If you must do only one hike in the whole of South India, I say it should be Kudremukh. The word means horse faced, implying that the peak is shaped like the face of a horse. At first glance or say at the first 10 glances you’ll think this is a made up story of somebody who was stoned and imagined a horse face. But if you really look carefully you can see the resemblance vaguely.
I have done this route 5-6 times now and each time I go there I fall in love with it a little more. If you love being outdoors and in nature you will love this hike and I am going to try and explain why.
|Elevation:||1894 m or 6213 ft|
|Distance from Bangalore to Chikmagalur (Balegal):||333kms|
|Starting Point:||Mullodi, which is reachable on foot or by jeep. It is 6 kms uphill from Balegal which is where a bus stops.|
|Home stay (No camping allowed):||Satish Anna 094-810-74530|
|Time & Distance covered:||8-9 hours, 18-20 kms|
Why this hike is special
- It was my first This is where it all began. It was the first hike I did while working part time for a hiking company in Bangalore (Get Beyond Limits). I was responsible for a group of 35 people and my job was to take them up to the peak and bring them back down. The experience made me fall in love with the outdoors and from that day on I never looked back!
- The landscape is like no other The whole of South India’s countryside is mesmerising. It is made of beautiful and dense forests, lush green trails, massive coffee plantations and waterfalls, beaches with coconut trees, hills with spectacular views and so many hidden picturesque spots. Yet what I saw on this hike I haven’t been able to forget or see anywhere else. The entire landscape is in contrasting shades of green and the trees connect to the grassy land like a never ending piece of chain that forms the most beautiful painting I have seen.
- 10 streams to cross on the way I lost a bet with my friend so I remember this. If you go right after the monsoons there are a total of 10 small streams to be crossed before reaching the peak. The water is drinkable and a respite in the scorching heat and humidity.
- It’s literally in the middle of nowhere Yes a hike is meant to be away from the usual hustle bustle of a city. But Kudremukh National Park is located in a remote area where even the nearest town (Kalasa) is 20 kms away. There is no cell phone network and barely one home stay. I have only ever eaten cabbage for dinner because that’s what grows here and naturally is easiest to procure. I love how minimal the entire experience is.
Tips & Tricks
- Don’t go on a weekend It takes an entire day to finish this hike. Most trekking companies from Bangalore take groups over the weekend. They arrive on Saturday morning, hike, stay the night and leave by Sunday morning. Like I mentioned there is only one home stay and chances are it will be over crowded and packed on weekends.
- Do not shower It is only natural to want to clean up after a long, tiring and not to forget sweaty hike. But remember that you are in the most remote part of this national park where resources are scarce and hard to obtain. The home stay will have its own mechanism of taps and water tanks but its hard work for them to keep refilling, heating water and ensuring you have a comfortable bath. A day without a bath won’t kill you believe me!
- Visit the waterfall near the homestay It is approximately 400 m from the house and a nice peaceful spot to sit by. There is a tiny temple after you cross a narrow gap through the water.
- Take permission from the forest officials and a guide if needed The permission is mandatory and easy because it is on the way to the beginning of the start point. You cant cross it without going past the office. It is ₹250/- for Indians and more expensive for foreigners. Even though the route is fairly simple don’t hesitate to take the guide as you will only be contributing to the local economy.
- Carry adequate water if visiting Kudremukh during peak summers. The streams would have dried out and chances are there wont be a water source throughout the trail.
- Ensure homestay booking especially if you are going on the weekend. Like I said it will be packed and you will need a roof over your head in the night. During the week it will be easier even if you walk in without prior bookings.
There are all kinds of stories about the type of birds and animals people have spotted here in the past. I haven’t ever seen anything too exciting except monkeys and foxes but keep your eyes open! It is after all a forest in the wild!
If you need more information visit www.karnataka.com