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Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Kodachadri Trek

The first weekend of this month had been the most eventful, after the bland weekends of May and June. As the monsoon season arrived, and heavy rains lashed all over, my friends and I thought of exploring the Western ghats, and set our foot to trek the Kodachadri peak.

We started from Bangalore late on the Friday night and took the Tumkur-Tiptur-Arsikere-Shimoga-Hosanagara route to reach Sampekatte, a village which is some 15kms from Kodachadri. We had booked a reservation at a home-stay there, it did live up to what was shown in the pictures of the home-stay's website.

                                                 On way to Sampekatte

                                  Parvatha Home-stay, the home-stay where we stayed

After getting freshened up, we reached the base, the start point of the trek. There is this stationery-cum-bakery kind of a shop at the base, where we bought some biscuits, water and some plastic sheets which we customized to fit in as full body rain jackets. With those quick-and-dirty jackets on, each one of us looked like some alien beings, two of us in orange, other four in green. Quite a colorful picture that would make!

We hired a local guide, a sixty plus man named Gopal and we were all set to go. He directed us to the mud road which the local jeeps ply over to get to the peak. After walking a half kilometer on this road, we were asked to get into the woods, the trek was a walk in the park until now. After a few meters into the woods, we were greeted by a fast running stream, it was knee-deep and we crossed our first hurdle with great ardor.

There came our enemies for the day, the blood-sucking bloody leeches. Before we started the trek, the local people at the shop advised us to apply zandu balm on our legs, it would act as a leech-repellent they said. I thought I would google and know whether that would really work, but my phone was off network coverage, hence we went with the locals' opinion. However, the bottle of the cream didn't do any magic on us, maybe the cream got washed off our legs as we crossed the stream or it doesn't really work.

Our trek journey would come to a brief halt whenever any of us was attacked by a member or two from the leech community or when the smokers community in our group wanted a break. We progressed further fighting the rain, the leeches, occasional crabs, water pools and slippery rocks.

After an arduous four-hour trek into the woods, we reached the Hidlumane waterfalls. As they say perseverance pays, the spectacular sight of the falls just took the pain away. The force of the water was so high that if your foot gets slipped on the algae-accumulated surface of the rocks or the wooden barks there's every chance that you get washed away by the gushing stream that flows down the falls. However, moving into a spot, right below the falls would be a safe option to experience and enjoy the fresh water falling on you.

Our guide asked us to speed up as it was getting late and we still had a long way to go, to reach the peak of the hill. We started over again, the rocks and the tree barks were extremely slippery around the falls area, I slipped over twice, but was lucky enough to hold on to some rock or someone in the group.

The next few hours were even more grueling, and there was this point during the trek, wherein you have to walk on a narrow path, the width of the path was just enough to place a foot, and a look towards the left would cast a fiery spell of acrophobia on you, as you are at an altitude of over 1000 meters above sea-level.

Once that stretch was done, we were onto some steep grass lands, the grass wasn't fully grown yet. As we climbed further and farther, it seemed like we were up against a never ending ascent. The grass lands were quite vast, and were mist-covered as the rain was coming down uninterrupted. We still had some distance to reach the Shooting spot, where they say some Kannada movies were shot, it is also the spot where the motor-able road to the Sarvajna Peetha (Sarvajna : Knowledge, Wisdom ; Peetha : Throne, Seat) passes through. But with the stamina levels hitting almost zero, it took an eternity for us to reach the spot.

We were supposed to be picked up by a local jeep, however, we couldn't reach the driver on the phone, hence we were made to walk till the Sarvajna Peetha (The final point of the trek). The Peetha  is some 2km from the shooting spot, however, it took us over an hour or more to reach there as the last remains of energies in our bodies were burnt in reaching there. Also, the rain turned into a heavy downpour and it took us some productivity enhancing techniques like screaming, shouting and singing in accomplishing the last part of this exciting, yet tiring endeavour.

To sum it up, after an adventurous six-hour trek, there we were, at the Peetha.

We didn't explore the Peetha much as we were extremely tired and hungry. There is a small canteen up there, we hogged on every possible edible item available there, and were in the jeep back to the home-stay. We couldn't take many pictures as it was raining unprecedented and also it was mist-covered all the way. However, the wonderful times spent on this trip will be ever cherished! :)