Last weekend, my trekking gang and myself went to Kumara Parvatha - the place I had heard so much about - "the toughest trek in Karnataka", "the 2nd highest peak in Karnataka", and so on. It turned out to be all that and much more.
Unlike many of our previous treks, this trek was preceded by a lot of preparation - from amount of food and water to take, the sleeping bags and mats to the bus seat booking and also getting permission from the Forest Department to trek to the top.
Our plan was to climb up from the Kukke side, reach the top, sleep there in the night, and then get back down from the Somwarpet side.
The Day 1 trek from the Kukke side to the top was 15 km and was especially gruelling because of the scorching sun heat. Since I have gotten used to trekking and daily jogging now, I didn't feel tired soon, but after a few hours of trekking, my goal was to catch up with our frontrunners of the group and that was indeed the toughest part of the trek for me. I had resigned myself to be second best many a time, but I kept trudging on and I reached them eventually.
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The scenery from this place was breathtaking because we were at such a height and best of all, we could see the trail that we were taking but couldn't exactly see the trail in front of us, because as soon as we reached a peak and followed the trail, we see another peak to conquer.
After a simple and nourishing lunch at the famous Bhatta's house, we continued on, and after nearly 8 hours of trekking in the day, we reached the top, and it was a magical place. It was literally a "walk in the clouds" and we the clouds were moving in between us. The last time I had experienced this was the Mullainagiri trek. After forcing ourselves to eat only chapatis since we had run out of water, we curled into our sleeping bags and slept as we watched the clear sky lit with countless stars. It was b e a u t i f u l.
The next day morning, we took photos of the sunrise. My favorite photo taken by Ajay is this one :
and Mahesh has taken this "stitched" photo that covers 180° angle (full size version is here) :
Then we took the help of the localites who had come up from the Somwarpet side for puja in the temple at the top and they showed us the direction. We were thankful that the trek that morning was easy and we were walking in the forest shade especially because we had no water.
After a while, we could hear water and on an impulse, we rushed to the water fall.
Then, we got down and reached the "Hegde mane" (Hegde's place) and were disappointed to realize that our trek was over! A festival was going on at the temple in this place and we realized that it was for Shivratri. There were speeches by a MLA regarding the status of a road they are building, and the local inspectors were also the guests of honour. We were asked by many localites to join them for the lunch at the temple and they requested with such warmth that we couldn't refuse (even though we had lots of food in our rucksacks).
We hired an open air jeep to take us to Madikeri, and we enjoyed the cool breeze and good road and time was spent by singing lot of songs and discussing lot of stuff and more places that we intend to go to.
That evening, we strolled around Madikeri, had a good dinner at a hotel we randomly walked into, and 12 people laughed so much that the hotel owner was getting concerned but said nothing.
I wish I have more weekends like this.
Update : Mahesh has a more detailed story of the trek.