A Sojourn to Baamikonda and Kalchukki Peaks of the Western Ghats

Tripoto
15th Aug 2017
Photo of A Sojourn to Baamikonda and Kalchukki Peaks of the Western Ghats by anshul akhoury

The Western Ghats is filled with incredible amount of beauty. The lush green hills, pleasant weather, a variety of birds, flowers and reptiles make Western Ghats a perfect destination for an adventure lover.

Photo of A Sojourn to Baamikonda and Kalchukki Peaks of the Western Ghats 1/1 by anshul akhoury

Among the many locations in the proximity of The Western Ghats, one place that is considered as the most beautiful is undoubtedly Chikmagalur. The temperature of this region is always lower than the rest of the Karnataka. Travellers who come here in the summers have to carry a sweatshirt or a thin jacket because it gets real cold in the night.

Chikmagalur has a number of places where a travel lover can visit and spend their time to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. The bird sanctuaries, waterfalls and backwaters are just the beginning points for an explorer. Chikamagalur is known for its amazing trek destinations which go all the way into the heart of the Western Ghats or Sahyadris.

Mulyangiri, Baba Budan Giri, Narsimha Parvata and Kodachadri are some of the well-known treks in this region. In the later monsoon and winter season, these places are filled with trekking enthusiasts. So when these places are done and dusted, where can one go next?

The answer is Baamikonda and Kalchukki Peaks. Lying in the exterior of the beautiful Kudremukha Range, these peaks are relatively unexplored and lesser known compared to the most of the trek routes. While Sahyadri range doesn’t have the hills as high as the Himalayan peaks, the natural beauty is no less in any way. Very few trekking companies organize expeditions here and most of the time the seats are booked in advance. The natural diversity of Sahyadri is considered very unique and rare. This is why the entire region is declared as a world heritage site by The UNSECO.

Balgal – The Sleepy Town Straight of a Medieval Novel

Balgal is a small hamlet near Chikmagalur. This village serves as the last settlement before starting point of the trek. Balgal is also the last place which is accessible by buses. From here, only private taxis and 4x4 jeeps are allowed to take you inside The Western Ghats forest. From Balgal, one has to travel all the way to Mullodi through a rocky and muddy path. Mullodi serves as the base of the trek.

The moment you reach Mullodi, you get your first glimpse of the breath-taking beauty of the Western Ghats. Such lush green, tranquil hills and the rice fields covered by the clouds make you wonder if this is a part of the Planet Earth or if you just teleported to an enchanted valley.

Entry and moving into Kudremukh National Park

Kudremukh National Park is a protected site and one needs proper permission for entry and trekking. It is compulsory to have a guide, doesn’t matter if you are trekking alone or in a large group. After paying a fee of INR 500, which includes charges for entry, guide and trekking, you are allowed to go further.

Photo of Kudremukh, Karnataka, India by anshul akhoury

Baamikonda and Kalachukki Peaks lie in the outer fringes of Kudremukh National Park. There are a few homstays at the base where you can spend your night and enjoy the gorgeous beauty of the Chikmaglur. One of the most famous one is the Shola Heights. A pretty little property will make you fall in love with the Sahyadri Range. Shola Heights is constructed in a way that it offers uninterrupted views of the Kudremukh Hills and the gorgeous beauty surrounding it.

The moment you begin your trek, the surprises hidden in route start appearing one by one. The grassland is filled with Leeches, so one needs to pay special attention the partition between their socks and pant crease. The leeches get stuck to your body silently and you only realize when they suck a lot of blood and fall down.

The trek involves crossing several river streams and rocky pathways. Occasional sighting of frogs and vine snakes is too common.

Tips for trekking to Baamikonda and Kalchukki

The trek route is not very tough, one can hike and return to the trekking point the same day. Camping is not allowed either of the two peaks, just like Kudremukh.

A majority of trekking groups, that plan this expedition, go here during the monsoon. Late August or Early September is the best time to trek. This is when you’ll get to experience the Kudremukh Range at its greenest.

Things to carry

Waterproof pants, raincoats, hiking sticks are a must during this trek. Apart from this, you should keep your clothes interlocked so that leeches don’t get inside. Also a pouch of salt is perfect to make the leeches go away.

Make sure that your camera is fully charged because otherwise, you’ll be missing on a lot of scenic moments.

How to reach

Chikmagalur is 335 km away from Bangalore. Regular trains and buses run between both places. You can also come down to Hassan and then continue your journey from here.

Stay

A number of stay homes and resorts operate in Chikmaglur. Shola Heights being the most popular between trekkers because its location and the beauty surrounding the place is simply incredible.

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