Since the Western ghats started to allure me like anything, I never said no to any chance to go and explore those mountains. I wanted to complete some few treks in the Western ghats before the end of 2017. Trekking Baba Budangiri hills, Kodachadri hills and Chokramudi hills were some of them. And finally, the Kumara Parvatha trek happened in the last month of the year.
The role Western ghats plays in the life and culture of people living here was very significant, which point out the need to protect them. The exclusive biodiversity of these mountains are very delicate, it has to be taken care very seriously. More than a trek, each trail was a learning experience for me. Hope I can explore more and tell you many interesting stories this year also.
I came to know about Kumara Parvatha trek from one of my colleagues. Since then, I was waiting for the perfect time to do the trek. Tried to trek Kumara Parvatha during the monsoons, but the officials were not allowing that time. So waited for the monsoon to get over.
Kumara Parvatha trek is one of the most known treks in the Western Ghats, very famous in the internet and social media these days. Even though it is a bit difficult for the amateurs, many people come here, especially during the weekends. Many adventure companies organise Kumara Parvatha trek, mostly from Bangalore.
The trekking can be done from two sides, from Somwarpet and from Kukke Subramanya. So we decided to ascend through one trail and descend through the other, to not miss anything on the way. Came to know that, the entry through Somwarpet side is comparatively easy and less crowded. The trail starting from the other side, Kukke Subramanya is long and very steep. So we picked Somwarpet as our starting point, did all the bus and train bookings from Chennai to reach Somwarpet on a Saturday morning.
The villages of Karnataka on the Western Ghats are very beautiful. Somwarpet is not an exception. It is serene and colourful. We began our walk from Beedehalli exactly, entered to the Pushpagiri forest region after taking tickets from the forest check post. A couple of other groups were also on the trail. The trail goes through forest initially and later as we go up, the forest gave way to tall grasses. There are boards on the trail, indicating the direction and the distance to the top. Since we were walking through the forest, the sun was not a problem. Few streams on the way provide drinking water. The difficult part of this trail was two places where we have to climb steep rocks. It was little tricky, and some people will find it difficult. Other than that, this trail can be completed without much effort.
We reached the top of Kumara Parvatha after a 4-hour hike. There were other groups also, who came from the other side. Spend some time at the top, the view from there was amazing. We had to come down fast to reach the camping site before it gets dark. On the way, there are few other view points. The sunset from Shesha Parvatha, another peak on the trail, is magical. We had to walk another 7 km to reach the base. It was getting dark slowly. All started to return immediately after sunset. The trail we were taking was very steep, coming down was not easy. It took us more time to reach the base camp.
We pitched our tents for the night, had our dinner from the Bhattaru mane and slept tired because of the long walk. The next day, started walking down to Kukke Subramanya early in the morning.
How to start Kumara Parvatha trek
As I said earlier, there are two trails for Kumara Parvatha trek. The choice is yours, the trail from Beedehalli side is easier compared to the trail from Kukke Subramanya side. From both entrances, you have to pay 350 INR ( Indians) and 1000 INR (foreigners). Once you enter the forest, you have to exit any of the checkpoint same day itself. The officers will be keeping a record of those who entered the forest.
To reach Beedehalli, catch a bus which goes via Somwarpet. I took a Madikeri (Coorg) bus from Banglore which dropped me in Somwarpet by around 5.30 morning. From Somwarpet, you can catch the very first bus to Beedehalli at around 7.30 AM from the private bus stand which is very near to KSRTC bus stand.
The bus will drop you at its last stop, from where you have to walk about an hour to reach the Pushpagiri forest range check post. Taxis are also available from Somwarpet which will drop you very nearer to the check post. It will save some time.
If starting from the other side, Kukke Subramanya, buses are available from Banglore and other major cities of Karnataka. Kukke Subramanya is a temple town. From Kukke, the entrance to the trail is about 1 km. It will take about 15 mins walk to reach there. You have to trek about 7 km from the entrance to reach the forest check post. The procedure is same there also. The trail goes through the forest. From the check post, Kumara Parvatha is another 7 km, which makes total 14 km. So based on convenience, you can start from any of the entry points.
Accommodation during Kumara Parvatha trek
Due to the increase in the number of people coming for the trek, forest officers are not permitting tenting or camping nowadays. The guards won’t allow you to carry tents after the check post. There are camping areas near the forest check post.
Another option for stay during Kumara Parvatha trek is the “Bhattara mane” ( temple priest’s house). You will get a place to sleep by advance booking. Food is also available there. The chances to find a room is very less during weekends. So is better to carry tents. “Bhattaru mane” and forest office are the only options if you need to use the toilet.
Few things to know
People trek to Kumara Parvatha in different ways. Like we did, you can start from Beedehalli, descend through the other side on the same day and spend the night in the camp, trek back to Kukke Subramanya next day. It will take two days.
The next option is starting from the Kukke side, trek up to forest check post first day, camp there for the night, trek again up to Kumara Parvatha and come back to the camp, then back to Kukke on the next day. This will be less difficult but takes three days.
You can trek up to Kumara Parvatha and come back to camp for the night on the same day also. In this case, the total distance to cover will be 21 km, it will be little painful for your muscles.
During weekends and other holidays, the camping ground will be super crowded. So if you are late to reach back to the camp from the top, the chances to find a proper place to pitch tents are minimum.
It is always better to start your descend as early as possible. Compared to climbing up, coming down is more difficult and take more time. Walking in the night is not advisable.
Carry your water bottle, there are few streams on the way to collect water. You have to burn more energy during the trek, so carry enough energy bars or food.
Other than Kumara Parvatha, the trail has one more peak called Shesha Parvatha and few view points. The views from the top will definitely make you feel happy.
In a way, trekking is a challenge we put ourselves against our own body and mind. It is about understanding our physical and emotional strength. The positive feel of completing a trek is definitely going to lift up our spirits. You feel more confident. And moreover, trekking is an opportunity to see this beautiful earth. It helps to create a commitment towards our mother nature. So use the time you spend outdoors for understanding ourself as a part of this whole universe, make a connection with our surroundings and be grateful for everything we have.
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