Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adventurous Trek and Camping - Kodachadri

Walking in the middle of the forest, taking treacherous winding roads with excitement and fear at every step, hearing the chirping of birds and watching few others fly around, feeling submerged in the passing clouds at the higher altitudes, experiencing the kiss of the breeze as the legs struggle to climb up the steep hills - the greatest pleasures of trekking won't come without risk or struggle. 

After a long time a bunch of friends decided to trek and this time setup a camping too and the place chosen was Kodachadri, a part of Western Ghats in South India. I have always felt proud and fortunate to be belonging to Karnataka, because so far the greatest pleasures I got out of treks/travels were from Karnataka, be it Kumar Parvata or Mullayyanagiri or Kudremukh or any other place. The vast landscapes and the versatile wildlife here always amuse me. Kodachadri was no exception. The mountain peak surrounded by the dense forest is approximately 1343 meters above the sea level and is a habitat for versatile wildlife which includes highly venomous snakes! The place is around 425 kms from Bangalore. More information here: Kodachadri-Wikipage

We had rented the tents from Bangalore and had made all the arrangements for a successful camping. We left on Friday late evening to make sure we reach early in the morning to the starting point. We checked in into a hotel at Hosanagara ( after Shimoga ) to freshen up before we start to trek. Just a few kilo meters before Nittur, there is a starting point for trek through Hidlumane water fall to the Kodachadri Peak. The plan was to start from there and camp at the peak; next day morning trek down from the other side towards Kollur. We hired a guide for 300 RS who showed us the way till the peak. The way up was exciting as with every previous trekking spots. The trek path was mixture of different types of landscapes - cultivated fields, thick forest range, rocks along the water fall, the grass lands on the hills and then finally the jeep track till the peak. On the way we were greeted by a couple of hosts of the jungle, Pit Viper snakes. Without knowing that it was a Malbar Pit Viper (Yellow Morph) and it is highly venomous, we sat a couple of ft away from the snake and clicked plenty of snaps till the snake got bored of posing and moved away. The difficulty level of trekking is moderate but still it became very difficult for the souls who were doing it after such a huge gap. Trekking 20 kms up/down is not an easy task especially when you know you are grown 3-4 years older than when you trekked last time. We took plenty off breaks before we finally reached the Bhattar Mane at the top of the hill.

The people around warned us not to put up tents as it is prohibited by the forest department and they shared with us some recent incidents of drunken people harassing some women. After such tiring effort to reach the top, when you hear such threatening stories, you would think twice before putting a tent. Also when we were in the middle of our dinner at around 7 PM (served in the house at the peak), the hell broke loose, and it started pouring as though it was going to smash the roof. Our hope of putting a tent, which already seemed a remote possibility, completely vanished when those rain drops appeared to pierce through the roof. We requested the caretaker of the temple to accommodate us in already crowded place. He asked us to sleep in the kitchen for which we agreed, but then a moment later he didn't allow us that either as there were a plenty of his guests arrived. So again, we had to make a decision and as the rain appeared to slow down, we all took a brave step of climbing further and setting up the tent at the peak. We climbed up the hill in pitch dark and before we could freeze with the cold we managed to fix two tents on a flat surface which was just a couple of steps away from the edge!!

It was one of the memorable nights, sadly because of a bad situation. The wind picked up the speed as the late evening approached the midnight. Hadn't realized it would be so heavy and such a recurrent wind; close to 2 am in the night, one of the flexible poles of the tent broke because it couldn't withstand the wind; and after a while the broken parts pierced through the top sheet and tore it off. It appeared as if the wind would pull off the whole tent and take us away from the edge of the hill which was just a few ft away. I have literally prayed that night, for the wind to stop its torture; and every time I prayed, the wind became heavier, faster and more threatening. Feeling helpless, whole night we couldn't sleep properly; holding the broken pole in hand I tried to doze off but only for a short while because I was woken up as soon as the pole skipped off my hands.

When it was close to 6 am in the morning, I was the happiest person not because I was able to experience a beautiful sunrise from the peak but I could come out of the tent and pack it up. We saw that one of our 2 tents was smashed from one side. Thank God the extra pegs tied to the wooden log saved the tent and us.
We had breakfast at the caretaker's house and geared up to complete the trek.  Though few jeep drivers influenced us to hire the jeep to reach the foot hill, we were adamant that we will trek down and complete the adventurous trek. Climbing down wasn't too easy as we had thought, but because of the pleasant morning and tremendously beautiful landscape views it went fine. Out of 10 kms, 5 kms stretch was a thick forest route, which was the best part of the trip. We heard the calls of woodpeckers and hornbills but couldn't sight them. The Great Malbar Squirrels entertained us with their call and sightings. When we reached the main road, our tempo was waiting there which was such a great relief. We went to Kollur to finish off lunch and freshen up. From there it was a journey back towards Bengaluru with a stopover at Veerappa Nayakana Kote (Fort) in Nagar which was like a dessert after a meal; we got to experience a wonderful sunset from top of the fort, with lush green fields and a giant lake around.

We were back to Bengaluru in the wee hours of Monday morning and before the Monday blues hit us, we had enough memories from this trek to sail through the busy week ahead.


1. Uphill towards the Kodachadri Peak

2. Trek path near Hidlumane Water Fall

3. Hidlumane Water Fall 

4. Hidlumane Water Fall in monochrome
5. Bunch of friends bathing under the Hidlumane waterfall 

6. "ID me please?" - A snake found in the bushes on the way up to Kodachadri
7. Malabar Pit Viper (Yellow Morph); spent some time near this beauty and it posed too

8. Grasslands atop the hill
9. Vast landscapes, a part of western ghats
10. Someone was really in hurry to spoil my frame ;-)
11. Candid moment - Jeep track on the way to Kodachadri Peak
12. Gamblers in the tent; fun-filled moments before the nightmares :)
13. Crimson backed Sunbird - Kodachadri
14. Shivappa Nayakana Kote, Nagar

15. Sunset viewed from the fort at Nagar


  1. Great adventure. I guess a bigger group would be safer at such places. Nice narration with pictures. Liked the way the viper is coiled up in its striking pose.

  2. Maga, nice one... Photos are amazing le... :D

  3. Nice write up and good pics as usual! Good recollection of events..

  4. Hi Prashant..
    Nice narration dude.. Pics are really gud as usual... :)

  5. Thank you everyone for dropping by and commenting!

  6. Loved the blog…

  7. Awesome Clicks

  8. Bro is the guide really required for the trek and where did you get that guide from?because even we have planned to go so could you get me any guides no pls notify me to the following email :

  9. where did u carry the tent from