Kudremukh – The Horse Face
If you are bored with your monotonous work in the Tech-hub of India- Bangalore, then fret not, there is a beautiful trek nearby. Kudremukh trek, a short two days trek is a perfect getaway and a chance to get greeted by unending green hills, thick forest covers and gurgling streams. No doubt as to why Kudremukh is often considered as the Himalayas of the south. The third highest peak in Karnataka, after Mullayanagiri and Bababudnagiri, Kudremukh is a part of the Western Ghats, which is among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Kudremukh literally translates into “Horse’s Mouth” and has been named so due to its peculiar shape resembling the mouth of a horse.
Max Altitude- 1894m
Approx Trekking km- 20 km (to and fro)
Base Camp- Mullodi
Starting point of Kudremukh trek
Though Mangalore happens to be the nearest airport and railway station for this particular expedition, yet the trip is most commonly done from Bangalore. Mangalore is 130 km away whereas Bangalore is approximately away by 350 km. You can easily get hold of Bangalore-Hornadu buses at the Bangalore bus stop and get down at Kalasa in approximately 7 hours. From Kalasa, you need to arrange for another vehicle to take you to Balgal, which is around 10kms away. You need to take permits (costs around Rs275, without Guide) for the trek from this village itself. Mullodi, the base camp, is again a 5 km jeep ride from Balgal.
The Kudremukh peak is a part of the Kudremukh National Park, which is primarily made up of steep hills and valleys. About 12kms from Kalasa is this beautiful waterfall called Elaneeru, which translates into sweet water/coconut water. If you have time enough, be sureto visit this place and taste the water. You’ll be surprised to find that it actually stands true to its name. On your way to Elaneeru, you will also find another fall, which is as beautiful as a painting. Don’t get overwhelmed, because the best is saved for the last.
The trekking trail to Kudremukh from Mullodi, boasts of several captivating views, each different from the other. You shall be hiking with clouds and sometimes above clouds . You will also come across the beautiful Somvati river, a number of breath-taking waterfalls, and ofcourse not to forget coffee plantation farms. Also crabs and deers are very common in this area and so you can easily spot a number of them. Another thing which is pretty common over here in the monsoons, are the leeches. Make sure you are well prepared for them.
The landscape also changes during the summer/monsoon and winter seasons. During the summer and monsoons the grasses on the valley are lush green in colour. However from January onwards, the colour starts changing into shades of brown.
Trekking Route for Kudremukh: Mullodi-Kedramukh-Mullodi (22kms, 8-9 hours)
After an overnight journey from Bangalore, start off as early as you can from Mullodi. Most guides will not want to take you to the top once it’s dark. There are no camping facilities at Kudremukh, so you have to keep ample time in your hands to descend down before it gets dark. The ascent to Kudremukh itself, takes 4-5 hours.
The whole trail passes through the tropical rainforests and if travelling in monsoon, you can use the fresh water from the gurgling streams for drinking purposes. The peaks at the Kudremukh National park seem to approach closer as you climb higher.
The first significant point of the trek is the Lobo House. Lobo House is an easy 4 km walk from the starting point. However, from the Lobo House, the landscape starts getting steeper and the ascent continues upto 1.5kms, i.e till Ontimara. From Ontimara the climb gets difficult till the end of the Zig-zag trail,and takes approximately around 2 hours to be covered. Now that you have reached the last point of the Zig-zag trail, there is one final moderate level ascent to the peak of Kudremukh. The distance being 1.5 kms, it should not take you more than 1-1.5 hours to reach the summit.
After spending as well capturing some memorable moments at the top, bid a sweet goodbye to this untouched, untarnished beauty of Karnataka and head down to the village of Mullodi.
Best time to do Kudremukh Trek-
The best time for this expedition is November-December. This is the time when the grasses are green, roads are dry, and the weather is pleasant. Post December, the grennery transforms to brownish hues, while in summer seasons it gets difficult to trek with the bright sun shining right over the head. In monsoons, though the landscape is at its best, yet the roads are muddy along with a lot of leaches on them.
Cellular connectivity at Kudremukh-
Only BSNL networks work in the Kudremukh region. But since during the trek you will be walking through dense jungles, the network connectivity is unreliable and sparse. At Kasana, however, there is a reliable cellular connectivity for most sims.