Kudremukh – Where my love for trekking sprung in

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity. We should at least once leave the road and take the trails because the best view comes after the hardest climb. It was a time when I had to take some time off the routine that I was going through and to do something I never did for the sake of it. Travelling has always been the greater aid when it comes to having my mind and thoughts in it reloaded afresh. But I chose travelling to a place where I would trek. And it got zeroed down to Kudremukh in an impromptu way.

Kudremukh which translates to Horse-face is a mountain range with the peak being the 3rd tallest in Karnataka with a whopping 1894 mts. The monsoons in western ghats are un-surpassable. Be it for the sudden drizzles that you didn’t anticipate or the fact that every sight that you catch is quite viridescent, there is a lot of stuff that keeps you engaged and excited all the time. So, this trip was planned very quickly up in my mind and I was in Bangalore when this happened. Bangalore! The city which gives you super access to escape from the mundane life for a weekend and sneak into beautiful places that offer you magnificent landscapes.

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My Itinerary : 
Previous night       : Bangalore – Kalasa in Horanadu bus (over night Journey)
1st day                     : Reach Kalasa by morning and take a Jeep to Mullodi which is around 12 KMs from Mullodi
                                    A homestay in Mullodi was my base camp.
                                    Satish Homestay –  94810 74530  Very hospitable people
                                  : Fresh up and have breakfast. Pack lunch and get started with the trek
                                  : Get down to the homestay by 6/6.30 and have an early dinner and take rest.
2nd day                   : Get up early and go to Kalasa by 8 AM. Have breakfast and catch the bus to Bangalore.
                                    Reach Bangalore by 6 PM.

What to carry?
A good pair of shoes. Get ready for a difficult trek if it is your first time.
2 tees, 1 Jeans and a track pant, a rain coat and 2 polythene covers
A water bottle, preferably with filter
Some light snacks ( Not too many :P)
A good backpack/rucksack and flipflops
Best Time : Monsoons are the best time. Plan it just when the monsoons has hit or after the monsoons are done.

And yes! This was a backpacking trip and I had made my mind up that I wouldn’t be finding the wanted comforts. Could you believe that I did this trip in 2600 rupees? Well, that was what it costed me actually. The plan was to take a bus to Horanadu and get down at Kalasa, a small town which is the stop just before Horanadu. You can find  lot of buses to Horanadu from Bangalore. This small town is a hill station actually and the next day after I got down my bus here, I straight away went and asked where I could find the Jeeps to go to Mullodi. I got into a Jeep with other passengers and went to Mullodi on a very crude track on the hills with lot of mud on the way and the turnings that could scare you to death. But the driver was incredibly confident that he was drifting away on these turnings which made me have a look at the beautiful but frightening valleys.

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After I reached the homestay, I got freshened up real quick, gobbled up on some idlys with peanut chutney and packed my bag with the lunch packet, the granny at homestay gave. On the way to the small office where you get the permission or rather the trekking ticket, you can spot a small waterfall. The trekking fee with permissions costed me around 350 rupees and a guide is assigned to a group of people. The guides here usually are the shepherds that take the sheep and cattle into the woods for feeding them. They know the routes in and out and are very quick even on the muddy trails with a substandard footwear.

There are total three points to identify the distance to the peak or you can use these to divide the trek into phases. The trek starts from the permission office and you have to cross a little part of rocky terrain for a 30 mins and then comes the thin trail with muddy track till the 1st point of the trek. The 1st point of the trek is on plain grass lands. The streak of beautiful landscapes actually start from here. You would cross some tiny streams in order to reach this point. The trail would be muddy and slippery so you need to be extra careful during monsoons.

Some part of the trek from 1st point is plain walking through the grasslands. But then starts the flow of some stretches with steep slopes and they could give you some real challenge with the slippery mud layering on the trail with the rains. But once you reach the Ontimara (lonely tree) – the second point of the trek, it would be plain walking for half an hour again and till the Zig zag route the trail is steep and difficult. The zig zag route is a bit dangerous and we need to be super careful here. But once you reach the peak, the ecstasy that your soul hits can not be articulated.

The leeches, the slippery track, the number of times you fell won’t matter anything once you get to the vantage point where you can cherish the best of the magnificent views the western ghats offer you in the Kudremukha.
By the way, ask if they can pack you Puliyogare for lunch in the homestay. The madness I got after the cravings got kicked in and the fact that I couldn’t find it back in Hyderabad made me plan a detour in my Western Ghats ride so I could visit the town Melukote and have the one dish for which it is famous for, Puliyogare!
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