So this was my first trek with Plan the Unplanned as a trek leader. I was pretty excited, as had gotten a good response for my previous blog.
As the bus came at my pickup point, I met my fellow trek leaders Rajat and Tarun( who is the founder of Plan the Unplanned, other than Jatin). During the bus travel, we three got on talking about travel and how they managed the treks and everything. It was quite interesting, getting to know about their experiences.
Kodachadri is located in Shimoga district and is perhaps one of the most spoken-about trails in Karnataka. The temples of Sri Mookambika at Kollur, some 21 km from Kodachadri, of Adi Shankara and of goddess Mookambika beckon to tourists all year round. Given that most of these temples are nestled in misty dense forests, with pleasantly cool surroundings, it's no surprise that people throng to them from all over the world.
Kollur is the starting point for the trek to Kodachadri Peak. It is connected to major cities in South India by bus from Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai. you can also alight at Shimoga (115 km) or Kundapur (50 Km) and then take a local bus to Kollur.
There is also an option to reach Kollur by train. Certain trains from Bangalore and Mumbai stop at Mookambika Road, Byndoor. If you descend here, you reach Kollur within an hour.
Ours was a private bus booked specially for Plan the Unplanned trekkers, so everyone got on comfortably in a 21 seat bus.
Where to stay
There are quite a few options for stay which are mostly home stays.The place we stayed was Parvatha Home stay.
One needs to get a permit from the forest department, as a guide will be provided for trekking. Also, has to pay a minimal amount at the Butter Mane.
The home stays here provide healthy and delicious meals and even the tourists and pilgrims prefer the same.
As we reached our destination we were welcomed by a chilly breeze and instantly felt rejuvenated by the aura of that place. The home stay we stayed in was beautiful and very spacious. The hosts were very hospitable and cordial. They served us the most mouth- watering homemade South Indian food.
After a scrumptious breakfast all of us got ready for the trek.
There are numerous trails to reach the peak. There are trails like Karekatte, which are simple, taking you through gently ascending forests and grasslands, while others from Sampekatte or Marakuttaka via Hidlumane falls are steep and rugged; you might need to ape your way up holding onto grass roots and finding your route to the top.
We chose the Hidlumane falls trail, and man did we choose the trail with the most stunning views!
Kodachadri is a complete package of natural beauty. It has it all- compact forest trails, beautiful waterfalls en-route, and panoramic views!
Once we started the trek from the jeep stand, we reached after an hour or so to the Butter Mane where an entry fee of Rs 25/head to the forest department was to be paid and a complimentary Butter Milk was served to every trekker by Plan The Unplanned.
After that we continued through the dense jungle walking together enjoying the songs playing out loud, towards the picturesque Hidlumane waterfalls.
So we reached the falls, some of us half soaked up because of enjoying the rains and some pretty excited to bathe under the falls that they didn't even remove their shoes before diving in.
This time, I gave my camera to someone and enjoyed the splashes of waterfall like the last trek. There I am, right in the center, enjoying with the group.
The water falls from a plunging height of 60ft and it felt like a natural acupressure therapy.
After enjoying in the falls and taking a lot of selfies and photos, we continued on to the jeep trail which took us to the Mookambika temple.
Our following stop was the Everest Meadow with panoramic landscapes, far flung mountain peaks and lush greenery all over!
The next milestone of the trek was of course the peak, which is 2 km from the Mookambika Temple and is home to a stunning range of biodiversity.
If anyone wants to enjoy a breathtaking view of the sunset, please prefer to come in any season other than monsoons as there is only a grain of chance for one to get even a glimpse of the sun.
After we headed back to the jeep stand, we were in for a thrilling ride back to the starting point.
At dusk, just as we reached the home stay, we were greeted with tea, coffee and mouth watering onion bhajiyas and mysore bondas. Within 5 minutes, the plates were spick and span! Later There was a nail biting-game of carom where not a single person from the group wanted to leave till the end of the game. Not even for the delicious piping hot dinner.
Later at night there were sessions of dumb charades, crazy experiences and unique travel stories.
Day 2- Nagara Fort
Nagara is a village with historic importance which is located in Shimoga district.Nagara was resided by an independence activist called Sripathy Rao Baliga who continued to work for the welfare of the village in the post independent era.
The fort is built on a small hilltop, beside a lake.
After enjoying the view everyone got into the mood of dancing at the top of the fort.
Soon after the little Boogie Woogie, we left for Bengaluru.
After lunch, a few rounds of Mafia and a tea break I played on some soothing songs during our bus ride. Later at the sundown, someone suggested to dance in the bus itself. The driver switched on the disco lights, turned up the volume and the mise-en-scene which was created inside a bus, was as good as any famous dance pub in the city. Everyone danced their socks off plus I became the official DJ for the night!
You can have a look at the video at this link! :)