Trekking and hiking have been our passion since long. After our overwhelming experience in the Himalayan treks, we wanted to go for hiking at the Western Ghats. The Baamikonda and Kalchukki Peak Trek is one of the unexplored trails in the Kudremukh range of the Western Ghats and is also a beautiful one. The picturesque beauty of the Sahyadris was quite evident in this short hiking trail. And it left us wondering why we did not trek here before!
The Western Ghats or the Sahyadris are one of the most beautiful ranges in India. Though it does not have the altitude and magnificence of the Himalayan ranges, it is more so compensated by the natural biodiversity of the region. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the place is one of the world’s hottest biodiversity hotspots.
The Baamikonda and Kalchukki Peak Trek is on the outer fringes of the Kudremukh National Park. The best part of the trek is that there is a beautiful ridge hike on the trail. On Friday night, we boarded the Tempo Traveller that took us to Balgal. From there a bumpy jeep ride took us to our homestay at Baamikonda.
The homestay “Shola Heights” is a charming property on a table top. Walking down a little, we could see a panoramic view of the valley below and the Kudremukh forest ranges.
We started our hike towards the Kalchukki peak early in the morning. The hike becomes more interesting when the company is good. We were a motley group of eight, but all of us were equally charged and energetic for the hike. We had in fact, completed the Kudremukh trek the previous day and were eager for this trek as well!
It had rained the night before and so the path was very slippery. Very cautiously we had to move along the hiking trail amidst the local plantations. The picturesque village was seen below and with the descending clouds, the place looked very magical. There is a small hillock where step farming was done. From the hiking trail, that looked quite scenic – just like a water colour painting.
Along the trail, there are small streams that we had to cross. Being monsoons, the streams were in full force flowing lyrically and we had to cross them with care.
The ridge had to be crossed very carefully as the rain had made the trail quite precarious. After a trek of an hour, we reached the peak. Reaching the peak was quite an exhilarating experience. We could see the Kudremukh peak from here. With mesmerizing views all around, all of us were simply happy to be there. And we too fell in love with these benevolent mountains – Sahyadris.
After some happy and exciting moments at the top and clicking a few photographs, it was time to retrace our steps. Well, descending down the slippery trail is no mean feat. We came down to our homestay and after a wonderful breakfast, we were ready to start towards Bangalore.
Enroute Bangalore, we stopped at Horanadu and had lunch at the famous Annapoorneshwari Temple.
A few words about the Baamikonda and Kalchukki Peak Trek:
The trek though an easy one, was an absolute delight because of the landscapes and the trail. The rolling green hills just felt like soft velvet and the sprightly streams through the forest just flowed by like a dainty damsel. And yes, being monsoons, the trail had a lot of leeches. We were warned by our trek lead Ananth, a wonderful and energetic soul, that leeches would definitely feast on us. He was not wrong. Almost all of us got a leech bite. Infact, at one point on the trail, I actually found out quite a number of leeches wriggling on my shoes. So do carry a packet of salt to ward off the leeches.
Trek type: Easy
Distance: 2 km each way
Altitude: 4645 feet
The forest here is surrounded by wildlife. It is mandatory to take a local forest guide with you during the trek.
How to reach:
The place is 335 km from Bangalore. Mangalore is the nearest railway station, 130 km from Mullodi, the nearest village.
Best Time to Visit:
Each season has its own beauty. You can do this hike at any time of the year.
The homestay Shola Heights is a beautiful property. With a big verandah in front, the place is really relaxing. They named the place “Shola Heights” as these were “Shola” forests. Well, “shola” forests actually means pockets of forests in between the valleys. The local call these small pockets of forests as “shola”.
Please note that Tale of 2 Backpackers were invited to this trek by Summiters. The views written here are, however, completely our own.