Archive for January, 2008

Beating the Gold Brush (Trek to Kodachadri)

January 2, 2008 6 comments

Team:          Raghavendra pai, Shridhar , Shankar, Goutham,Deepthi, Namitha,Kailash, Sandeep, Anoop, Naveen, Myself
Place           Kodachadri Belt
Date             28-31 Dec 07
Distance     Approx 300 Km

The Team 11

Western Ghats  is the place that I consider the most beautiful place on this planet Earth, I know the existence of other beautiful places, but still I blindly accept this as the best  for me, very much similar to the way we accept our life mates as the best person for us in the world very much knowing the existence of better people in the world :). This statement is definitely not an invitation for a debate. This writing is about one of the finest peak in the Sahyadri belt, Kodachadri, the highest peak in Shimoga district  which we trekked.

After Sakleshpur trek everyone wanted to trek KP. The plan was to trek KP in October which got postponed due to rains. After a series of negotiations with the team mates, it was decided to trek KP in last week of December. Suddenly Goutham alias Gunda came out with the plan to trek Kodachadri peak which was close to his house, instantly everyone agreed for the trek and the trek got scheduled on 29th and 30th of December. After a series of yes and no’s the list came to 11.


Goutham, Sridhar, Kailash, Deepthi and Sandeep were the new members to our trekking crew and one among them being the organizer 🙂 Train tickets were booked to Shimoga. It was decided that we would be leaving Bangalore on 28th night and come back on 31st early morning. As per the plan we started off on 28th night. The seating’s were distributed and the whole troop had to get split into two groups. Myself, Anoop, Kailash, Raghu, Deepthi, Namitha in one place and Sandeep, Naveen, Gunda, Shankar, Sridhar in another place. Unfortunately the place I slept was very close to the toilet, adding to this there was a bright bulb burning on my head, throughout the night. All praise to Kailash, Deepthi and Namitha who had sound sleep even in this ambience. Around  5 in the morning we reached Shimoga . It was now time to hit the bus stop ,after a series of talks with auto drivers of Shimoga we successfully convinced the auto drivers to drop us to the bus stop for Rs 25/per auto.

 Raghu busy messaging in Bus

Later we were greeted by the trade mark short buses of Shimoga. The Bus to Hosanagara was ready and we got into it. The bus took nearly 2 hrs to reach Hosanagara. There were stops at every corner and it is quite understandable that the numbers of buses that fly in these routes are less. The route to Hosanagara from Shimoga goes between a forest. The forest resembles Nagarhole Wild Life Sanctuary with lots of Bamboo shoots beside the road.

Gunda’s home in Hosanagara

Around 9 in the morning we reached Hosanagara, Gunda took us to his home. It was so nice to see the joint family living with such a good harmony which we rarely see in cities. We refreshed ourselves and had a good breakfast. Gunda then took us to his estate where they were growing Cardamom, Vanilla and Coconut. Instantly we christened him as “Chikka Soukarru” looking at the vastness of the estate. Sharavathi back water was just beside his estate and this reminds us the Kabini. Namitha and Anoop got themselves engaged capturing the moments of the workers in the estate. After drinking tender coconut water in the estate it was time to get back to the bus stop to catch the bus to Kollur.

Gunda’s estate

Around 12 we were seated in the bus to Kollur. The Sun Shine was at its peak and we could feel the heat when we were in the bus. Around 2 we got down near Karegatta where we have to take a left to climb Kodachadri.

The starting point of Trek at Karegatta

The trek started of with a team snap. Te entire crew got divided into smaller ones and started to walk. The initial walk was on a mud road and was quite steep. Within no time, we could hear the pulse beat and started to breathe from mouth. Remember, it’s not advised to breathe from mouth when we go tired. It will not supply adequate oxygen required for the body. I spotted one snake on the way and it escaped within no time before getting its snap. Finally we hit the Kakka’s hotel, the official entry to Kodachadri trek. We stopped here to have our lunch.Every one had stomach full of lunch hoping it would aid us to climb the peak. Shankar spotted one unique tree in the jungle beside the hotel and asked us to look at it. Myself  and Raghu went there and took some snaps of that tree which had a very peculiar base.

The daunting task from far

After the lunch we started to walk. The first sight of the Kodachadri looked very daunting and it never looked like a one which we would be able to climb. This was the famous jungle route to climb the peak. The climb is 8 Km up. This route is not advisable to everyone as it is quite steep and tough to scale if we are not physically fit. People can take the jeep route to trek this peak which is comparatively easy. The climb started and it started to get tough for each step we move ahead. We were continuously motivated by our Captain Sridhar to walk. This reminds us of the movie Lakshya.This portion of walk was within a forest. We were saved from the scorching heat.On the way we spotted one more snake. Looked like a snake that belongs to Viper family. Anoop came forward to catch the snake and he suitably got the dues from the seniors.He was advised not to do these stuffs.

The snake that seduced Anoop

Gunda didn’t show any sign of tiredness and continued to walk. The first wicket fell, Naveen was down with a cramp. At this point we stopped ourselves. He was given the initial first aid to recover from cramp. Every time Naveen sat, it gave us a genuine reason to rest along with him. This helped us a lot without scarifying much on our egos. It’s tough to admit your tired in front of many people when you are an experienced trekker. The climb continued and finally after a series of walk and rest we came out of the forest cover to hit the grassland. This one was spectacular. the evening Sun rays on semi dried grass made the entire hill look as if it was painted in gold. The Sun had started to go back to home to take rest. We had to hurry ourselves , else we might miss the Sun Set.

Anoop and Naveen in action during Sunset

Finally we decided to witness the sun set at this point . After watching the Sunset we started to walk towards guest house which was still far from our view. We entered forest at this point and it was already dark. It was fun  walking in forest in dark. Captain Sridhar kept on motivating us to walk. Our photographer Namitha was still busy taking the snaps, recently she had received few tips from  one of our friend who is a professional photographer which she wanted to experiment in this trip.

Photographer Namitha in action

The steep climb continued but the tiredness wasn’t there when it was dark, it was comparatively easy to walk in dark and finally around 7 we hit the summit, we reached the Kodachadri guest house. There was a sense of achievement in everyone’s face. The task that looked so daunting 5 hrs back was now conquered.

Sandeep and other crew while trekking on grassland

Now we headed towards Bahttara mane.Bhattara Mane had a big compound and a cemented floor. We all settled down there. There was no much light available in this place. Gunda started to arrange for dinner and stay in that place. In the mean time, a small kid from Bahttara mane came out. He looked very mischievous. Namitha introduced this guy to Raghu and asked him to call Raghu as mama; Raghu had to pay price for it. The guy rolled over Raghu, pulled his hair, face and gave a tough time to Raghu. He started to throw bottles on us , Shankar was very much watchful about this guy as he anticipated danger from this guy at any point.

Raghu in WWF mood

Kailash Sandeep were busy taking snaps at this point and Kailash was very open in telling that the trek was easy for him, this started a debate and he had to take back his words. It was time to call up the parents and inform that we had reached the place. Raghu’s airtel connection sensed signals and we made our calls to our home’s and few to their beloved ones.I hope I need not give any further explanations.

Yo mate Kailash relaxing at  Bhattara Mane

We started to smell food from Bahttara mane, every one were very hungry at this point. We refreshed ourselves and had dinner. The food was very tasty. Kailash and Gunda as usual did a very good batting even on this track. After the dinner myself and Shankar decided to walk further up in torch light. We were accompanied by Naveen this time and we started to walk towards Sunrise point. After 10 minutes of climb we decided to get back considering the life of torch battery. We came back to Bahttara Mane. Before we could rest another crew which had come started to sing , few of us like and few didn’t as it kept disturbing us a lot. Finally the beds were ready, after finishing up the final duties of the day, we hit the bed. In No time Naveen was in sleep. Anoop was inside a sleeping bag. There was a night mare waiting to all the people sleeping around Kailash. He started to Snore. I always feel that there are only few fortunate people on earth who get sleep instantly when they go to bed and I wish I am one among them.

Sridhar and Shankar in relaxation after a tedious trek

The Alarm rang at 5 in the morning, instantly Shankar and Raghu got up. We refreshed ourselves and got others ready. We left Bahttara mane at 5:40 to witness the Sunrise. This walk was little dangerous. There was a deep trench beside the path on which we walked. We waited for an hour to watch the sun rise and finally we captured. the early day birds sound, the blowing wind, blue skies and the cool weather made life look so beautiful. Now we started to move towards Sarwagna peeta. On the way we had butter milk which tasted so good in early morning. At this point we took snaps on the highest point, I was asked to do a biceps posing, unfortunately in the snaps the biceps never looked like a body builder’s one 😦 so I am not uploading it :(.

Captain Sridhar on top of Kodachadri

Gunda suggested us to trek to Chitra Moola that was below Sarwagna Peeta. We started to move towards that place. It was a very steep walk. Kailash, Naveen, Anoop backed off and the remaining continued walking. We are very much doubtful of walking back this place. After offering our prayers in Chitra Moola, we headed back towards Sarwagna Peeta.

Gunda at Chitra Moola

Now we started to walk towards Ganeshaguhe, the priest offered us a lunch hand band. By the time I finished my enquiries about wildlife in this place, others had left the place and they had started to walk towards Bahttara Mane. This was a different route. Myself , Kailash and Sandeep lost the way this time. The best part of the trip was waiting for us. We started to see our troop at the foothill and we had to climb down. there was no path for human walk at this place. So we had to be too junglee at this place. We started to skid over a thin stream of water. Kailash slipped , I don’t know how much he cursed me at this point :). Finally we joined our troop and followed a pipe line which the priest at Ganeshaguhe had asked us to do to

Path Finder stream which showed me, Kaiash and Sandeep the way to get back to the correct route

We had our break fast and we were informed that we would not be able to take bath at this place. Now we started to trek to Hidlumane falls. We started to walk on jeep route. At the 10th mile stone, we took a left. We had to climb 3 small peaks to reach the water fall. The walk was very strenuous, Sandeep started to slip a lot. Raghu advised us to walk like our Rebel star to avoid the pain in our thumbs.

Deepthi, relaxing act while walking

Since the waterfall has dried up, the route was decieveing.At one corner we hear the sound of water fall and within no time, the sound used to cease. With a sense of uncertainty we started to walk down. The place started to get more scary and the chances of us finding the waterfall looked very bleak.We were not in a position to back track our path, we started to move and finally landed in the valley. Every one sat here. This moment reminds me the night mare I had in the valleys of Sakleshpur a year back where our college troop was almost lost.

Shankar in the valley where we lost

The water in our water bottles had become very less, our immediate task was to find a water source. There were no signs of Human habitation. At this point it looked a bit scary. Anoop and Gunda walked down the valley and found out the Hidlumane .There was so much relief after hearing this. We walked towards Hidlumane, We enquired the locals and they told that we had come in the correct way and the falls was very close from this place.

The sweet people oh Hidlumane

After drinking water we started to move towards the falls. This falls was very peculiar, the water flows is in four steps. We had to reach the first step. Our journey climbing the hills didn’t stop, we started to climb up , This time it was tough climbing up. We had to hold the roots and walk. In the mean time Anoop was strangled in bushes for following a wrong path. I climbed up and got him down, it was quite adventurous. I have a fear for heights and I know the best way to kill was to fight against this. I climbed up with ample support risking myself and Anoop to bring him down. God’s grace everything was fine. Now we hit the falls and started to play. After playing there for couple of hours we started to get back. The boots we were wearing had got wet and was slipping. Raghu had a nasty fall. I decided walking on bare foot to avoid it. Within no time we were back in Hidlumane. Our drivers were waiting for us . In the mean time we dried up our wet clothes and had ate few eatables which we had carried.

The famous Hidlumane falls in winter

Once again our photographer Namitha got engaged in taking our final snaps. Our vehicle came and we started to move towards Hosanagara. As soon as we reached Nagara, the phones started to ring.Deepthi left to Mangalore from Nagara.  After a series of adventure and fun , there was nothing much left for God to bless us.  We packed our bags, had a decent dinner and started to move towards Shimoga. The hospitality shown by Gunda’s family is a memorable one.The people of Hidlumane so sweet, so much to learn from these people. On the way to Shimoga I and Kailash started to speak about Ghost stories to capture everyones attention and I hope we did it. Anoop and Namitha left to Mysore in a KSRTC bus and remaining towards Bangalore in train. This time everyone were very tired,  nothing could stop us from sleeping, the mighty snores of Kailash nor the sweet smell of Railway toilets. At 5 we reached Bangalore and headed towards our home thinking about office work

The trek is probably the biggest I have done. Every time you travel you learn, you read people and understand life better. You stay in the state of being happy, free from all worries.” Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so, so rightly said? What you say?



Nandish  🙂

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