Conquering Kodachadri

It was more than a year since I had been on a trek. The last trek I had done was the fabled Kumara Parvatha trek and I was still relishing the memories of it & yearning to go back there. So, when few of my friends made a plan for a trek, my first suggestion to them was Kumara Parvatha. But, most of them were uncertain about being able to ascend it as they had heard it was a tough trek and hence we zeroed in on Kodachadri as the destination for our trekking adventure.

But, I had my doubts about Kodachadri matching the beauty & challenge of Kumara Parvatha. And, was a little disappointed with the choice of place. I honestly didn’t expect Kodachadri trek to be as grand an adventure as my last trek was. Oh boy! How wrong I was!

Trekkers on the Kodachadri trek route
Trekkers on the Kodachadri trek trail

It is a slice of paradise situated right at the heart of western ghats & a trek to Kodachadri is everything that an adventure lover could ask for & beyond! The trek takes us across dense jungles, lush green meadows & a winding jeep track before leading us to Sarvajna Peeta at the summit. We even have to cross a waterfall on the trek trail which is an experience like none other.

Here’s the tale of how the trek to Kodachadri changed my perception about the place,

We were 20 people in total, most without any prior trekking experience. All of us boarded the bus and set off from Bangalore at around 10.30 PM. The journey to Kodachadri from Bangalore was rather a long one & it took us around 8 hours to reach our destination. By the time I woke up we had already crossed Nagara and we were not very far from our destination. The bus moved along the curvy roads and we were soon at the Kattinahole jeepstand, the landmark that our host had told us the previous night over phone to park our vehicle at.

The moment I got down from our bus near the Kattinahole jeepstand , I realized this place was somewhere special. Greenery everywhere we looked around, the sound of the gushing water in the stream nearby, small shops & homes with tiled roofs typical to malnad, everything about that place seemed intriguing.

Stream at the base of Kodachadri
Stream flowing near Kattinahole jeepstand

The weather was pleasant. The landscape looked beautiful. We had reached early and had ample time to get fresh & have breakfast before starting the trek. All of us were high on energy. What else did we need to make it a memorable day? I was already excited! From the jeep stand we headed to our homestay which was just a stone’s throw away from the starting point of the trek.Our host was waiting for us at a small bridge over the stream on the way to the homestay & led us from there. He showed us our rooms & helped us settle down. We quickly freshened up & went to the dining area for breakfast. If there’s something that’s an absolute must-do for me when I’m out travelling, it’s tasting the local cuisine.

So, I was delighted when they served us dosas with ‘joni bella’ (liquid jaggery) which is mostly used only in the malnad region. It tasted delicious & after binging on it, we were served some steaming hot coffee. Ah! The joy of sipping hot coffee on a chilly morning! By the time we finished sipping our coffee, our guide whom we had hired for our lack of knowledge of the trek route arrived.

He introduced himself & gave a little brief about the trek & the various trek routes we can take to reach the peak. We already knew that there were 3 different trek routes to the peak of Kodachadri from our basic research on internet- the one that starts from Santhosh hotel, the one via Hidlumane falls & the jeep track.

We had decided to do the trek via Hidlumane falls though we had read that it was slightly difficult than the route that starts from Santhosh hotel as we wanted to see the waterfall & also it was the most popular route. The guide also said that the Hidlumane falls route was the best route of all.

We started our hike from the homestay & walked briskly on the jeep track following our guide. After walking steadily for a few minutes some of us started taking breaks to rest in the pretext of taking photos. The guide seeing this, told us to move quickly without taking much breaks at least till we reach the waterfalls, so that we can spend more time there.

So, we all started to move fast again without taking any breaks. In a little while, we encountered a trail to the right of us which led us into the forest.The guide asked us to wait at the beginning of that trail and went further in the jeep track to get permission from the forest checkpost.

Once he came back, we continued on that trail & crossed a stream where we had another photo session. We hadn’t even trekked a few hundred meters before we started hearing ‘aahs’ & ‘oohs’ from few of our friends. Leeches had started latching on to our feet & that was the reason for their screams. Many of them had seen leeches for the first time in their lives. We managed to get rid of them by pouring salt water & started walking even more quickly now to avoid the leeches getting inside our shoes.

After walking like this for a few minutes in the dense jungle a vast meadow emerged out of nowhere. We all removed our shoes here to check for leeches and rest for a while. We could see hills surrounding us on all sides from here. A few cows were grazing in the meadow. There were lush green paddy fields to our right side. It was a postcard perfect scene.

Paddy fields on Kodachadri trek route
Paddy fields on the trek route

We moved ahead and reached an old house which is popularly known as ‘bhattaramane’. There is a shop here where we get buttermilk, bananas & other eatables. As soon as we reached here all of us downed several glasses of buttermilk and bought some bananas as we had not carried any snacks with us, before starting our trek again.

The guide told us that our next pit-stop would be Hidlumane falls. The most awaited part of the trek!

We passed through the paddy fields near ‘bhattaramane’ and again entered the jungle. There was a stream flowing here which meant that we were close to the waterfalls now. The renewed vigour after gulping tumblers of buttermilk & our eagerness to see the waterfalls took us to Hidlumane falls in no time.

Hidlumane Falls
Hidlumane Falls in all its glory

Hidlumane falls was such a spectacle to watch and is the major highlight of the Kodachadri trek. The waterfall was very inviting & as soon as we set our eyes on the waterfall everyone of us rushed to take a shower beneath the gushing water from the waterfall. We rollicked in the plunge pool for around 45 minutes & took lots of photos before starting our journey to the summit again.

We continued for a while with lots of energy before our stomachs started growling with hunger. All that frolicking in the Hidlumane waterfall was now beginning to get to us.

Moreover, this stretch of the trail from the falls till the jeep track was the most challenging part of the trek and it showed on our whacked faces.

Kodachadri Trek Trail
A part of the trek route from the waterfalls to the jeep track

We had finished all the bananas we had bought at ‘bhattaramane’ by now and were in desperate need of some food to fill our bellies. But, unfortunately there was no way we were going to get anything to eat till we reached the PWD guest house. We persisted and somehow made it very close to the jeep track huffing & puffing.

As if to add salt to our injury, dark clouds started gathering above us when we had almost reached the jeep track & it started raining heavily within a jiffy.

Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting it would rain so heavily. It was a cloudburst. With such heavy rain & nowhere to hide we were all drenched within less than a minute. We were soaking wet from head to toe & it made the rest of the trek a demanding affair. However, it has remained one of my fondest experiences on a trek till now.

We had no option but to continue to trek in the rain. We reached the jeep track where jeeps drove past us on the bumpy track. The rain showed no signs of stopping and we too were not in a position to wait for the rain to stop. We were all damn hungry by now & wanted to reach the PWD guest house as soon as possible. So, we continued walking amidst that heavy downpour

Our guide kept on telling us that the guest house was just a turn away from where we were & yet we hadn’t reached it even after walking for half an hour. We were all getting a little restless by now & suddenly one of our friend shouted that he could see the guest house & we had almost reached it.

Ah! What a relief it was! We had finally reached the PWD guest house!

We dumped all the bags we were carrying in a corner there & quickly helped ourselves with plates for lunch. We were served a simple meal of rice, sambhar, a sabji & pickle. But, that will be one of the best meals of my life forever. We all ate like we hadn’t eaten in days. Yes. We were that hungry.

After having our lunch, some of us were high on spirit again & geared up to go to the peak. But, some were too tired by now & decided to stay back at the guest house till we came back. So, we left them behind & trekked ahead. The peak was just 2 km uphill from here. Also, the rain had took a break & we could trek with much ease now.

Everytime the clouds parted we could see how breathtakingly beautiful the surrounding hills were. Around 1 Km before we reach the peak we saw a deviation to the right on the trail. The guide told us that this path takes us to Ganesha Guha. You need not walk much from the main trail to reach Ganesha Guha. It’s hardly a few steps away from the main trail. Some of us went there to have a peek at the cave temple & quickly joined back others who didn’t come with us.

A walk of few minutes from there & finally we had arrived at Sarvajna Peeta which marks the end of the trek. It is said that the 8th century Indian philosopher & theologian Shri Adi Shankaracharya meditated here & hence the name ‘Sarvajna Peeta’.

As we reached the peak we realized why all the effort was worth taking. It was so peaceful up in the hills there and the view from the peak was magical. We spent some time there taking pictures & resting our feet. Then we started back when our guide told us that our jeeps had arrived at the Moola Mookambika temple near the guest house.

By the time we came back near the temple others who were at the guest house had already boarded the jeep & were waiting for us. We too quickly boarded the jeep & started our journey back to the homestay. The jeep ride was an adventure by itself. We were all wobbling inside the jeep because of the bumpy track. Also, it had started raining again.

We were surprised to see a bunch of people riding their bikes on that track braving the rain. Gosh! It takes some nerve to ride a bike on the Kodachadri jeep track! That too when it’s raining.

After a bumpy ride of almost an hour we were dropped off at our homestay where our host was waiting for us with arrangements made for us to get fresh & have dinner. Thus, ended our trek to Kodachadri.

It was not an easy trek unlike what I had assumed & neither did I wanted it to be. I was glad that the trek was as challenging as it turned out to be. After all, what’s a trek without a little bit of challenge, right? That sense of accomplishment after conquering Kodachadri was just overwhelming & is an unforgettable one!

Essential Info

Geography- It is the 10th highest peak in Karnataka & is characterized by shola forests which are typical to this region.

Best time to visit- August to February is the best time to trek Kodachadri as the place will be brimming with greenery in the monsoon & post monsoon season.

How to Reach

  • From Bangalore: Bangalore- Tumkuru- Tipturu- Arasikere- Kadur- Tarikere- Shivamogga- Hosanagara- Nagara- Nitturu (Total Distance- 394 Km)
  • Total Trek Distance- 14 Km (Approx.)
  • Trek Difficulty Level- Moderate
  • Altitude- 1343 Meters
  • Nearest Town- Kolluru

Other places to visit near Kodachadri-

  • Kolluru Mookambika Temple (Distance from Kodachadri- 37.4 km)
  • Nagara Fort (Distance from Kodachadri- 29.5 km)
  • Siganduru (Distance from Kodachadri- 51.3 km)
  • Belkal Falls
  • Arishinagundi Falls

 Getting There

Want to go on a trek to Kodachadri? Check out Wanderophile’s Kodachadri weekend trek here.

Checkout other upcoming treks from Bangalore here.

 

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