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Monday, December 07, 2009

Kumaraparvatha Trek, Karnataka, India

2 of us (Vishwadeep Anshu and I) had planned to climb the Kumaraparvatha peak, considered by many as the steepest hill to trek in Karnataka.
 

So on one Friday evening, laden with our backpacks and camping gear, we boarded a bus that was headed towards Kukke Subramanya, a spiritual town nestled deep in the Western Ghats.


There are 2 routes to climb Kumaraparvatha. One, is from the town of Kukke Subramanya and the climb is steeper. The other, is from Somwarpet in Coorg and it provides for a smoother, though longer trek. We had opted to climb Kumaraparvatha from Kukke.


Our bus landed at Kukke early in the morning. As we got down from the bus, we found out that this town had been battered by heavy rain the previous night and knowing the terrain we were in, we expected more rainfall coming our way during our trek.


We had a simple but hearty breakfast at a small hotel by the bus stand. Soon, we asked for directions and started our walk towards the starting point. As soon as we reached the starting point, we were greeted by the sight of the Kumaraparvatha peak and also the steep incline that we had to climb.


Steadily, we climbed the steep terrain. We armed ourselves with short sticks to remove the leeches that were climbing onto our boots. After a couple of short breaks, we reached Bhattar Mane (house of Bhat), which is situated on a plateau.


This was supposed to be our lunch point, but lunch was far from ready. We waited for a while before food got prepared. It was during our halt here that we met fellow trekkers. Soon, we had lunch, refilled our entire water supply for the next couple of days and started our ascent again.


In a short while, we arrived at the forest check post, where our backpacks were checked for fire arms and our permits were prepared. This was where we got our trail map. Soon we were back on the trail and back with our ascent.



After another hour, we found a “nearly” (It is difficult to locate a flat spot in such steep terrain) flat spot by a stream. We decided to pitch in our tents here and halt for the night.


As soon as the tent was set up, my friend got in and got cosy inside his blanket for a power nap. In the meanwhile, I enjoyed the beautiful vistas that lay in front of me. A feeling of being above the clouds and the entire world around one being covered in vibrant green is very eye-soothing.


Shortly, we collected some wet  firewood, managed to get a fire going and cooked dinner over it. After dinner, it was early bed time for us.


The next morning, we woke up before sunrise, finished our morning ablutions, started up another fire and cooked some breakfast over it. Then, we packed up our camping equipment and started climbing towards the peak.


Just before Kumaraparvatha, we came across another peak called Shesh parvatha, which offer great views of the steep cliffs below. We stopped here for a while, got our breaths back, took some pictures and started our descent through dense forests.


As soon as we finished this dense forest section, we got to see the trail from Somwarpet. This is where both the trails joined. Once we reached this point, we could see more trekkers who had trekked from the Somwarpet side.


After this junction, the trail became extremely steep. At some sections, there were no trails and we had to climb on rocks. But, these rocks were very slippery owing to the recent rains. Both me and my friend slipped at a couple of places and came tumbling down, but luckily for us, our backpacks saved our skins.


After a couple of more attempts, we finally climbed up safely. The rest of the trail to the peak is a piece of cake. The peak is not as enchanting as the climb as the views from here are blocked by trees.


We took a long break here. Had some bread and cheese and took a power nap. Some photographic sessions followed to celebrate our climb to the top.


It was just after one pm in the afternoon when we began our descent. We skidded down the steep rocks and climbed our way through the jungles to reach Sheesh parvatha. Just as we began our descent from Sheesh parvatha, it started raining heavily. Soon, the entire trail was filled with water.

As we covered more distance, the water on the trails came up to our knees. Water had gone into our boots and this made walking very difficult. We even slipped badly at a couple of sections, but fortunately suffered only minor scratches. It was nearly dark by the time we reached Bhattar Mane. The rains had seriously impeded our progress. We refilled our water cans at Bhattar Mane and continued on with our descent and this time with our shining head lamps showing us the way.


The trail got more slippery with our descent. We had to watch our step very carefully. To add to our misery, thick fog blanketed our trail and made for poor visibility. All this while, the leeches were happily feasting on our blood. It was close to 8 pm when we neared civilization. We stopped at a nearby shop for some tea. The locals told us that we were crazy to walk the jungle trails in the night as it is elephant territory. We just laughed it off, but deep within, we considered ourselves very lucky. Soon, we reached the temple dharamshala, removed the leeches from our bodies, had a shower, changed into dry clothing, had dinner at a nearby hotel, boarded our bus to Bangalore and slept through the entire bumpy journey.

A great trekking experience!!

Kumaraparvatha Trail Map on Trip Naksha prepared by Ajay Reddy.
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