM.




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