These were the pre monsoon dry days (early June) with no Trek's or trips happening around and don't have budget to travel North ????. Life becomes dull when you are not with nature for long! When desperation reaches the saturation point, one will end up in Jugaad. With all my effort, figured out and booked a trek (me and my friend) to Kudremukh - Chikmangalur range of hills. This is the second highest peak of Karnataka and it means 'Horse' (Kudreh) 'Face' (Mukha) and is situated at an altitude of 6207ft from sea level.
We took an overnight train from Hyderabad and reached Bangalore next morning. Being a budget and experiential traveler, got refreshed at railway station and hit the road for breakfast. Then comes what to do next as we had time till 8PM (overnight bus journey to Chikmanglur). There we opened 'Book My Show' to book movie tickets and for free baggage check-in (Here is the tip to utilize malls to the fullest ????). I still remember, that was some boring documentary movie and it's as if playing for only two of us! Visited some places in and around to kill time and back to mall for baggage collection and boarded bus to Chikmanglur.
After reaching Kalasa road (Belegal), we purchased neem oil and tobacco powder as leeches will be our mandatory friends on this trek. From here, a 6kmm uphill to reach Mullodi (Trek start point) - You can hire a private jeep to reach the place. Mullodi is a very small village with approximate 40 houses and is not connected with any public transport. There are few home stays which makes a perfect place for base camp. We are now a group of 20 people with two organizers.
The complete trek is divided as follows for better understanding of trial. Approximately 9-9.5km one side and it takes 4-5 hours for one side trek. No camping allowed and hence we have to reach base camp on same day ideally before dawn.
Mullodi to Lobo's House (4.5km - Easy) Lobo's House to Ontimara (2.5km - Moderate) Ontimara to Zig Zag end point (1km - Difficult) Zig Zag end point to Peak (1.5km - Moderate)
We were not expecting much of rain as its early June. To our surprise, we realized its raining overnight at this place. This was more like our first trek to touch an altitude of 6k+ feet and hence we are not so prepared with rain coats etc. Now, the actual fun starts! With only 15 minutes of trek, the rain started (Yay). Initial trial of the trek is more like a forest trail with small streams around. Later reached Ontimara (lonely tree) and was beautiful. Sometimes you feel the Nature at its best when seen through your inner heart. After which we got the first glimpse of Kudremukh peak????. The ascent then became steep. We decided to take some rest and catch up with our breath. The experience of getting wet in continuous heavy rain is totally at its peak and lost myself with the sight of Green carpets all around. To say, I am a person who hates rain and always escapes from getting wet in rain. But this one place made be loose myself completely in the joy of rain and a 360 degree view of green carpets. When you get towards south, the Western Ghats spread into layers of green carpets instead steep valleys. The sight is mesmerizing and one will never feel like to leave the place.
With all efforts completed the zig zag trail and then body gave up to reach the peak. No rain coat, No jacket and completely wet, Gusty winds, shivering to the chill weather, getting drenched in rain for 4 hours and going on - All such makes a person realize how important is the little things in life and how important to be prepared. Finally, reached the peak and waited for a while and see clouds and hills play peek-a-boo ????.
Then comes the descent after completely soaking in rain and to our surprise it was raining continuously since 4 hours and there is no sight of rain to stop. Many of the trekkers in my group already had kisses from leeches and taped with bandages. I was repeatedly checking myself and removing the leeches which are trying to make their route from shoes. We are now half way with descent and at a point we missed the trial ????. Only three of us left as we missed trial and couldn't spot other trekkers from our group. We had to wait and look around figuring out the trial and after 30minutes, we spotted a local coming in our direction. With his help, we reached the base camp finally ????.
Personally, this is one trek where I had wet eyes (not coz of rain) and couldn't resist myself seeing nature's beauty at its best. This trek made me realize importance of being prepared in any situation, not to give up and push limits and experience beyond comfort zone, to fall in love with rain (Of course, not the rains in civilized areas) and many more. From then, my serious trekking journey started and continued for years. Kudremukh is one place I cherish for lifetime, it made me a better version.
At the end, I should look messy with dirt on feet and sparkle in eyes! To be with Nature is the best thing one can ask for in life???? Make Nature as your Teacher - Loads of inspiration if you look through inner heart. Respect Nature and its resources and it will always leaves you awstuck! Straight from my heart - Payback to Nature in whatever way you can and don't leave trash on trials ????
This is originally published on my personal blog: http://praveenabavanari.com/2019/06/30/kudremukh-a-place-of-self-realisation/