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Old 22nd October 2014, 17:43   #1
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Default Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

Dussehra holidays are back again, another year passed so fast, we had been to Goa during last Dussehra and I have a feeling I wrote Goa travelogue recently, but time has its own course, doesn’t wait for anyone. It is time to write about another beautiful journey into the Kodachadri hills in Western Ghats region.

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History of Kodachadri Hills: Kodachadri (also known as Kudajadri) peak is situated in Shimoga district in Karnataka. The Kodachari hills are a part of one of the largest forest areas in Karnataka and part of this region forms the Mookambika Nature Reserve. Sage Adi Shankara is said to have visited this place, meditated here and also established a temple at Kollur. A small temple called Sarvajnapeetha, built with stone is dedicated to Adi Shankara at the top of Kodachadri.

It is declared as natural heritage site by Government Karnataka and it is one of the highest peaks of Karnataka. Kodachadri hills form a scenic backdrop of the famous Mookambika temple in Kollur. There is "Adi Mookambika" temple at Kodachadri which is believed to be the origin of Goddess Mookambika.

Where is it: Kodachadri (also known as Kudajadri) peak is situated in Shimoga district in Karnataka. Kodachadri is located at a distance of about 112 kilometers from Shimoga and about 442 km from Bangalore. It is at elevation of 1343 meters above sea level.

How to reach:
Drive: Bangalore--->Shimoga--->Hosanagara--->Nagara--->Sampekatte--->Nittur
Bus: Take the bus to Kollur either from Bangalore or from Shimoga and get down at Sampekatte.
Train: Shimoga has the nearest train station. Need to take a bus or cab from Shimoga to Sampekatte/Nittur.

Where to stay: Homestays are available in Sampekatte and Nittur. Alternately stay at Kollur which is 20 kms after Sampekatte.

Best time to visit: October to March.
Caution: Be aware of leaches and slippery conditions, take precautionary measures.

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Coming back to our experience, we started from Bannerghatta road, Bangalore on Friday 26th Sep afternoon, in my Hyundai Verna CRDi ABS SX along with wify and sons. Driven through NICE road, got into Mangalore highway near Nelamangala.

We usually go thru Bangalore ==> Nelamangala ==> Channarayapatna ==> Arsikere ==> Shimoga. Total distance door-to-door is 330kms.

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Took right turn towards Arasikere near Channarayapatna. Coffee break at Birur at Preethi canteen.

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After Birur, we visited Amrutheshwara temple at Amruthapura near Tarikere. Temple closes at 5:30pm. Some pics of Amrutheshwara temple:

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We spent about 30 minutes at the temple and reached Shimoga at 7:30pm. Had a grand dinner and goodnight sleep. Next day 27th Sat, we started at 7:30am, picked up my friend and his family and drove towards Sagar road. Only thing that was running in Kids mind was trekking at Kodachadri and all were excited about it including us

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Route Shimoga=>Ayanur=>Ripponpet=>Hosanagar=>Nagar=>Samp ekatte

On the way we were stopped near Lion Safari to make way for state level skating competition. Lion Safari is located just after a few kms from Shimoga town. Kids of different age groups from different parts of the state were ready for 20 kms skate with Police escort and media coverage.

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At Ayanur, diversion towards leads to Hosanagar (straight road leads to Sagar=>Jog Falls). We reached Hosanagar around 9am, stopped for breakfast in a reasonably OK hotel, we tasted idli, dosas, Balekai Bun and some sort of sweet stuffed with jaggery and green dhal fried in oil (Banana Bun and this sweet are speciality of Mangalore).

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I studied my 5th standard in Hosanagar many many years ago. It is a 100+ years old school, I remember walking from our forest officers’ quarters to school with an umbrella and duckback school bag and ankle high duckback shoes. I used to like the smell of duckback school bag and Lekhak (MSIL) note books.

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It was quite a picturesque drive from Hosanagar to Nagara Fort, which situated next to a beautiful lake and you can see Sharavathi backwaters from the Fort. These pictures tell the story better.

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We had booked a home stay at Sampekatte which is 15 kms before Kodachadri. It is called Parvath Home, quite basic, clean and decent in the area. There may be better ones I am not aware. Home stays in this area are not developed like Coorg. Home stays here are pretty basic, proving accommodation and food for people who come predominantly for trekking. As visitors don’t spend time inside home stays here, it won’t have any amenities. This home stay was ok, owner Mr.Bhatt stayed at ground floor, we got a house at first floor with fans, hot water etc. Normal food was served at owner’s house on plantain leaves. We reached Sampakatte around 1pm, welcomed with water and masala butter milk. We got freshened and had lunch.

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Last edited by hummer : 24th October 2014 at 21:30. Reason: Adding more content
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Old 24th October 2014, 22:30   #2
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Default re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

We can visit Kodachadri either to visit sun rise or sun set. We decided to visit next morning for sunrise, so we had time to see some other places, so we drove to a place called ďHasirumakkiĒ, which is around 25 kms away from Sampekatte. Itís a beautiful drive, thru forest and farms, as you feel fresh air and enjoy of nature, you will apply breaks hard with one more pleasant surprise. Road ends suddenly and you will only see ocean of water, but no sea. What is it?

It is the Sharavathi backwaters, which has swallowed many villages, farms and disconnected many villages from mainland making them accessible only thru the launch. Launch runs every hour till 6pm, takes people, bikes, cars, buses and trucks sails to other end which itself is an experience for 20-30 minutes. We parked the car there and just boarded the launch. It was great experience, landed on the other side had tea and biscuits in a small stall and wandered around before returning to the starting point.

It was just like a seashore, only water till you can see, great place to watch sunset. Kids played on water edge, we really spent some good time sitting together with family and kids with no one around, nothing to hurry, no horns, no network, we just had TIME, QUALITY TIME. Drizzle added to create the fine mood.


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When we came back to home stay, mirchi bhajji, biscuits and coffee/tea/milk was ready for us at I floor, we took our time to finish it. We chatted for a while relaxing in balcony watching the drizzle, vehicles marching to Kollur and Kundapur. As we had to get up early, we got a call for an early dinner. After finishing the dinner and local paan, Mr.Bhatt told us to get ready by 5am. He had arranged a Mahindra 4x4 Jeep for us to go up the hill. We got up at 4am, Jeep came promptly at 4:30am and by the time we got into the Jeep it was 5:30am, it was still dark. Journey to the top of Kodachadri begun, it was most awaited moment of the trip.

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The jeep can take you till the Adi Mookambika temple. To reach the top you need to climb atleast 2 kms up the hill from where you can watch sunrise / sunset and beautiful panoramic view of the Mookambika Reserve Forest (Dense Rain Forest). Watching sunrise / sunset from Kodachadri peak is an enchanting experience. I was told the Arabian Sea is visible from the peak on a clear day and you can see sun literally goes down into the sea. If you are going for a trek then, start from Kareghatta walk around 5 km to reach the bottom of the hill. Start the trek.

This is a lesser known trekking destination, heaven for trekkers. This peak in the Western Ghats winds through thick forests and is the natural habitat of a variety of wildlife. Kodachadri is home to many endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna.

After driving on plain road for about 3-5 kms, Roller Coaster ride begun, unlike a highly controlled and calculated ride in an amusement park, it is absolutely RAW and it is SO MUCH FUN!! You will get thrown all over the Jeep.

The road from base till the top is horrible. It is very difficult to take your private vehicle up the hill unless it has 4 wheel drive and you are an expert offroad driver! I saw few bikers on top, I donít advise riding the bike there though it is thrilling. ~45 minutes of drive in the 4x4 Jeep itself was an experience. Driver was not talking much, looked like an expert.
Sun rose in the midway, we stopped there to watch sun rise, luckily it was a plain land with lot of grass and no trees. We could see the clear sky and fantastic view of sun rise.

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Got into the Jeep and reached the point where road ends and a narrow lane leads to the top. Thatís the point where few small temples including Moola Mookambika Temple, an old travelerís bungalow, small shop for coffee/tea, light snacks are located. It also is the camping area (your own arrangement), one can stay there also in a small home stay type accommodation.

Jeep driver told he will wait there for 2-3 hours for us to return, we started our 2kms trek towards ďSarvajna PeethaĒ. It was as if we were going to climb Mt. Everest . As we walked few hundred meters up the hill, we could see the awesome picturesque landscape all around the hill.
En route to the peak you will also find a small waterfall called 'Agastya Teertha' and to a small cave called ďGanesha Guhaď. The cave route will take you inside dense forest it is advisable to take help from locals and definitely not to venture at night. We didnít visit them.

The 2 kms trek up the hills took us thru some of the most beautiful views of the valley. We could see different shades of green. Clouds were below us, some clouds brushed thru our face gave a fresh face wash. We have to be careful with kids at few points, it is very narrow and slippery.

Finally we reached ďSarvajna PeethaĒ at ~7:30am, sat for a while before heading to end point behind ďSarvajna PeethaĒ. It is a narrow and steep path in the middle of rocks, leading to literally end of the peak. We could see birds stand-still in mid air enjoying the mist and cold air. We saw Kollur Mookambika temple from there which is at a distance of ~25 kms down the ghat.

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Last edited by Technocrat : 28th October 2014 at 02:29. Reason: removed invalid attachment links
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Old 24th October 2014, 22:46   #3
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Default re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

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We came back to ďSarvajna PeethaĒ and took rest. It was almost 8:30am, we started climbing down. We realized climbing down is tougher than going up. Carry water bottles and a stick. Please donít throw any garbage around.

On the way back to Jeep, we went inside the Moola Mookambika Temple. There is an iron pillar of about 40 feet length in front of Moola Mookambika Temple near peak of Kodachadri (Devotees believe that this is the trishula used by goddess Mookambika to slay a demon called Mookasura as per local tradition). Scientists found that it was made from traditional Indian metallurgical skills and not from modern casting methods. It is found made of pure iron. It is also found to be less affected by corrosion, despite of humid conditions prevailing there due to heavy rains. This iron pillar is considered as testimony of ancient Indian iron craftsmanship.

Driver was patiently waiting for us, we started drive down the hill at 10am. Coming down in jeep was also equally good, but as it was getting hotter, we wanted to reach home stay for breakfast. We saw many vehicles going up, Jeepers have good coordination in passing thru the narrow and treacherous path. My personal experience is to visit the top during early morning, there wonít be much fun after 9am. Evening also may be good.

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We reached home stay at 11am, took bath, finished breakfast, coffee etc and relaxed for a while. My friend decided to head towards Kollur for a night stay. We had to return to Shimoga as next day was a working day for me. We bought pure honey from Mr.Bhatt and we started our return journey.

Visited Sriramachandrapura Matt on the way back and had prasadam for lunch.

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Gave a quick visit to famous Jain Temple at Humcha and reached Shimoga by 5pm.

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Overall it was a great fun and adventurous trip (closer to hometown), unpolluted, calm and serene place in the lap of Western Ghats. It is a must visit place if you like some adventure.

Drive Safe.
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Old 25th October 2014, 17:00   #4
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Default Re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th October 2014, 17:28   #5
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Default Re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

Lovely travelogue with lovely pictures..

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 27th October 2014, 15:42   #6
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Default Re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

A nice family vacation indeed. I especially liked the part where you took the time off to throw light on the place and what it is known for, for the lesser informed (like me).

Quote:
After driving on plain road for about 3-5 kms, Roller Coaster ride begun, unlike a highly controlled and calculated ride in an amusement park, it is absolutely RAW and it is SO MUCH FUN!! You will get thrown all over the Jeep.
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Old 27th October 2014, 20:17   #7
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Default Re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

Wonderful Pictures!

When I visited the place with my friends, it was just the onset of monsoon. Due to which the muddy road had broken down and it remained inaccessible by vehicle. So we had to trek about 9 kms up the hill through heavy rains.

Glad you and your family experienced a Sunny weather which is the best when visiting Kodachadri.
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Old 28th October 2014, 00:24   #8
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Default Re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

Nicely written travelogue. I have trekked Kodachadri 15 years back and stayed at famous bhattara mane on top of the hill. It was mesmerizing experience.
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Old 28th October 2014, 21:29   #9
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Default Re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

Quote:
Originally Posted by hummer View Post
Overall it was a great fun and adventurous trip (closer to hometown), unpolluted, calm and serene place in the lap of Western Ghats. It is a must visit place if you like some adventure.

Drive Safe.
Nicely written and good photo graphs. Kodachadri is one of my fav places and I am planning to visit in Mid Nov.
1. How is the road conditions from Ayanur to Kollur?
2. Can you share the homestay caretaker's phone number, and other details like booking, cost etc? I am yet to book my stay there.

My trip 2 yrs back - Link (Weekend Trip : Bangalore - Kollur - Kodachadri -Sringeri - Halebidu)

Some info about the jeeps; most of them are not really 4x4s.
Quote:
Some facts about the Jeeps that take us to Kodachadri/Kudajadri ( all information provided by my Jeep driver):
There are 86 jeeps currently in service. All of them are numbered. They follow a queue system. So number 2 jeep gets the opportunity after number 1, irrespective of who is hiring or the time or day. For eg, if the last trip of a day was taken by Jeep number 34 at the end of day, Jeep number 35 will get the first trip early morning next day.
Contrary to the popular belief that only 4 wheel drive jeeps can travel to Kodachadri, there are only 4 jeeps out of the 86 having a 4WD, rest all are 2WD. I checked almost 20+ jeeps in the parking lot at Kodachadri, and Yes, they all were 2WD.
Once a jeep enters Kodachadri service, there is no resale of that jeep outside of the Kodachadri service. Nobody will buy these beaten to death jeeps. Most of the old jeeps will end their life as parts donors.
These drivers purchase used/discarded tires from nearby towns like Mangalore or Udupi. They dont care about the tire tread except in monsoon season. A 'new' (zero tread for others) will last 10-15 round trips, depending on the driver.
They dont care about the suspension either. Most of the jeeps are fitted up with extra leaves, some of them even have Mahindra pickup's parts.
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Old 29th October 2014, 21:42   #10
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Default Re: Hummerís Travel: In the cradle of the Western Ghats @ Kodachadri

Thank you all.

@arjithin,
1. Road from Ayanur till Sampekatte is very good, I didn't visit Kollur this time. Sampekatte to Kollur is around 25 kms, I heard it is in drivable condition.
2. My father knew Mr.Bhatt so we contacted him directly and got some discount.

You can also contact him directly: +91-9480633755 (Cell)
Fixed Line: 08185-253653
Or go thru their website for booking: www.parvathahomestay.com
Mr.Bhatt's son works at Bangalore, he takes reservations here.

Normally they charge Rs.850 per person per night with food. They arrange jeep for extra charge around ~Rs.1400.

As mentioned earlier, it is pretty basic homestay unlike popular homestays at Coorg/Chikkamagalur/Sakleshpur.

Disadvantage is, they have two single bedroom houses at first floor. It is OK for bachelors, but families may find it difficult with only single room in each house.

I read your travelogue, Kodachadri is much greener now. Have a great trip.
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