While the northern ranges of the Himalayas have provided a series of wonders and surprises for all trekking enthusiasts across the country, the southern India’s mountainous paths have always been the quintessential hiking experience with all the breathtaking magnificence nature has to offer. One such renowned trek in the southern state of Karnataka, and also one of the few hiking trails that is more than ideal for a first-time trekker, is the Brahmagiri Trek.
The Brahmagiri trek takes you through an adventurous journey through the insides of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary - a haven of the state’s flora and fauna that borders with Kerala. The sanctuary is also home to a very large herd of white elephants, and it isn’t quite uncommon for a trek to spot one of these majestic mammals. The Brahmagiri trail passes through a dense forest, interspersed with grasslands and altering streams.
Know More About
- Brahmagiri Trek - The Quick Breakdown
- The Brahmagiri Trek: A Monsoon Paradise
- Best Time for the Brahmagiri Trek
- The Best Routes To The Monsoon Haven
- Brahmagiri Trek - The Full Breakdown
- Highlights Of The Brahmagiri Trek
- Trekking Essentials
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summing Up
With attractions like the Iruppu Waterfalls and the enchanting wilderness of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, the Brahmagiri trek never fails to leave all its hikers mesmerised and intrigued, which is why it is one Karnataka’s ultimate post-monsoon trekking experiences for every nature lover.
The Quick Breakdown
- Where it is Located: Karnataka/Kerela
- Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day
- Trekking Grade: Easy to Moderate
- Max Altitude: 1,608 metres
- Trekking Distance: 15 kilometres (Approx.)
- Distance from Bangalore: 300 kilometres
- Basecamp: Thirunelli forest (Wayanad); Iruppu (Coorg)
- Best Time To Visit: Post-Monsoon (Mid-September)
- Livingit Rank: Beginners - Enthusiast
The Brahmagiri Trek: A Monsoon Paradise
The Brahmagiri trek is a popular one amongst trekkers for its tranquil and exquisite ambience. With the Brahmagiri hills, trekking takes on a whole new meaning, which is why numerous thrillophiles all across the country are attracted to them, every year, like moths to a flame. One can be face front with the towering magnificence of the Western Ghats, as they traverse through the dense and scenic forests of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. Located on the border of Karnataka and Kerala, the Brahmagiri ranges stand at an altitude of 1608 metres above sea level. The peaks offer a spectacular view of the semi-green and evergreen forests that encompass the entire hiking trail.
The Brahmagiri hill trek provides all its visitors with a unique and authentic experience in almost every aspect - the meandering pathways that course over the hilly and undulating terrains and across the rich Shola forests, crisscrossing river streams and vast open grasslands. Cut off from the metropolitan buzz of the city, the Brahmagiri hill trek welcomes every hiker with the sheer enchantment and charm of the thick spread of forestry of the Western Ghats, helping you relax and enjoy the earthly experience of the natural hike.
With an ample spread of homestays around the area, trekkers can feel closer to their environments and enjoy some authentic Kannadiga hospitality. But beyond all of the wealth and adventure that the Brahmagiri hills provides, the most rewarding part of the hike is actually the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and triumph when one reaches the Brahmagiri peak and they are immediately welcomed with the picturesque view of the ranges and jungles of Coorg and Wayanad. So for anyone looking to fall into the lap of the Western Ghats’ expansive richness of flora and fauna during the monsoons, the Brahmagiri hill trek should definitely be a priority on your bucket list.
Best Time for the Brahmagiri Trek
The post monsoon/winter months from November to February are the ideal time to attempt the trek as the terrain is full of lush greenery. The trek is best avoided during the monsoon season due to the high infestation of leeches in the trails.
- Summer: 32 to 37 degree Celsius (day); 23 to 28 degree Celsius (night)
- Winter: 27 to 32 degree Celsius (day); 20 to 20 degree Celsius (night)
- Monsoon: 29 to 34 degree Celsius (day); 22 to 27 degree Celsius (night)
The Best Routes to the Monsoon Haven
There are various transport options for someone wishing to go for the Brahmagiri trek. Iruppu, in Coorg district and Thirunelli, in the Wayanad district are the two base camps for this trek, each being well-connected to major cities.
It’s convenient for one to catch a bus to Virajpet directly from Bangalore or Mysore, and then take a local bus to Iruppu, the location from where the trek starts from the Coorg side. From the Wayanad district, one can take a local SRTC bus from Kutta to Kattikulam. From there, it’s recommended to avail a private bus to Thirunelli, the starting point of the trek from the Wayanad side.
The Bangalore-Mysore Passenger train service frequents from Bangalore to Virajpet, and from there one can get a local bus to the Iruppu.
Most people from in and around the region tend to drive directly to the sanctuary. The route through the Nagarhole National Park is the shortest, but can only be entered before a curfew of 6PM. Another commonly opted route includes the one from Mysore to Thirunelli (via Gundlupet and Sultan Bathery).
Brahmagiri Trek - The Full Breakdown
After a relatively easy bus journey from Bangalore, it is best suggested that one arrives at Srimangala early in the morning to be able to catch a clear and lucid afternoon view from the Brahmagiri peak.
Srimangala - Iruppu Temple
From Srimangala, it’s around a 9 km trek to the Iruppu Temple, which is the starting point of the Brahmagiri trek from the Coorg side. Along the way, there are multiple streams from which you can replenish your water sources.
From the Iruppu temple onwards, it is best recommended to apply an ample amount of bug repellent spray to tackle to the leech infested pathways - which become a serious problem especially during the monsoons.
Brahmagiri Path - Iruppu Falls
The trek from the Iruppu temple towards the falls is relatively easy and perfect for first time trekkers, with trekkers getting closer to the spirit of the trail’s forestry. From the Iruppu falls, the Brahmagiri peak is only 6 km away; however, most trekkers rarely obtain permission during certain hours of the day to access the point.
Hikers who hope to trek through the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and the Munikal Caves must go through extensive planning and permissions must be ensured before hand, due to disputes and strict curfews laid by local guides and offices.
Highlights of the Trek
The Brahmagiri trek takes you through an array of wonders that punctuate every crook and turn of the trail. Let’s looks at some of the attractions you can visit while you’re on this trek.
In the Wayanad district, the Thirunelli temple is a must visit for trekkers who wish to experience the sheer enigmatic presence of this attraction. Legend has it that the temple was built by the Hindu deity, Lord Brahma, which he dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. The temple boasts of its architecture, having over 30 granite pillars constructed in a traditional style, and is very often referred by the locals as Dakshina Kasi or Kasi of the South. The timings of the temple are 5:30 am to 12:00 pm in the morning and 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm in the evening, so if you want to visit, plan around these timings.
Pakshipathalam is another major attraction in the trek, located again in the Wayanad district of the Brahmagiri range and it towers at a height of 1740 metres. According to ancient mythology, the primary cave in Pakshipathalam was once used numerous Gurus and Rishis (saints) for ritualistic purposes. Locals in the Coorg district refer to this cave as the Munikal cave.
While most of the Brahmagiri trek has its own charm and awe factor to it, it’s the Iruppu waterfalls that end up taking centre stage. Originating from the Lakshmana Tirtha River in Karnataka, the Iruppu waterfalls is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the entire state. Legend has it that the river sprang from the point on the Brahmagiri hill where Lord Ram and his brother Lakshman shot an arrow on. The water body was believed to have erupted from the hill as a source of water for the two deities, to quench their thirsts.
Although this is a short, weekend trek, there are a few essentials that you need to carry with you for the trek. Here’s a packing checklist that will help you carry everything you need:
- A sturdy backpack
- Trekking shoes
- Trekking pole
- A compass and a map of the area
- A good quality flashlight and extra batteries
- Raincoat or waterproof covers for your rucksacks
- An extra pair of trekking pants
- Waterproof gloves
- An extra pair of dry clothes
- Sun cap/hat
- An emergency supply of cutlery, i.e., spoons, bowls, etc.
- Dry towels
- Tissue paper
- Bug repellent sprays and creams
- Two 1 litre bottles
- Plastic covers
- Cold cream
- Hand sanitizer and antiseptic soap
- Crocin for fever
- Avil for allergies
- Combiflam as a general painkiller
- Digene for acidity
- Crepe bandage and ointment in the case of any injuries
- A small roll of cotton and gauze
- Moov or Relispray for muscular pulls, aches and sprains
- ID Proof like drivers licence, Aadhar Card, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the base camp? And can we set camp at the brahmagiri trek?
The base camp for the trek is Thirunelli from the Wayanad district and Iruppu from the Coorg district. Unfortunately, no one is allowed to set up camp inside the reserve park/sanctuary trail. People who attempt the trek are always required to return back to base camp on the same day.
Where can I arrange for permission for the Brahmagiri trek?
Permission for the trek, from the Kerala side can be arranged from the Thirunelli guest house. Permission costs generally stand a standard price of INR 275 per head and an extra INR 200 for guide charges. All and any kind of permission has to be booked well in advance.
Is a guide mandatory?
Yes. No one is allowed to venture into the trail/reserve forest without a certified guide.
How much should my backpack weigh?
All that you pack should total up to a weight of 8 to 10 kg (including your sleeping bag)
Is the gradient difficult?
The walk is relatively easy and is suitable for first time trekkers.
The Brahmagiri Trek is quite often seen as an ideal combination of several things; it holds natural wonders from both the states of Kerala and Karnataka and while the trek is easy for most hikers, there’s always a surprise at each and every corner. The trek provides a mildly challenging journey, but one that is definitely full of adventure and thrill. No trekker can leave without a head full of picturesque and vivid memories of the beauties of the lush and green Brahmagiri trail.