Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flashback : Trip to Kodachadri

I decided to delete another blog I usd to write - Wanderlust , primarily since the blog had only one post in the past two years. And I was loath to lose that one post , so heres a repeat of it ... basically a travelogue of a trip of Kodachadri Hills and other places during college days.

We (Manjunath RG, Manoj, Mohan, Nikhil, Puneeth, Raghunandan, Sumedh, Vikram) left Bangalore Railway Station at 11:10pm on the 29th of December 2006. The plan was to visit sringeri, Kodachadri, Jog Falls and other interesting places we came across on the way. We were to spend the last day of 2006 trekking on the Kodachadri Hills. The journey aboard the Shimoga Express was pretty uneventful, we played UNO until midnight, with the occasional company of a drunken policeman.

We reached Shimoga bleary eyed and cold early next morning and took a Qualis to Hotel Mathura Palace to get some lost sleep and to freshen up. We had breakfast at the same hotel and left towards Sringeri at 8:05am on National Highway 13. On the way we stopped at a nearby dam and tested Mohan's Nikon camera on the riverside scenery.

Further along on the way we stopped at Elephant Camp.We had a first hand view of the elephants befing given a bath in the early hours of the morning. The mahouts were very meticulous and the elelphants seemed to be enjoying the attention.

We hit the road again and travelled on winding and tortuous roads lined with eucalyptus, arecanut and a host of other trees. The roads were no bed of roses though,they were riddled with potholes.

There was a farmhouse-turned resort on the way :Vihangama Resorts I think, where Sumedh had stayed before, we stopped there for about twenty minutes. The place was very scenic with its plantations, hillocks and most of all, the beach-like sand and rocks framing a nearby river. We left the place conjuring up plans to buy a similar farmhouse sometime in the future.

The next stop was at Kuvempu's (widely regarded as the greatest writer/poet of Kannada language) house. The place was well maintained, the house and its accoutrements gave a glimpse of the lifestyle and culture prevalent during the great poets time. We saw the memorial where his body rests, the place was encompassed by Stone henge- like structures that bemused us, i guess we didnt grasp the full import of it.

We reached Sringeri at 12:30pm. We payed our respects at the Sharada temple (dedicated to the Goddess of learning and wisdom), but could not visit the Shankaracharya Mathin the vicinity. We fed puffed rice to the fishes in the adjoining Tungabhadra river.

We had lunch at Sringeri and left for Nagara, the town close to Mohan's Chikappa's farmhouse . On the way we stopped at a nondescript Jain Temple, and then at the ruins of Shivappa Nayakas fort. The views at the fort were pretty scenic, the terraces on the fort resembled the famous and now cliched place shown in Dil Chahta Hai; the one with rocks on the edge of the sea where Sid, Akash and Sameer hang out.

We left for Chikappas house , but had to take a detour on the way due to a collapsed bridge. We reached the place at 5:30pm. The route to the farmhouse-Kalkai for the last 30 min was pretty steep and winding, vehicles other than jeeps and SUV's would have found plying it a herculean task. It made us wonder just how different our city life is from that of the locals here. The house was charming and idyllic in an old fashioned way, seemed to be bereft of the noise and rigours of daily city life.

We looked around the place and left for a small night trek to a nearby hillock to catch a signal on our cellphones. It was past sunset, but there was bright moonlight. The sky view was amazing, with no clouds in sight and stars gleaming all over the place.

We ruturned from our jaunt, discussed about tomorrows plans with the folks in the farmhouse and had dinner, which was excellent. We planned to tuck in early as we had a tough day ahead but ended up playing UNO until nearly midnight again.

We had breakfast the next morning and left for Kollur at 9:30am. At Kollur we visited the Mookambika Temple and spent some time buying odds an ends we might require on the trek. We had a few heated discussions and squabbles before deciding on the exact itinery for the day ,there were two alternatives to take : a 3 hour trek from Vallur or a 5 hour one from Kollur itself. Finally we decided to walk upto Arasangudi falls and return, and then take the 3 hour trek to reach the temple priest's house Bhattru mane (just half-an-hour before the Sarvajna peak you will find this temple, which is an ideal place for camping).

Here is some general info about the peak which I convinently plagarised:
Kodachaadri in Hosa Nagar taluq in Shimoga district in West Karnataka is the highest peak in Shimoga District. At the peak it is believed that ‘Shankaracharya‘ did meditation. And to substantiate the same you will find a ‘Sarvajna Peetha‘ at the top. On the way to the peak you will also find a moderate sized waterfall deep inside the evergreen forest of Kodachaadri, which is called ‘Agastya Teertha‘. The peak presents a not to be missed lifetime opportunity in the evening as the sun sets in the west and in the morning as the sun rises in the east. You can also have a
golden glimpse of the Arabian Sea for a moment.

After having lunch we started the trek to Kodachadri from Vallur (a small village which has a single mallu tea shop) along the forest path on foot. The path was pretty well trodden and frequented by jeeps who raised huge clouds of dust that had us gasping for breadth. Some of us decided to look for alternative less treversed forest paths. We soon discovered that the winding "jeep path" had offshoots which cut through the forest and were a little difficult to negotiate (which was how we wanted it anyway). We began climbing these smaller paths stopping now and then to watch the scenery unfold before us. The panoramic sights more than made up for our weariness and we continued with a spring in our stride.

We reached Bhattru mane at about 6:30pm and began arrangements for the night. We entertained ideas of sleeping on the mountain side but with no camping gear and lots of plans for the next day, decided to sleep in Bhattru mane itself. The dinner in Bhattru mane was very good, or maybe our hunger knew no taste. We explored the place around the temple for sometime, there were a lot of other folks with campfires who were welcoming the new year by drinking, dancing and making merry.

The next morning we got up early and left to see the sunrise from a nearby hillock. The sunrise was beautiful and intoxicating, we were thrilled to see the white trail left by what looked like a space shuttle streaking past the sun.

We then walked up to Sarvajna Peetha and spent some time there.

We decided to take a jeep on our way back to Vallur from Bhattru mane as we were tired and had some more plans for the day. We left Vallur in our Qualis for Jog falls, stopping at Sagar for lunch. We spent about 3-4 hous at Jog falls, before we left for Shimoga. We had dinner at Shimoga and boarded the train back to Bangalore at 10:30pm.

We were back to Bangalore at 5:30am the next day, each of us pondering whether or not to go to office that day.

This, my friend is the story of our trek/road trip!


  1. Hmmmm good memories ... will remiscence these for a long time ...