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Old 2nd August 2011, 15:52   #1
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Default Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

Prologue

“Ombattu Gudda!!! Yes, we’ll go to Ombattu Gudda this time”. This was my initial reaction on where we were supposed to go trekking. This reaction was unanimously accepted by the 3 other members of our group Jeevesh, Vivek and Dusyhant. Ever since we postponed the Bisle trip
(http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2120628 (Experiencing the Monsoon - On the Horse Face and on top of KA - A Trekkalog)),
we were desperate to get out of the city and get to the jungles. It was almost 4 months since we did our last trek when we went to Mullayanagiri in the rains (check above link).

The above conversation happened sometime during the first week of November. Then we started to search for probable dates for the trek. After a lot of con-calls and meetings and checking all available weekends and finally decided on the weekend of December 18 and 19, 2010 (Yes, this is an old travelogue). Seriously, we work too much guys!!!

Why did we start so late after planning??

Jeevesh and Vivek were about to get hitched and I couldn’t possibly stop them, could I?? Jeevesha was getting engaged on Dec 16 and we were going to trek to OG on 18th. Talk about crazy!!! Btw, OG is short for Ombattu Gudda. Before I start of the travelogue, I should really thank the (would-be) spouses of these 2 guys. Only because of their permissions, could their (would-be) spouses come on the trek. So, A and S, if you are reading this, thanks a ton!!!!

A teaser picture
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-119.jpg

Nope, that is not OG. That is a picture taken from OG. The peaks in the picture are Deepadakallu Gudda (left) and Jenukallu Gudda (right)

Last edited by addyhemmige : 10th August 2011 at 16:22.
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Old 10th August 2011, 16:14   #2
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

Ombattu Gudda

Ombattu Gudda is a hill range in the Shiradi ghats. This lies at the border of Hassan and Chikmagalur districts. The name Ombattu Gudda literally means ĎNine Hillsí. Ombattu means nine and Gudda means hill in Kannada language. As few of you might know, this is one of the toughest, dangerous, challenging, mysterious etc etc etc treks in the Western Ghats. Iím really not going overboard with the superlatives as this place really deserves all the accolades. At 971 meters above sea level, this is not even the tallest peak in the region, but it is one of the toughest ones to reach. There have been lots of cases where trekkers have been lost for days trying to reach Ombattu gudda. We would be traversing the terrain of three districts (Dakshina Kannada, Hassan and Chikmagalur) during the course of our trek.

In the monsoon, the place is totally inaccessible as we have to cross plenty of streams/rivers on the way. It is impossible to do so in the monsoons. Ombattu Gudda is located in the Kabbinale Reserve Forest and it is accessible from a village called Hosakere in Mudigere Taluk of Chikmagalur Dist. and from Gundya in the Shiradi ghats. Usually, trekkers start from Gundya, camp the first night just before the peak and reach the peak on the 2nd day. From the peak, they follow a jeep track till the village of Hosakere and catch a bus from there to Mudigere. We followed the same trend.

Warning: Thanks to innumerable blogs on this place, it has become a very well known trekking trail. But what many people donít know is that the trek is a treacherous one and one has to venture into the forests only if you have sufficient fitness levels. A map and compass is a must, a GPS is an added bonus. It is very difficult to make your way through the jungle without knowing the direction you want to go in. Also, this forest is teeming with elephants (you will find lot of evidence on the way) and you will have to watch out for that. There are no guides available here and you will be trekking on your own. So, it always recommended going in groups.



Planning

All initial planning was done quite early, so as not to disturb Jeevesha in his engagement preparations. Tickets were booked to Dharmasthala as we were supposed to get down at Gundya checkpost. Sleeping bags were picked up, Dushyant borrowed a tent from his cousin, food items were purchased and finally on Friday, December 17, 2010 our backpacks were packed and we were all set to go. OG was just a bus ride away. I had got a brand new GPS (Garmin eTrex Vista H) and was very eager to try it out on a trek for the first time. I did take help from other BHPians to purchase my GPS. Thanks a lot for all those who advised me.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/gadget...ml#post2111984 (Will a GPS PND bought from abroad work in India?)

We did not book the return tickets from Mudigere as we were not sure whether we would be returning the same day given that lot of people have not managed to scale the peak at the first attempt. Since this was our first time here, we were not very confident on reaching the peak. The whole trek was approx 25 kms spread over 2 days and we had to start as early as possible to avoid trekking under the hot sun.

About a week before the trek, we heard news that it was raining quite heavily in the area. We were a bit apprehensive upon hearing this news, but then the rains subsided and it did not rain there the whole week, or so we thought. The day we left Bangalore, it had rained quite heavily in the night.

We also had to purchase the map no 48 P/9/NW from Survey of India. Earlier, these maps were priced at Rs 27, but now SoI has raised prices and they are priced Rs.70. Hmmm that is a steep hike

The Trek.

IIRC, we reached Gundya at around 5 am in the morning. We had some tea in the tea shop there and enquired about the rain situation. The tea shop guy said that it had rained heavily during the night.

Having tea in Gundya
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-1.jpg

Please ignore the person on the right and concentrate on the board. This was at Gundya
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-2.jpg


The board reads ĎShiradi-Shishila Reserve Forest, Area: 9557 Hectaresí. Now that is a huge area.

We moved on towards Addahole Bridge, a km away from Gundya towards Mangalore. Addahole bridge is where we leave the highway and enter the trail. It was daylight by the time we reached the bridge and so we decided to take a break at a small hotel and have breakfast while we could get ready for the trek.

Walking towards Addahole Bridge from Gundya
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-3.jpg

The hotel where we had breakfast
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-13.jpg

Most important of all, we had to keep the anti-leech solution ready as the previous nightís rains would have woken up the leeches. Since I have a turbulent history with leeches, I did not want to take a chance.

We had a small bread-omlette breakfast at the hotel and started plotting our trekking. Initially, we had to calibrate the GPS to the map (really no idea how it works though).

Trying to figure out how to calibrate the map and GPS
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-4.jpg

Then came the messy stuff, the anti-leech solution. To prepare the solution, take out 10g of dry snuff powder and put it on your left hand or any cup or plate etc. You can add more if you need more. Remove the bottle of oil from your bag. You can use any kind of oil for this as this does not affect the consistency of the solution in anyway. You only have to be worried about the smell based on the different oils you use. But we suggest coconut oil as the smell will be pleasant. Now pour 10-15 ml onto the dry snuff powder and stir it vigorously with a spatula. By now you should be experiencing the aroma of the solution. The solution need not be heated over a flame or cooled in a fridge. Normal room temperature should be enough for it retain the consistency. Now the anti-leech solution is ready for use.

Ok, I think I have watched too many cookery shows. Just mix the snuff powder and oil and smear the paste all over your legs. That will repel leeches, end of story.

Then all set, we took a customary group photo and set off on the trek. OG, here we come!!!!
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-11.jpg

From Left to Right : Vivek, Yours Truly, Jeevesha, Dushyant
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-12.jpg

Last edited by addyhemmige : 10th August 2011 at 17:10.
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Old 24th August 2011, 15:28   #3
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

We always hope to find a big cat whenever we go on treks and God decided that he would grant our wish this time. And so we find 2 cats even before we started our trek

The small one with its scary eyes!!
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-5.jpg

And the BIG one and Iím sure this is the biggest cat Iíll ever see :
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-6.jpg

And the best thing is, we even know its name and mobile number. Now who else gets such privileges

Initially, the trail was a jeep track going through the village of Addahole. Well, it is not actually a village, but just a couple of houses here and there. Since it had rained the previous night, the whole place was damp and wet. The weather was quite cool thanks to the rain, but it would get hotter and hotter as the day passed. We were walking parallel to the Addahole River. After we passed the houses, we were greeted by dense vegetation on both sides of the road. The jeep track still continues, but it is obvious that it is covered by thick undergrowth at the sides of the road.

The Jeep track
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-15.jpg

The jeep track surrounded by dense forest
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-17.jpg

A few meters further, the forest department has dug up a ditch on the road to prevent vehicular entry into the forest. Here, we met another group of 10-12 people from Bangalore who were trekking to OG. Apparently, this was their first time to OG.

One of the local people whom we met on the way, said that we were among the first people to do the trek this season, so the trail would be overgrown. Hmmm, That was one happy thought. But the trail was visible for some time to come. We crossed a lot streams on the way.

Crossing a stream which has cut across the jeep track
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-16.jpg

At one point, we suddenly heard a huge crack towards our left. We immediately stopped moving to hear the sound again. Again , we heard the sound. It was the sound of breaking branches.

Elephants!!!! This was our initial thought. It could have been a human too. But, we did not wait there to find out and raced ahead. There was a lot of evidence that we were walking in elephant territory, but luckily we did not have any adventure with them.

Evidence right in front of us
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-23.jpg

A close up of the evidence
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-22.jpg


We went on the jeep track for quite some time crossing many streams.

Crossing the streams without getting our shoes wet was a challenge. So, we had to perform all sorts of acrobatics to get to the other side.

Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-20.jpg
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-19.jpg
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-18.jpg

We were moving ahead when suddenly the jeep track vanished and a small foot trail emerged in front of us. A few meters on the foot trail and suddenly we saw a fork ahead of us. We were in a dilemma as to which side we take. I had saved the co-ordinates of OG Peak on my GPS and my friend had taken a heading towards OG on his compass. Both showed direction faintly to the right. By this time, the other group had caught up with us and apparently one of them had been told to take the right side of this fork.

We took the right side of the fork and moved on and again we had to cross a stream. By this time sunlight was penetrating the thick tree cover.
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-24.jpg

Look whoís got a light above his head
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-26.jpg
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Old 25th August 2011, 13:25   #4
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues forum. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th August 2011, 15:07   #5
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

@addyhemmige
Thank you for sharing. We did this trek last year and it was excellent. We helped at least two teams to find their way back.
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Old 25th August 2011, 16:21   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mohang_j View Post
@addyhemmige
Thank you for sharing. We did this trek last year and it was excellent. We helped at least two teams to find their way back.
Hi mohang, when did you do the trek? Yes, it is a treacherous trek and many people get lost trying to find a route (including us)
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Old 25th August 2011, 16:21   #7
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

@addyhemmige: Nice Writeup with good pics. Have noted down the important points so that it can be useful incase I plan to do this in the near future.
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Old 25th August 2011, 17:16   #8
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

Boss

I was hooked on to your last thread and this thread was a welcome sight for me. Do we need to get any permissions from any forest officials, checkposts etc., to enter the forest or is it a free for all?

Your gan took the bus, but is there an option where we can drive up to Gundya checkpost, park up there and then trek? Any safe parking places?

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Old 25th August 2011, 17:24   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Hi mohang, when did you do the trek?
Every year weekend of 25th dec we go for the trek in one of the forests in karnataka.
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Old 25th August 2011, 17:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirantp View Post
@addyhemmige: Nice Writeup with good pics. Have noted down the important points so that it can be useful incase I plan to do this in the near future.
Thanks Kiran. Hope this trekkalog covers most important points. Feel free to ask in case I leave anything out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subs View Post
Boss

I was hooked on to your last thread and this thread was a welcome sight for me. Do we need to get any permissions from any forest officials, checkposts etc., to enter the forest or is it a free for all?

Your gan took the bus, but is there an option where we can drive up to Gundya checkpost, park up there and then trek? Any safe parking places?

Subs
Thank you sir!! Regarding the permissions, I am not very sure. We did not take any permission. Most others who have gone there also had not taken any permission

You can take the car and park it near the tea shops, but this is only if you come back in the same route. The Ombattu Gudda trek generally ends in Hosakere which is on top of the hills. So, it will not be feasible to take the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohang_j View Post
Every year weekend of 25th dec we go for the trek in one of the forests in karnataka.
Looks like we have just missed each other by a week. I went there on Dec 18-19 and you went on Dec 25th(?)

Last edited by addyhemmige : 25th August 2011 at 17:30.
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Old 25th August 2011, 17:32   #11
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

Hi Addy

Ok, thats a bit confusing.
So how do you get back from Hosakere, or is Hosakere a point where you can get buses to return to Bangalore?

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Old 25th August 2011, 17:37   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subs View Post
Hi Addy

Ok, thats a bit confusing.
So how do you get back from Hosakere, or is Hosakere a point where you can get buses to return to Bangalore?

Subs
Didn't mean to confuse you there. If you see post #2, I've mentioned about Hosakere. From Hosakere, we can catch a bus to Mudigere which is the nearest big town from where you can get a bus to Bangalore.
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Old 25th August 2011, 18:00   #13
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If you have noticed, I have not mentioned anything about leeches till now (except for the anti-leech solution). This is because the anti-leech solution actually worked. Except for a couple of stray leeches on our shoes, none of them managed to get on our legs. That is some success, I should say. But, that success was about to be shortlived. We had to cross a very big stream with upto knee high water. This meant that the anti-leech solution would be washed off when we waded in the water. With no other choice, we removed our shoes (we didnít want to get them wet) and crossed the stream. The stream was flowing pretty fast and had a good current although the water was only knee high.

We crossed the stream and took a pit stop. We had to apply the snuff paste back on, else the leeches would have a field day. I sat down on a pile of stones to apply the snuff, when suddenly I heard some movement beneath me. I suddenly got up and tried to see what it was. Even my friend had heard the sound too. It could have been a snake or even a lizard but we did not try to be heroes and find it out.

Washing hands after applying the anti-leech paste
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-28.jpg

We continued on the trail for a few minutes and came to the place where the trail was right next to the Addahole river. We walked right next to the river for a few minutes and came to a flat area where the river was joined by another stream. But, this other stream was totally dry and rocky. This was a very beautiful place and we thought of having our (second) breakfast here. The time was around 10.30 am.

Washing our hands before breakfast
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-31.jpg

The Addahole flowing calmly
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-33.jpg
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-34.jpg

Having breakfast Ė chapathi and gun powder
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-35.jpg

By this time, we had let the other group to go ahead and they too had chosen this very spot to take a break. They had gotten into the water and were having fun. The water was inviting but we decided that we would be better off resuming our trek as we were not sure of the route and the available places to camp if it became late.

So we continued upstream along the river.

Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-36.jpg
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-37.jpg

We walked a few minutes and the path began to deviate away from the river. Again we came across 2 paths ahead. One path went straight parallel to the river and the second diverted to the left. Again we were in a dilemma. We did not know which trail to take. We stopped and referred to our map. My GPS was not of help as I did not have any tracks saved. All this while I had been saving the route which we had taken. If at all we got lost, we could always return back on the same route.

The map showed us two routes from a certain point. We assumed that this place was the same on the map. After some discussion we decided to take path on the right. We moved on along the narrow path with dense undergrowth surrounding us. We knew there was a huge river crossing along the way. We had to cross the Kabbinale River which was one of the major tributaries of the Addahole River. Before we left for our trek, I had watched a video on Youtube about this river crossing. After watching this video, I was very apprehensive on how we could cross this kind of river. After all it had rained for the whole week before our trek and it also rained the previous night of our trek and the water level was bound to be high.



But, as soon as we reached the river, we were surprised to see it flowing calmly.
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-40.jpg
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-41.jpg

The time was 12.00 pm. We had trekked for 1.5 hrs from the breakfast point till the Kabbinale river crossing point. Once we reached the place, we found that there was another group of 3-4 people already resting on the other side of the river. We knew that there was one more group that had gone ahead of us, but we had not seen them till now. We exchanged pleasantries with them and then decided to take a break here on a huge flat rock in the middle of the river. We slept for almost 15 minutes and woke up upon hearing the sound of the third group which had arrived at the river.

The crowd at the river.
Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog-og-39.jpg

Continued....
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Old 25th August 2011, 21:20   #14
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

Very nice going there Addy!
Initially I had a different idea about Jennu Kallu Gudda.
(About the view point near Yellapur).

Just realized there are two separate places.
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Old 25th August 2011, 22:02   #15
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Default Re: Ombattu Gudda: A mystery unveiled - A Trekkalog

Addy,

Good going and it is really refreshing to see the pristine landscape of Malnad which you have captured nicely. Looking forward to your ascent to the summit and the veiws from there.
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