Charmadi Ghat Trek – Along the Length of the Western Ghats

Charmadi, Kodekallu and Ballekallu Trek, Chikmagalur

Photographer Poorna Prajna

Charmadi, located along the Western Ghats, is one of the best places to visit if you want to experience nature at its best while trekking. Located on the road connecting the Dakshina Kannada district with Chikmagalur, it is surrounded by lush virgin forests and is ideal for trekking enthusiasts.

A Quick Overview of Charmadi

Located at a distance of less than 10 kilometers from Dharmasthala, it is very popular amongst those looking for adventurous trekking holidays in the pristine forests of the Western Ghats. The hills are dense and lush, dotted with mountain streams and waterfalls, offering natural splendor in all its glory!

There are many coffee and tea estates in these parts and quite a few of them take in visitors for short stays, making it easier for you to start your trek earlier in the morning. At about 325 kilometers from Bangalore, it is easy enough to drive up to Ballarayanadurga in the Charmadi Ghats. There are many trails around these areas for both amateurs and those with superior trekking skills. Consult a local guide before embarking on your trek so that you are aware of any pitfalls enroute.

The Trekking Trail From Charmadi

The Ballarayanadurga to Bandaje Arbi is a very popular trekking trail for short day trips. There are more difficult trails that are sure to interest more serious and experienced trekkers. Because of the unreliable weather conditions like frequent rains and mist sweeping in that can make trekking difficult, it is advisable to start your treks as early as possible in the mornings so that you can be assured of your safe return to the base before nightfall.

Decide on the route you want to take to reach any of the nearby peaks like Kodekallu and Ballekallu, based on the comfort level and your trekking skills. There are some roundabout easy trails and some shorter, but steeper climbs to reach the same peak. Decide on the trail you want to tackle and then educate yourself on the possible problems you might encounter, especially if you are going trekking without a guide.

How to Reach Charmadi

Charmadi is located on the state highway running through the Western Ghats connecting Dakshina Kannada and Chikmagalur districts, close to Dharmasthala. You can travel by rail or road, as it is well connected to most towns and cities in Karnataka.

Many coffee estates in these areas double up as home stays. You can stay in any of them or hire a room in one of the small villages and hamlets dotting the hillsides. There are forest department run guest houses and travelers’ bungalows available or you can even stay in your own tent if you are ready to brave the external elements. Many travelers stay in their own tents pitched by the streams or rivers on the mountain and enjoy the trip by roughing it up.

This is also an eco-friendly way to travel and enjoy the surroundings. You can even travel as a group on motorcycles; as this will give you the freedom to choose where you want to go or stay and you can change your plans if inclement weather hinders them.

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