Our next destination was Jog falls, but because we couldn’t have reached there in a day, we decided to proceed to Sringeri through Kudremukh national park after we left Subramanya in the afternoon. It suddenly started pouring cats and dogs and it gave us a feeling as if we were driving through an ocean! Kudremukh is a national forest and the park is closed for monsoon. But those of you who are interested in photography should go and spend a day there, it’s a scenic journey and destination. Because we had crunch of time, we proceed through the serpentine one lane tarred road and enjoyed the drive. In between when the rain slowed down a bit, a cup of hot ginger tea was a welcoming notion.It is a belief amongst the locals that you must not stop in the ghats of Kudremukh national park and beyond as this is a Naxalite infested area, even if your car breaks down, people won’t help you because they would mistake you for the Naxalites. It is generally preferred that you take this route during the day time, before 5 in the evening so that by the time the sun sets, you’ll be in the safe vicinity of some small town.
Kudremukh National Park. Going to this place was like a dream to me. Since when I came to know about this place, I wanted to see the Shola forests and climb on a hill, which is higher than Kalsubai peak (which is highest in Maharashtra). I never knew that my dream could be realized until last week. I was planning to go there, when my friend asked to join me along with two other friends. So, all four couples were finalized by Friday night.The first thing we saw was the horse shaped cliff which took a really long time to show its majestic look. The walk was worthy of it though. Going through the rolling hills in the early morning light was like a walk in paradise. Kudremukh is not like a regular jungle walk. It is much more fun. Especially for those who wants to see unending green carpet.To reach there we have to reach Rajappa's house first. His small bungalow is the last human settlement. When we left Belur, the beautiful temple town, typical western ghats scenario started to lead us ahead into the green hills. River, paddy fields, coconut trees . And it slowly started to turn into coffee plantations. After sometime the road winds up like a snake, till we reach ouur destination. It offers some sneak preview of blue mountains. You can't get enough of this. Still one has to reach on time. All of a sudden you stumble across a tea estate. It looks so beautiful. But! We were late. You be there at least before 5, so that you can have a small walk and a visit to the temple of the estate. Until you reach Kalsa the time is for lunch. From Bangalore it is around 300kms.There is one small eatery opposite a police station. We got nice food especially fish. And surprisingly it was cheap! So you can really save money and have good food.The Ambiance of the place is not very good. However, do taste the fish and the local rice. Ok your belly is full. It's time to lose some extra weight. After Kalasa lunch program from the hotel we went straight down. And reached to Belgal . Its hardly 10 min but not that close. Mind it! People will get confused due to the similarity between Balehonnur and Belgal. So be clear! The road is really scenic. From a close by village you can see a church. And just behind that is the beautiful Kudremukh peak. Towering over other hills, gently rising.I was just bewildered. Beautiful surroundings and a long lost village in the middle of the forest with loads of coffee estates. But that was the beginning of our journey. We saw a small shop on the road. The lady waved at us and asked if we were Rajappa's guests for the trek. I was relieved from the burden to find our contact person. There we saw a clean jeep parked near shop and a fit military like man with a pleasant smile. On some blog I read the the journey upto the base is torturous. So I was scared a little bit. It was dark until we started. So the thrill in the dark increased. Slowly the jeep climbed up and got through the dirt road cautiously. Till that day I had never seen such precise driving. While returning back, Rajappa told me the secret, that this guy drives on the same route every day. Indeed a great job!