The Elusive Kumara ParvathaSunday, April 26, 2009
Actual Date of travel : 6-7 December 2008
Kumara Parvatha has been eluding me even before I set my foot in Bangalore. It took six months of wait, three failed plans and one almost ruined Friday night for us to set foot on Kumara Parvatha aka KP on an eventful Saturday. KP is the highest peak in the Pushpagiri Forest Range and third highest in whole of Western Ghats only to be surpassed by Mullyangiri and Thadiyandmol. The peak is supposed to be playing hide and seek with clouds all the while with strong gushing winds also to its glory. But you’ll find out soon what it turned out to be!
There are two trails leading to the peak - one from Kukke Subramanya and the other from Somwarpet. Kukke Subramanya is a devotional place approximately 390 kms from Bangalore and the Subramanya Swami temple here is pretty famous. The trail from this side of the peak is arduous and exhausting but equally rewarding when one realizes the hardships conquered. A slightly easier trail is the one from Somwarpet which is still tough by the usual standards. The trail here is supposedly pretty steep in places but is much lesser in distance when compared to the trail from Subramanya. An ideal trek route would be to ascend from Somwarpet and descend through the Subramanya side. This way you would cover all grounds.
Gregory Isaacs sang his way to glory crooning “hotter the battle will be, sweeter the victory” alright! But the battle’s going to be tougher than we’d expected. We were ascending KP from Subramanya side. Yes sir! We chose the tougher battle. Asha, Pavan, Krishna and your truly along with the rest of the BMC group started from Bangalore on Friday night at 10.30 PM to Subramanya. The bus journey was pretty much uneventful other than the swearing driver and the roads which made sure we were never steady on our seats. We reached Kukke Subramanya by 6.30 AM the next day. As it is a pilgrimage, there is no dearth of lodges and we took our own sweet time to get ready. By 9.30 AM, after having breakfast and filling up our bags with food, water and camping stuff we were good to go.
Here at this point, I would like to give a valuable pointer. If at all it is possible to learn from others’ mistakes, please do not carry extra luggage when on a trek like KP. I know I didn’t bother to learn from follies of others and ended up suffering for the same.
Considering the length of my post and the trek, I have divided the whole experience into four parts along with a short summary. In case you are interested to know all the details, please click to get to the detailed information.
- The Ascent, Part 1 : Kukke to Bhattaru Mane
Takes about 3 hours. Trail passes through thick canopy of trees high above our heads. Moderate ascent for most parts. Approximate distance 5kms. Rocky path interspersed by roots of trees which provide a nice footing. Read more about it here.
- The Ascent, Part 2 : Bhattaru Mane to the top
Takes approximately 4 hours to cover the distance of 5-6 kms if sun-god feels generous else 5-6 hours straight. Although as fate would have it, we managed to reach only the base of Seshaparvatha and had to return back due to time constraints. Steep ascents at times and trying terrain with hot scorching sun and no shade at all until the forest just before KP. Read more about it here.
- The Descent, Part 1 : Descent to Bhattaru Mane
Takes 2-3 hours to return to Bhatta’s place. One inevitably feels like juggernaut and it’s very important to place footing in zig-zag way to avoid losing toenails or hurting knees/ankles. Read more about it here.
- The Descent, Part 2 : Bhattaru Mane to Kukke
Takes 3 hours to return to the base. The descent down the terrain here seems never ending now that the ordeal is over. Careful footing essential here as well. Read more about it here.
Though KP eludes me till date and remains a dream unfinished, this was the most memorable trek as this was my first full-fledged trek and what an experience it was! There are no words to describe how we felt all through. The pain we felt while taking each step forward and the joy we felt while looking back at we have experienced- Etched in memory forever!
How we felt --> totally high spirited that we almost conquered KP through a very difficult trail. Strained muscles and an invigorated mind are the side effects of this trek :D
Moments of bliss->
1) Setting up the tent and camping under the open skies for the first time.
2) Fighting fatigue and making our way up to the peak..errr..Almost. :D
3) View from the almost top ofcourse and not to forget the Golden sunset from the viewpoint
4) Whenever I realized I was on Kumara Parvatha soaking up all the beauty around
5) Whenever I looked back to see what I have conquered
What I learned --> to appreciate the value of the basic necessities of life Food, water and shelter – the things we take granted for. And thank god for that!
What I came to love --> Oranges! Oranges and more Oranges! And also I rediscovered the joy of human interaction in its most basic form. (Read meeting total strangers from different walks of life)
What to expect --> Tough Terrain, Elephants or Elephant dung (as we did see-which added to the excitement of course!), Hot and Scorching sun, Clouds and pleasant weather only if you are very lucky and Never ending trails to ever rising peaks. It ain’t over until it is over! :P, leeches in monsoon.
What not to expect --> Easy trails, Water sources, Cool shade