Kudremukh - The Horse Face Mountain

Photo of Kudremukh - The Horse Face Mountain by Arti Prasad

"One's destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things." - Henry Miller

When I start feeling that the working days are getting longer, and I am getting tired of the same meetings (which, by the way, I sometimes don't even understand), then there is only one thing that strikes my mind - TRAVELLING. And when it is travelling, it is definitely on the laps of mother nature. Follow the videos of the trek on My YouTube Channel (https://youtu.be/tCB8V_JHEtE).

After having months long of continuous working with scramble of meetings and trainings, I finally decided that I really required a break, and the travelling worm inside me started to make me search for the weekend's gateway from Bangalore.

After hours of browsing and research, I happened to see a post by Nomadify on Facebook regarding a trek in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. I got mesmerized looking at the photos that were uploaded. So, without any delay I booked the tickets to Kudremukh through Nomadify.

Kudremukh is a peak located in Chikkamangaluru district of Karnataka. The mountain resembles a horse face and so is called Kudremukh - meaning horse face in Kannada.

The mountain stands at 1896 mts above sea level. The nearest airport is at Mangalore (99 kms). Kudremukh is some 350 kms from Bangalore. This is one of the major trekking spot in Western Ghats of Karnataka. One could witness the greenery and beauty of nature through Kudremukh.

The variety in scenery you get to see on this trek with water streams that passes, dark forests with different trees, shrubs and bushes, and the mist of the monsoons, there is no alternative to experience this, it is a must do trek. This trek is a 20 kms trek (Difficulty level - Moderate to difficult).

Just for the matter of fact, I did this trek long before my Chadar Trek, so this was the trek that gave me the inspiration of conquering Chadar and made me realize what I was losing out in my life.

I got in contact with the trek organizer, Priya. According to the plan I got picked from my location and the other fellow trekkers also joined me. The first destination was Balgal village, the base camp.

The car that was hired dropped us till Kalasa at 6 in the morning and a Jeep was already waiting for us to move us to our homestay at Balgal village. The journey from Kalasa till Balgal village is one of the most dangerous yet exciting tours. The road is in a very bad condition. It took us almost 30 to 45 min to cover just 8 kms. We saw small water falls, green terrains, misty weather and huge coffee plantation on the way. We finally reached the Balgal village and our homestay. All the necessary arrangements were already done by Priya and her team.

Day 01

After receiving a warm hospitality from the homestay owners, we quickly got freshened up, had our breakfast, packed our lunch, and headed on to make some trails of our own to reach the RFO (Range Forest Officer). Priya collected the forest entry pass at Kudremukh RFO and we, along with two guides, headed towards our destination.

It was almost noon and we had completed approximately 5.5 kms. The feel of the difficult trek started sinking in us slowly. We already started getting tired and decided to take a quick break of 10-20 mins, after which we again started the trail to Kudremukh peak.

As we started walking deep in the jungle, we could see abandoned houses, the fields look as though they were there for years with no sign human activities. The lush covered green fields, small waterfalls, the misty and foggy forest, which gave us the zeal to explore this area more.

I got so deeply indulged in this beautiful scenery that I completely lost the track and I could not see or hear any of the other fellow trekkers. The sounds which was audible to me was the deep zing of the forest, the waterfall at a distant, some unknown insect with its creepy noise, and my footsteps over the wet and muddy paths; I was lost in all these. I had a mixed feeling that time, I was scared but somewhere deep inside I realized that I found myself.

I remembered the code word that our guide had told us. I started shouting "A-O, A-O, A-O", and somewhere from very far I could hear someone replying "O-A, O-A, O-A". I realized that I was lagging behind my group and I needed to speed up.

By the time I reached to my other trekkers, everyone was very tired and we again took a small break. The trek was getting tougher and tougher, but the panoramic view of the mountain left us speechless. We were at the Onti Mara (alone tree). This single tree stands like a lone warrior. We still had to cover some 4.5 kms to reach the peak. We could see the entire range of Kudremukh from here.

I soon realized that the trek so far was just a moderate trek and what stood ahead was the most difficult one. In order to reach the peak, we had to trek for nearly 1 more km at an elevation of approximately 60 to 70 degrees.

My esteem was at the breaking point, but all thanks to the encouragement and support provided by our other trekkers, I decided to climb the hill. At that point of time, I realized it's not always the self-confidence that matters but also the support of others.At around 2 pm and after a tedious walk, we were at the hilltop. The view was just splendid (it cannot be explained in words). It was just amazing and beautiful. I body was numb but my heart was beating fast. Series of misty clouds were hitting me, it seemed as if the mother nature was showering her blessings through the cool water droplets after so much inclined climbing. The happiness was sparkling on each of our faces. I just laid down on the green bed of grass, closed my eyes and gave some rest to my mind.

We found a place to sit, had our lunch and stayed there for the next 45 mins. We tried to capture few moments in our cameras.

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As we were running short of time and we had to reach the homestay, so we decided to descend because it was monsoon and the rain cannot be predicted. Also once if it rains, it would be difficult to get down as the muddy path becomes slippery and the chances to meet our forest friends (insects, leaches, etc.) increases. We started our journey back.

In the mid-way, it started raining heavily. We took out our ponchos and raincoats to save ourselves. We started moving faster as much as we could. Our trekking started becoming more difficult and the rain was in no mood to stop. We were running behind time. The clouds were grey and thundering tremendously. Soon we realized that the return journey was not the same path because the rain had changed the direction of the water flow. We had to make our path ourselves and continue the walk.

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After fighting our way through the jungle, we were closing to complete the return journey. Around 6:30 pm we reached the homestay. We quickly took warm water bath followed by hot food.

Rest of the evening was spent chit chatting and playing different games, singing songs and a perfect bonfire. With all the beautiful memories in mind, we slept peacefully.

Day 02

The day began with a proud feeling of completing the trek.

We had our breakfast and then we visited a waterfall nearby. We took a bath in the water, played and enjoyed the force of water falling on our heads. We headed back to the homestay, got dressed and bid adieu to the homestay owners and started our drive back.

The next plan was to visit the Chennakesava temple in Belur. This is an ancient temple dedicated to lord Vishnu. The temple is known for its architecture, many structures beautifully crafted on the stones. Most of the carved sculptures are of the dancers and musicians of the 12 th century and the Hoysala empire rule.

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The temple has a water tank inside the complex along with many other small monuments and features. It is a feast for the photographers those who love to capture the historical places. The photographer inside me exploded out and I took so many snaps.

And now it was the end of our trip with a bag full of memories and new friends. We were travelling back to Bangalore with new energy. Definitely this trek was the beginning of my travel diary.

"Journey begins when you see beyond pain and trouble. Determination, self-esteem, and a strong mind is all that is required." - Arti Prasad