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Nestled deep in the Western Ghats in the district of Shimoga and holding its place as the tenth highest peak in the State, Kodachadri is home to lush green jungle trails through dense tropical forests, picturesque waterfalls and mesmerizing landscapes. Located in the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary, it also forms the perfect backdrop to the Moola Mookambika Temple, believed to be the place of origin of Goddess Mookambika. Catching a glimpse of the evening sun set into the Arabian Sea from its peak offers an enchanting experience a combination of mountain and ocean, that very few peaks in the Country can boast of.
DAY 0: Leave from Bangalore at 21:00 Hrs
There are mainly three trails to the peak apart from several other less explored ones. The most popular, as well as the most challenging, is the one via Hidlumane Falls starting from either Sampekatte or Marakuttaka and is the one you’ll be taking on your trek to the peak. This trail is relatively steep and rugged and requires you to make your way through thick forests, gentle streams and quite literally climb a waterfall which becomes a whole another ballgame during peak monsoons. Despite the efforts, the journey to the top is one you’ll remember and be proud of as you’re transported to another world, with magical sights, untouched forests and challenging climbs at every corner.
The other relatively easier trail is the one from Karakatte via Santhosh Hotel, Valur (Trek Route 2 in the image above). Private vehicles can easily come up till the tiny settlement housing the hotel and one can begin their trek from here which takes around 4-5 hours to reach the peak.
The third trail is actually a jeep route and is the longest of the three and is one which you’ll be taking on your descend from Kodachadri.
All three trails eventually culminate at the Moola Mukambika temple which also houses a PWD guest house that serves as an important landmark on your way to the peak. From here the peak is around 2 kms.
Day 0 – Depart for Kodachadri
An overnight bus journey of 397 km commences from Bangalore to Kollur. We shall have a brief orientation followed by a fun-filled ice-breaking session where you will get to know your fellow trekkers better.
Day 1 – Trek to Kodachadri (via Hidlumane Falls)
The cosy little homestay near Sampekatte, which is a short drive away from the starting point of our trek is as close to home as a homestay could get and the strictly authentic local vegetarian cuisine served here is a delight to the senses and an experience in itself. Add to that the extremely friendly old couple running the place, look after your every need.
After a quick freshen up and a fulfilling breakfast, we pack our bags again and get prepped for a long day of trekking.
There are mainly five milestones that one needs to look out for on this trail. The first is an open field of meadow that pops up out of nowhere amidst thick forest trails. Numerous paddy fields later, the trail ultimately leads up to a house where a small surprise awaits for the tired trekkers. Spoiler alert, the challenging part of the trek actually starts from here.
The second is the much awaited Hidlumane Falls which is a combination of seven waterfalls and making your way up each of them is an adventure on its own. However, your efforts are duly rewarded for with spectacular views of the main waterfall cascading down on you from a height of around 60 feet. The feeling of pristine water gushing over your tired bodies will be therapy, to say the least. Do refill your water bottles here as you’re going to need it for the trek ahead.
An almost vertical climb on the front face of the trail over tree roots and slippery rocks from the Kodachadri Falls leads to steeper meadows that eventually end up on the top of the very first peak on this trail. This forms the third milestone and is a good place to rest and have some much-deserved lunch.
Further, the trail diverges only to merge again until it joins the jeep trail that leads up to the Kodachadri Temple. This is your fourth milestone and is also the point from where you’ll be boarding the jeep on your way down.
From here, a rocky trail through a cliff’s edge ultimately leads you to the fifth and final milestone of the trek which is the Kodachadri peak itself. Here you will find the Sarvajna Peetha, a small temple-like structure made of stone where Adi Sankaracharya, an 8th-century Indian philosopher and theologian is said to have mediated. Apart from this, grand vistas all around and the view of the sunset over the Arabian Sea scattering a myriad of hues all across the vast evening sky make all your efforts worthwhile and fill you with a sense of achievement that no corporate targets or performance bonuses can offer.
Day 2 – Visit Nagara Fort
Today, we shall head towards the Nagara Fort located in the Shimoga district of the state of Karnataka. Built in the 16th Century, the ruins of this fort still hold on to its old world charm and essence of heritage. The gorgeous sight of the fort that you’ll get when you are driving your way will make you stop in order to visit the fort. It’s in size not much huge but there’s something about this place that’ll just leave you awestruck.
Once here, enjoy the stunning views atop the fort, explore its ruins, laze around on its accompanying grasslands or play an exciting game of Kabaddi with your trek mates. The options are endless when it comes to while away your time here before heading back to Bangalore and concluding the trip with Plan The Unplanned with a lot of good memories and friends made.