Kodachadri Hills – Monsoon Trek 15 & 16/08/2015

Places: Kodachadri, Nagara Fort and Jog Falls, Karnataka

Distance: 1,000+ km round trip
Route: Bangalore-> Shimoga -> Nagara -> Gawrikere -> Nagara -> Sagar -> Jog falls ->Bangalore

Transportation: Tempo Traveller

Crew:  Seena, Mansoor, Vinay, Kantraj, Shreyas, Shreeharsha  and Sagar (Myself)
Type: Trekking, Sight Seeing
Ideal for: Friends and Family
Budget: 3,200/head
Trek length: 16 km
Difficulty: Medium to Moderate

Best of the Beast: Kodachadri Trek Trail

Kodachadri is one of the must do Mansoon trek as per numerous articles and posts. Got a message from Seena who was planning Kodachadri trek without second thought I confirmed my presence for the trip.

Brief about the places:

Kodachadri hills: With the elevation of 1343 mtrs Kodachadri is considered to be 10th Highest peak in Karnataka, clothed with green Shola forest and thick  forest. and offers an immense landscape view. 

  • The Soil: Kodachadri contains iron and Manganese ore in its soil, though many efforts were made by big companies for mining, local people strongly opposed such move in view of possible environmental damage. 
  • Sarvajna Peeta/ Sarvajna Mantapa: Adi Shankaracharya used to meditate at the summit of Kodachadri where a stone temple has been constructed in his memory.
  • Mookambika Temple / Moolastana: Another temple is situated near Inspection Bangalow which is believed to be origin place of Mookambika devi. 
  • Hidlumane falls: Its a series of 6 to 7 cascading falls with the last one being the amazing one. The falls can only be reached by a steady trek.

Nagara Fort / Bidanur Fort: Built in stone masonry fort is almost irregular hexagonal on plan having a series of bastions in apsidal, circular and squarish plan at regular intervals. Nagara fort is a beautiful place to spent couple of hours.

Jog Falls: Jog Falls is the second highest plunge waterfall in India created by Sharavati River dropping from the height of 830 ft. 

Friday Night: After Bangalore Darshana, cab finally arrived at Nagarbhavi – my pickup point at 11.45 pm. After a formal greeting and regular talks, we shouted Hoooo-haaaa for the amazing trek ahead and fell asleep as it was going to be a very long journey. Its around 400 km on a good road via Shimoga route.

Saturday Morning: After crossing Nagara we called guest house for the directions, a guy was waiting near Gowrikere cross who took us to the Guest house. Finally after a long journey we reached guest house at 9 am. The guest house was looking decent from outside, rooms were bit stinky but we said to ourselves “Swalpa adjust Madkolli”. After fresh up we filled our stomach with tasty Idli and rice.

That’s called – sound sleep
Guest house

Monsoon Trek: We were all set for the Mansoon trek with full gear – Umbrella, Salt water, Cameras, Rain suit. It was 11.30 am by the time we started trek, the sky was filled with clouds which was ready to shower at anytime. Guide said that he would be taking us through Hidlumane Falls route which takes 8 km to reach falls and from there another 8 km to reach the peak, 16 km trek total. As expected it started raining as soon as we started, we were wondering how to trek in such heavy rain but suddenly rain stopped and climate became pleasant than before. 

All set for Monsoon Trek
Initial trek trail on jeep route
Diverting from the jeep trail to enter forest route
Trail through forest
Passing by school
Such a bad conditioned road only jeep can cover
A small girl accompanied us for some stretch

Leeches – The Blood Suckers: Everyone was afraid of leeches, Seena had his own ways to get rid of leeches with his leech-proof socks but others had to rely on salt water prepared by Seena.  Most of us were seeing leeches for the first time so it was a mixed emotion to express. Sounds foolish but I always wanted to be bitten by leeches at least once in my life, I knew it was time for my wish to be fulfilled 😀 Stepping each step with caution we moved on, after few steps we saw first leech on Seena’s shoes, I was expecting leeches to be big black, blood sucking worm but it was tiny little creatures that a naked eye can hardly see, just little taller than Ant but skinny. Once they get on your your leg its almost impossible to get rid of them. Wearing shoes can be advantage as you can get rid of them before they climb on your foot provided you keep checking shoes inside out. The salt was a boon for us to get rid of leeches to some extent.

Seena’s Leech Proof socks
Spraying salt water to get rid of Leeches
First bite of leech
A small shop after beyond which falls route continues
Hidlumane Falls: The trek went smoothly until we encountered the first stream of water. The real trek began from here. The trail turned extremely slippery with sharp ricks, holding on to stumps and branches of tree for support we trudged slowly. The water fall flows as a series of 6 to 7 falls, eacg a beautiful sight in its own right. Each of these falls is hidden from one another and each seem to be more enthralling than the last one. But the most amazing one is situated at the top of the cascade. The milky white water rushing down against a background of rocks and greenery is a sight to behold. We took no time to jump into to take shower. There is natural pool formed beneath the falls where visitors can stand comfortably and enjoy. The ice cold water hammering on body from the height of 60 fr wiped all the stress (even the leeches :P).

Encountered the first stream of water
Enchanting view of first stream of water
Second stream of water
Hidlumane Falls
Hidlumane Falls: Natural pool formed from the falls

Back to the Trek: After a refreshing dip in the falls, we rejoined jungle trail to the right, another 8 km to reach the peak. The trail transformed from steep to nearly vertical, requiring one to get support from stumps and tree branches. After climbing up rocks and branches for half an hour we emerged out of the thick forest into an open slope. We were greeted with heavy rain and a beautiful panoramic view. About an hour later the trail merged with the Jeep trail. This spot is well known as Galipata spot (Kannada film Galipata has been shot at this place). The forgotten leeches sucked on many people again. 

After emerging out of the thick forest.
Steep stretch

Finally the Jeep trail was visible
At Galipata spot 
Selfie @ Galipata spot

It was around 3.30 pm, guide asked us to wait for the food which was supposed to be carried by Jeep. We wasted precious 30 minutes waiting in cold and rain, that’s when we realized the game guide was playing to earn extra money. He told that its already 3.30 pm by the time we start descending it will be late so he asked us to hire Jeep. We had plan to descend on foot but guide suggested its not possible as it will be dark. Finally everyone agreed to hire a Jeep costing us 2200 Rs. We walked 15 minutes more to reach Inspection Bangalow where the Jeep trail ends, vehicles come till this point beyond which one has to trek another 2 km to reach the peak. We had our meal served near IB, holige and hot rice felt heaven to the stomach. After 10 minutes of rest we continued on our path to the peak, Rudra and Guide decided to stay at IB till we were back.

Inspection Bangalow
Inspection Bangalow
Meal served at Inspection Bangalow

Final Trail: Trail behind the IB leads to the peak, Mookambika temple near IB which is considered to be the origin of Mokambika devi. Vehicles cannot got beyond this point, so everyone has to walk this trail to reach the peak, Its a 2 km final stretch which is relatively easy for all age groups. Finally after couple of minutes we reached the peak where a stone temple dedicated to Shankaracharya is constructed. Pujari explained that Shankaracharya used meditate here during his spiritual journey.

The trail behind the IB leading to the summit
Seeing sun for the first time in the day Time: 5:30 pm
Pujari house
Final trail
Craziest part of the trail, a death trap to the left

Sarvajna Mantapa at Summit
Sarvajna Mantapa inside view
Shankaracharya’s idol worshipped
Group photo at the peak

Watching Sunset from peak where the Sun goes down the Arabian sea changing his color every minute is every trekkers dream but we were unlucky as it was Monsoon and the sky was covered with the clouds. Rain didn’t allow us to enjoy the mesmerizing  view either. There is Ganesha Cave on the way back, we waved our hands to lord Ganesh. 

Mookambika temple
believed to be Moolastana of Mookambika devi

After having hot tea and snacks we returned to IB where a jeep was waiting for us. Jeep ride was  exciting as it passes through horrible roads where it is nearly impossible for cars to cover this stretch. It was surprising to see some bikes like Royal Enfield, Pulsar and even Discover had crossed  this stretch in rain and bad road conditions, hats off to those riders ../ After one and half hour we reached guest house, it was 7.30 pm by the time we reached. Played cards for some time, had dinner and went back to bed.

Driving back to guest house in jeep
Bone fire

Sunday Morning: Second day plan was to visit Nagar fort and  jog falls then back to Bangalore. After getting ready we checked out at 8.30 am, had breakfast near Nagara town. 

Nagara Fort: We reached our first destination of the day at 10 am, initially we decided to spend around 30 minutes but things went different than we planned. Unlike many fort which are built on a higher Nagara fort is build at a very low level ground yet gave a good view of the surrounding villages. Chilled climate, placed covered in green and perfect light gave an excellent atmosphere for photography. Each photo clicked was extraordinary so we decided to have photo session as we had missed photos on the previous day due to heavy rain. Everybody’s inner handsome guy woke up for the photos, we were lost in photos that we forgot the running clock. After spending an hour of intense photo session we returned to cab and headed to the next destination – Jog Falls.

Nagara fort Entrance gate
Inside view of the entrance gate 
Nagara fort
Water storage for the fort
Shivappa Nayaka’s Darbar Hall

Photo time

Fort clothed in green

Jog Falls: The road goes through ghat section, after three hours of horrible journey we reached Jog at 2 pm. I was visiting Jog Falls for first time but most of guys had been here before. Steps which lead to the base of the falls was closed so we had to see and enjoy falls from far. To my surprise it was completely different than I had imagined, since it was monsoon I was expecting water level to be at the peak but in reality small streams of water falls were flowing. 

Beautiful SiddiVinayaka temple on the way to Jog
Jog Falls: From left streams are named as
Raja. Rani, Roarer and rocket
Raja and Rani

We had a long journey ahead of us so we left the place soon and headed back to Bangalore. Stopped at Pundanahalli village near Chikmagaluru – Kanta’s home town. His parents greeted us with snacks and tea, they even packed dinner for us which we on the way. Finally, I reached my home 12, and the last drop Vinay and Kanta reached at 1.30 am.

Important Notes:

1. There are three trekking trails i. via Santosh Hotel, ii. Hidlumane falls route and iii. Jeep route. All these routes have their own pros and cons, read more about the route at Kotresh Blog here
2. There is option for staying at the Inspection Bangalow near the peak, you can contact Rajendra (944915540) for details. 
3. Hidlumane falls route is difficult as I explained above, a guide is a must if taking this way. 
4. Wear shoes as leeches can easily get on leg if wore slippers, experts say leeches suffocate from the smell of socks so they don’t enter inside the shoes. Stinky socks come handy in this case 😀
5. There are so many ways to get rid of leeches, we used the salt method. Pour salt on your legs at regular interval. If you are bitten by leech then just pour salt, it will leave you in 10 seconds.

Details of the stay: 

Contact person: Rajendra 944915540
Cost of the guest house: 800 per head including stay, guide for the trek, bone fire, tea. 1 break fast, 1 lunch and one dinner

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  1. It depends on which route you would be taking. Jeep route you won't need but if you are taking falls route I recommend to take a guide. The path is marked but there are many places where you might get confused.