Amedhikallu

Surmounting the Tortoise Peak

Overview

     Amedhikallu (height 2,800 m), near village Shishila in Dharmasthala, is one of the significant peaks of Charmadi range. The name Amedikallu is a combination of two words: Ame - Turtle and Dikkel – the Tulu word for Stove. Amedhikallu has a huge monolith at the top which appears like a giant turtle and three large stones which give an appearance of a stove. This peak is surrounded by many other important peaks of Western Ghats. Amedhikallu is considered to be one of the scenic treks in Karnataka and is a two day trek if one wants to make it to the peak comfortably. The starting point is Shishila village from where the trail starts. The initial trail is through a fairly dense forest, but the trail itself is pretty wide. Then the forest cover disappears slowly and beautiful grasslands appear which continues to the three stones, the dikkels at the summit.

Bandaje Arbi

The Grasslands of the Sky

Overview

     Bandaje Arbi (waterfall) is one of the most picturesque places in Charmadi ranges of Western Ghats, falling from a height of 500 feet. The trek uphill passing Ballalarayana durga fort is surely an uphill task for the trekkers. The flowing streams, the rolling velvet hills, sight of elephant herds, wild boars if one is lucky, is a feast to the eyes. Passing through  Ballalrayan fort overlooking the town of Sunkashale. Not much remains of the fort except the ramparts. Ballalarayana Durga, is a secluded fort atop a mighty peak in the dense jungles of Western Ghats. All that remains of the fort are its dilapidated traces, but the lush green forests with the steep slopes surrounding the fort gives it the aura of mystery and a sinister charm. The sunset from here is a riot of colors and memorable experience! It beckons every wandering soul. So indulge in this unique adventure and come explore the enigma of this long forgotten place. Come to Bandaje.

Bandallidurga

The Mysterious Hump Beckons

Overview

     Bandallidurga is a hill fort situated at an altitude of 4700ft above sea level near a hamlet called Bandalli in Kanakapura taluk – making it an ideal short getaway from Bangalore. The mysterious humped shape makes it an intriguing object of interest. Not much is known about the history of this fort. Today, the fort is more or less in ruins. The fort is protected by three levels of wall and it seems impregnable. The top of the hill is not visible from the base of the hill. After a steep climb 3 hrs, one reaches the ruins of the fort. There is also a perennial well built by the Palegars (the locals). The trek passes through Lantana bushes, bamboo forest and green meadows. From the top of the hill one can see a panoramic view of M M Hills, B R Hills and other nearby hill ranges. The place is haven for birdwatchers. Birds like Hoope, Bushchat, Woodpeckers, Coppersmith Barbet, Jungle fowl, Green Barbets and Wagtail are found in large numbers.

Bandalli Durga is an ideal short getaway for history lovers, birdwatchers and the Bangalore escapist!


Kudremukh Trans Trek

Tresspassing the  Hills

Overview

For those who had a glimpse of the horse mane kudremukha , finally summited it and would like to go on a ride in the National Park , there is option of going on for Trans Kudremukh Trek.
Kudremukh Peak is the one of the highest peak in Karnataka and highest in the Kudremukh national park also known as Kudremukha National park. This peak lies about 1892 meters or 6,207 feet above sea level. ‘Kudre’ means horse while ‘mukha’ means face. As the name suggests, it looks like a horse face hence called Kudremukh or kudremukha. This peak lies in the forests of Kudremukh National park. Kudremukh peak trek lies on the list of popular trekking trails in the national park. Kudremukh national park amidst Western Ghats has a very rich biodiversity and home to certain species of wildlife which is nowhere else found on this planet.
Trans trek is a misnomer of exploring the park while summiting the nearby prominent Irumalaguppe peak 4500 ft next to Thirumalaguppe peak 5000 ft. While walking on the steep slopes amid grass lands having a grand view of west face of Kudremukh peak ,adjoining peak Durgada Habba and valleys. Sliding rather than descending to Lobomane or house crossing grasslands. Lobomane or “Lobo’s house” was a house made by Simon Lobo, a priest who made the Kudremukh ranges his home.Passing through the shoala forests in the shadow of Kudremukh peak one reaches a point which serves as re - entrant to park. The Majestic view of twin peaks and view of Irumalaguppe dwarfed under the gigantic Thirumalaguppe makes trans trek memorable. The grandeur of vertical rock face and conical shape of Thirumalguppe peak playing hide and seek with mist visible from the conopy of forest makes one crane his neck often.The trails is home for amazing orchids Seethale hoova and if one is lucky one can spot a Indian Gaurs and Sambar grazing on slopes.
After a long walk and descents brings one to fringes of Kudremukh park thus entering district of Dhakshina Kannada in Navoor . Numerous streams flow interminently and waterfalls dot the landscape here.

Kudremukha

Scaling the Horse’s Mane

Overview

  There might not be any individual in India who has not heard about Western Ghats. The gorgeous assembly of mountain ranges, flora, fauna and magical misty beauty that gloriously resides in the Western Ghats of India might not have escaped the eyes and ears of holiday planners. The Western Ghats appear to be parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula and is a go-to destination during free weekends. Karnataka is a state with immense beauty and natural splendour which often remains unexplored even by native people. There are many gorgeous mountain ranges, splendid peaks and breathe-taking waterfalls in this state. One such mountain peak is Kudremukh. Located at a distance of 360 kilometres from Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka State, it is 7 hour journey. It derives its name from the hilltop that resemblance a horse’s face. Surrounded by dense forests and rolling grasslands, Kudremukh offers a nerve-numbing sight to its visitors. 

Your first stop in this province while coming from Bengaluru will be a small hamlet of Samse. It has nothing but a few shops and crossroads remaining. You can stock up essentials and arrange for a vehicle towards your journey to Kudremukha peak. From here you will be driven on a jeep safari for the first ten kilometres until you reach Mullodi. You can set up a camp in this location for an early morning trek. Kalasa is basically the main town of Kudremukha. But the town of Kudremukha is almost deserted after the closure of mining business. The forest department office is held in the Kudremukh town, which is 20 km after Kalasa. If you have not attained a permit for your trekking, this is where you need to go to obtain a permit. 

The local residents of this region are warm and extremely friendly. There are many houses and families who welcome unknown strangers into their house and let them rest during their trekking expeditions. One can enjoy the fantastic hospitality of these families during the trip. The food served will be cooked out to local ingredients and the taste is unparalleled. 

During this trip, you will come face to face with most refreshing lush green patches of grasslands. Greenery will be redefined in your minds as you will see different shades of green while in here. The calm open meadows will offer you peace that you always crave for in a city life. The bewitching sight of foggy clouds touching the feet of this intense green land will be a memory of your lifetime. 

The Kudremukh National Park is heavily populated with wildlife that is unique to this geographic location. Visitors are mesmerised by the exquisite collection of flora and fauna in the park which includes casuarinas, acacia auriculiformis, eucalyptus and Grevillea Robusta. The wide array of wildlife of this region consists of Malabar giant squirrels, sloth bears, gaurs, common langurs, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, porcupines, jackals, giant flying squirrels, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer and mongoose. You will easily find birds like Malabar whistling thrush, imperial pigeon, great pied hornbill and the Malabar trogon.

   

Kumaraparvatha

Overview

     Kumaraparvatha, also known as ‘Pushpagiri’, lies in the backdrop of ancient shrine of Kukke Subramanya. ‘Giri’ in Kannada means Peak. Kumara Parvatha is the third tallest peak in western ghats of  Karnataka.Mullaiyanagiri in Chickmaglur being the tallest and Tadiyandamol in Coorg being the second tallest. The peak, almost always plays ‘hide and seek’ with the clouds, and is one of the most beautiful places of the Western Ghats. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary or Pushpagiri Forest Range spreads from Subramanya in Mangalore District to Somwarpet in Coorg district covering an area of 102 sq km. This range is abode to many gigantic peaks in the Western Ghats and home to various species of medicinal plants and flora and fauna. Kumara Parvatha Peak stands the tallest amongst the peaks in Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary at an
altitude of 5136 ft (1712 mts) above Sea level.


Kurinjalu Trek

Floral Heaven

Overview

   

Among the prominent peaks around Kudremukh Horse Face peak Kurinji kallu 3802 ft Altitude ranks the best for its magnificient views.The magnificient cone shaped rock face cliff derives its name from Kurinji flower Strobilanthes kunthiana. Neelakurinji.The shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India. The purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji blossoms gregariously only once in 12 years.
Located about 20 kms from Kudremukh sharing border with Dakshina Kannada district. The point where you start is about 9kms from kudremukh colony.The trail meanders through open grasslands and under canopy from village called "MaLa". where the former route takes you in a jeepable track the later is through thickets of the jungle typical to Western Ghats.
There is an old abandoned structure station here at the top, but the water is available at 1km distance downhill.The place is abundant with variety of fauna and flora. The Kudremukh National park houses variety of wildlife such as tiger, leopard, wild dog, Malabar giant squirrel, common langur, sloth bear, gaur, porcupine, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, jackal, giant flying squirrel and the mongoose.

The park also has about 195 species of birds which are Malabar trogon,Lion tailed Macaque, Malabar whistling thrush, great pied hornbill and the imperial pigeon.Reptiles like Snakes and tortoises are also found here.

 

Meesapulimala

Land of the Whiskered Tigers

Overview

    Nature has bestowed wonders upon mankind in the form of scenic beauty. But flowers blossom for those who want to see them. The famous American athlete Wilma Rudolph once said, “The shining of the sun makes a man to do anything for neither the mountains are too high to climb nor are his troubles too difficult to overcome”.  Exploring this magnanimity and beauty of nature could be an amazing experience given the length of trekking man makes right here at Meesapulimala. 

Centuries ago, Lord Murugan had made this place his abode and blessed it with prosperity and abundance in natural resources. A perfect blend of blue sky coalesced with luscious green mountains, Meesapulimala, has its own story to tell. The vast stretch of grassy pastures giving a person the clear sight of white snow-capped mountain peaks creates positive vibes and a sense of calmness. This natural beauty is favourable, today, to many trekkers to go on a trekking spree here and climb to the highest peaks in the southern region.

Meesapulimala is a name of the Tamil origin that literally translates to ‘Mountains of Moustached Tigers’. The place houses many species of flora and fauna. This naturally occurring snow clad peak has managed to attract tourists from all over the place.  The beauty of Meesapulimala lies in the fact that it is situated on the confluence of three divine rivers of Mudhirapuzha, the ever flowing River Kundaly and the blissful Nalathani.  Trekkers and travellers here are welcomed by Munnar- a priced destination in the Malabar Coast - before ascending this gigantic 8,661 feet tall wonder. Munnar is considered to be the creation of Lord Murugan. It is at the Tamil Nadu - Kerala border as it bestows us with the richness of medicinal Nilgiris and the colourful rhododendrons irrespective of the languages spoken here or the region to which people belong. To summarize, this place knows no bounds and gifts the tourists with a pleasant environment to thrive upon. The exceptional rhodo valley brings blissful joy with its wide carpet of Rhododendrons. Munnar has been one of the rarest locations which have reserves to some of the endemic species of India.

Some of the lesser known animal species rife to this region include the Nilgiri Pigeons, Sambars, Giant Grizzled squirrels and have increased the inflow of tourists from all over the world. Also, don’t me amazed if an elephant, a gaur or a Nilgiri Tahr visit you on your way. 

Love is always in the air at Munnar as it holds the coveted title of the Honeymooners’ Pride.

Meesapulimala is a high mountain peak in the south and competes with her look alike sister, Sahyadri, in the west. The largest tea plantation of Kolukkumalai finds its base here at the Meesapulimala peak. It is an amazing trek that takes you across shoals (or mountain rain forests) that are at a considerable altitude. This leads to the other name that the jungles get, as they are rightly referred to as the ‘cloud forests’. 

While ascending this peak travellers have to literally watch over each step they take, as the vast carpet of grasslands are homes to the breeds of leeches. First aid kits are a must have list of things to carry in your backpacks. This mighty peak is one of the nine peaks of this region and unfolds many hardships during its climb that is so tiring to man for a little more than 8,661 feet. One of them could be the lack of oxygen while at the top. But once you succeed reaching atop, you will be swaying over the clouds that engulf you. Your heart will surely skip a beat at the scenery that finally is achieved by this feat. Meesapulimala leaves us speechless with its generosity in bestowing calmness, joy and the beauty. The mightiness of this peak is not just due to its physical appearance but also due to its magnanimous pleasure.

 

 

Minchukallu and Kumbhakallu

Charming Hillocks of Charmadi

Overview

Situated in thick forest of Banjarumale region these are considered the highest hillocks in Charmadi range. Unique Topography and accessibility makes it one of the sought destination for a avid trekkers. Journey along the hair bends in the ghats makes travel memorable.The valleys are dotted with Perinneal waterfalls and swift flowing rivers.Thick forests are also home for the Malekudiya tribal families.
Twin peaks after descending from Ghats beckon and challenge adventurer. At the top of the hill lies a huge bauxite stone, which attracts lightning during monsoon. With this, the hill gets its name ‘Minchukallu’ which means the stone which attracts lightning. For trekkers, who love adventure and challenges, this is their ultimate paradise because there is no short cut and easy route to reach this peak. Apart from tedious trekking route, what adds to the challenge is the herd of elephants making frequent appearances here.
Kumbakallu is another hill which is worth seeing in the vicinity. Trekkers will come across two dense forests namely ‘Banjaru Male’ and ‘Ambati Male,’ which are like safe abode for pachyderms. The elephants are seen even on Minchukallu hill and if locals are to be believed, elephants follow a corridor from the foothill to the peak accelerating themselves in zig-zag movement. At the top of the hill, these pachyderms get their staple food, which is called ‘Aane Hullu’ in Kannada. With the fight between man and elephant increasing over the years, the number of elephants coming to this area has increased.

Mukurthi Trek

At the Nostrils End

Overview

Mukurthi National Park is situated in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, at a distance of approximately 27 km from Ooty. It lies on the southeastern corner of the elevated Nilgiri Plateau and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere. Spread over an area of over 80 sq km, Mukurthi Wildlife Sanctuary of India has an altitude that averages around 2400 m. The peak’s name in Kannada means ‘cutnose’ and is believed by the local people to be the nose of Ravana’s sister Surpanaka, whose nose was cut by Lakshmana.

The peak is sacred to the Toda tribes of the Nilgiris. According to a legend, when female infanticide was prevalent among the todas, the babies were taken to this side of the hill and killed. Toda women were forbidden to this side of the hill. As one of the women disobeyed, her nose was cut off as punishment. This nose turned into the peak and she became a goddess. Even today, the Todas believe that the souls of men and buffaloes leap together into the other world from the summit of the Mukurti peak.

The flora of Mukurti National Park of India is very much similar to what is found in the Himalayan range. A National Park for Exotics - Endemics and ew intriguing things about Mukurthi is Of the 200 grassland species 105 are endemic to south India. Of these 77 are endemic to the Western Ghats. 22 are found in the Nilgiris alone. Mukurthi has the highest number of scapigerous Impatiens found in any one place, unit area, landscape: in the world.

The landscape is dominated by grasslands, Rhododendron, pine,which are mostly dotted with a number of secluded, dense and sharply defined wet temperate mixed forests. These forests consist of savannah woodlands, along with evergreen trees, smaller than the lowland ones. The main sources of water in the park are Billithadahalla, Pykara and Kundah RiversThe pride of Mukurthi Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu is its significant population of Nilgiri Thar. Apart from that, one can also see Nilgiri Marten, Otter, Barking Deer, Sambar, Jungle Cat, Jackals, etc. The most popular bird species of Mukurti Wildlife Sanctuary are Black Eagle, Woodcock, Laughing and Whistling Thrushes, Wild Pigeon, etc. One can also find a large number of butterflies inside the sanctuary, like Hedge Blues, Indian Fritillary, Indian Red Admiral, Blue Admiral, Rainbow Trouts, etc.


 

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