The D-Day finally arrived, the day all of us had been looking forward to. All of us rose..well..relatively early and got ready by 0830. Had a quick breakfast, packed a few Mangalore buns for the en route munches at took the bus to Kollur at 0915. Till Kundapura the route's pretty normal. The real fun starts 5 km after Kundapura when the bus starts its arduous climb. It gets very very scenic with the idyllic and imposing Western Ghats providing a real treat for the eyes. Come monsoon and the beauty of this place just blossoms manifold. One of the best routes to drive/ride on if you ask me.
The journey took about 2.5 hours and we reached Kollur by 1145. A quick refresh, stock up of water and of course coca cola and we were on our way to Karaikatte Gate in India's traditional 3 wheeled tuk tuk, otherwise known as an auto. Karaikatte Gate is the starting point of the trek to the Kodachadri Peak.
1. Jeeps are available, but they wont drop you here and will insist on taking you all the way up to the peak.
2. An auto costs you 200 Rupees till Karaikatte Gate. Pretty normal rates as it is about 10Km from Kollur bus stand and pretty uphill.
3. There are two paths diverging from the gate, make sure you take the one with a marker that says "Kodachadri - 10 km"
We started at around 1230, after taking a lot of pics of course. The initial part of the trek was relatively easy, a very small gradient which was undulating. Half an hour into the trail, we found ourselves in the midst of a thick forest. Tall dense trees, which made almost the entire sunlight disappear save for a few streaks from the small gaps. Bird calls, insect sounds, sounds of our footsteps crackling the dry leaves on ground, we found ourselves truly on the lap of mother nature. Gaea was in her pristine beautiful form and we just soaked in the sights and sounds which were truly overwhelming.
Click En Route:
Half way into the trail, we came across a small ramshackle shop where we took a snack break n merrily munched on the Mangalore Buns. Coca Cola and water kept running out on the way. Some distance after this came a very small village. I have never seen more contented people before. All satisfied with basic needs, kids playing worry free cricket was indeed a sight to behold. We took a pic on their ground with the peak in the background.
From here, the trail started to increase in gradient. Slowly but steadily, the toughness kept increasing. We were starting to tire, but we had each other for company, not to mention the Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut. The cocoa and humour kept us going. A click in one of the steepest places
We kept going, step by step, egging each other on which was a brilliant thing to happen. When spirits sag, encouragement does keep you going. People had actually hyped it all up saying its just a 3 hour trek, which we knew by now is not the case. To all my fellow trekkers, if you cant give accurate details, please admit it. Your ego can cost others big time.
By 1600-1630 we knew we were 3/4th up as the forest had cleared and from our research on this trail we knew the forests clear out 3/4ths into the trek. Buoyed by this, it was time for pics again :)
Other people on the trail scared us saying its a tiger area. We DID get bloody scared at that time. Afterthought is always a good thing as later we'd deduce this could not be a tiger trail. Tigers usually don't prefer high grounds devoid of water or meat and this was one such area. Another group spread rumors that they'd seen a mad bison. Guys, a plea here, again yes, I know. Please do not circulate unfounded rumors. Think for yourself and the impact your statement could have on your fellow trekkers. Spreading panic and fear does not help anyone's cause.
After an hour's worth of a tough trail, we finally reached the peak. Just in time for the sunset. The best sunset point is reachable by jeep, best mode of transport here. Will set you back by 200 rupees on a round trip. We reached there and clicked away as much as we could. A couple posted below.
We were super tired, yet all jumpy, exhilarated at such a wonderful sight and a sense of accomplishment prevailed amongst us all. All the fears we had, irritations, frustrations on the way just melted away. Reaching a goal does that to you I guess.
Coming back to the peak, the Lingamakki Dam and the Jog falls are visible from the sunset point. Just at the end of the trail lies the Adi Mookambika Temple, supposedly the one installed by Sri Adi Shankara himself. A further 2 km trail uphill leads you to the Sarvajna Peetha, a place were he's supposed to have meditated for 10 years. We unfortunately could not make it there this time, but its on my to-do list for sure. I'll do that n blog about it.
Post the exhilarating trek, we felt it was a brilliant and perfect day. Little did we know we'd not seen the other side of the coin yet. About that, is my next entry.
A bit of stats for people intending to do this trek
Distance: 11.5 km as per GPS reading
Gradient: Moderate to a 'wee bit' tough
Time: approx 6 hours (with a total break time of an hour)
Starting Point: Karaikatte Gate, about 8KM from Kollur on the Kollur - Shimoga State Highway
Ends at: Adi Mookambika Peak, or Sarvajna Peetha
Jeeps avaiable at the Peak to take you back to Kollur. Else trek down to Karaikatte Gate and take a bus to Kollur.