Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 8th January 2014, 20:08   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 100
Thanked: 283 Times
Default Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

Thus spoke John Muir, the great naturalist and founding father of the idea of protection of the planet's most beautiful places, in 1901. His words always ring loud in my ears whenever I drive around the Western Ghats, which for me is the sanctum sanctorum of penninsular India. One never gets tired of visiting these mountains, soaking in their beauty, diversity, and the very sanctity of them being the source of our life-giving waters. There are many places that are close my heart, but none more superior than these mountains that are part of my soul itself.

Choosing the most scenic vista among the Western Ghats is a rather challenging task, as there are far too many of them that beyond words, such as Periyar, Eravikulam, Mukurthi, Silent Valley, Anshi, Agumbe, Doodh Sagar to name a few, as each one is a marvel unparalleled in its own right. They are places to go for introspection, places to go to feel one with nature, and places to go and breathe a silent prayer of thanks for them just being there for us.There is however, one place in the ghats that has always been special to me, one that even our Supreme Court said "PROTECT FOR POSTERITY".

This place has captivated me ever since I first visited it in 2001, and it has been a long time since then, but I still keep going back there, the home of the endangered lion-tailed macaque, the birth place of three rivers, the best shola and rainforest ecosystem I have ever seen, and know to all of us by the name of a head of a horse.

The Place - Kudremukha, in Southwestern Karnataka state.

"Kudremukha", literally meaning 'horse head" is now a national park, the christening attributed to the mountain of the same name, which apparently resembles the head of a horse. Many BHPians have put in wonderful comments and thoughts about this paradise, some of them even considering it close to their hearts.

For me, however, Kudremukha is a part of my soul itself. Driving every car of mine through Kudremukha on a rainy day in the monsoon was truly an honour I feel I was lucky to be bestowed with.

Location and Vicinity

Name:  Kudremukha Vicinity.png
Views: 9387
Size:  765.8 KB

What To See
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-kudremukha-attractions-1.png
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-kudremukha-attractions-2.png

Scenic Drive
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-kudremukha-scenic-drive.png
Attached Thumbnails
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08261.jpg  


Last edited by raghunandanj : 8th January 2014 at 20:26. Reason: Removed Spaces
raghunandanj is offline   (18) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2014, 20:23   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 100
Thanked: 283 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

A Misty Morning on NH-13
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc06750.jpg

Kudremukha Valley
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08005.jpg

A Young Bhadra River at Bhagavati Camp
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08048.jpg

Scenic Route SH-66 during the monsoons
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0140.jpg

Suggested Itineraries while in Kudremukha

1. A 16 km rewarding hike to the top of the Kudremukha mountain, a whole day affair.
2. Hikes to the other important peaks of the area, such as Kurinjal and Gangadikal, for unparallelled views of the mountains.
3. Visiting Gangamoola, the source of three rivers.
4. Visiting the waterfalls accessible by automobile, such as Hanumangundi and Kadambi.
5. Hiking to the backwaters of the Lakya dam. ( Permission Needed )
6. Driving a 4X4 to Yelaneeru Falls, Mydhadi Viewpoint, and Kyathanamakki.

Lodging Options

1.Bhagavathi Nature Camp inside the park is the best place to be. They have tented cottages tucked away by the Bhadra stream, with no other facility available. This is the place to be to experience Kudremukha from the inside. Contact Karnataka forest department for bookings.

2. In Kalasa, Thotadur Yatri Nivas and Suprabha lodges are the pick of the lot, located 10-12 km outside the park boundary. Expect very large crowds due to proximity to pilgrim centre Horanadu.Kalasa and adjoining Horanadu are important pilgirm centres.

3. Silent Valley Resort between Kalasa and Kudremukha, Upaasana Homestay at Samse, and Thangaali homestays are the other options available in this region.All these are located outside the park boundary.

4. Accomodation is also widely available in the temple town of Sringeri outside the northen boundary of the park, and as is with Kalasa and Horanadu, Sringeri is a famous pilgrim destination.

Park Entry :

Karnataka State Highway 66 and National Highway 13 are the main thoroughfares through the park, the former being more scenic of the two. The park has 3 entry exit points, and passage between entry and exit is strictly time-controlled, unless you have prior permission or tickets to visit Hanumangundi waterfalls. The average time given for passage through the park is 1.5 hours, and no fees are charged for passage.

SH 66 Road Conditions
With no truck traffic, it is still very good as per ghat road standards, but watch out for potholes and washboarded sections as they have been increasing every year. This road may not see upkeep to prevent over-speeding.

NH 13 Road Conditions
Single Lane, Very good, but very narrow with low muddy shoulders on either side. Motorists often end up in a face-off by not agreeing to divert on to the low shoulder in the face of a bus or truck. Challenging to drive here after sunset. Low clearance sedans will have a challenging experience.
raghunandanj is offline   (25) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2014, 21:53   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 208
Thanked: 151 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

raghunandanj,

Beautiful pictures of a lovely place. Do keep updating on this region.

Regards

Saji
SajiNSalin is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th January 2014, 20:05   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 100
Thanked: 283 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Attractions In Detail :

Kudremukha Peak
Climbing the horse face requires a permit from the state forest department, which apparently is now more easier to get than before. Up to 200 permits per day are being issued now, and this has turned to be a blessing for the local economy. Locals now benefit by providing 4X4 jeep service for the first 8 km of the journey. A lot is written about this hike in other travelogues, so I will focus on the other essential information you would need to know to complete this rewarding hike :

Total Distance : 16 km ( It is an entire day affair, so start early to beat the sun )
Park Timings : Sunrise to Sunset or 6 PM, whichever is earlier. So you need to be back at Mullodi by then,
Camping : Not allowed
Wildlife : Sambar Deer, Gaur, Indian Peafowl are quite common. Other denizens are elusive in the rainforest-shola ecosystem.
Permit Cost : Rs 200 per person as of December 2013
Guide Cost per team : Rs 500 per team as of December 2013
Permits available at : Forest Checkpost beyond Samse on SH-66 or the Forest Department Office in Kudremukha township
Difficulty Level : Not Steep, but very long way to go.

Look Out for :

1. The expansive view of Dakshina Kannada district from the peak on a clear day.
2. The remains of an old church on the high ridge
3. The ruins of the Lobo houses enroute to the peak.
4. Sprawling views of the Malnad region to the east.

Forest Department Guide is mandatory, and no team can hike without an escort. The peak @ 1895 m above MSL is marked by a cairn.

Kuremukha Peak jutting out behind the hills
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08021.jpg

Kudremukha Ridge
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08042.jpg

View to the east while hiking to the top
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08057.jpg

The final few steps to the peak yonder. This is where the ruined church is.
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08099.jpg

The village of Samse in the far left of the image
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08077.jpg

The peak - Wandering clouds
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08112.jpg

1 Hour at the peak is what most hikers get at the best
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08123.jpg

Back towards the ridge
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08140.jpg
raghunandanj is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th January 2014, 20:32   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 100
Thanked: 283 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Gangamoola

The people of the region consider this as the source of three rivers, manifesting as a wet patch of land amid giant boulders within the rainforest. This place sits exactly on the continental divide.The rivers that orginate here are the Tunga, Bhadra and Netravati

Two of the three rivers flow eastward on the leeward side to the Bay of Bengal, as the Tunga and the Bhadra, traversing through Karnataka and Andhra, joining into the Krishna beyond Kurnool. The other stream, the Netravati, flows down the windward side to the west, flowing through South Canara and meeting the Arabian Sea at Mangalore.

This place can be accessed by a 1 km easy hike from SH-66 ( board clearly marked ). The trail passes through high shola and enters the rainforest, with splendid views of Kurinjal and Gangadikal on either side.

CAUTION : Visiting this place needs prior permission from the forest department, and trespassers will be prosecuted. So it is better to take the permission from the office in Kudremukha colony beforehand. The hike is very easy and does not gain any elevation.

Approaching Gangamoola
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc02525.jpg

Gangamoola
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-100_3137.jpg

The source
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-source-tunga-river.jpg

Hanumangundi Falls
Also known as Soothanabbi Falls

Easily accessible from the road ( SH-66 ), this waterfall is on the Tunga river, fresh from its origin at Gangamoola. This is frequented by hordes of people along the scenic SH-66, so do not expect this place for yourself unless you want to experience it in the core monsoon seasons. The state forest department has maintained this place pretty well, with about 300 steps to descend ( with well-built support railings ) and it costs about Rs 20 for an entrance ticket. The falls are best during the monsoons, though a visit in the summer months is not going to be disappointing at all.

1.Vehicle parking is available.
2.Steps are well-paved with frequently-positioned benches.
3.Driniking water available.

Virgin Rainforest near Hanumangundi
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc06706.jpg

Steps to the falls
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc06707.jpg

Hanumangundi - Upper Cascade
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0119.jpg

Hanumangundi - Upper and Lower Cascades
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0122.jpg

The falls in summer
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3470.jpg
raghunandanj is offline   (14) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th January 2014, 22:10   #6
Team-BHP Support
 
ampere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 15,604
Thanked: 8,594 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Beautiful snaps. The fall in monsoon look glorious. But in winter the colour looks much more richer, with dark green trees surrounding the place with fog.

And Kudremukh is a different story altogether. One of the best places to go to. SH66 is truly a divine pleasure to drive through.
ampere is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th January 2014, 17:11   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: bangalore
Posts: 126
Thanked: 98 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Breathtaking photos, fantastic scenery and thanks for the loads of information. Had passed through that place but it was en route a pilgrimage and in a Tempo Traveller. Your description horse head was nice, was wondering which place was this. Really liked the pictures, its too inviting.
majumon is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th January 2014, 20:02   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 100
Thanked: 283 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Kyathanamakki

Accessible only by 4X4s outside of the monsoon season, this is a hard 5.5 km drive on unpaved tracks, gaining up to 1000 feet in elevation. The road is unmarked and is heavily gully-eroded, so this is not the place for those who are not experienced with gully-eroded and washboarded roads. Mahindra MM540s and good old Willys jeeps eat these kind of terrain for food, and the skilled locals handle it with real grace, not just ease. I saw a Pajero make it all the way to the top, so high-clearance 4X4 SUVs can make it up as well.

How to Reach
To get here, one needs to drive down the road to Horanadu from Kalasa, across the Bhadra river, and take a left at the fork in the road when the village of Horanadu begins. This is marked by a 90-degree right turn in the road and various signboards welcoming you to Horanadu. A nondescript paved road branches off to the left, and that is the one you would need to take.

Then on it is a single road for 3 km more and then another left in the fork for an additional 2.5 km on the ridge of the mountain. Some middle sections are paved, but most of the distance is unpaved, with the last 2.5 km being extremely steep and challenging. The pinnacle is the place to the take picture of your automobile that made it all the way up, to say the least,as a true tribute to the machine .

The vista is unparalleled of course, with the Kudremukha peak towering tall above all others, and giving a 360 degree view of Malnad upto a radius of 25 km.

West View : Kudremukha, Kurinjal, Gangadikal and the surrounding ranges
South View : Ballarayana Durga ranges
East View : The mountains near Basarikatte, Koppa
North View : Sringeri Ranges and Narasimha Parvata

Looking West
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3244.jpg

Looking South
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3268.jpg

Evening Hues
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3270.jpg

It is possible to drive a 4X4 to the peak of the hill in the foreground
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3278.jpg

Sunset over Kudremukha ranges
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3280.jpg

The area around Koppa and Sringeri
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3282.jpg

Looking east towards the Basarikatte Area
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3293.jpg

The tallest peak in this picture is Kudremukha ( 1895 m ), which is the extreme left end of the high ridge seen yonder
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3295.jpg

More Pictures from Kyathanamakki :

Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3297.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3318.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3334.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3360.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3364.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3376.jpg
raghunandanj is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th January 2014, 21:37   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 100
Thanked: 283 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Lakya Dam

This dam was built by the Kudremukh Iron Core Company Limited ( KIOCL ), which used to conduct iron ore mining in the area up to the last decade. The mining activities are now permanently stopped as the Supreme Court banned mining to preserve the sensitive ecological balance in the region. Lakya dam is a pollution control dam, which holds back the solidified slurry waste. The dam can be reached by a 1 km detour ( clearly marked ) from SH-66, just after the Kudremukha township. It is possible to walk along the length of the dam and soak in the scenery. The dam is still guarded.

The creation of this dam also created a Lakya lake, about 3 km behind the solidified slurry, as visible in the satellite view below. This place is apparently heavenly beautiful, but is off limits to civilians. The only way it can be seen is from the top of Gangadikal mountain, or by getting a special permission to hike up there with a forest guard, the latter option being almost impossible.

Name:  Lakya.png
Views: 7059
Size:  541.7 KB
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08230.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08237.jpg

Kadambi Falls

This waterfall is right next to SH-66, about 4 km east of Hanumangundi Falls. A small cascade, it is most beautiful during the monsoon seasons, and reduces to a tricke in peak summer. A small bridge across the stream of the falls provides ample space for parking and photo opportunities.Getting down to the stream or near the waterfall is prohibited.

Monsoon View
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0131.jpg
Summer View
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08255.jpg

Gangadikal Mountain

This mountain of 1455 m elevation straddles to the north of SH-66, about 2 km east of the Hanumangundi area, and is clearly visible from Gangamoola. Hiking trails to the top sum up to 4 km, but the ascent is steep and challenging. However, the views from the top are worth all the effort, as one can see the Lakya dam slurry, the elusive and remote Lakya lake, Kurinjal and the Sringeri ranges to the north.

Permission and forest guide escort are mandatory for the hike to the top of Gangadikal, and can be obtained from the Forest Office in Kudremukha colony. The escorted hike starts from Bhagavathi Nature Camp.

Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-kudremukhagangamoola1.jpg

Kurinjal Mountain

This mountain of 1753 m towers above the Bhagavathi area and is easily visible to the left of SH-66.Permission and forest guide escort are mandatory for the hike to the top of Kurinjal, and can be obtained from the Forest Office in Kudremukha colony. The escorted hike starts from Bhagavathi Nature Camp.

Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-kurinjal.jpg

Final Set of Pictures

Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08150.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08174.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-dsc08243.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0116.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0125.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0128.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0135.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0143.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_0146.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3208.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3210.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3404.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-img_3528.jpg
Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats-kudremukhaheavenly-view.jpg

So that is it from me for Kudremukha. I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I loved adding the World Heritage Logo on each one of them.

Thank You, and save the Western Ghats !
raghunandanj is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2014, 10:01   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 509
Thanked: 381 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Thanks for the beautiful writeup raghunandanj . When is the best time to visit this place ?
girimajiananth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2014, 10:12   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 100
Thanked: 283 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Quote:
Originally Posted by girimajiananth View Post
Thanks for the beautiful writeup raghunandanj . When is the best time to visit this place ?
Scenic Drive and Waterfalls - July to September
Kyathanamakki - November to January
The Peaks - November to February
Gangamoola - September to November
raghunandanj is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2014, 10:40   #12
BHPian
 
bharatbs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 374
Thanked: 108 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

With reference to the ruins, it is not a Church but a large British era Hunting Bungalow which may have also housed a Chapel.

You can see another set of ruins which is rumoured to be a hunting bungalow setup by the Mysore Maharaja.
bharatbs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th January 2014, 10:52   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
F150's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: PUNE
Posts: 1,557
Thanked: 646 Times
Default re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Fantastic place. Could you please post driving directions to this place ?
F150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2014, 12:49   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
GrammarNazi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,022
Thanked: 1,620 Times
Default Re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

MESMERISING. Would be a great camping visit with friends. Is it advisable to go there in Jan-end? Or is it best visited only during monsoons / post monsoons?

Also, have you recorded any GPS tracks of the route and the climb?
GrammarNazi is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2014, 21:11   #15
BHPian
 
VedderTheFixer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 70
Thanked: 31 Times
Default Re: Horse-Face: The Jewel of Western Ghats

Very good pictures throughout! The Kudremukh area is strongly reminiscent of Bhadra Tiger Reserve, which is biked through recently. Such a divine stretch!
VedderTheFixer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Western Ghats of Wayanad conquered in a Palio 1.6 S10 RevvMusic Travelogues 18 27th July 2012 13:43
Malnad Odyssey - Scenic Drives through the Western Ghats in Karnataka raghunandanj Travelogues 31 4th July 2012 14:31
Off-Roading into a Lost World in the Bowels of the Western Ghats raghunandanj Travelogues 11 19th June 2012 12:26
OffRoad, Kerala, Western Ghats or Bangalore mart456 4x4 Excursions 7 4th February 2011 21:26
Vento -- My Horse of Battle, Horse of Ballet! msprabhakar Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 10 6th December 2010 09:06


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 20:09.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks