Places: Tadiandamol Hills, Kodagu, Karnataka. Chelavara Falls, Kodagu, Karnataka. and Iruppu Falls, Kurchi, Karnataka
Distance: 700 kms overall
Route: Bangalore -> Hunsuru -> Gonikoppa -> Virajpet/Virarajendrapet -> Tadiandamol Hills -> Chelavara Falls -> Virajpet -> Gonikoppa -> Iruppu Falls -> Nagarhole National Park -> Hunsur -> Bangalore
Type: Trekking, Water Falls
Ideal for: Friends & Family
Transportation: Tempo Traveller
Crew: Seena, Mansoor, Mohan, Shashank, Naresh, Nandan, Triguna and me
Budget: 2000 Rs/Head
|Best of the beast
1. Tadiandamol hills: Highest mountain of Kodagu district, Karnataka, India. It is the third highest peak in Karnataka. It is located Western Ghats range, and reaches an elevation of 1,748 m. It is a place of interest for trekkers and naturalists. The mountain has patches of shola forests in the valleys.
2. Chelavara Falls: The main attraction at Chelavara is a seasonal waterfall. Chelavara falls is also called Emepaare in Kodava Takk due to the resemblance of the rock at the falls to Tortoise. The water fall is really a wonder full view as the water gushes from the top amidst the green coffee plantation.
3. Iruppu Falls: Iruppu is a sacred place and is located in south Coorg on the Brahmagiri range of hills. River Lakshmana-tirtha flows nearby. According to legends Rama and Lakshmana, passed this way in search of Sita. Lakshmana shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri hills and brought into being the river Lakshmana tirtha when Rama asked him to fetch some water.
Plan in short: Left bangalore at 5 am -> Reached Gonikoppa at 12 pm -> Had lunch, took parcel for dinner -> Started trekking at 3 pm -> Reached peak at 6 pm -> Saw the sunset and camped overnight on the peak -> Descend and reached base by 9 am -> Visit chelavara falls -> Visited Irrupu falls -> Reached bangalore by 12 am.
The journey: Vehicle picked Naresh and me at 5.45 am from Vijaynagar. Nandan joined from Bangalore University gate. We were far behind the sheduled plan, the weekend traffic on mysore road added delay to the plan. We stopped at Shivalli hotel for breakfast at 8 am. Reached Gonikoppa at 12, we decided to have lunch and take parcel for dinner. It was almost 1.30 by the time we finished lunch. We decided to skip the chelavar falls as it will be very late for us to trek and camp on the top.
|First photo @Shivalli Restaurant
|Shivalli Restaurant on Mysore road
|Lunch at Gonikoppa
Switched on the navigation and headed towards the Tadiandamol Hills, parked the vehicle at the Aramane palace school ground. There is plenty of space for parking at palace grounds, you can even take the vehicle 1.5 kms up but there is less parking space avaible but if you are going early then you will get parking space easily, if you rented the vehicle then ask driver to drop till there, come back and park here. Back packed the tents, sleeping bags, fruits, eatables, and water bottles. All set for the ultimate trek.
|All set for the ultimate trek
|Aramane School grounds where we parked the temp traveller
|You will get breakfast in the morning at this place,
its at the base of the hill
|Time for a group photo
|TT could have dropped us till this point.
|First view of the surrounding Hills
|Waning Sign: No camping overnight on the hill
which we saw while coming back
The Trek: We started trekking from the Aramane Palace ground, the total trek from here is 6 kms. After 1.5 kms the road turns into narrow road where one has to walk thereafter. There was a small sign board which read “Camping at night on the peak is not allowed”, which we saw while coming back. The trail till the peak is very clear there is no chance of missing the route.
The trek has four stages,
- First stage – The trail is surrounded with trees, the trek is easy.
- Second stage – Trail is through open grassland, the toughest part of the trek.
- Third stage – Through thick forest, some time it could be scary but its a very short path after which the open granssland continues.
- Fouth stage – 10 more minutes of difficult trekking to reach the peak.
It was 3 pm by the time we started trek, we planned to reach peak before sunset so we kept a good pace. Reached the legendary “Big Rock” at 4.45, this point is ideal for camping as there is water source available nearby, the rock would protect against the wind, the land is flat, the space is big as to fit many tents. But we wanted to camp on the peak as we were lazy to get up early and trek in the morning. After refilling the water bottles we started the hardest part of the trek.
|Trek trail: Path is pretty wide and neat
|Second view of the surrounding hills
from here open grass land starts
|Hunters: The legendary Big Rock,
|Water source near the big rock
The steep path reduced our pace, the bags started feeling heavy, we had to keep good pace as to reach peak before sunset. Before the thick forest there is a beautiful sight seeing point from where you can have a nice view of the surrounding hills. It took 5 minutes to cross the jungle. As soon as we crossed the jungle we could see the peak, few more minutes to conquer the peak. Sun was about to sleep so we rushed, the sky had turned red.
|The thick forest at the top,
need to cross it to reach the peak
|Sight seeing point
|Entry to the thick forest
The peak: We reached the peak at 6.10, took 3 hours to reach the peak. Sun was looking more beautiful than ever. Within few minutes clouds covered the place, sun was hidden completely behind the clouds. Finally our aim to reach the peak before sunset was accomplished.
|After crossing the forest
you can see the trees behind
|Few more meters to the peak
|Triguna was the first one to reach followed by Naresh
|Sunset time: Sky turning red
|Ek group photo to banti hai peak pe
|Sunset as we witnessed
Seena streamed video on guide how to setup the tent. While most of us were busy in putting the tent 2-3 guys took responsibility of campfire.
|Fitting all 8 people in a single tent, ufffff
Within 1 hour tent was setup and the campfire was ready. Everyone was feeling hungry, chapati we brought in parcel tasted heaven, had fruits and snacks. Played card for some time and everyone was ready to go to sleep. While tent was protecting us from wind; sleeping bag kept us warm.
Wakeup call: Seena woke everyone up at 5.30 in the morning. It was freezing cold outside the tent, hands were numb and body started shivering. The place was covered with clouds and darkness.
Sunrise: At 6 am I could see people trekking towards the peak with torches. As time passed more and more people assembled at the peak, many people were shocked to see us camp on the peak. It was almost 6.30 when the sky was filled with the light. As place was covered with the clouds we hardly could see the sun. We had two more places to cover so we decided to pack and leave at the earliest.
|Clouds covering the hill
|Sun Rise: Sun was hardly visble behind the clouds
|Tents we had put on the peak
|Pack up; ready to descend
Descend was easy as gravity was doing most of the work. We stopped at the Big rock again. Got freshed at nearby water source. Ate oranges and bread which we had reserved for the breakfast. As there are many resorts at the base there were hundreds of people trekking, including group of boys and gilrs, family and children. Reached aramane grounds at 10.45 am.
|While trekking down
|The thick forest
|Stopped at big rock again to ger fresh near water source
|Finally back to the base at 9 am
Cheluvara Falls: Reached cheluvara falls at 11.30 am. There were few people at the place. Place is ideal for playing in water and getting wet. We had Irrupu falls to be covered so no one got into water. Without wasting much time we headed towards Gonikoppa. It was almost 1 am, visited the same hotel again. Had a nice meal and back on the wheels to see Iruppu falls.
|Way to chelavara Falls
|First look of the falls
Iruppu falls: The place is well maintained, gate keeper didn’t allow any plastic items, eatables or liquors beyond the entrance gate. They have completely banned the plastic. The entrace fee was 30 Rs/head which seemed perfectly ok after seeing the maintainance. The first sign board read “Stop talking and listen to the nature”. Eveyone followed the instruction, we could hear water falls and birds chirping. Its 0.7kms trekking with 120 steps. The place was crowded as its a great place, ideal for family outing, close to the wild life. There was metal bridge constructed to help the people go near the falls and enjoy the force of water falling from 51.8 mts.
|Parking space near the Iruppu falls entrance
|Sign boards at the entrance,
Plastic is banned completely at this place
|Brief intro abou the falls
|Far view of the falls
|Medium amount of water
Driving Back: We played in water for 1 hour and we left the place as we wanted to enter the nagarhole entrance before 6 pm. Nagarhole is just 20 kms from here. Within half an hour we enterd the entrance of nagarhole nation park. No one is allowed to enter the forest after 6 pm or before 6 am. Bikes are not allowed inside the forest as its unsafe. Spotted deers and peacocks on the way. 30 kms of drive through forest was peacefull. We stopped at mandya for snanner (snacks+dinner coined by shashank) to fill our stomach. Entered Bangalore at 11.30 pm. I got down at Vijaynagar at 12 am.
1. There are many resorts at the base of the hill, if you are not planning to camp then you can stay at decent resort and trek in the early morning.
2. The trekking trail is clear as many people trek, so there is no chance you will miss the route, or you need a guide.
3. It is safe for girls as I had seen many girls trekking in the morning, the trek is safe as long as you go on day light and in group.
4. The second part of the trek after the big rock is difficult, be prepared with water and food.
5. Irrupu falls is really great, dont miss it.
6. The routes and guidance is very well explained in kotresh blog, so have a look at it before you go.
Checkout the below Google sphere photo for 360 degree view of the places
Note: If you are on mobile select “open with google maps” if it asks,
1. Aramane Palace ground where we parked vehicle
2. Trek trail: Sphere #1
3. Trek trail: Sphere #2
4. Trek trail: Sphere #3
5. Trek trail: Open grassland just before the Big Rock
6. Trek trail: Legendary Big Rock
8. Trek trail: Water source near the Big Rock
9. Trek trail: Sight seeing point just before the thick forest
10. Trek trail: Inside the thick forest
11. Trek trail: Almost there
12. Tadiandamol Hills peak
13. Chelavara falls
14. Iruppu Falls: near entrance
15. Iruppu Falls
Disclaimer: We didn’t know camping on the peak is banned strictly as there elephants seen recently, be sure to inquire local people before you decide to camp on peak. Other wise you can camp at the base and trek in the morning instead.
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