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Friday 2 January 2015

Kumara Parvatha Trek

                        Kukke Subramanya to Kumara Parvatha        Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka

Kumara Parvatha is situated in the border of Dakshina Kannada and Coorg districts, It is the highest peak in Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuary, the second highest peak in Coorg and the third in Karnataka at about 1712 m (5617 ft) ASL. Accessible only by trek, it has two ways, one from Kukke Subramanya (26 km) and the other from Somwarpet / Beedhalli (14 km). Our plan was to climb from Kukke as we are neither fans of shorter versions to any peak and also to witness what KP really had in stock. And yes it did! KP delivered in its own humongous style. As we uncovered it with painful steps and painless hearts those mountains kept on rewarding us the moments to cherish for a lifetime. One of the toughest trek in south India, the whole thing lasted for 3 days including 550 km of travel through ghat roads from the mountains of Nilgiris to the mountains of KP. Further a dig into the place it revealed a story like KP was the place Lord Subramanya (aka Kumara) fought and won the fierce battle against demon Tarakasur.
Once we reached Tadiandamol last July-2014 our next place in Karnataka was definitely KP, time passes by rather quickly and it was New Year, couldn't have asked for a much better time. Plans rolled on. Initially it was 6, and finally we were 10 of us ready to go with two cars i20 and Getz with 3 drivers. 3 rd was our date so we had to start by 2nd night driving from Gudalur to Subramanya. An eight hour hilly drive. As this was our first 3 day trek i started ordering tents, beds, lights, med kits and other stuffs a week before and everything was on place by 2nd evening. All 10 of us had to reach Gudalur by 2nd. Athul, Sudhi, Simi, Binya from Ernakulam, Nischel and Dhanesh from Thrissur, Sidhara and Vishnu from Palakkad, Sunisha from Mysore and myself from Chennai.As planned everyone assembled at my home and were ready for the thrill.  Started at 2nd Jan 10 pm from Gudalur to Bathery-Mananthavady-Tholpetty-Kutta-Gonigoppal-Virajpet-Madikeri- and stopped for a tea break at Sullia ghat road.

When inquired about shortcuts the shop owner guided me a route through the forest which would save us nearly 40 km without reaching Sullia to KP. Roads were in bad shape and wrong diversions helped us in extending our journey. Somehow we were back on track soon. By 6 am we were at Subramanya.

Within the next two hours everyone freshened up, parked our cars at the temple grounds, had breakfast, shopped food stuffs for the next two days.
By 8 am hired two autos to reach the trek start point which was a km away. Each had a backpack of 7 to 8 kg with two liters of water and there it was the "green gate" with info board, officially we have started the trek at 8:10 am.   

The First Stretch from the gate to bhattramane is 5.5 km in which 4.5 km is of thick forest. Initial walk was relatively easy, filled with green shades all over and dozens of birds chirping with the golden light trying to peek in, it was vibrant and welcoming for those who haven't slept a minute the previous night. Nischel the group's youngest one soon took over as the lead to guide us all the way up. After 2 km thick trunks and roots eventually made the way a bit tougher. By this time we had two breaks and felt the forest deep and denser. There were elephant dungs which was alarming, to keep company we spotted some Nilgiri giant squirrels, fan-throated and rock agama lizards and monkeys.

With more breaks i saw first timers tasting water like honey and each slice of oranges are treated with great respect. Vishnu spotted wood snakes along the way. Sidhara had her share of finding a beautiful butterfly tree. By this time two groups were at different speeds. Myself Nischel and Binya were the fast movers. By 10 am covered 4 km, the way is steeper with less trees.Athul and Dhanesh were running around for their best clicks. One more km to bhattramane the sun is directly on us. Girls lost hope of believing that there is a house in between, walking continued as we could see grasslands above the hills. Within sometime there were zig-zag roads splitting ,waited for others to join as we followed the way down to Bhatts house.

Since it was weekend there were fellow trekkers, there is food for people who have ordered in advance.An old man named Narendra Bhatt built this mud house in 1974, hydro power and solar power are installed for basic electricity,  this place is also the fist water source, very simple food with rice, sambhar, pickle and buttermilk, after having a sumptuous meal everybody was in a state of euphoria.Meals cost 100 rs per person. Paid up and ordered food for the next day lunch. By 12:30 pm started our next leg.  Climbing up from bhattramane takes you to the first view point within 20 minutes.Within that short time we knew the sun is gonna be harsh on us till evening. Nobody had 
sunscreen and to the rescue Simi carried rose water at least to prevent our self's from sunstroke for the rest of the trek.Next came the forest office where each of us had to enter name and address and pay 200 per head. The officer warned us to take enough water as the next water source was at kallu mantap. Towards the way ahead there were trees and thick bushes with signboards to KP. Within the next 30 minutes we were at the second view point.All of us were forced to relax under the scorching heat. Girls covered their head and faces which later on was the reason of becoming too tired out of excess heat and dehydration. From here on we could see the 40 degree trails.
Walking continued and one group was left behind, crossed two more mounts to find a a huge rock with a tree. Sunisha and Sidhara was too tired to walk while Dhanesh and Vishnu were accompanying them.After a brief rest they slowly reached us. These four had even planed to pitch the tent somewhere down which is not even halfway. The whole group had slowed down and i knew from that point we are not going to reach KP on that day. So convinced them to walk slowly till the next mount so that we will surely see kallu mantap, Sidhara agreed. i took her bag as we carried on, but hill after hill there was no mantap to be seen, i started moving ahead to get a glimpse of the mantap. In between we found a nice little shady place with rocks and trees, once the group arrived pulled out the glucose packets in search of energy. Even though the place was great we saw a huge hill just opposite to it and we could see tiny little people climbing on top of that.
Have read about the tricky hills here so i was sure it was not Shesha parvatha, but i lied. There is no way i could speak truth here, marched towards Kallu mantap and within the next 20 minutes we were there. Exhausted and confused we sat there watching the mantap from beneath. Sidhara no more had energy to walk. The hill facing towards us looked monstrous. Thought of pitching the tent here but next day would be a nightmare. After some rest everyone was charged up to ascend that single hill in six breaks.Filled up every additional bottles so each of us had extra weights now. we were not quite sure about getting water at Shesha parvatha. Climbing began, each 100 meters we had a break point and that's when all the snacks came out. Everyone had the same feeling that murukku and badam never tasted like this ever before in their entire life.
It was steep where almost everyone slipped at least once, it was real hard stony path, there were muddy patches in between but it was more slippery, some of us even tried walking through the grasslands but there were hidden rocks all over the place and since Vishnu spotted an other snake inside these grasses before mantap ,we were skeptical to walk through it. Towards the 6th break everyone was relaxed thinking Shesha parvatha was nearing and were expecting a downhill, girls were dreaming about pitching tents and eating chapatis, But towards the top the way just slided to the left and what we were seeing was another 3 hills. Couldn't control laughter just by seeing their expressions, i knew it was Shesha parvatha on top and the adjacent mount Siddha parvatha which is inaccessible was a great view.

I cant force them anymore but the option of pitching tent here is not possible, taking the answer with a pinch of salt all of us had to walk until we find a good place.So three of us decided to climb the next hill in search of space, we found !! Again a lie. Screamed towards the group downhill. They started but before they arrived i moved ahead in search of space. Finally in between the two valleys there was a flat space hardly for two tents. Two guys were already there with their sleeping bags enjoying the serenity, my mind voice read " Sorry Guys, Ur calmness ends here". By 5:30 pm all of us gathered here to settle down.Cleaned up that place and pitched our tents.
Soon the portable stove came out, girls tried their best to make tea but it was too small for 10 of us. Dhanesh and Athul picked up woods and fire was ready, petrol came in handy. this time girls were successful in making tea, opened the packed chapatis and off it disappeared within seconds, time just flew around the tent. Its 8:30 pm we are hungry again,Its Maggie time! Everyone sat around trying to cook noodles, it was wonderful just being there. Surrounded my mist and the warmth of fire we had a great dinner. Sudhina had a cramped muscle by then and was under pain. tried our medication which relaxed her. Another surprise for Sudhina was an advance birthday cake and song.
That was it for the night. For me horror has started. Athul, Dhanesh and myself slept outside the tent with just two blankets each as there was lack of space inside. At 1:30 am when i opened my eyes these two guys have somehow managed to get into the tent. It was cold, with just two blankets it felt like pain. i could sleep till 2:30 and then it became unbearable. From then on till 6 am i never slept and its quite difficult to express what i went through. A situation where i don't want to disturb anyone inside the tent nor i was willing to sleep outside. To sum up I survived. At 6 am everybody woke up and all of us were enjoying camp fire.

By 7 am we were ready to reach KP. Left our bags in the tent and took only a couple of  water bottles. Within the next 30 minutes reached Shesha parvatha, clicked some really stunning pics.
From here it was a
downhill forest
till the last water source. There were trekkers staying inside and space was kind of cramped. There was a small stream which is also the last water source.
We almost reached KP's foothill, just one more hill and the toughest. No visible path, just rocks and stones. Crawling was the better option at some places, as we were climbing the huge rocks, right behind us was the forest with their myriad trees. Kept on for an other 30 minutes and there we were at the edge of Kumara Parvatha. Hunderds of stones were placed to form a cone shaped structure which welcomed us! Everyone was excited and celebrated the moment with a last pack of snack called Halwa.

Moved further onto the top, there was a stone shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Moved on to the edges with the glow of the glorious orange sun as we saw bright horizontal streak of the horizon with floating clouds. It was energizing treat to the sore eye. Estates of Kodagu and plains of Mysore can be seen partly. The only thing which we missed was the Sunrise. Found an other way which was going down to Beedhalli.Spent some more time there it was 10 am we decided to say goodbye to KP.

Its ascending time. All of us found a walking stick for speed and support. Simi joined me and we were fast. Within an hour with just two breaks we reached the tent. Another surprise birthday cake popped up, this time it was for Simi. Had bread and jam for breakfast and packed all our stuffs, tent rolled back and cleaned up the place, all the waste were burned up. Borrowed a pain relief spray from an other group for some of us and started from there at 11:30 am. Climbing down was equally tough we reached Peak A. 
Continued without stopping till mantap. Fast movers always waited  for others to catch up. By the time we reached mantap some of our feet got bruises and minor cuts. Applied bandages and carried on. Athul, Simi and Vishnu joined us. The most funny and dangerous incident was yet to come. We decided to run down. The plan was like whenever the slow group approaches us with their bells and whistles we would run helter-skelter, no brakes, no pain, just felt numb. Other trekkers were watching this madness but gave us way to avoid any accidents.Anyways within a short time we were at the second view point. Our foots were burning like hell, removed shoes and poured some water, relaxed there till the snailies arrived only to begin our next run. It was a battleground suddenly i saw Vishnu overtaking all of us and looked back if there was any wild mad dog chasing him, No ! He was seriously on race with us. Within the next 15 minutes we were at the forest office. The officer was a nice man, he allowed his toilets to freshen up. All of us cooled our heads and sat there for some time. Its 12:30 pm he showed us a shortcut through some vegetation's to Bhatts house.

By 1 pm we were at bhattramane having lunch. I find this place more of a service towards trekkers, in short a trekkers temple. Buttermilk was fresh and cool we had enough of it. At 2pm we started the final leg of 6 km through forest.
As usual the group split and we were trying to cover the first 1 km soon to escape from sunlight. Back into the thick jungle unlike a day before we were pretty much alone. There was a peculiar alien head like tree which we missed while climbing up, its sure to scare people at night or when alone. Down the lane there were huge trees with their prop roots hanging like ropes we tried swinging but since our body was tampered all round we quietly started walking.
Vishnu kept on calling the other group to speed up. With so many slip downs, sprained ankles and twists we realized that we are nearing civilization. One more km to the starting gate it was not exciting at all, will there be another trek like KP my mind asked? With all the memories KP offered us we just walked to reach the gate by 5pm. Took rest for a while. An auto came by, all the girls were sent to kukke town and the guys started walking the last one more km. On the way inquired a lodge to freshen up. Reached the parking ground, took the car back to the lodge. Everybody freshened up by 7:30 pm. Trekking was over but we had a very long drive left, Started from kukke Subramanya at 8 pm. Stopped for dinner at Sullia ghat road at 9:30, Left there after an hour and it was a tough ride, myself, Athul and Vishnu were too sleepy and tired to drive. At least i had Sidhara for company to talk. Athul was driving alone for most of the part. And Finally... and Yes Finally we reached Gudalur at 6 am, 5th Jan.


Author         : Anish vk

Clicked By  : Athul, Dhanesh, Anish, Vishnu


  1. Awesome bros and sisters :D

  2. Wow! I was automatically searchng fr d rest...a wonderful rewind.. Trek has left back a great deal of pride..Great eta..thank you fr ths wonderful oppurtunity...sisters hardly expect ths frm a brothr..lov u... Eagerly waitng fr d rest...

  3. Very good narration. I have the feeling that Iam with you.I felt the pain and tired ness.also felt the evangelical happiness of trekking destination .wish everyone who participate this rare venture.

    1. In a way im happy that you could feel the pain while reading and not physically..but i really wished you were there trekking with us ,,

  4. Yes! this is what i was waiting for.. The whole write up will cherish the moments even after the sands of time...very high moments in my life..i should say a great "treklogue" :) :) :) also a wonderful travelogue..Too good etaaa.. thank you ...

  5. Blog ezhuthumbo engane venam ezhuthaan. KP onnude keri erangyathu polundu.after read this realy miss the trek. And too funny .sorry to athul rathri avanu koottu erikkanamnnundaayirunnu. But nalla tired aayi poyi. Hats off drivers. treknu pogunnathinte munpathe divasam muthal trek kazhinju varunathu vare nammade drivers aarum urangettilla.specialy thanks to eattan for the trek, memmories and this blog

  6. "With more breaks i saw first timers tasting water like honey and each slice of oranges are treated with great respect."
    :D very true :) :)

  7. Really Liked it...Grt narration :)

  8. Adipoli Enikum pogan aagrhamayitundu..

  9. Hmmm,..,it was quite an adventure! Enjoyed reading your blog.

  10. Great write up... Enjoyed (y)