Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kumara Parvatha Trek

Kumara Parvatha(Kumarparvatha, Kumarparvata) is a trekker’s paradise, located on the border between the Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. The highest point is the Pushpagiri temple at 1710 mts from the sea level. The whole region falls under the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary.

Biggest draw to the trek is difficulty level of the route and the freedom to pitch the tent at the top (I mean, literally at the very top). Trek to Kumara Parvatha(to Pushpagiri Temple) is considered to be one of the most challenging treks in Karnataka. There are two approaches to the Pushpagiri temple, one from Beedahalli(7kms – Kodagu district) and other one from Kukke Subramanya(14kms – Dakshina Kannada district). Generally, one side is the approach route and the other side is the descent route, based on ones choice.

We took the Beedahalli route for approach, which is 7kms to the peak from the Beedahalli Forest Office. Earlier it was 13kms but after the motor-able road was extended by a bridge at beedahalli, it has come down to 7kms.

Our first pit stop, after leaving Bangalore on friday night(9th Dec 2011), was at Somwarpet bus stand in Kushalanagara town to get the breakfast. Somwarpet is around 250kms from Bangalore.

A typical itinerary for Kumara Parvatha trek from Bangalore:
• Fri night departure from Bangalore
• Reach Somwarpet by morning
• Climb up to Pushpagiri Temple(peak) by late Saturday afternoon
• Night halt at the peak
• Start the descent to Kukke Subramanya in the morning and reach the base by Sunday afternoon
• Enjoy and Dhara river and visit the temple, if you have time
• Depart from Kukke Subramanya by late afternoon and reach Bangalore by late night

Somwarpet Bus Stand

From Somwarpet bus stand, it is another 45mins ride to the Beedahalli base of Kumara Parvatha.

We were a total of 18 trekkers, with some people coming for the first time on any kind of trek to some coming on their 10th time to Kumara Parvatha.

At Beedahalli base


Trekkers need to register at the Beedahalli Forest Office.


Overview of Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary with Pushpagiri Temple


Well, this is one of the treks where Forest department has made some efforts to make the trek easy and approachable. There is trekking trail with no signs of missing it, and there are Dustbins as well, placed at regular intervals to dispose your stuff(it would be great if anyone from Forest department actually cares to get the trash to the city to be disposed properly or rather than just dumping somewhere else in the forest)

Trekking route for Kumara Parvatha as seen on the map.


The route starts off by crossing a small stream, which during the rainy season is a raging bull almost impossible to tame.

Stream with a rope bridge.


Distance to the Pushpagiri Peak


The route criss crosses many water streams. At one of the places, it takes the form of this cut little waterfall, big enough to take bath and have loads of fun.


The way up is thickly forested.



Trekkers are blessed with an amazing view after almost 3.5 kms into the trek.


Later half of the route has couple of steep climbs on the rock surface. They are pretty long as well.



After 7kms of trek, trekkers get a chance to get rid of their back-packs and lay their bottoms on the ground :D


Pushpagiri Temple is a Shiva temple with huge reverence.


Pitching Tents for the night halt.


Sunset is staggering with amazing blend of colors.


A trek without night halt and good food doesn’t deserve to be called a trek at all.
Cooks in action :D


We were blessed to see the total Lunar eclipse on Saturday night. It was outstanding and especially beautiful with no city-lights causing any sort of disturbance. Once the moon completely disappeared, the sky was filled with innumerable twinkling stars which we are never able to see from cities.


During the night we could hear a lot more people reaching the top and pitching their tents, but we never expected to be a mela at the top. By morning, we could see more than 150 trekkers on top with tents pitched on every flat piece of the top. Nov-Dec-Jan are considered to be the best months to hike Kumara Parvatha, with very less rain and pleasant day temperatures.

Morning mela


All peaks boast of spectacular sunrises, and there is no denying that Kumara Parvatha rates at very top of those sunrises. It greeted us with a beautiful sun and blazing winds.


Our group finally managed to find a time and spot to stand together.


Descent is 14kms long to Kukke Subramanya town. The scenery and the trail is just breath-taking.


The trail is filled with lot of small stones, which make the descent a little boring with eyes always gazing the ground to find the best footing.


But the trail boasts of some of the best views on the whole trekking route. Trail can be seen on the small hill.


They are simply awesome.


No other word for it.


After almost 9kms from the top, Bhattaramane is a major resting place for all the trekkers. There is water, and there is tasty food. This place is Narayana Bhatt’s house, but becomes a preferred place for trekker’s night halt when approaching Kumara Parvatha from Kukke Subramanya side.


This is the only place which has water, since much of the descent route is not close to any stream whatsoever.


A typical mane.


From Bhattaramane to Kukke Subramanya town is 5kms with last 1km as the flat road. The first 4kms cannot be underestimated at all. It has thick vegetation with really humongous trees and literally a step like decline all the way(which will make approach from Kukke Subramanya side much more challenging than the Beedahalli approach). The other thing which makes Kukke Subramanya approach much more difficult is the absence of tree shade for the first 8-9kms from the top, with no shade and December sun coming down hard on us, we could feel the heat while descending itself. One can only imagine the heat during summer time.


Little people in grand scheme of nature


Once we reached Kukke Subramanya town, the most important thing to do is to take bath, and there is no better place than Dhara river. To our surprise, there was hardly any water in the river. The deepest point was only knee deep. But nevertheless, a wonderful place to cool down the body and wash all the sweat and salt from the skin.

River bath is a must before visiting Kukke Subramanya Temple. Lets do things the proper way !!!


Kukke Subramanya Temple with Kumara Parvatha in the background.



To get some perspective as how high we trekked, the marked top is the place where Pushpagiri temple is and it is the place where we pitched our tents and slept overnight. Awesome…


A truely memorable trek.
By Neeraj Kumar