Kodachadri Trek [Author : Vikram Hoshing]
Kodachadri Trek Photo gallery
(Camera: Vasu) (Camera: Satish)
Kodachadri, the highest peak in the Shimoga region / district of Karnataka; 1343 meters above sea level.. It can be considered as a Grade 2 trek, though grades do overlap and some spots can be classified as Grade 3. It is approx. 315 KM from Bangalore.
Mode of Transport
Tempo traveller, accomodates upto 13 guys / gals (Normal human beings; Excluding the driver). Though not very comfortable for long journey. Average Speed : 50 KM / hour. Cost : 900/- INR per head.
Group Members (Alphabetical Order ;-)
Amit Patil, Aparna, Balaji, Kamlesh, Parikshit, Prashant, Priya,
Neeraj, , Sathish, Srinivas, Vikram, Vinay.
10:30 PM (Feb 4' 2005)
The team members reach the pick up point, Bangalore city railway. After some delay we started at 11:10 PM.
12:10 AM (Feb 5' 2005)
We stop at this hotel "Punjabi Dhaba", a few KMs after Peenya Industrial Area. Food is good and quite reasonable. Both Veg / Non-veg available.
We get back into the Van to catch some sleep.
Short break. Stop at a roadside shop. We have some tea / coffee. Relax for a while and then back to out seats.
Van moves towards the destination.
Van stops again for 10 minutes. Guys / gals who did not have tea earlier, get down to stretch their legs. Start again at 4:00 AM
:-( Tyre Puncture. All of us get down. Driver is busy changing the tyre. We take a walk. I climb on a nearby rock to get view of the majestic mountain range embraced by the mist. Sathish, an excellent photographer is moving cautiously, silently with all his arms-equipments to shoot the birds. He should have seriously considered making a carrier of this hobby. The chirping of birds, the disappearing, fading moon amidst the clouds. It is a panoramic view.
The spare tyre is in place, van ready to move. We all get in. (** Cell phones can be used at this point)
We stop 23 KM from the destination, to get the punctured tyre fixed. This town is called "NAGARA". Just at a stone's throw before Nagara is an old fort in ruins. But, we can still visualize the glorious architecture of the bygone era. (** Fort will come before Nagara when coming from Bangalore).
All shops not yet open. We plan to have the breakfast here itself. After the usual daily chores, we get into this small thatched hotel yet cozy. It is an amazing experience. 3 small idli's, very simple, authentic and with delicious chutney. (** Hotel is next to the Telephone Exchange and opposite to it is one puncture shop; Another puncture shop is 1 KM behind towards bangalore)
We are sitting under this, banyan tree on "Chaupal", called as "Somari Katte" in Kannada. It is 8:50 AM now and the first rays of sunlight embracing me into their fold.
The Van comes but the job not done i.e. we do not have a spare tyre as puncture not fixed. Considering all the risk factors we decide to move ahead. We are going towards "KOLLUR", right turn from Nagara and Left if coming from Bangalore.
We reach the base at "SAMPE KATTE". However, starting trekking point is 10 KMs from here and we already too late. Cab driver not willing to drive on that road. Though it is very much motorable. Jeep's are available, but 1 Jeep cannot accomadate 13 people with this much luggage. So all vote, and it is decided that we will go from another trekking point. Vinay had been here sometime back and he has a fair idea about the local geography.
We start towards "Nagodi forest check post". This is the point from where the trek begins. It is 20 KMs from Sampe Katte but will save us time and also 10 KMs of unnecessary walk considering the time constraints else it is worth.
We enter the "NAGODI - Forest check post". Around 500 mts ahead on the left is the spot where we get down (** You will also find one more turn on the left before this one so do not confuse. we have to get down at second left turn).
We all check our backages. Have some apples. Some other stuff and edibles are equally distributed. The Van driver goes back to get everything repaired. He is instructed to be at same spot the next day at 11:00 AM.
The actual journey beigns. We all start with the heavy rucksacks on our back. Cell phones are not working. In fact, they stopped working in Nagara itself. Once in a while on certain points you may get the signal.
Slowly, all are left behind. Aparna is the best of 'em all. She is leading the way. I am trailing her with Vinay, Parikshit and Kamlesh.
As of now it is not that tough. By 12:30 noon none is visible, all left behind. Only Aparna is some 100 paces ahead of me. Being a non-smoker she has more stamina than me or might be it is chauvinism that I cant see myself always behind her ;-)
Well, I catch up with her. There is vast stretch of land ahead without any shade for relief. The scortching sunrays, the heat and more than hour of continuous trekking stops me from stepping into the open vast tract of land. After Aparna's consent we relax in the shade and wait for others to catch up.
Vinay and Parikshit arrive. We cross the dry tract of 150 - 220 mts and reach Hotel Santosh. We have covered almost 3.5 KMs till now. There is lot of shade in front of the hotel. We throw our baggage and just lie down for awhile, waiting for other to join us. We have packaged juice / choco bars etc. while lazing around.
Finally, all the members arrive. We have lunch compromising of chapatis, puliyogre masala and raw onions / tomatoes. It is like I never tasted before. Superb! Though to be honest, quantity was not sufficient or might be that I am not a normal human when it comes to good fooood ;-) I hope group leader , will take this note lightly. Had tea from hotel santosh. Gathering up energy, to prepare for the most demanding treacherous strectch of 6 KMs lying ahead.
I start with Sathish for the second lap. we walk for few hundred meters, look back and see that noones around. Seems they all still chilling out. Sathish took a snap of mine. Then he moves to catch some more creations of mother nature. We all know his passion. Aparna and Vinay catch up and move ahead. I wait for other guys playing baseball with my stick and stones ;-) Another 5 minutes I could not wait any longer. Me too start moving.
(** After Hotel Santosh there are two paths.. one goes left which looks more traversed and second one goes straight which is full of shrubs. We have to take the straight one O right one whatever you may call it)
I move alone. There is a very different sort of euphoria, that feeling when you are alone walking amidst the woods, with the nature. Well, the terrain becoming trickier now. I start moving faster to catch up with Vinay and Aparna. Finally, I make up and now I am leading as they sit and relax for awhile.
Almost 55% of the most treacherous and daunting part is over. I am sitting here in the shade awestruck at the beautiful sight in front of me. Most of the peaks / hills are lower than the point I am sitting right now. It is simply amazing. To be honest, I needed a break also, was panting literally, needed to catch my breath and a fag. Vinay is standing next to me. Aparna carried on as always. Legs have gone numb. I have a choco bar and juice while taking snapshot of everything the nature has to offer. The view is astonishing, I can feel it, see it but do not have the right words to define it. Only Wordsworth, Keats or someone of the same caliber can do that O might be even John Lennon :)
I can hear the noise of some other group now. Need to move now, else they will slow down my progress. Vinay and Parikshit already left. Still eight members of are group missing ;-) It is 3:30 PM now.
Atlast!!!! finally! I am the top :) the moment you reach the top, on the very right hand site there is a Tap. The first thing was to wash my face with the cool pristine water, soak my handkerchief and cover my head with it.
We had a short photo-session. On the left hand
side there is a small hotel; if you can call it so and a temple.
Well, do not have much time to look around as have to reach another hill / sunset point. Which is another 2 KMs of trek from here though not too demanding. We have to take the path just opposite the Mookabika hotel / temple.
We reach the sunset point. It was not tough this time might be becoz I did not had to carry the baggage. All had left the bags in this Hotel "Mookambika". We took some snaps on the way.
We all are sitting here at the hilltop, looking at the sungod in its different moods. It is mesmerizing. The colorful shades have transformed the sky as if an art of Picaso. The sun is moving very fast now. It is out of sight in less than 2 minutes. So all photographers be prepared, you will not get much time to capture all the moods.
We move back towards hotel "Mookambika" as we had left all the stuff there. In fact, a few guys have put a camp here itself. But being too late we did not have the liberty to come up with all that baggage. It is getting dark now and nobody brought the torch O forgot to bring it up here. So we need to move fast.
Arrived at hotel "Mookambika" now. We will put our tents in its vicinity. We had planned to prepare maggi and soup for dinner. But again here in this Mookambika hotel, next to the temple, they were cooking rice, sambar and other local delicacies. All the residents here are Malayalis.. seems to be from the same, one large joint family.. Team voted for dinner at this hotel, soup / Maggi postponed. Food has been served and the aroma is filling up in the air. I am joining the group for dinner. Actually, they all like meO care for me so much they are unable to have anything without me ;-) It is 7:45 PM now.
Dinner over :) I am spellbound by the cluster of stars. We never get to see so many of 'em in the city might be due to pollution. It is such an enthralling experience you do not feel like looking at anything else. We took a walk having some cigarettes.
All are assembled now. We need to arrange for firewood and put up the tents. After some difficulty and breaking our heads firewood was arranged; also called "Veragu - in tamil". But only after my walker had gone to ashes :-(
Anyways, now that we had fire / light, we were ready to put up the tents. It took us an hour or so to get them in place after some minor hassles. Being rocky surface below the pegs were not making it easily.
We put up some mats around the mats and sat around the fire. Put some babycorn to roast and then "Antaakshari" started. We had a great time. It was 11:40 PM by now and we had to get up early. We all went to sleep. It was very congested as the tent was not sufficient for four guys and in addition the huge bags.
Especially for double cylinder guys like me ;-) Well, somehow managed to adjust after 10 minutes of ruckus amidst the snoring of "The Three Musketeers". Oops! symphony...
Around 4:45 AM we overheard some noise, and again around 5:15 AM we heard someone screaming. The next morning this is what came into the picture. Apparently, Balaji was pulling Parikshit's hand and shouting "Who is there in the Apartment ?" He scared the hell out of Parikshit who was trying to wake him up. In Balaji's words, he had a nightmare that Parikshit was falling from the cliff and he was trying to rescue him. ;-)
As for the second round of shrilling, Parikshit was shouting and trying to catch / kill some big alien rodent. Balaji and Vasu got up. The moment Vasu learnt about this, all you could hear was "Where is the door?" , "Open the door zip!", "Switch on the light" ;-) Finally, Vasu and Balaji got out of the tent. Parikshit was still searching for the non-existent entity. Balaji again went inside to assist Parikshit in the combing operation but to no avail. Finally, they figured out that there was no monster in the Tent.
We don't know whether the Rodent was still in Parikshit's thoughts but he wanted to switch places. Srinivas agreed on the condition that the torch should be kept on :) Well the torch was switched off once he slept.
I missed this one! Around 5:30 AM there was hue and cry that Balaji is missing from the tent as per Srinivas. search and rescue operation was launched. After some hard work put by some members, Balaji was found still sleeping in the same tent ;-)
(** Please lemme know / add the name of the commandos in rescue team. I was sleeping during this entire mission)
6:30 AM (Feb 6' 2005)
Most of us got up a bit late. Some of 'em got up before us and had gone to the sunrise point. So I tried to get a glimpse of it from the nearest, highest possible point. Well, again as usual our daily chores. By 7:30 AM all of us, better said most of us were ready. and Priya had prepared maggi and soup in the Mookabmika hotel.
They provided the gas.. etc ofcourse at a nominal cost. BTW at those heights, isolated places any amount sounds nominal ;-)
After filling up our bellys, we moved to pack up the tents and clean up all the litter. All this cleaning and packing took approximately two hours as we were doing it a leisurely pace.
Well, we all were ready now to climb down. we had some photo-sessions and then started going downhill. I found it easier while going downhill. It is my perspective.
Reached hotel Santosh. Simply threw my bag, had soya milk and a cigarette. I went to fill this water bottle. While I was drinking water this calf was trying to lick water from the ground. I used my hand as a bowl beneath the tap, the calf hesitated for a few moments and came near me. It was such a touching experience this calf was drinking water from my hands and I do not have words to express my feelings.
Unfortunately, none of our professional photographers was present at the moment.
One by one all member arrive and sit in the hotel. I am lying here, this melodious tamil song playing in the background. Priya but you may be right when you said it was loud and not soft song.
These group of young boys / gals also sitting nearby young n pretty with bright future lying ahead of them.
It is 11:55 noon now and we move for the base "Nagodi - forest check post".
Reached the base. Van is already there. We sit there for some time. Once all the members arrived we move in the van.
We leave Nagodi and move for "BYNDOOR" beach. It is approximately 32 KMs from here. Myself, Amit and Parikshit sang some songs. Most of the folks were tired and taking a short nap.
We reach / cross "KOLLUR". We did not stop here.
We get two roads here. One goes to "UDUPI" and other one goes to "BYNDOOR". (** Left to Udupi and Right to Byndoor.) We have lunch on this roadside hotel. Okay food. We are travelling on Highway going to Mangalore.
3:10 PM (Approximately)
We cross Byndoor. Mangalore 120 KMs from here. Byndoor is not ideal for good bath, sea-side walk or for that matter anything except fishing! We plan to go to "MALPE" beach (Udupi) considered to be one of the finest beach in this region.
We reach Malpe beach, 3KMs before Udupi. Once the van is parked, we change our clothes, better said take off our clothes and then therez no looking back.... Just splashes in the sea. We had gala time. The pristine waters of the sea, the sand it all was so heavenly. The waves here were superb, simply fantastic.
Some thing I never experienced before on any of the numerous beaches I have been. May be it was the group, the company and also the fact that I had not been to any beach for eleven months now.
We all knew we had to leave but nobody came out of the water. Parikshit, Srinivas, Neeraj, Prashant, Balaji and myself did come out but only for 10 minutes ;-) Just covered ourselves in the sand and relaxed.
Managed to get hold of Amit - "The Bhalu" and wrapped him in coats of sand ;-) Rested for awhile and then again jumped into the sea. The force of the waves was simply too much and it gave our tired bodies a good massage.
Kamlesh was busy taking snaps of the sunset from all the angles. Priya was standing at the shore.
Being from Chennai they had enough of the beaches and were not interested venturing into the Malpe beach with us.
We could see an Island about half a kilometer in the Malpe sea. This Island called St.Mary Island, is supposed to be an exotic sight and one of its kind. The island is completely covered with sea shells and not even one grain of sand is found here, which makes it difficult though very exciting and adventurous to wander around. One can always master the art of treading on shells!
*** St. Mary's Isles (Latitude 13� 20' 60" N; Longitude 74� 40' 60" E ) are a group of small islands lying a little to the north of the port of Malpe 7 kms form Udupi. Vasco-da-Gama landed in 1498 on one of these islands which he called `EI Padron de Santa Maria'.
Then we gazed at the wonderful sunset while still in the water. Finally after a lot of calls from others we came out around 6:40 PM. Some good snaps taken. Worst ones deleted ;-)
Therez this excellent hotel opposite the beach. We took bath there in the lukewarm water. We paid 25/- INR each but it was worth it. The place had a pleasant ambience. They provided the towels / soaps too. By 7:30 PM all of us were fresh. We ordered some soups. Though the service is good, it took more than 20 minutes for the soup to arrive, after placing the order.
Leaving Maple beach now. All get in the van, of course after some photo-sessions. Bangalore is approximately 400 KMs from here. Once in the van, "hungama - ruckus" started. All hell broke loose as Amit Patil took to his passion i.e. music ;-) We made a lot of noise as I used to during my college trips.
These small exchanges help us to know a lot about each other. has a melodious voice. Mrs Aparna knows lyrics of almost all the songs we could sing / think of. We had to consult her before singing most of the good numbers Coz we never knew the lyrics except the initial two lines ;-) By 10 PM most of the guys in the van were
sleeping, even Amit. , Aparna and myself were just singing /talking/ discussing about the songs of the bygone era. Oooops! Balaji was awake too. We spoke about each others kinda music. Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Rammstein, eagles, Allison Krauss, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, even Kate Winslet and list is
endless....... Could not write more 'bout it else the booklet would have been over. There is no end to music.
Sathish and Priya were discussing something in Tamil, which unfortunately I do not understand :-(
By 11 PM everyone was damn hungry. We stopped at a hotel in "Mangalore". But this stupid driver, or may I say his ignorance, told us that some Maurya Sheraton / Hyatt Regency is just 35 KMs ahead on the main road and we may have an excellent meal there. If we would like! All agreed to wait for some more time and preferred to stop at a good hotel / restaurant.
Alas! This was the biggest mistake we made. When the cab stopped around 11:50 PM, we see this shop / hotel I dunno what to call it. It was a combination / integration of all what you see being sold by the road side vendors ;-) There was nothing edible as we had great expectations. What all assumptions I had made for the grand dinner :-( But no other alternative, so for the sake of filling up the stomach swallowed whatever was available with omlette and 2-3 cups of tea. Even Vegetarian like had no other go but omlette i.e. Egg in Onions ;-)
It was getting too late, all had to go to office next day. So we all pushed each other into the van. ussled for proper space to sleep. However, the vehicle was not a luxury. Somehow we packaged ourselves, folding, bending our legs and managed to catch some sleep. It was 12:00 mid night.
I got up around 5:00 AM. Not counting the numerous times I opened my eyes in the past 5 hours.
5:40 AM (Feb 7' 2005)
We are in Peenya, Bangalore now. We discuss who has to be dropped first, in what sequence, depending on the location. Thus, all were back from where once this fabulous journey, experience started. This wonderful trek has left an everlasting impression and I will cherish these precious moments forever.
Here I come to an end. There's no more ink in my pen. Thank you all for giving such a good company and working as a professional team. Again thanks to everyone for the pain they took during the shaping of this manuscript. In trekkers worLd "Travelogue".