This is as part of the engagement activity in partnership between GIGA and BTAC...
A weekend to cherish!
BTAC | Monsoon 2018 | 20/21 OCT
An opportunity arose to trek the mountain range and a peak located in the Chikkamagaluru district. It is the name of a small hill station and a mining town situated near the mountain, about 48 kilometres from Karkala and around 20 kilometres from Kalasa. The name of the place is Kuduremukha and it literally means 'horse-face' in the local language - Kannada. This refers to a particular picturesque view of a side of the mountain that resembles a horse's face. It was also referred to as 'Samseparvata', historically since it was approached from Samse village. Kuduremukha is Karnataka's 2nd highest peak after Mullayangiri.
The time of the year is the monsoon season with weather not that cold. BTAC had rolled out this trek and we had 12 of the like-minded who joined us for this trek.
Due to forest restrictions on ticket availability, the trip was split into two parts with a total of 2 days being spent in the Western Ghats. First part was to spend half a day in the beautiful “Devaramane” which is a village in Mudigere Taluk. This village is renowned for its Kalabhairaveshwara temple.
After this visit, we had planned to head to the homestay and book tickets for the Kudremukh trek for the next day.
As usual, we locked in our transport and headed for a two day affair with the western ghats. We started from Bangalore at around 10pm and reached the first destination - Devaramane at around 3am.
With still in darkness, we decided to rest for few more hours by setting up tents and sleeping bags. Talking about Devaramane, this is a beautiful natural outset. We have an ancient temple of Sri Kalabhairava which is very well built but the real highlight is the temple pond located just opposite of the temple. Just few meters of the temple, you find peaks, grasslands and magnificent views. The area is lush green even in summers. This place will be covered by fog normally.
Once we saw some light, we got up and saw the beauty of the place and spent time near the pond and climbed to the peak and enjoyed the views.
The word Devaramane means ‘God’s home’ and truly matches the views from the grasslands of this place.
After spending time in the grasslands, we had breakfast and started heading over to the homestay in Kudremukh. On the way, we got to visit the temple of ‘Hornadu’ and got blessed. It was also good to have nice traditional lunch in the temple premises.
After lunch, we continued our journey to the homestay. The name of the homestay was Bella, a nice cozy place and friendly staff to care of us.
We reached the place around 4pm, got to freshen up and setup tent. We took a small walk around this place and came back to bonfire.
With free time in hand that evening, we enjoyed few games in the midst of fire and calm. After 9, we finished a decent dinner and retired with tomorrow in mind and making a firm decision to get up before 5 and getting ready by 6.
A great morning and everyone got up early and got ready in time with a big day ahead. We waited a while for our breakfast, collected our ticket, lunch and headed in a jeep towards the Kudremukha base camp. On the way, the guide joined us.
Talking about Kudremukh, this is a township developed primarily as an iron ore mining town where the government ran Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL). This public sector company operated for almost 30 years, but was closed in 2006 due to environmental issues. The company proposed eco-tourism in the area and insisted that the land lease be renewed for 99 years. However, environmentalists opposed such an idea on the grounds that the area should be given time to regenerate completely rest. Thus, the mining lease lapsed on 24 July 1999. The mining town now known as Kudremukha was earlier Malleshwara village whose residents were relocated to Jamble village of Mudigere taluk in 1970's.
On the trekking space to the peak, the facts and stats are as follows:
The Kudremukh peak trek can easily be described as one of the most beautiful treks in the Western Ghats.
The variety in scenery you get on this trek is not something many other treks can boast of.
There are overflowing streams that have to be crossed, dark shola forests with crisp brown leaves fallen underneath, bamboo shrubs tall enough to touch the sky, rolling green hills and finally, the peak itself, where gusty winds can blow you off your feet while the scenery below blows your mind.
The wet climate and the tremendous water retentive capacity of the shola grasslands and forests have led to the formation of thousands of perennial streams in the region converging to form three major rivers of the region, Tunga, Bhadra and Nethravathi which form an important lifeline for the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Some stats and facts:
Altitude: 6,207 ft (1890 meters above sea level)
· Second highest peak after Mullyanagiri in Karnataka
· Time taken: 9-10 hours (5 hours to ascend); 22 km
· Trek gradient: Hard
· Water sources: If trekking right in monsoon, you can refill your water bottles from streams along the trail.
· Only 50 Participants are allowed in the mountain range in a Day – 500Rs per person entry charges
· They will allow entry between 7-9am and we have to be back by 6pm.
We have to keep in mind that this a strict plastic usage zone and littering is prohibited. We started ascending on the trek path.
We find many streams on the way and you could fill in your water bottles all through the trek and we got to know that you find these only in monsoon season.
After about 4kms, we reached out first leg of our trek, this is the board that says that we have 7kms to the peak. We rested here for a while and carried on to reach the peak.
The first leg is moderate and after this, the trek path tends to become hard with increasing height of the trek path, at approximately 9.30 am, we were able to reach the half way.
After resting for a while here, we continued the path with a little bit of tiredness. After 2 hours of more trekking (11.30am) in the path mentioned by our guide, we were able to reach the peak of Kudremukh. The view from this place is breathtaking!!!
After resting for a while and having lunch, we started descending back at 1pm. Very close to the peak; there is an old destroyed building. And when enquired with the guide, it was told that this was used by the British to stay during those days and also had a Horse stable. They used this place for horse racing and recreational purposes. May be the name ‘Kudremukh’ or Horse face is derived due to this.
We were able to spend some time taking photos while we were descending and found a lot of flora, fauna and some rocks and stones were glittering. Probably, these have minerals like iron, aluminum and others in them.
We also spent time near the streams and played with water.
After crossing the same path again, we successfully completed the trek and reached the forest gate by around 5pm. We headed back to our homestay, got to freshen up and headed back to Bangalore.
This was indeed a weekend to cherish!!