Hiking - Destination

The Pride of the Western Ghats - Kodachadri Trek

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Birds chirping, surrounded by greenery on all sides, blue skies interspersed with hints of the orange sun or the kiss of the raindrops and the envelope of low-lying clouds and fog, nature couldn’t have dealt a better deal. Far away from the crowds and dust and the noises of the city lies the Western Ghats with one of the best expeditions of this range being Kodachadri or Kutachadri. The name of Kodachadri is derived from the words Kodacha and Adri, which in the local language means a Hill of the Jasmine Flowers. This trip is what you should be taking if you're interested in being surrounded by beautiful hills and landscapes. 

Prepare yourself to be greeted by the panoramic view of these hills. The view from atop the range, which could be quite deceptive from afar, is in actuality sharp as a tack, masterful and expressive as it extends over the long stretch of the Ghats range, and a considerable portion of Canara.

This mountain peak is covered in dense forestation all year around, typical of the Shola Forests. The base has a much denser foliage cover which thins out as you ascend higher, where grasslands are more prominent. This gives the impression of the range being covered by a green mat.

Let us also inform you that the trek is a moderate one! So, if you are a novice trekker, then you might have to train yourself to enjoy the amazing trek to Kodachadri. If this trek is going to be your first trek then we suggest you check the Beginners Guide to Trekkers.

The Kodachadri peak distance from Bangalore is around 422km, 21km from Kollur and 15km from Nagodi village, in Hosanagara taluk, and overlooks the Western Ghats in Shimoga. 
The tenth highest peak of Karnataka, and the highest peak in the Shimoga district, sitting at a 1,342-meter altitude above sea level is alluring for activities such as trekking, forest exploration, etc and explored by myriads of people every year. 

Kodachadri Mountain Peak altitude
The Surreal Kodachadri 

It has earned its name of being the Cherrapunji of Karnataka as it receives the highest levels of rainfall, making the place look pure and pristine. It has also been declared as a Natural Heritage site by the Government of Karnataka. 

Shri Shivaram Karanth, a renowned traveler, and writer, awarded with the Jnanpith Award for Kannada, has ranked Kodachadri as one of the top three trekking options in Karnataka, with Kudremukha and Kumaraparvatha closely following. 

This trip is an excellent opportunity to see the natural treasures of several endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna, such that is found in the middle of the Mookambika National Park, which include the Malabar Giant Squirrel, the Malabar Langur, the Emerald Pigeon, Bison, Tiger, King Cobra, and Python, a hub of biodiversity. 

Should you be lucky and you get a day which is clear and sunny, then once atop, then you may also be able to get a glimpse of the Arabian Sea!

Magnificent right?

Know More Here:

The Mythical Touch 

This hilltop has an interesting mythological story attached to it. It is believed that the Goddess Mookambika fought and killed the demon Mookasura. You can also visit the Kodachadri temple created in dedication to the Goddess, located near the top of the peak, believed to be standing on the very same spot of where the Goddess overpowered the demon. 

Apart from this, the Sage Adi Shankar is said to have meditated in this place. There is also a small temple built of stone, which is dedicated to the Sage at the top of Kodachadri. He also established a temple at Kollur.

Options to Travel till Kodachadri

The nearest airport is Mangalore Airport which is 100kms away from Kodachadri. 

Wondering how to reach Kodachadri from Bangalore?

Then there is a train option! From Bangalore to Kodachadri, there is a night train called the Shimoga Express, which departs from Bangalore at 11:30 PM and reaches you to Shimoga by 5:30 AM. 

Once you reach Shimoga, you could hire a private vehicle to take you through the remaining distance of 105kms to Sampagatte, which is the foothills of the Kodachadri Mountains. 

Bangalore is about 400kms away and should you decide to take the road, the route would be Bangalore-Shimoga-Hosanagara-Nittur-Kodachadri. You could also take a bus from Bangalore directly to Karekatte, which is after Nittur. Or, there are also plenty of buses available to Kollur from Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. 

Below is the Kodachadri route map that would help you reach the destination easily. 

kodachadri trek
Kodachadri Route Map (source)

Note to keep in mind, you are not allowed to take your private vehicle up the hills. There are multiple local jeep options to choose from. It is obvious though that they too will capitalize on this massive tourist activity, so it’s best to ask around multiple vendors and bargain before settling on one. 

The Trek of Kodachadri

Whet your appetite to trek along the slightly tricky terrains to the enormous stretch of the Western Ghats.

While you could undertake the Kodachadri trek anytime of the year, the monsoon season provides a great experience, since the rain, the greenery, plenty of streams and multitude of big and small waterfalls strewn along the entire trail making for a memorable time.

kodachadri hills
View from the Kodachadri Hills (source)

However, the monsoon season also proves to be difficult as the rains make the routes slippery. A plan between October – January is the most ideal, since post the festival of Dussehra, the number of devotees is less. The temperatures fluctuate, what with facing heavy rainfall for eight months of the year. However, the Kodachadri weather during the summers see temperatures ranging between 25 °C to 35 °C.

The Trek to Kodachadri begins at Nagodi village or Nittur which is the base camp. If you would like to camp close to the peak, you could do so by gaining permission from the Forest Department, Government of Karnataka. 

The Three Routes to Kodachadri

What makes Kodachadri trek unique? Well, it's the exciting journey.

Kodachadri can be reached by three different routes, each with a different level of difficulty. 

1. A jeep route for those looking for a short trek, which takes travelers from Nittur over a muddy track of about 15km. 

2. The tough route that goes through the Hidlumane Falls for which you will need to have an experienced guide along with you and the third is from Karakatte Gate on route Nagara from Kollur. 

kodachadri route map
The Trek to Kodachadri

Kotresh the blogger from Kotresh's Trek Log shares his personal experience- “This trek stretch is most difficult part of your trek. You will find beautiful Hidlumane falls on the way. [Warning: During monsoon make sure that Hidlumane falls is not overflowing as you need to cross this falls], This is pretty steep climb inside the forest. The length of this stretch is around 2 KM. This trek rail reaches again jeep trail which is marked in the blue line.”

3. The third route from Karakatte is 6km from Nittur. This 6km can be easily covered via jeep, the rest of the trail can be trekked. Exploring the trails to Kodachadri, there is also the waterfalls of Arishinagundi. 

Just to give you an approximate idea, the total trek distance is 20kms, one way is 10kms. There is also the choice of using a jeep for the descending 10kms. 

What to Pack for the Trek

Listed below are the essentials for the trek

  • A pair of shoes with good traction and water proof body is an ideal match. 
  • Clothes- Full sleeve cotton t-shirt (to avoid getting sun burnt), Track Pants, Cotton T-shirts (avoid bright colored clothes), extras in case you get wet, Sweater/ Jackets for the night, Raincoat/windcheater/Poncho
  • Water Bottles (enough to carry at least 2 liters of water)
  • Personal Medication Kit
  • Good quality torch with extra batteries for back-up. 
  • Toiletry Bag with only the necessary toiletries. 
  • Cap or a Hat and Sunscreen that can cover the head and face against direct sunlight during peak hours.  
  • Low weight high energy food items like energy bars, dried fruits, and nuts. 
  • Spray, Dettol solution or salt to avoid leeches. 
  • ID proof and photograph. 

Tips You'll Definitely Need for the Kodachadri Trek 

  • The trails are completely infested with leeches. Protective footwear and long trousers are hence advisable. Should they still manage to get to you remove the leech with a piece of wood, salt, etc. 
  • Apart from the leeches, the jungles also house several species of snakes including the very dangerous - the King Cobra. Ankle length footwear would hence be preferable instead of sneakers. 
  • Amenities along the trek are very basic. Among articles to be carried, carry plenty of water, beverages, and high energy food items. 
  • The trails are a part of a wildlife reserve. It’s best to leave nature as clean and untouched as possible, therefore, eliminate the human footprint by avoiding littering, and keeping noise levels to a minimum.  
  • It is essential to carry torches and insect repellents for this trek. 

Accommodation and Homestays at Kodachadri

If you are looking for luxurious Kodachadri resorts, hotels then this isn’t a place where you will find multiple housing and accommodation choices. Trying to keep the area as simple, there are a couple of Kodachadri homestay at very reasonable prices which encompass basic amenities and food and lodging facilities. 

Among the limited options available for stay, the most popular is the Simha Farms, which is about 5kms away from Sampagatte.

The Simha Farms are spread over 12 acres, and is run by a couple. It has 2 cottages which can accommodate 3 people each and a hall which can take in around 20 people. Adding to the ambience and décor of the place, one can see statues and sculptures of animals and cave men, had crafted by Udaya Simha, the founder of Simha Farms, himself. This is a nice and relaxing place to visit and stay while undertaking the Kodachadri trek. 

There is also the Pathalgere guest house with a village like feel to the accommodation in the form of cottages/huts made of bamboo and other natural materials. The style of food available here is true to the Malnad cuisine.  

A bit of a distance away is also the Kodachadri Hallimane Home Stay, with relatively modern facilities, located at distances of 380km from Bangalore, 110km from Shimogga and 42km from Kollur.

35kms away from the foothills, Kollur has more range of lodging options. The Inspection Bungalow or the PWD is quite popular amongst most trekkers. The food provided also is simple and basic. Whatever you may choose, remember to enquire and book a bit in advance.

Kodachadri via the Hidlumane Falls 

Want a thrilling trek experience?

Then Kodachadri via Hidlumane Falls is the ultimate trek worth trying!

The Kodachadri Hidlumane Falls is around 3kms away from the base. The base is the last point till which one can go via vehicles. Hidlumane Falls form the major highlight of this Trek.

This route is relatively tough and it’s advisable to have an experienced guide along. Slippery rocks, filled streams, 70-degree rock climbing around falls is what you will experience. As the place is near coastlines, it’ll get a little humid. 

During the monsoons, it’s not entirely possible to go this route as you are required to cross the water stream.

kodachadri hills
The Hidlumane Falls

The highest point of the waterfall is approximately 60 feet from the ground, and it is a series of six drops. You can hear the thundering noise of the falls as you near it, a great source of motivation to hasten towards the waters, only to be greeted with a sight bound to fill your heart with content. 

Enthusiastic trekkers may go in for a dip in the waters of the fall. Sharing his mind-blowing experience, Harish Reddy the blogger of Harishpullagurla, says- “The first look of the Hindumane waterfalls was breath taking. It was freely falling water from a height of about 30 feet!! You rarely get a chance to experience a waterfall unless you go off road. Also, you leave the crowd behind to experience these paces in private, that is blindly worth all your efforts :D. It is the falls where one shouldn't just get satisfied looking at it but should get down and feel the cold freezing water falling from that height. It was an awesome memorable experience.”

Apart from the scenic beauty encompassing the terrain, you will also come across agricultural fields and huts en route. From here, the route becomes a little steeper and tougher. In case you get a bright sunshiny day on the day of your trek, the sun will be a bother. 

Remember to carry enough water, and prepare yourself for a long day. In case it’s a rainy day, be well equipped with proper rain gear, and be on the lookout for leeches, they are Everywhere! You don’t need us to tell you that having a leech glue itself isn’t the best of experiences. 

Places to Visit near Kodachadri 

Don't miss these amazing places that would add a zeal factor to your trip!

1. The Sarvajna Peetha

It is a small temple like structure, also known as Mantapa, near the peak where it is believed that Sage Adi Shankar meditated. This little structure bears a name similar to that of Sarvajanapetha, additionally known as Sharada Peeth of Jammu and Kashmir, a place visited by Adi Shankar during his long religious journey, where it is said, he defeated different students in a philosophical debate and opened the southern door of the temple.

Distance from Bangalore to Kodachadri
Path to Sarvajna Peetha

2. Chitramoola Caves

It is a small cave that you can reach from a small vertical path just before the peak. This cave is from where the Mookambika temple of Kollur is visible. It is considered extremely important from the religious point of view, as it is known as the spot where Sri Adi Shankar meditated for a few days. As per how the mythological story goes, this place is also the site where Goddess Mookambika appeared before Shankaracharya and chased him till the location of Mookambika Devi Temple. 

Ajeya the blogger of The Hours- My Memoir describes his surreal experience at Chitramoola caves- “Chitramoola is a 1.5 km trek down on another side of the peak. And it's very steep so you have to run all the way down.  A beautiful cave at a height that can be reached using a bamboo stick support. A continuous source of water from a natural spring (Origin of Sauparnika river) keeps the place always alive.” 

kodachadri weather
Chitramoola Caves (source)

3. An Iron Pillar

The majestic iron pillar of 5km 40 feet length stands erect in front of the Moola Mookambika temple near the peak of Kodachadri. The belief behind this structure is that this is the trishula utilized by the Goddess Mookambika to kill the demon. It has been made from pure iron. Despite the wet conditions of this area, it is less affected by corrosion. The Iron Pillar serves as a testimony to ancient Indian iron craftsmanship. 

4. The Nagara Fort

You can spend some time in Nagara Fort if you are heading to Kodachadri from the direction of Shimoga. It is a 18th-century fort located in the backwaters of Linganamakki Dam on Sharavathi River that surrounds the Nagar town. Within the Nagara Fort, one can find the remains of the palace, some lakes etc. There might not be much to see here, however, it’s nice to take the deviation to check out a bit of history along the way…also to check off another thing on your list of things to see. 

5. The Moolasthana Temple

Located near the PWD Guest House or Traveller’s Bungalow, the Moolasthana Temple is believed to be the origin place of Sri Mookambika Devi and is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims.

6. The Agastya Teertha

The lush waterfalls in the jungles adjoining Kodachadri is a must visit. But the flip side of this interesting location is that this waterfall can be located only with the help of local guides.

7. The Ganesh Guha

It is indeed a very mysterious cave. On route from the Agastya Teertha is a deviation on the left leading you towards the Ganapati Guha with an ancient idol of Lord Ganesha. Inside the cave is an ancient and graceful stone idol of Lord Ganesha. The cave at the top can be seen sloping down to a small crevice at the far end which houses a mysterious tunnel. 

 ganesh guha
The Ganesh Guha

8. Mookambika National Park

Want to treat your eyes with flora and fauna? Then the Mookambika National Park is a must visit. It is spread over around 247 sq. km and is home to exceptional flora and fauna.

This sanctuary also shares its north-western boundary with Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary. The Mookambika wildlife sanctuary is divided into a core zone of 114 sq. km, a buffer zone of 90 sq. km and the tourism zone of 43 sq. Km. 

The national park is known for its thicket of evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests of the Western Ghats. Among the various tree species that are found in this region includes Dipterocarpus indicus, Calophyllum tomentosum and Hopea parviflora. 

Apart from these a rare species of climber Coscinium fenestratum are also found here. Apart from the flora, the fauna includes animals like Slender loris, lion-tailed macaque, sambar, chital, sloth bear, gaur, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, otter, porcupine, tiger, and leopard. The endangered cane turtle is also found in this sanctuary.

9. Camping in the Peak

As mentioned earlier, camping near the peak isn’t encouraged unless you get permission from the Forest Department. An alternative to that is to book rooms in the PWD or if you contact Bhattara Mane in the peak. Basic requirements are provided, so do not expect any levels of luxury. These camping essentials will help you camp like a pro.

Spending the night in Bhattare Mane is also a worthwhile experience since then you get a chance to enjoy the sunset of the evening and the sunrise of the following morning, both of which are spectacular views. 

The Ending Trails 

Kodachadri is one of those peaks which will leave you awestruck.

It is steeped in ancient history adds to the natural and photographic beauty to be one of the most beautiful peaks of the Western Ghats. 

Add to that, the spectacular location and you have Kodachadri at second place in the whole of South India after Kanyakumari that can provide you with spectacular views of the sunrise and the sunset at the same place. 

This trek not only boats but also doesn’t fail to deliver of its compact forests, splendid jungle trails, and picturesque landscapes. It engorges on a view of the Arabian Sea too, nonetheless. 

It’s a trek that will boost your mind to think of the varied beauties that nature has to offer, all packed into a serene environment. We assure you, you will definitely head back home with beautiful memories of the majestic mountains and a mind revived by the freshness of the mountain air. 

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