Mission Kumara Parvatha!

Friday, August 21, 2009




Mission: Kumara Parvatha
Objective: Set foot upon the Peak
Agents : Vinod, Imran, Rama and yours truly
Strategy: Climb from Kukke, Reach Peak and get down to Girigadde the same evening.
Attempt: second time for me after an unsuccessful attempt last December.

Okay. Now that the plan is chalked out and we are all set, let’s begin the journey which turned out to be an affair to remember! It was a sudden plan and we were off to Kukke on Friday night. It was an uneventful ride until we were somewhere around Gundiya Check post after which the ride was pretty bumpy and by 6.30 in the morning we were at Kukke. Last time I saw this place, we reached around the same time and I found Kukke to be a sleepy little town. However the town was teeming with activity this morning. After freshening up at the public restrooms and having breakfast, off we go by 7.30. Oh, but before I start I wanted to check my weight and so I did! Wait and watch to know by how much it came down.


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We hit the trail by 8 AM. This being monsoon season, we were apprehensive about the leech infested first 5 kms of the trek. Salt, tobacco, pain relief sprays (more for leeches than pain ;) ) were duly packed. Well as expected, there were lots of leeches but constant vigilance and the salt/spray worked like a charm. It was not as tiring as the last time partly due to the pleasant weather and partly maybe due to my trekking experience since then.2 hours of trekking takes you above the forest canopy and it is now that one can get a good view of all the mountain range surrounding and the clouds if lucky! A couple of shots and an hour later we reached Bhattaru Mane. We had lunch at 11 and by 12 we started to reach the peak and return back to Bhatta’s place.


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The weather was pleasant and now we entered the non-leech territory cum the shola grasslands. The peak was shrouded in mist for most parts and the mountain side was as green as it gets. But surprise! Tiny dots of pink spread all over the place. At first I saw some pink flowers amidst the sea of green. A few steps further and whoa! The whole mountain side was full of pink flowers. It was a real pleasant surprise. I guess our timing couldn’t have been more perfect or was it? Let’s find out!

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Well they say, the good comes with the bad. So the flowers were nice and good but they also attracted a host of insects. As long as we were moving it was good. But, sit down for a minute and you will have your own personal band of flies swarming around you! Well that was bearable, at least for now and we crossed the first peak – Sidda parvatha, the second peak – Sesha parvatha and time for another surprise. On the other side of Sesha Parvatha, the grasslands are no more and it gives way to a thick and dense forest which leads you to Kumara Parvatha. Mist rolling in the dense green forest right in front of us at such at altitude was an amazing sight.



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But something even more amazing was awaiting us in what we fondly christened as the leech valley/narnia land. More flowers welcomed us this time as we went under the forest canopy. The whole setting was perfect – pink flowers, mossy trees, misty atmosphere and also the-not-so-minor glitch, Leeches!! Running was our only option again and so we did - a very short run though! This path led us to a small stream cascading from a height.


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Up the stream, the trail ended in front of a huge steep flat rock. Now the thing is many people who have blogged about this, said they had to climb a steep rock to reach KP. But this was not just any other steep rock; it was actually a small waterfall. The monsoon had made the rock slippery and there was no direct path to reach the top. We had to go along the waterfall! We tried to find alternatives to avoid this but to no avail. At the end it turns out crossing the waterfall was not so difficult and we were very close to our destination.

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After we crossed the waterfalls, to make our lives miserable, it started to rain – heavily! We had two raincoats and a jacket with us. So we were like big deal! Nothing can dampen our spirits and off we go towards the peak which included more slippery rocks at a slant angle. Finally around 4.30 PM we reached the peak.
It was raining and we were soaking wet.

Ecstatic I felt mostly but also there was a doubt lurking somewhere at the back of my mind about our descent the same day. When it rains it pours and so it did! Mist covered everything around and visibility reduced badly. We started back to Bhattaru Mane by 5 PM and were trying to negotiate the slippery waterfall for a trail towards the leech valley. Somewhere on our way down the peak, we missed the trail (as in there is no trail as such just missed the direction) and ended up groping in the mist for the right direction down the waterfall. This was some experience, being blinded by mist! So by the time we realized the right way to go down with the help of another group of trekkers camping at the peak, it was too late and we were very apprehensive about making our way down unscathed!

And if I forgot to mention, it was still raining and we were still soaking wet.

Without sleeping bags, tent, food, dry clothes (we had nothing on us since our plan was to camp at Bhatta’s place) we set out to spend the night atop coz it sounded much better than getting down the slippery rock in the mist and rain. The super friendly trekkers offered us a tent and thank goodness for that! Shivering like crazy, the tent offered us temporary respite from the lashing wind and rain but it didn’t last long. We were soaking wet and starving all night long! For 13 hrs we were holed up in that tent. Only god knows what we all went through. It was funny in ways I didn’t imagine. Water flowing below the tent was giving an extra cooling effect. Only leeches were missing from the scene..or were they? From god knows where, leeches were entering the tent. Not miserable enough? Okay we’ve got more. We were literally sleeping in puddles. Water was seeping into the tent from one corner. After what felt like an eternity someone asked what’s the time? Only to realize we had another eternity to endure.
And if I haven’t mentioned yet, it was still raining and we were still soaking wet!
After two eternities, the sun was shining again. The early morning view was to die for and maybe our previous night was the means.

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I always wanted to wake up above the cloud cover and this was close. After a few clicks and few thanks and farewells with the other group we started the descent. It took us some contemplating again but finally we got down along the waterfall itself. After that, we crossed the leech valley which was looking lovely with the morning sunrays illuminating the forest. Not having dinner nor breakfast was showing its effect as we were getting down. Once we crossed Sesha Parvatha, a constant camaraderie shared with the pink flowers, clouds and the flies made the descent delightfully memorable well the flies were not delightful but unforgettable for sure. At one point we decided, any day we’d choose leeches over the flies.


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On our way back, we stopped at the orchid cave. Now don’t think this girl is acting too girly talking all about flowers but I guess flowers were one of the main attractions of this trek. :D And all this while, I was terribly weakened with all the starving and shivering. Once we reached Bhatta’s place by noon, few morsels of food and a quick nap did a whole world of good. Started from Bhattaru mane by 2.20 and we cruised through the leech infested forests with much rigor and ended the trek by 4.10 – no major stops anywhere.

It’s 5 in the evening and we are dry, warm, stomach’s full and comfortably seated in the car but all that we were thinking was What a trek! What a view! What a night and WHAT AN ADVENTURE!
I almost forgot. :D I did check my weight. It was less by 2 kgs. :)

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Fact File:

  • Bhatta's phone number - 09448647947
  • Camping options - either at Mantapa or the peak if you have tents, else can spend the night in Bhatta's verandah or the Forest office near by.
  • Water source - One stream flowing near Mantapa always and a stream near the peak in monsoons.
  • Time required - 2 days
  • Distance covered - 28 km approx 
  • Difficulty Level - High

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76 comments

  1. Good that you changed the style of presenting this travel log.Nice
    And did u notice? u must have mentioned "leeches" at least 10+ times in this post :P
    BTW , the pics are awesome.!!

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  2. Nice travel log... Pink flower pic Super undi..

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  3. hey ne,

    amazing pics! i think, some of your best were taken in this trip... :)

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  4. @ Clueless - Thank you..i think you liked the concept of pictures with info.. :) Glad you liked it.. and about the leeches..they were everywhere.. just couldn't ignore them... :D

    @ Vaibhav - thank you ... :) me too liked the pink flower the most..

    @ rt g - thanks.. :) the place was so amazing the pictures had to come out well.. :D

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    Replies
    1. hello wandering soul. Could you please advice me about trekking to KP in the month of July (15,16th) ? Will it be possible to reach the peak during heavy rains? thanks in advance :)

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  5. These pics remind me of RGV's movie agyaat....I dodnt know why i watched it...but if you have seen the movie you will find a lot of similarity with the pics you have posted of your trip....;) but btw very good pics..:)

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  6. neelima, love your nature-filled article and the blog. Living in a city (temporarily), it is always freshening to see the green, the trees, and the woods. Yes it is a great pleasure to spot wild flowers among the woods while you're trekking! Keep posting 'em! The photographs, the perspective: troppo bellissimo (very beautiful) :)

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  7. @ shilpi - Thanks.. also i am not sure if i should be happy or not.. my pics remind you of RGV's Agyaat??!! :S :D

    @ Rocksea - Thank you so much..yes..i totally agree.. the green of the mountains is the best! Glad you liked my posts.. :)

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  8. First time here. I love the first photo of the post... and look at all the fog.

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  9. luvly writeup :) and i know its a gr8 feeling to be at the top of the toughest peak in karnataka! if u go post jan, u can actually camp at the top and its a good chance to wake up among the clouds :)

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  10. Sounds like a fun filled as well as an adventurous trip. Cherish the memories...

    Great narrative and pics... look forward to reading more such accounts of your travel...

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  11. This sounds beautiful and your pictures are absolutely stunning!! Wow. I love to hike and love the wilderness, but am a little scared of leeches ...

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  12. @ Mosilager - Welcome to my blog and Thanks.. Glad you liked the photo and the fog.. :)
    Do keep visiting for more from my treks in Karnataka and others..

    @ Sandeep - I know! Finally i conquered KP..that too in monsoon.. yay! :)
    And yea..would've loved to wake up to a cloud filled morning.. Maybe at kodachadri next time.. :D

    @ SloganMurugan - Thanks.. the place really kicked our ass.. :D

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  13. @ roshmi - Oh it was fun-filled and adeventurous alright.. all of us at some point that night wondered if we will see the light of the day again.. :D
    Thanks..will soon update my blog with the rest of my treks here.. :)

    @ Bindu - Thank you so much.. KP was a photographers' delight... effortlessly i could capture beautiful shots..it was splendid every direction.. you should definitely hike here if you can.. and the leeches weren't that bad.. :D

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  14. What a nice place, and superb virtual tour given by you. I enjoyed.

    The place looks very similar to Kas plateau!

    Tree Surprise in a Dam Backwater

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  15. @ Bhavesh - Thanks.. :) I just googled about Kas Plateau.. seems like an awesome place..full of flowers..
    These flowers at Kumara Parvatha bwere seasonal and a surprise in fact..usually it's only all green..

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  16. I would say, you don't even know how lucky you are to be traveling and be able to share the joy with others. I am tied down at the moment. But I am sure Ill be back with a bang.And most importantly, these pictures speak something and to be able to shoot like that, not many of us can do ! Keep up the good work torchbearer !

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  17. Wow, beautiful pictures of KP. And I am amazed that you keep going back there!
    I made one trek there and totally loved the experience and came back tired as hell. Since then I haven't had the guts to ever go back. I don't think I can make it there unless I undergo and extensive fitness regime for 3 months!

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  18. Wonderful recount and excellent photos. Have linked to Blogbharti here.
    http://www.blogbharti.com/cuckoo/travel/mission-kumara-parvatha/

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  19. @ BuD - Thank you so much. Glad to see you here and Welcome to my blog!:) Yea..I hope the luck stays with me for long.. i am able to do all this traveling only after i shifted to B'lore.. and i too wish for you to be back with a bang.. :)

    @ Sid - Thank you.. :) and welcome to my blog! It is just the second time i went to KP and i guess I had enough.. :D I had to return back as i couldn't reach the peak in my first attempt..unfinished business you see..

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  20. @ Cuckoo - Wow! Thank you so much for posting my post on Blogbharti..Glad you liked my post. :)

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  21. Came here from BlogBharti. Awesome post, lovely photos!

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  22. Hi, Need one info.. Do we need to take forest dept permission before going?

    Is this safe trek?
    I am reffering KP

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  23. @ muhaafiz - Welcome to my blog! Glad you liked my post and photos.. :)
    keep visiting for more such posts..

    @ Sunil - Yes, you need to take forest dept. Permission. The forest office is on the way to KP - 5 kms from base, near Bhatta's house. You need to register here and pay 150 per head i guess and proceed further towards KP.

    And regarding safety .. i cannot say anything for sure.. We had a SAFE trek..there are chances of elephant or snake encounters as anywhere in Western Ghats. But be prepared for rain and leeches if you planning to go this monsoon.

    you can also refer to my earlier KP experience for more details.

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  24. Just crossed by and your blog is just amazing... Great treks and great trips... Btw, where is Kumara Parvatha..??
    And do drop into my blog sometime..
    My Travelogue

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  25. Great pics! And amazing story, ugh, with the leeches! But what a view!

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  26. @ Mitr -Friend - Glad you stopped by and Thank you so much! :) Kumara Parvatha is in the western ghats near Kukke Subramanya, around 280 kms from Bangalore. I will include this information in the post too. Keep visiting!

    @ Tipsy Traveler - Welcome to my blog! Thanks. :)it was an amazing adventure. One that I will remember for years to come..and the leeches were not that bad.. :D Keep visiting..

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  27. pics chaala bhagunaay .. especially .. that pink and violetflowers .. one day i am goin on a trek with u .. eppudo teliyadu .. but i will ..

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  28. elagu nuvvu iceland vasthunav kada akkada trekking ki veldam .. :P

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  29. @ Praveen - Thanks.. sure.. we will go trekking here if you manage to get time from your FRIENDS .. :P

    yea..Iceland lo trekking.. :D

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  30. Very nice template....its so perfect for this travel blog...

    i loved most of the pictures....wondering which camera it is....and how did u manage to get so many good pictures yaar.??


    See you around :)

    Cheers

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  31. @ Mahesh - Welcome to my blog! Glad you liked my template and photographs. :)
    I own a point and shoot mega zoom camera - Sony Cybershot DSC-H10.

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  32. Awesome Pics!! This weekends trek is fixed now for me.

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  33. Hi,
    Is trekking is allowed now?
    Heard of trekking is restricted due to naxal problem, is that right?
    Need your help. :)

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  34. @ Paritosh - Wonderful! KP is an awesome place and conquering it gives an awesome feeling!Do let me know how your experience with KP was.. :)
    Keep visiting too..

    @ SagarKarthik - no..no.. i think you are confused with Narasimha Parvatha that has naxal scare.. trekking at KP is allowed. Do let me know your experience as well.. :)

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  35. wandering soul - thanks for your comments, one more query do we get any tents for hire in subramanya? can you provide battarumane contact number if you have?
    We are planning on 2nd of Oct
    Thanks in advance

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  36. @ Sagar - no, you won't get tents at Kukke to the the best of my knowledge. You can hire at Bangalore from bmcindia.org.
    Or alternatively, you can plan to come back and sleep at Bhatta's house by nightfall.
    Here is bhatta's number - 9448647947.

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  37. Spectacular photography! great job!!

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  38. @ anonymous - Thanks! Do keep visiting. :)

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  39. Hi Neelima.. Amazing pics and I think it would be a déjà vu, if i visit that place.

    Okies i Have a suggestion Can you please write a ready reckoner so that it will help first time trekkers and can you suggest what kind of foot ware is to use for trekking.

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  40. @ D - that's a nice idea. I shall put up a post soon on getting started with trekking in western ghats! Thanks for the idea and for the visit.. :)

    Keep visiting.

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  41. Hi Neelima,
    First time here and loved your blog. Detailed posts and Very beautiful pictures.
    BTW, I operate a website called www.TripNaksha.com through which I am trying to make adventure travel in India easy.
    There is a small discussion going on my blog on whether to make adventure travel easy ( discussion link - http://tripnaksha.blogspot.com/2010/01/making-adventure-travel-easy.html), request you to join in and let us know what you think.

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  42. Pretty Adventurous it seems,I was wondering 'the rumor about snakes which are all over that place, are they true ?

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  43. @ Praveen - It is true this place has lot of snakes and cobras especially.. although I did not encounter any during my two visits to KP.. and once you are out of the forest in the grasslands i guess you can forget the problem. But we spotted a snake once we reached the village, kukke.

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  44. wow! was thrilling just to read it!!!
    wonderfully presented with beautiful images!

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  45. ## magiceye - thanks.. it was awesomely thrilling to have experienced it as well.. :)

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  46. Hey Neelima,
    I did that trek many years back and your post brought back fond memories.
    We did it in summer and it was realy saping and tiring. It is one of the steeper trails in Karnataka as far as I know.
    How is Bhatta doing? He is quite a jolly old man and the food at their place is delicious.

    Lovely post :)
    Cheers!
    Vasu
    http://vasusworld.wordpress.com/

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  47. ## Vasu - Thanks! Glad to know that my post rekindled your memories.. KP is one trek every trekker must do at least once.. in some cases twice. :P
    We attempted KP once before this in hot burning summer and had to return back.. And then in monsoons again, the mission was successful. Bhatta is doing good.. as usual..Maybe i will see him again sometime .. :D

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  48. Hey Neelima,
    Tripped on this post.
    Amazing pictures & an interesting write-up.
    And I am from Kukke Subrahmanya :-)
    Some boasting & self-promotion here :D
    http://vinaykrishna.blogspot.com/2005/09/wanna-be-brand-ambassador-of-my-place.html (old post)
    Nice blog & Keep them coming :-)
    -Vinay

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  49. heyy, i've trekked KP before but dis time plannin in monsoon, can u just give a brief idea like how it wud be??

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  50. I am going first time, excited to go for it. Going with my friends on the 30th Dec 2011.

    Thanks for the detailed info.
    :)

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  51. hey neelima...nice article nd pics.... we are planing 2 visit in jan 1st week.so,we need some information.....
    wer we hv to take permission??
    wat abu food nd accommodation???
    is fire camp is allowed????

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  52. ## Nischith - Forest office is on the way to the peak. Just above Bhatta's house. You will get food at Bhatta's house or you can carry yourself. There is no restriction as such on campfire. Either come back to Bhatta's house from the peak and stay there or carry tents.

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  53. Just cant express HOW BEAUTIFUL the PICTURES are.. :) :) You just made me relive the experience I had when I had my date with nature.
    We, a group of 4 trekked the Kumarparvat from Somvarpet and got down from Kukke.. I am sure, your clicks would've been even more beautiful if you could go from coorg. Trust me, the scenery and path from there is BRILLIANT!! :) Good luck.
    Cheers

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  54. hello :)

    We are planning to go on 27th morning. and planning to stay there a night. are alcohols and tobacco's prohibited? and wat about the campfire and tent ?? pls do reply soon :) :) :) thank u

    Regards
    Abhilash kumble

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  55. Great post! simply loved it.
    Awesome place to go!
    I still not able to believe the fact that u guys were able to climb the steep water falls during monsoon season..!!
    What u is the best time to go to KP? Do u think that monsoon time will be the most rewarding?
    we trekked in Jan and was very tiring coz of the scorching sun!

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  56. hi we r a group of 7 plannin to go there this weekend so it would be of a great use if u could provide us with some useful info like whatz with the entry fees at the checkpost. and some imp advice.
    mail me to punithshetty123@gmail.com

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  57. Which is the best time to trek this place.? Which month did you take this trek.?

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  58. Hi Neelima,
    Wondering why you have not trekked narasimha parvatha..
    (came to this site when i was trying to get info about narasimha parvatha)
    thanks,
    anonymous

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    Replies
    1. I have been to Narasimha Parvatha, didn't blog about it yet.

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  59. You mentioned tobacco/salt for protection against leechs.. Do we have to apply it to the body?

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    1. A more efficient way would be to tie up the salt in a slightly wet cloth and apply it on a leech whenever you see it on your leg. Or you can also mix tobacco with some kind of oil and apply it over your legs.

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  60. Great Travelogue... I liked the detail as well as some anecdotal info like Bhatta's # :). Would you know if there were leach socks available. I got these when hiking in Kerala. These are light cotton fabric (not knit) wide socks that go over your feet and over your pants and dont allow leaches to get in. We are planning 3rd week Nov. I guess it will be cold given that we are in the clouds. Our plan is to complete the trip in one day. Hopefully we dont get lost and are able to sumit and make our way back. Thanks your post keeps us excited :).

    Vix

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    1. You can get leech socks in Wildcraft, haven't tried it but I know it's available there. The complete trek in a day would be stretching too far but worst case you can always camp at Bhatta's house. Have a good trip.

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  61. Very nice. I made it to the top last week and also wrote a blog with some pictures. After reading this, it appears that rmonsoon gives you much better view with greens and flowers, water sources, no direct sun, but is complemented by the leeches and possibly snakes.

    My blog on the same subject at: http://blog.shuva.in/index.php?entry=entry130101-163824 and have added your blog as a reference too.

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  62. this place is crazily awesome dude.......!!! and so is the experience shared...getting tempted to go der....

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  63. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  64. Beautiful travelogue! Im planning to go here too. ..is it a good time to go during monsoon or should we wait until the rainy season is done?

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  65. Pls Dont try monsoon.................

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  66. Go around Oct, Nov.... Get all your gear ready... If you are from Karnataka.. Never miss this paradise..........You will cherish for ever

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  67. Can we trek in the month of July in rainy season to this trek.

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  68. nice ... gud pictures... u can take better pics if you concentrate on selection of angles...

    planning for KP trekking in october...

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  69. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.
    location villa toscane

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  70. Amazing info.. and thanks for sharing @ neelima. This does not only helps us but gives us more info and more importantly reminds us everytime what to carry and what not to. Thanks again and plz keep sharing ur experience.. it helps us for some good best practices to learn and share:-)

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