At 2:00 AM midnight, Somewhere in a remote dense forest of Western Ghats … Even a single ray of light was struggling to navigate through the utter darkness… In between, some vehicles were toiling through the steep road though their head light was servile to the supreme darkness of the night… In that absolute wilderness, Night was so placid that none in the bus could notice that bus went kaput… ignorance became bliss… So was knowledge… even after awareness none tried to disturb the sheer tranquility of the nigh till dawn penetrated through the darkness and asked us to recede from the bus…
Forest Trail on the way to Kumara Parvatha
I was on my way to Udupi and caught a right bus from Bangalore and was expecting to arrive at Udupi next planning. The definition of life suggests that nothing should go as per your plan and all I was witnessing one example of that. While crossing the Western Ghats from Sakleshpur, My bus was broke and here I was standing on the road near Kukke Subramanya. After a bit of contemplation, I concluded not to proceed to further till Udupi because it was already morning and I was quite far from Udupi.
First Stage of Kumara Parvatha trek
I had not heard much about Kukke Subramanya other than the sacred temple but the mountain range looked irresistible and I decided to go further. I reached Kukke Subramanya (25 km, 19 Rs) in some 30-40 minutes from that point (Gundya, Later I got to know about it). At bus stand itself, I initiated a conversation with a group just for the sake of getting help which later turned out to be a blessing. Nakul, Sharat, Anil, Puneet are frequent trekkers to Western Ghats and a leisurely walk on Kumara Parvatha range was in their plan for this weekend and they were ready to take me along on this trek.
Starting of Kumara parvatha trek
Kumara Parvatha is a very popular peak for the trekkers in Western Ghats and considered as a challenging one mainly because of total distance that one need to cover to reach till the peak. Kumara Parvatha lies in Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. There are 2 routes to the peak. The shorter and easier one starts from Coorg region and the longer one starts from Kukke Subramanya.
Entrée fee: 200 (Indian), 1000 (Foreigners)
Guest Inclusion: Brief on Kumara Parvatha trek by Nakul Heroor
The total distance from kukke subramanya to kumara parvatha also pushpagiri is 14 - 15 km. The first Important milestone on your way would be bhattara mane as in house of the bhatt. It would new a favorable lunch point for any seasoned trekker. Then is the forest dept check point where there are plenty of guava trees to feed on. The next phase is to make it to the mantapa. The last point of availability of water. Then after an hour n a half of steep climb, you'll be facing deep valley of pushpagiri and peak of kumara parvatha. A shiva temple on the peak can be a camping point.
On the way down, you have the option of retracing your steps back to kukke or head towards somvarpet which is another 15 km walk most of it downhill through mild jungle. There is also a forest office at the end of the trail. But to find a bus back to somvarpet you ll have to walk for few kms on rate road to nearest bus stop. If are willing for taking a short detour of not more than 3 km, there is a beautiful waterfall malalli falls on your way back to bus stop.
On the way to Kumara parvatha peak
After having light breakfast and packing our lunch, all of us started hiking up. They had already accomplished Kumara Parvatha couple of times so locating the right trail was not a problem. The Initial patch of the trek passes through dense forest and really steep so It was an exhaustive affair in the beginning. The trail was well outlined with a bit of obstruction from the fallen trees. The initial stretch is slightly wet with moister and water streams hence also the perfect habitat for leeches. We were relatively faster in the beginning and surpassed other fellow trekkers. After some 2-3 km in dense forest, we reached to relatively horizontal and open space. Now the terrain was dominated by grass, meadow fern and short trees. It was a warm and pleasant sunny day and we were in no hurry in reaching till the top.
Landscape Kumara Parvatha trek
One of my sandal worn-out and I was trying to fix it. I was not carrying a spare pair but still managing it somehow. Now it was more of a leisure walk on the hills admiring beautiful surroundings and misty peaks. The trek is well maintained with benches and dustbins at regular distance. After walking further we reached to a house which is also considered as the last point to refill your water bottles, buying something to eat or using a toilet. We were anyway carrying our own lunch so just refilled the water bottles and headed further.
Platform with benches near Kumara parvatha peak
Soon after we reached to the entrance of Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary where you will have to pay 200 INR per head for entering into the sanctuary. Guava trees were bloomed profusely with fruits and we were not indifferent to the appetizing guavas. Despite of a broken sandal I could pluck out many. Finally we reached the concrete platform offering spectacular view of the peaks. Benches are properly set up to the platform providing a best place to rest and take your lunch as we followed the same. We were more than half a trek through but my one sandal was completely ripped off and another one was partially so I was a bit hesitant to hike further. After delightful lunch everyone got engaged in respective activities, I also preferred to take a short nap under the sun on that bench.
The last platform near peak
Other trekkers were hiking further while we were sleeping. Although Nakul and his group wanted to go further but considering my sandals, they dropped the idea, however descending back bare feet was quite a challenge for me. It was a sheer disappointment to quit the trek in between but I believe that it was a prudent decision.
Another peak in Pushpagiri Wild life Sanctuary
How to trek bare feet: If your footwear is broken in between a trek. First try to fix it tightly with you feet using a thread if possible. In worst case scenario, you will have to walk bare feet, in that case first get a log for support and try to walk more on the grass rather than on the outlined trek. You should avoid walking on the rock flour that would be a burning experience. While walking down bare feet, first time in my life I realized the importance of a foot wear. It’s an invention or innovation… rarely appreciated. The moment I reach Kukke Subramanya after 2-3 hours of descendant, I purchased a pair of footwear and indeed the most necessitate pair. Nakul and his group were planning to return back to Bangalore where as I was without a plan so they suggested me to go to Dharmasthala where not only will I get cheap accommodation but there are also some beautiful temples in the town. Before leaving Kukke Subramanya, I also got a chance to visit famous Kukke Subrahmanya Temple which was not much crowded in the evening. Finally it was time to say good bye to my fellow trekkers whom I am still in touch.
Silver lining in the clouds
I admit that I could not reach till the summit of Kumara Parvatha but I also do not regret the decision of receding back considering the situation I was into… Kumara Parvatha.... Some another time may be…