Kudremukh Trek – Western Ghats
Kudremukh is so beautiful! It was the first thought that came to my mind when I got a first glimpse of the peak. In the Kannada dialect “Kudre” means horse and “mukha” means face. And it happens so that the Kudremukh or Kudremukha peak appears like the face of a horse. Rolling green hills with the descending fog and mist, the place was simply beatific; and we were quite glad that we came for the trek. And more so, because we came just after the monsoons. Everything around us was green and fresh as if nature has painted a rosy picture in her own canvas.
Kudremukh peak is a part of the Kudremukh forest range and is the third highest peak in Karnataka after the Mullayangiri and Baba Budangiri. It is situated in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, one of the coffee hubs of Karnataka. The area of the forest is about 600.32 square km having a variety of flora and fauna.
We are always fond of trekking and previously we had done Himalayan treks before. And those treks always left us spellbound and wanting for more. But we had never trekked in the Western Ghats before. Kudremukh was our first one and after the trek, we simply thought that we should do this more here.
We were very graciously invited by the Summiters to do this trek with them. So on a Friday night, we boarded the bus from Bangalore with the team and ventured on an overnight journey towards Balgal. We reached Balgal early in the morning and from there a bumpy jeep ride took us to Baamikonda, another village a few kilometers downhill from Mullodi, the base camp of Kudremukh. You can read about our experience at the Baamikonda-Kaalchukki Peak Trek here.
After having our breakfast we started for the trek. Though we started a little late, all the eight of us were quite charged up and was ready for the challenge ahead. Our team was a mix of newbies and veteran trekkers.
The hiking trail was an easy one at the beginning. We had to cross through the forests and the hilly terrains. Occasionally, we would meet with streams that were flowing in her mirth. We had to cross the stream while trying hard not to wet our shoes. But that was indeed a difficult task. As it was post monsoon, the streams were gurgling with water. How much ever we tried, even our trusted Quechua got wet!
While our hike, we saw the diverse fauna of the Western Ghat region. Butterflies, insects and snakes were the ones we saw from a close quarter. Saw the pug marks of the Indian sloth bear and heard the sound of deer. After an hour of the trek, we came to an open field. From here, the path became narrower and uphill. On the brighter side, there was a dramatic change in the scenery.
Vast stretches of hills and valley all green with life were in front of us as if inviting us. The cascading hills were interspersed with shola forests. Shola means ‘pockets’, there are small pockets of forests in between the valleys and hills and so these forests are called shola forests. Very soon, our destination was in front of our eyes – the horse faced peak, Kudremukha.
After a trek of another couple of hours, we were on the ridge where the climb became a bit tough. The uphill trail was a zig-zag, but the landscape was simply breathtaking. After we crossed the ridge, the trail became much easier and after a long hike, we were at the peak. It was quite foggy at the peak, but the euphoric feeling we had at the peak could not be explained. After having our lunch at the peak, we soon started our descent. It was already quite late and we had to hurry. We reached Mullodi at around 5:30 PM and to our homestay an hour later.
Tired as we were, but we were quite happy to experience the beauty of the Western Ghats. These mountains are also known as Sahyadris or the benevolent ones. They were surely benevolent to us. The only thing we realized after our trek that even after much precaution, leeches had feasted on us. But this little discomfort is nothing compared to the astounding encounter we had with the mountains.
Some facts about Kudremukh Trek:
Trek starting point: Mullodi 6 kms uphill from Balgal(Balegallu), on Kalasa to Kuduremukh Road
Trek difficulty Level: Moderate
Trek Distance: 9 Kms (One side). You will require 4 to 5 hours to trek uphill and about 3 hours downhill.
Kudremukh peak height:1892 mts
Camping is not allowed at Kudremukh.
Best Time to Visit:
Kudremukh remains close for trekking from January to June. Otherwise, the rest of the time is good for trek. During the monsoons, just be aware that there will be leeches on the trail. So be ready with salt to ward of the leeches.
How to Reach Kudremukh:
Trek starts from Mullodi village. The village is about 6 km from the main road. Mangalore is about 130 km and Bangalore is 360 km from here.
Kudremukh was originally an iron ore mining center where the Public sector enterprise Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) operated till the last decade. The region was declared a reserve forest area in 1916 thus stopping the mining practices and the cutting and felling of trees in the region.
Please note that we have done this trek as a part of FAM by the Summitters.