Kumara Parvatha: Not for the weak-hearted!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 Rahul Das 3 Comments



Kumara Parvatha. A trek that I had on my mind for weeks. A trek considered to be one of the most difficult in South India. A trek I finally managed to complete a few days ago...

What you’re about to read is something very different from what I had written on AAP’s gimmicks last week. This article is about an adventure – A challenge I want more people to relish. Read on, do your research and embark on this trek. SoSpeakUpNow! and share the experience!


Kumara Parvatha as seen from Bhatramane



The trek:

At 1748m, Kumara Parvatha is the highest peak of the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Situated on the border between the Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts of the state, the peak has 2 routes to access it – The Kukke route and the Beedahalli – Somwarpet route, the latter being the easier between the two. Three of my friends (Bhojwani, Nirlendu and Sukruth) and I attempted the trek last weekend, the 11th and 12th of January, 2014. We trekked along both routes of the trek – Kukke for the ascent and Beedalli for the descent.

A moderate level of fitness is required to complete this trek. Although the trek isn’t too dangerous it is highly demanding, both mentally and physically.


Our itinerary:


Day Zero (Fri, Jan 10): Travel

1915: Surathkal - Subrahmanya Road train; It passes Mangalore Central at 2055.
2345: Arrival at Subrahmanya Road Railway Station (The train was supposed to arrive at 2250)
0015 (Jan 11): Jeep ride from Subrahmanya to Kukke Subrahmanya Temple
0040 (Jan 11): Arrival at the temple complex. We slept inside the temple with the other pilgrims. 

Day One (Sat, Jan 11): Ascent

0630: Visit to the temple followed by breakfast.
0830: Start of Phase 1 of the trek (Kukke to Bhatramane)
1100: Arrival at Bhatramane: Lunch followed by some rest
1300: Start of Phase 2 (Bhatramane to Kumara Parvatha)
1730: Arrival at the peak
1900: Bonfire using the wood we collected
2230: Sleep on the peak


Day Two (Sun, Jan 12): Descent

0630: Dawn
0830: Start of trek (Kumara Parvatha to Beedahalli)
1130: Arrival at Beedahalli Forest Checkpoint
1400: Jeep ride from Beedahalli to Somwarpet (Started late since the jeep had broken down)
1500: Arrival at Somwarpet; Lunch
1600: Somwarpet – Madikeri bus; Arrival at 1730
1800: Madikeri – Mangalore bus
2200: Arrival at Mangalore


What to carry 


 There is no source of food or water between Bhatramane and Beedahalli, which means you need to carry plenty of water along with carbohydrate rich snacks to last you more than 24 hours. We carried dates, glucose, biscuits, bread, peanut butter and a few tetra packs of milk.

 Prepare yourself for the cold weather and harsh winds on the peak. We carried jackets and pairs of jeans. We couldn't get a tent and therefore had to sleep inside tarpaulin bags.

 Carry kerosene (for the bonfire), matchsticks, flash lights, knives, toiletries, salt (for leeches), first aid and an extra set of clothes.

 The more you carry, the more the burden on you during the ascent. The key is to find the right balance between what you carry and the weight of your bags. Every extra gram matters. Pack smartly. 



Expenses incurred:  

Around Rs 1000


Highlights of our trek: 


 Rushed to catch our train; Reached the platform only a minute before the train’s departure.

 The drama at Mangalore Central since we hadn’t bought proper tickets at Surathkal.

 Convinced a few pilgrims who had planned on spending the night on the Subrahmanya Road platform to join us in the jeep we hired to go to Kukke. Saved quite a bit :P

 Slept inside the Kukke Subrahmanya temple complex along with other pilgrims. Memorable experience.

 Phase 1 of the trek (Kukke – Bhatramane): The average inclination of the trail must’ve been around 40 degrees. The only respite we had from that was the canopy of the forest that shielded us from the sun.

 Bhatramane: Basic south Indian lunch – rice, sambhar and buttermilk. Cost us Rs 90. If you do plan on eating here, make sure you give Bhatra a call on +91 94 48 647947 or +91 94 80 230191 and inform him about your arrival a few hours before you get there. You might have to wait for an hour for him to give you the food if you don’t.

 Phase 2 of the trek (Bhatramane – Kumara Parvatha): The Forest Office checkpoint at the start of this phase charges Rs 200 per head (It’s India. You know what to do :P). 

You spend the next 4 hours in the scorching afternoon heat trekking a trail inclined at more than 45 degrees with a heavy bag on your back. It’s extremely tiresome. There are 2 peaks to be scaled before you start scaling the final one. The trail between the 2nd peak (Shesha Parvatha) and Kumara Parvatha lies within the forest and takes around 45 minutes. 

A few minutes before you get to the final peak, you find a rocky area that is inclined at more than 60 degrees. Do NOT climb this rock as you could end up injured. Use the route on the left. It isn't too dangerous and is much simpler.

 The feeling when you finally reach the peak is fantastic. The cold weather, mist, clouds and the mesmerizing sunset along with the sense of achievement that you feel. Cannot be put in words.

 Borrowed kerosene and looked for firewood to make our bonfire. Sat around it, had dinner, played cards and had a secret-sharing-session :P

 The fire we made wasn't enough to last us the whole night. Joined a group of 17 people who had a bigger fire. Slept around it in our tarpaulin bags. Harsh winds at 10 degrees with barely anything to protect us. Difficult night.

 Woke up early the next morning to witness the glorious sunrise.

 Descent: Pretty relaxed. There is a fork at the peak soon after you start the trek (Left - Kukke. Right – Beedahalli). Although the Beedahalli route is shorter and less taxing, it does have a few dangerous stretches. The canopy shields you from the sun throughout this route. The forest checkpoint at Beedahalli charges Rs 275 per head. Again, don't forget you’re in India :P

 Shared the jeep to Somwarpet with another group of 6. We did have plans to visit a few places in Kushalnagar in the afternoon but couldn't execute due to a break down encountered by the jeep. The driver’s attitude towards driving and the steep narrow roads freaked us out!

 Lunch at Somwarpet, bus to Madikeri and another bus back to Mangalore.



Guess I’ve pretty much covered what you need to know to set out on this trek. The best time to attempt it would be during the post monsoon months of October to January. The trek is quite popular and we did find lots of people attempting the trek along with us. Do note that doing this trek does come up with a responsibility - Please do NOT litter the place. It was very disheartening to see so many people toss their trash and ruin the serenity of the area. Make it a point to preserve the beauty of these hills.


Snapshots

It's unfortunate that the photos we have are unable to recreate the magic that we felt while doing the trek. Nevertheless, these photos should give you a rough idea of what the trek looks like.

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple
Phase 1 of the trek
Bhatramane



Phase 2 of the trek
Phase 2 of the trek
The peak



Sunrise at the peak
The descent
A stream during the descent


Comment your queries here!


3 comments:

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  2. The blog Almost has taken my mind to the imagination of hw the trek totally could b for You people....it jst doesnt sound adventurous n fun but it also inspires that its at this young age people have to be really motivated to do Such kind of treks more often than jst spendin tym touring fancy places with all comforts...this blog teaches alot more than trek n fun, it makes me feel thr is alot more in life to Explore n learn frm it...u have mentioned the right requirements For the trek but u did frgt the courage u need to be out in Such places Which u people hav in tons really appreciate it...life is Not alwaz riches n fancy Type its about hw well u can mend oneself at different situations in life...thats wat i derived from reading this...lastly i will surely do this trek in my life no matter wen

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    1. Hello Praneetha! Thank you so much for yet another detailed and pleasing review! Really appreciate your feedback :)

      You just spoke my mind. I too am of the opinion that there is a lot more to travel than merely visiting exotic locations and doing so the comfortable way.

      The four of us being courageous? I find that funny. Haha! Well, you don't have to be courageous to try these things out (We aren't... I'm not, at least :P). All you need is a teeny bit of motivation and if we could push ourselves to do it, anyone can!

      Once again, I'm pleased that you're now inspired to try this out. Urge you to do so at the earliest! This was indeed an exhilarating experience for us and I'm certain that people like you would definitely relish this :D

      Like what I had mentioned in my earlier reply, I'll be writing another article on the Dudhsagar Falls sometime this week. Will let you know about it the moment I publish it :)

      In the meantime, look for a few like-minded friends and make sure you visit this place!

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