India

Kodachadri – Amazing off-road drive &Astounding Agumbe

Kodachadri – Amazing off-road drive

Nestled deep in the Western Ghats in the district of Shimoga,Kodachadri is home to lush green jungle trails through dense tropical forests, picturesque waterfalls and mesmerizing landscapes. Located in the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary, it also forms the perfect backdrop to the Moola Mookambika Temple, believed to be the place of origin of Goddess Mookambika.

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There are mainly three trails to the peak apart from several other less explored ones. 1) Via Hidlumane Falls 2) via Santosh Hotel 3) Jeep route

Jeep Route: Since I have done the trek twice before via both the routes, this time I opted for jeep drive as the team I went with were interested in Jeep route than hiking all the way up. There are two options for the Kodachadri jeep ride. One is from the Kattinahole side and another is from the Kollur. No need to book jeep in prior, you can directly go to kattinahole or Sampekatte jeep stand (5kms before Kattinahole).

 

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Enroute
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Sunset point after Sarvagna peeta
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Jeep Route

Kodachadri is not a deserted hill. It is a tourist spot, popular with pilgrims to Kollur. The jeep ride was one of the most amazing rides for me in Karnataka. There was no semblance of the road anywhere, but the drivers drove through the terrain with ease and the ride was fantabulous. It was the bumpiest jeep ride ever. We were hardly able to sit in our seats the whole time. Since it’s a mud road, we were covered in a layer of red dust by the time we got off the jeep.

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Temple near Kodachadri information bureau office. Jeep Stops here

The jeep drops you to “Kodachadri information bureau” point because the motorable road is until there. From there to the Kodachadri peak, you will have to walk or trek almost 2 Kms steep uphill to reach Sarvajna Peetha on top of the peak. The jeep waits for you for almost four hours and then you can return to Kollur town or back to kattinahole by the same jeep.

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Sarvagna Peeta

The second part of the trek begins from vehicle parking to Shankara Peetham, a small but beautiful place where Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have meditated. The lush green grass welcomes you and within no time you will fall in love with the beauty of nature. The view from the peak is amazing. Kodachadri is best visited during Monsoons (June to Sept). Once we got down and finished our lunch, we started towards Agumbe.

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Trek start point

Summary

Location: Near Kollur, Shimoga District, Karnataka

Reach: its around 400 kms from Bangalore. Take a bus till Hosanagara from Bangalore. From Hosanagara, Kattinahole jeep stand is 35 kms. You can take another local bus moving towards Kollur.

Kodachadri Trek Distance: 16 kms approx- Up & down (via Hidlumane Falls)

Trail Type: Dense Tropical Rainforests, waterfalls, meadows and cliffs

Trek Duration: 1 Day

Kodachadri Peak Altitude: Approx 1,300 meters above sea level

Difficulty: Moderate

Jeep Stand: Kattinahole Jeep stand or Sampekatte Jeep Stand

Cost: Entire Jeep cost – 2200 Rs (7-8 People)

Forest Entry fee: ~ 50 Rs per head

Food: Local restaurants and some local home food available near Sampekatte jeep stand. We had meal in Pai hotel.

Tip: Get a sturdy shoe as its easier to walk in the shoe from Vehicle parking to Sarvagnapeeta

Astounding Agumbe

This place is my all-time favourite and I have been visiting this place at least once a year from past 10 years. This place is my safe sanctuary in Karnataka. You ask me, why do you like this? My list goes on and on and oooonnn. Agumbe is a little village in Shimoga District in the Malnad region of Karnataka. The village is also known as ‘The Cherrapunji of the South’. This scenic village lies in the Western Ghats belt. It receives the heaviest rainfall in the southern part, which makes it a perfect home with rich biodiversity and some of the scenic waterfalls, dense forests, and rivers.

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Pencil Sketch of Malgudi days in our hotel wall

The village is also home to India’s of the Rainforest Research Station. Agumbe is also one of the most untouched and mesmerizing place to me in south India. It becomes even more stunning than usual during the monsoon, the best time to visit Agumbe, the only sad fact that you won’t be able to visit several waterfalls. It will be closed but that won’t make you feel bad. You can definitely ditch waterfalls for such a wonderful rain experience. Agumbe is green and wet most of the time. This is the abode of King Cobra, the most venomous snake in the world.

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3 years old pic of doddamane

Agumbe came to limelight from the house of “Kasturi Akka” where the legendary TV Serial Malgudi Days” was shot.  Malgudi — a fictitious town from R.K. Narayan’s novel — is actually Agumbe Village. The house of “Kasturi Akka”, Dodda Mane serves as a befitting spot for time travel – the fans of Malgudi Days who come here holding close to the nostalgia associated with this town. Dodda Mane is more than 100 years old and located in the main street of the town. It’s not hard to locate if you ask around the locals.

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Summary

Location: Agume, Shimoga District, Karnataka

Reach: We can reach Agumbe from Bangalore, Udupi and Shimoga. You need to reach any of these places and catch a bus to Agumbe. From Bangalore, there are Karnataka government buses and few private bus services. An overnight journey from Bangalore will take you to Agumbe.

Food: Local restaurants and some local home food available in and around Agumbe

Stay: There are only few options for hotel in Agumbe. The Doddamane is the first choice if you are looking for a homestay experience. Call Doddamane and reserve your bed well in advance. It will be full mostly during weekends and holidays. There is one hotel opposite to Agumbe bus station.  They have many rooms and we paid 500 Rs per person for deluxe room.

Things to in Agumbe: For me, Agumbe is more about rain. Even if I am not able to go out also I would be happy about this place.

I have listed few places of interest below in detail. Here are few others

  • Narashimha Parvta trek (need forest dept special permits. Plan well, its long tough trek)
  • Kavaledurga fort trek
  • Several waterfalls nearby (purposefully I haven’t named them)
  • Gopala Krishna Temple
  • Someshwara bird watch (15 kms down in Udupi route)
  • Udupi (Nearest beach – 55kms)

Type: Dense Tropical Rainforests, waterfalls, Rich bio-diverse place, Macro photographer’s hub

Cost: For a weekend, including travel, stay and food will cost you close to 3000 Rs

Best season to Visit: Monsoon

Places of interest

1)     Agumbe sunset Point – Feel the warmth of the sun

Sunset Point can be reached by a gentle walk of around 30 minutes. Its close to 2.5 kms from bus stand. The walk amidst the dense jungle of Someshwara wildlife Sanctuary is itself a very amazing experience. Agumbe is known for its hypnotizing sunsets and you can’t afford to miss it.

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Sunset
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Surrounding view of forest during sunset
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2) Kundadri hills – Sunrise- Serene misty beauty above the Clouds

This place is approx 20 kms from Agumbe bus stand. You can drive till the foothills or you can hire a local auto till the foothills. A very picturesque and peaceful place. The hill is situated in a remote area so common facilities are not available there. Kundadri Hill is famous for its panoramic view of the surrounding valley and for watching sunrise and sunset. Curvy roads with greenery all around were welcoming us as we stepped out in the morning to explore Kundadri. An ancient Jain temple is situated at the top of hill along with a huge pond which is full of fish throughout the year and this will leave one wondering about its presence at this height. You get a great view of the valley from atop the hill. The Parshwanath temple is simple and beautiful.

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Side view of Temple
3)Kudalu Teerta falls – Beauty amidst the Jungle

Some places are like that, they don’t fail surprise you. They possess an innate sense of energy and unbelievably charming views that can be a perfect medicine to calm the stressed minds; which, ironically, leads to fire your deep hidden thoughts.

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View of falls

Kudalu Teerta is one such place for me. 10 years back I use to walk from the main road arch till this fall. Its approx 16kms one way from arch. The Kudlu Teertha falls which is at a distance of about 30km from Agumbe is a very beautiful waterfall and is about 120 feet. The serenity of this falls along with the Sita river can’t be explained. It just needs to be experienced on its own.

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Same falls in Peak monsoon

Trek distance from Forest entry office: 3kms

Trek Duration: half an hour

Difficulty: Easy

Forest Entry fee: 50 Rs per person(Indian) 100rs for Foreigner and 50 RS vehicle parking fee

Timing: 9Am to 4 PM

Food: few local vendors sell churmuri( Bhel) and omelette. You wont find many options here

Rules: No plastic water bottles and plastic wrapped fast food inside. NO alcohol

Tip: Get a sturdy shoe, as its easier to walk

Trail Type: Dense Tropical Rainforests

Reach: Take an Udupi bus from Agumbe and get down in Sita nadi (river) arch stop which is 6 kms before Hebri and 6-7 kms after Someshwara.

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Enroute
4) Agumbe Rain forest research centre – Biodiversity Hotspot – informative centre for zoologist and Reptile Lovers
Agumbe Rain forest research station
Agumbe rain forest research center

The place is tucked deep inside the forest away from all everything, there is no electricity at this place and is completely run by solar power. The place itself is just breathtaking. It’s extremely remote, there’s so much nature all around to explore and the climate is so much more comfortable than down.  You may also spot snakes and a lot of bird species here. Best time to visit is during monsoons.

5)Sringeri – Adobe of Goddess Sharadamba – Adivitha siddantha Followers

 

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Birds on tree in the banks of Tunga

Sringeri, as we see it today, owes its history, heritage, and lineage to Adi Shankaracharya. The town today revolves around the Shardamba Temple and Sharada Peetham set up by him in 8th CE, with Tunga River flowing between them. We entered the Sharadamba Temple through its tall Raj Gopuram that is a very recent addition to the temple complex. Located on the banks of river Tunga, its beautifully surrounded by lush green mountains.

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View of temple, bride and river from hanging bride

I have been here several times. The first thing that beckons me every time I’m here is River Tunga. A flight of steps leads you down to the river where the fish swim peacefully as the evening sun gracefully lit the waters. Some people were immersed in their evening rituals, while we simply enjoyed the sun set.

Vidya shankara temple

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Vidya shankar temple

Archaeologically, Vidyashankara is the most beautiful temple in Sringeri. There are 12 pillars. 12 pillars representing 12 zodiac signs. As the sun moves from the zodiac to zodiac, the first rays of the sun fall on the pillar of the same zodiac as per Hindu Calendar.

Google more about the history, structure and archaeological importance of temple.

There are other several places to list. I will close it at this point and write in my next part 2 blog about other places. After spending our wonderful weekend in these places, we bid our adieu.

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Front View

Short itinerary and summary

Leave Bangalore on Friday Night

Day 1 : Reach kodachadri in the morning and  go for the peek. After Lunch start for Agumbe, Stop in Kavaledurga fort en-route if you are interested. Relax and reach Agumbe sunset point

Day 2: Go to Kundadri for sunrise and nearby waterfalls in the morning. Reach Sringeri have some peaceful time and Start for Bangalore in the night.

Hope you enjoyed reading. If you need more details do connect with me and plan to visit these places, but make sure you leave less carbon foot print. This place is bio diverse rich place and home for several species. Make sure to leave the place as is and avoid using plastic.

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