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Old 11th February 2023, 13:39   #1
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The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

There was a plan to visit temples in the coastal and Malenadu region of Karnataka. When this happens, Sringeri and Horanadu are always in the frame. There are a few roads to traverse between these widely popular temple towns, some bordering on non-motorable. However, an interesting thought crossed the mind, albeit longer, why not traverse the Sringeri-Kudremukha-Hornadu route. After several deliberations with family about timings, we decided to go ahead with this. The road from Sringeri is a straightforward one and well marked on all maps ( I prefer to avoid using Google Maps when in unknown area ). I used the built in maps (MMI) in the 7OO this time. Its ver accurate and guided us out of Sringeri and soon we were at the forest checkpost of Kudremukha National Park. One important point to note here is, you have to take a slip from the entry point with your vehicle number and entry time marked. You have 90 minutes to exit out of the park and at the exit checkpost you have to hand over this slip.

We made the entry and were on our way again. This road is through thick canopy and sometimes even the sunlight doesn't make it to the ground. The road is also a bit narrow and the curves are blind. There is sparse traffic, but when it comes make sure you have sufficient space and time to get off the road if necessary. We encountered a few cabs and a few lorries. So drive with caution on this stretch. After about 25-30kms you come across a settlement named Karekatte ( I think whatever was here has been abandoned ). There is an orchidarium here ( which is closed and in ruins ) and there is a fork. The right in the fork takes you towards Bajigoli /Karkala and then onwards to Udupi/Mangalore. The left towards Kalasa via Kudremukha. We took the left here at the fork. Although the road is narrow up to this point, the surface is great. Once you take the turn towards Kalasa, the road quality very average to say the least. This road till about Samse ( a few kms before Kalasa) is very average and broken at many places. We took the turn and started traversing the road towards the abandoned town which is about 17 kms from the turn off. It took us a good 35-40 minutes to cover this distance but some of the views while driving on this road are breathtaking. We didn't get down to take pictures because - one, its a wild life sanctuary and getting down is not the right thing to do, two, the road pretty deserted and didn't feel comfortable getting down on a deserted road

Last edited by shrk_18 : 11th February 2023 at 14:57.
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Old 11th February 2023, 15:24   #2
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The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha

After navigating the road, we were at the entrance of the abandoned town. The entrance is marked by two earth mover tyres placed in the middle of the road and a huge KIOCL logo opposite to it. This picture is taken with our backs to the abandoned town and the road in the picture goes the now locked and abandoned factory where the mined ore was processed

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_3192.jpeg

The visit to this place was special because it brought back so many memories from 30 years ago when I was there with my parents (I had just finsiehd my 7th Standadrd) as my Dad was invited to the Kendriya Vidayalaya (KV) there for some lectures for students of higher classes and even some teacher orientation. It was a flourishing and a bustling township back then. I have vivid memories of the place.

The KV is now abandoned and this is how it looks now

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_3187.jpeg

As we drove further into the town, we came across this huge circle named Nehru Circle

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_3184.jpeg

This was one of the main junctions where there was a recreation hall ( We had watched the Movie Saajan here during our visit ), a hospital and a bus stand.

The abandoned recreation hall,

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_1995.jpeg

The abandoned hospital,

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_2001.jpeg

As we went further inside, we came across the Sahyadri Bahavan, the erstwhile guest house of the company. Its where we had stayed during our visit and memories came flooding back. While my dad went to the school for the orientation program, me and a few other kids ( children of others who were here for teaching) had a gala time swimming in the huge pool behind the guest house and having sumptuous food served here. Picture of the guest house which was closed that day,

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_1992.jpeg

Finally a picture of yours truly in front of the guest house with my ride,

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_1993.jpeg

There were not many people around that day, saw a few people of the forest department working in a field nearby. A few people at a place of worship. There is a government school building at the entry of the abandoned town which was closed that day as it was a Sunday.

We eventually left the place with a heavy heart after seeing the once bustling town in shambles and the nature is gradually gobbling it up. I guess the mining operations were detrimental to the environment and it had to be closed. But still feels sad to see a place in ruins, especially if you have visited it when it was at its peak.

Thanks for reading through this !!!
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Old 13th February 2023, 06:48   #3
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th February 2023, 07:37   #4
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Sad to see the images of this “Ghost Town”. It is reminescent of ‘Radiator Springs’ in the movie ‘Cars’.

My Dad planted tea in Kalasa/ Samse area in his last posting before his retirement in the 1990’s. I have been all over those places with him in his Jeep.

And I too, remember the Kudremukha KIOCL office and processing unit and township very well. It was a bustling place as you said with a lot of Central Govt Engineers and others. I also remember they had that metal pipeline to transport the mined iron ore slurry down the hills by taking advantage of gravitational forces. Those pipes must also have rusted away by now.


On a slightly wisftful, nostalgic and philosophical note; ( today being Monday, that probably has some blame to take.)

Thinking more deeply about it, India’s vision for self sufficiency and industrial development and the infra that they built in the old days, was really quite fantasic considering the perpetually limited resources.

Shows the shift to the knowledge based economy in a way.

All these ‘Company Townships’ built amidst nature in remote districts at the source of the physical raw material have now given way to mega office campuses in the cities where most of the knowledge workers are.

In a way the old ‘pioneering’ spirit is gone.
I always feel that way when visiting the tea and coffee plantation districts. Imagine the vision, energy, relentless pioneering spirit that those men must have had to carve out swathes of mountainous inhospitable fever ridden and wild animal infested land and physically plant tea and coffee.

Our generation, by contrast, is well softened and well-fattened!

Leads to moral decay, corruption of the soul and eventual decline of the civilisation.

Last edited by shankar.balan : 13th February 2023 at 07:57.
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Old 13th February 2023, 10:22   #5
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Very sad state of affairs in such a wonderful piece of nature. Reminds me of Chernobyl. The government could easily make this a tourist place along with a great lesson in history. Many a times i have taken a detour just to drive through Kudremukha, makes for a great drive particularly in monsoons.
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Old 13th February 2023, 10:28   #6
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Thanks for sharing! While in Manipal, I've done multiple rides to Kudremukh, in varying weather conditions. We went the first time during monsoon and fell crazy in love with the place. The valley is absolutely stunning! We tried to check if we could enter the town, but were denied by the guards posted. The other time, we crossed over the town and stayed overnight in the village on the other side.

Hope you don't mind me sharing some pictures; these are all from '07 - '09.

In the monsoon

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-dsc02236.jpg

In summer

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-dsc02270.jpg

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_1532.jpg

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_1538.jpg

Lakya Dam in the monsoon

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-img_1546.jpg

In summer

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-dsc02347.jpg

The mining infrastructure in the distance

The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)-dsc02349.jpg

Last edited by libranof1987 : 13th February 2023 at 10:31.
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Old 13th February 2023, 10:57   #7
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Lovely write up, relatable to me during my recent drive through Kudremukh wildlife sanctuary as I passed through this junction with the giant 'Kudre' logo

The sheer scale of well-thought out infrastructure for the employees as well as their families in terms of planned townships such as this one; fills me with astonishment (coupled with nostalgia). Considering how sparse and simple life was for an average citizen in the 70s and 80s, the quality of life within such self sufficient industrial townships would have been on n a different level!

Driving through HMT in Jalahalli gives a similar feeling
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Old 13th February 2023, 11:13   #8
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Why was it abandoned? Did the vein of ore peter out? Did it become un-economical to mine it?
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Old 13th February 2023, 11:14   #9
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
Why was it abandoned? Did the vein of ore peter out? Did it become un-economical to mine it?
First it was financial. And dont forget the Environmental concerns.

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Old 13th February 2023, 11:19   #10
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha

Quote:
Originally Posted by shrk_18 View Post
As we went further inside, we came across the Sahyadri Bahavan, the erstwhile guest house of the company. Its where we had stayed during our visit and memories came flooding back. While my dad went to the school for the orientation program, me and a few other kids ( children of others who were here for teaching) had a gala time swimming in the huge pool behind the guest house and having sumptuous food served here. Picture of the guest house which was closed that day,
A decade back, we stayed there overnight while on a journey. Though the facilities were not that great, the peace and the night sky made up for it.
Have they stopped the lodging facilities there?

Quote:
We eventually left the place with a heavy heart after seeing the once bustling town in shambles and the nature is gradually gobbling it up. I guess the mining operations were detrimental to the environment and it had to be closed. But still feels sad to see a place in ruins, especially if you have visited it when it was at its peak.

Thanks for reading through this !!!
I felt the same, even though, I never stayed or have any connection with it. There was a police station and post office there, they still should be functional?
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Old 13th February 2023, 12:26   #11
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Mining is not perpetual. Things run out, cost becomes high and environment needs to be protected. Its in a very sensitive ecological zone.
Public sector companies of yore were mostly throw big resources and create the whole township kind of ventures even in cities ! Not in line with recent times. There is a colony for this company in Koramangala and people have huge houses there.

I think the place should be allowed to recover naturally for long time before trying to do any formal tourism related activities are allowed. I think recently I read KIOCL will be operating mines in Sandur area.

Last edited by PreludeSH : 13th February 2023 at 12:28.
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Old 13th February 2023, 12:50   #12
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

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Originally Posted by PreludeSH View Post
I read KIOCL will be operating mines in Sandur area.
Dont want to go off topic but Sandur is an absolute disaster. Terrible air quality. Like breathing Iron and muck. Not to forget the amount of muck they are sending into the Tungabhadra waters.
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Old 13th February 2023, 14:16   #13
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Sad to see the state of the township.

Another thing to note is that there is a 'conveyor belt' of sorts, 12km up where the ore slurry was pushed up by motors and subsequently, a conveyor belt with a gradual incline a few 10s of kms to the Mangalore port. I am told that it was mostly gravity that did its job moving the ore in the later part.

Imagine the ingenuity, foresight and transport savings this would've brought about.
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Old 13th February 2023, 15:10   #14
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha (Karnataka)

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Thanks for sharing! While in Manipal, I've done multiple rides to Kudremukh, in varying weather conditions. We went the first time during monsoon and fell crazy in love with the place. The valley is absolutely stunning! We tried to check if we could enter the town, but were denied by the guards posted. The other time, we crossed over the town and stayed overnight in the village on the other side.

Hope you don't mind me sharing some pictures; these are all from '07 - '09.
Loverly pictures, thanks for sharing !!! I intend to go back in the monsoon and drive that stretch from Sringeri again !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthVeda View Post
A decade back, we stayed there overnight while on a journey. Though the facilities were not that great, the peace and the night sky made up for it.
Have they stopped the lodging facilities there?



I felt the same, even though, I never stayed or have any connection with it. There was a police station and post office there, they still should be functional?
The erstwhile clubhouse was closed that day, it was locked and I couldn't get in. Could find no one to ask if it was functional.

I din't see anyone at the police station or post office ( it was a Sunday ), but there were some forest department guys working near their office at the entrance, they looked like daily wagers on a job

Quote:
Originally Posted by amavin View Post
Sad to see the state of the township.

Another thing to note is that there is a 'conveyor belt' of sorts, 12km up where the ore slurry was pushed up by motors and subsequently, a conveyor belt with a gradual incline a few 10s of kms to the Mangalore port. I am told that it was mostly gravity that did its job moving the ore in the later part.

Imagine the ingenuity, foresight and transport savings this would've brought about.
Yes I remember folks mentioning this slurry transport to Mangalore using gravity. Although I don't have any details about it or contacts who can give me more information

Last edited by shrk_18 : 13th February 2023 at 15:13. Reason: One more reply
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Old 13th February 2023, 15:40   #15
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Re: The abandoned mining town of Kudremukha

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Originally Posted by shrk_18 View Post
After navigating the road, we were at the entrance of the abandoned town.
I travelled through this route a couple of times in the last 2 months and the latest was on last Thursday. As you said the roads are nothing to write about but the scenery covers for it. I think I noticed a JLR property there.

In the 80s, as a young kid, I had seen movement of this conveyer belt carrying ore near Panambur (Mangalore Port) just above the railway crossing next to the bridge and, seeing it moving, wondered where is this coming from? My dad would explain that it is from the mountains carrying Iron ore, from a place called Kudremukh. Curious that I was, I wanted to 'sit' on the empty belt which was going back and travel all the way to see its 'Origin'
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