Kodachadri: The trek and the sunset

Saturday, December 20, 2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Kodachadri is the highest among the hills that form the backdrop to the 1200 year old Sri Mookambika temple, one which we Malayalees consider sacred. Despite having visited the temple last October, I always had the urge to return and complete the one thing I hadn't done then – the Kodachadri trek. It was only 5 months later in March that my friends and I finally set out to do it. This blog post should tell you what you need to know before you set out on the trek.

Amateur photography! Damn! :P

Getting there

Kodachadri is situated at a distance of around 20 km from Kollur, which is where the Mookambika temple is situated. On reaching Kollur, there are 3 popular routes you could take to reach Kodachadri: The routes from Nittur, Sampakatte and Karigatte Gate.

• The Nittur route lies predominantly within the forest and has a few stretches where the trail isn't too well-defined. A waterfall by the name of Hidulmane lies on this path.

 The path from Sampakatte lies completely in the open and is used by the jeep service running between Sampakatte and Kodachadri.

 There isn't any jeep service on the route starting at Karigatte Gate. Most of this path lies within the forest. However, unlike the Nittur route, this trail remains well-defined throughout the trek.
We had intended to start from Nittur in order to pass the waterfall but had to change our plans midway. Here’s what we did.

Our itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday, March 1)

0830: Bus from NITK to Kollur (You could board it at any stop after Mangalore's State Bank bus stand)

1200: Arrival at Kollur
Lunch at the Kollur bus stand. We had planned on taking a bus to Nittur but heard about a road block between Kollur and Nittur. With no bus available, we had to take an auto and start our trek from Karigatte instead.

1330: Phase 1 of the trek (Karigatte to Hotel Santhosh)
Flat trail where the canopy shields you from the sun: completed this segment of the trek effortlessly.
You will find a small inhabited area which has a few fields, a school and a shack named ‘Hotel Santhosh’ towards the end of this leg of the trek. We had stopped here for refreshments.

Phase 1 of the trek
Hotel Santhosh
Phase 2 of the trek

1500: Phase 2 (Hotel Santhosh to the peak)
Not as undemanding as Phase 1. Since most of this path was in the open, the afternoon sun coupled with the steepness of the climb did make it seem as difficult as a simpler version of the Kumara Parvatha. The views of the mountains you see during this phase make the ascent quite pleasurable though.

1700: Arrival at the peak; Sunset
Got to the peak well ahead of sunset. The peak had a Bhatramane (where meals are prepared and you could spend the night) and a small temple (which we visited the following morning). Spent some time here and took 20 minutes to reach the sunset point.

The hill range that Kodachadri is on faces the Arabian Sea and from this spot we were able to see the surrounding hills and the sea in the horizon. We basically had a bird’s eye view of these smaller hills (we were on the highest point on the entire hill range), the streams running through the valleys and the backwaters and rivers connected to the sea. With so much to absorb, witnessing the sun set into the sea was indeed a captivating experience.

The peak
Philosopher Adi Shankaracharya's meditation spot

It was dark when we returned to the Bhatramane, where each of us paid Rs 150 to spend the night. We were each given a rug and a blanket and were asked to sleep at a corner of the hall along with the other trekkers. Slept late in the night after spending time around the area surrounding the Bhatramane.

Day 2 (Sunday, March 2)

0900: The descent
Discussed it with a few people and decided to try out the Sampakatte route for our descent. The path was completely in the open and we now had a brighter view of what we had seen at the sunset point the previous evening.

Inside the Bhatramane
Phase 3 of the trek
Jeep service to Sampakatte

1200: Arrival at the base
Took an auto and reached Sampakatte in 10. Had to wait at the bus stop for an hour and a half to catch the bus we wanted.

1330: Return 
A bus to Nagara, another to Udupi and a third to Mangalore that dropped us at NITK at 1830.

What to carry

Barely anything. You will find places to eat and fill water at regular intervals. Nevertheless, do carry water and a few basic snacks.

Expenses incurred

Around Rs 800

Best time to visit

Any time after the monsoon.

That’s about it for the trek. I’d recommend it if you're looking for something that's moderate. The trek’s totally worth the sunset you get to see at the peak and you could also use it as a warm-up in case you decide to scale the Kumara Parvatha. To those who've done this trek, your inputs will help the people reading this post. SoSpeakUpNow! and add them in the comments below!

Note: The forest department officials are pretty adamant that no one pitches tents on the peak. You'll have to be lucky to be able to pitch yours.