Sunday, January 08, 2006

Kodachadri Trek

It's been a quite while since I blogged. Lot of things have happened since then. Lemme put those I remember.
One fine weekend(Oct 8 2005) we planned to conquer Kodachadri.
Approach : Reach Kollur. There are two routes(Via Mangalore and via Shimoga). Prefer Mangalore route since the road is better. From here catch a bus towards Sagar and get down at Kaari gate(nowadays it is also known as Kodachadri gate), and start walking along the obvious muddy path.

Our bus reached Kollur at 7:00AM sharp. From here we reached Kodachadri gate at 9:15AM. From here the muddy path was very easy to cover amidst the mystic silince of the forest. In fact the silence was a bit scary at times. There is a kaka hotel at the foothills. We get "puttu" and idli here. Just eat as there is no other option. I should admit it was tasty.

From kaka hotel, it is just non-stop trekking uphill, thanks to ravenous leaches. Slow down a moment and there will be a pack of leeches climbing shoes in search of exposed skin to feast on our blood. However there are clearings where we can take some rest(leeches can not live here as there is not much humidity in clearings).

We reached Kodachadri at around 2:30PM. Here is Adi Mookambika temple. The place where
mookambike killed Mookasura. There are some houses here where we can stay. They charge some Rs.25 per night. They also provide a mat and a blanket. No need to carry all that stuff.One advice here : Ask for Bhatta's house. There are many outsiders who are in the same business of giving shelters to pilgrims and trekkers. They give very bad food.
After taking bath and having "bad food" we went to the top of hill, which takes about 30min to reach. From here we can see Kollur on the west and Lingamanakki reservoir(Sharavathi river - Jog falls) on the east and thick forest everywhere. Sunset was picturesque. They say one can see glimpse of Arabian see from here. We were not that fortunate.
Morning we woke up early to see sunrise. We climbed the other hill(somehow reached top in darkness). On the way there were lot of bisons. They were agitated to see us and were breaking trees in the forest. It was really scary. Had they(bisons) charged we had nowhere to run. Sun rose amidst clouds. It was not great except for the cold wind that was trying to blow of our blankets.
We headed back to our bus stop after coffee at Bhatta's house. We reached kaka angadi at around 10:30AM. Trekking downhill was very quick.
On the way back there was a resort kind of stuff called eco village. It was owned by ISKCON. A worker there told many ISKCON devotees come here and they visit kodachadri and "arishina gundi falls". This falls thing was a lot interesting because I had read about it before. The guy told it was just an hour walk in the jungle. Another hour walk will take us to Kollur. It sounded OK to us. We hired a guide to take us to the Arishina Gundi Falls.
It is the journey unforgettable in my life. For the first time I wanted to die. One hour walk seemed to be a never ending walk through forest, earth was covered with dead leaves where live millions of voracious leeches. I just walked with all my energy. I could not do anything but see leeches crawling on my shoes and tens of them had already started feasting on my blood. I wished I should rather die than being a prey to these blood-thirsty leeches.
Finally reached waterfalls(one has to climb down a lot to reach falls). It appeared that, there was no sign of a human being visited this place in recent past. I got rid of all my fatigue once inside water. The place was worth the effort. It was a picturesque place. I wanted to spend rest of my life here. Because just after the rocks(near water falls) are the predators waiting for me.
The way back to Kollur was better because we were walking on a jeep trail. Finally when we reached main road, it was written on the board "Kodachadri trekking trail - 8 kms". The one hour walk turned out to be 8km trek, some portion of it was through think jungle with so sign of a trail.
Rest of the things went smoothly. Someshwara beach was soothing. The journey back to Bangalore would have been another adventure thanks to timely coordination of KSRTC staff.