Kodachadri, located in Shimoga, epitomizes the soul of the Western Ghats. Despite being one of the well-known destinations for trekking and camping, commercialization and the evils of business have not ruined the breath-taking beauty that engulfs the entire area.
A photo enthusiast’s paradise
Needless to say and nearly impossible to describe the mesmerizing views around every corner make even a trip to Kodachadri worthwhile. Treks and camping experiences take the visitor a whole lot closer to Mother Nature. Given the peak’s height, sunrise and sunset views are beautiful beyond imagination and highlight colors that will put an artist’s easel to shame.
Rainbows, clouds and even the lush greenery are all the more beautiful from the vantage point that the place offers. For wildlife photo enthusiasts, squirrels, birds and even sometimes snakes love posing for pictures.
The trails are often filled with adventure and every visitor’s experience has some unique brush with the fury that is coiled inside Mother Nature’s belly. Since Kodachadri is located in the Western Ghats, visiting during the monsoon season inevitably means trekking and camping with the uninvited leeches.
Guides and camp instructors often are armed with remedies for bites and rashes. However, when camping in the midst of nature, it is always best to be prepared. Apart from leeches, numerous visitors have spotted pit vipers and other venomous snakes on the way to and from the peak. With rains that can go from a light drizzle to a full on thunderstorm in a matter of minutes, you can never guess what a camping trip to Kodachadri will look like till you get there.
Trekking with the Bangalore Mountaineering Club
Kodachadri is located 285 kilometers away from Bangalore and the best route to reach there is by road. Frequent public buses ply the road between Bangalore and Shimoga. Trekking with the Bangalore Mountaineering Club translates into reliable guides who are aware of the route and the surrounding area.
The adventure begins on Friday night when the registered guests start on the journey from Bangalore. The party will reach Kattinahole, the base camp, so to speak, of Kodachadri on Saturday morning between 5 and 6 am. Post refreshing showers and a quick breakfast, a quarter mile drive will deposit the party at the trailhead.
After a quick briefing about the trek, the area and the history the trek begins officially. The first kilometer and a half of the trek is on a jeep trail that seasoned drivers use to transport pilgrims to and from the temple located near the peak. Once the party crosses the jeep track, the trek gets more adventurous as a stream has to be crossed. During the monsoon season leeches can cause some hassles.
Again it is important to travel with guides who are either natives or have a good map of the area as the trails are not marked clearly. A trail that is nearly 2 kilometers long stretches into a thick jungle. After that, the trail clears out and some huts alongside agricultural land can be seen.
Once the village from a picture book is crossed, the exciting sounds of the Hidlumane falls beckons visitors. With sharp rock and steep, slippery trails, it is important to watch one’s steps. Twenty minutes of scrambling up rocks and cursing the slippery tracks, visitors are treated to the soothing sight of the Hidlumane falls.
Those adventurous and interested members of the trekking party can swim in the falls. The cool water is bound to be a welcome change after the hard trek. After the pit stop, the party continues on the jungle trail further up the mountain range. The trek up to the waterfalls will be steep, but after that the trail only gets steeper reaching an inclination of nearly 60 degrees at some points.
The trail passes through thick rainforests where the lush greenery is a welcome sight to city and concrete weary eyes. After trekking through trees and shrubs, the trail opens out on the grasslands of hilly area. With panoramic views of the surrounding hillocks and wide open grasslands, the trek brings new sights around every bend. Forty five minutes of trekking hard, the trail re-joins the jeep trail that formed the trailhead. The Kodachadri peak is a mere five minutes from this point onward.
The Bangalore Mountaineering Club offers packed lunches that the famished visitors are sure to appreciate. The route leading back to the base camp will be the jeep trail as it is the easiest to navigate when the light is waning. A three hour hike leads visitors back to the trail head, dinner and a well-deserved restful night of sleep.
The adventure however does not end after the trek. After a quick breakfast at 8 am the next morning, the party will leave to visit the Bidanur fort 30 kilometers away. The fort protected the Keladi dynasty in the 17th century and offers panoramic views on all sides of the fort. After spending an hour steeped in history, the adventure continues on the journey to Bangalore. Trekking with the Bangalore Mountaineering Club is the best way to experience the Western Ghats while being cushioned by the well-informed and proactive guides.