If you have been following my blog, then you know I am a beach lover and always crave for Sun, Sand & Sea.
But there is something which I love about mountains too. The grandeur, diverse flora & fauna, tranquility and the feeling of being above the clouds, is something which cannot be matched. Trekking the mountains has been a long-time dream. But somehow, it never materialized, until last weekend, when I signed up for my very first trekking experience to Kumar Parvath. Thanks to my good friend & neighbor, Shabari.
Are you wondering, why I chose one of the hardest treks in Karnataka?
Well, the idea of trekking was so enticing that I signed up for it, without researching anything. And I am so glad that I didn’t read much about it earlier. I am really excited to share my first-time trekking experience at this strenuous trek in my next blog.
For now, I will share all the details about the Kumara Parvatha trek, which will help you plan your trip better. So, let’s get started!
Kumara Parvatha/ Pushpagiri Trek – Overview
At an altitude of 1,712 m, Kumara Parvatha is the second highest peak in Coorg district and one of the most popular treks in Karnataka. Kumara Parvatha is a part of Pushpagiri range of Western Ghats and nestled with lush green flora. In fact, you can observe the change in vegetation and landscape during the entire trail.
The total distance covered during the trek is 28 km in 2 days. The difficulty level is medium to high. More than the terrain it’s the distance, weather, and elevation that tires you (this being the first-time experience, I felt so). But scenic vistas are quite rewarding and worth the effort.
How to reach
This trek starts from Subramanya Village which is 280 kms from Bangalore. This village is also very popular for Kukke Subramanya Temple. You can reach base camp or the starting point by one of the below means.
Road:Take a cab / Bus to reach Subramanya village. During our tour, we travelled via Hassan and Sakleshpur. It took us around 6-7 hours to reach including time taken for breakfast break.
Flight: Mangalore is the closest airport at around 150 kilometers from trek start point.
Train: Mysore and Hassan railway stations are the closest to Kumara Parvatha.
Best Time to visit
Post rains fromOctober to January is the best time to visit Kumara Parvatha, you can avoid the discomfort due to scorching heat and humidity. You can also plan your visit during Monsoon season from June to September. That’s when the lush green surroundings, misty trail, small springs, rivulets and diverse flora of the Sanctuary welcomes you. I would prefer monsoon season.
Organized tour or Do it yourself?
If you are visiting for the first time or alone, it’s always better to go with an organized tour, as during the entire trail you won’t find any help center or guidance. Also, the networks/ Signals are really weak.
We signed up with Bangalore Mountaineering Club (BMC)for this trek. All the arrangements were made by them including transport, tents and sleeping bags for overnight stay at Forest check post, meals, Permits, guides etc. Entire experience was very smooth (of course all the arrangements were very basic)
Kumara Parvatha Trek Route
Trek is divided into 4 stages
Stage 1: Temple to Battara Mane/Forest Checkpoint
Stage 2: Battara Mane to Kallu Mantap
Stage 3: Kallu Mantap to Sheshaparvatha
Stage 4 : Sheshaparvatha to Kumaraparvatha
It was a 2-day adventure weekend getaway from Bangalore. We were a group of 18 participants and 2 guides.
Bangalore – Subramanya village – Battaramane/ forest checkpoint
We started from Bangalore at around 6.30 am on Saturday and reached Subramanya village at around 1.30 p.m. In-between we stopped by for breakfast. At Subramanya village we got basic rooms to freshen up (1 room for 6 girls, the room was not very clean but just ok for a quick change), post that we enjoyed south Indian meal at a nearby restaurant.
We started trekking at 3.00 p.m., before which, we received our tent and sleeping bags. Carrying extra weight until the forest checkpoint (7 km from temple) makes it difficult for sure. We started walking down the street, crossing pretty houses till the fenced forest area started.
On the other side of the fence was a dense, moist and humid world waiting for us. Our guide Nikhil informed us that this trail will also have leeches and how to get rid of them.
We started slowly; it was uneven trail with roots of the trees forming stairs. Crossing thick woods was great but indeed an extremely tiring experience. There were hardly any plain surfaces, many parts of the trail were rocky with elevation. I had to stop many times to catch up some breath. Thanks to our second guide Mars, who was very patient and supported me all the way. I could finally manage to complete the first lap and we touched the forest checkpoint at around 6.30 p.m. By then it was already dark, so we found a place to set our tents (yes, we had to find a place, as it was really crowded with many tents already put up there)
Post this we walked around 800 meters down to Battaramane for our dinner. This is the only place in the entire trail where you can get food. Meal included rice, sambar, buttermilk and pickle. After dinner you need to wash your plates and keep them back for the next set of trekkers.
Without any delay we retired into our tents and sleeping bags as next day would start at 3 a.m. and is going to be extremely hectic.
Forest checkpoint – Kumara Parvatha – forest Checkpoint – Subramanya Village – Bangalore
The day started early! We got up at 2.30 a.m. packed out tents and sleeping bags along with additional clothing etc. which was not required for the trek. Dumping everything at the forest checkpoint, we carried small bags with packed breakfast provided by BMC, along with water, energy bars, and raincoat.
After the forest guard checked and counted the number of plastics we are carrying (you need to get the same count back else pay fine of INR 2000) we started on our mission.
7 kms to the peak, this time trail was full of green grass, muddy and rocky path at most of the places, very steep elevation at some places. But thanks to the early morning breeze and later rains, I didn’t feel as tired as I felt the first day. At a point when it was about to dawn, the view was absolutely breathtaking and made all the struggle and efforts worth it.
During our trek, we stopped by Kallu mantap for a short break followed by Sheshaparvath.
From Sheshaparvath to the peak, it was really challenging and strenuous. Rain definitely added to the difficulty level. The first part was moist and damp rainforest with lots of leeches, which was followed by climbing the big rock boulders and steep mountain against the water stream.
At 9.0 a.m. we finally made to the peak. We were drenched and it was really foggy to see anything. But I would say trail and journey were what that really mattered.
At the peak, we enjoyed our packed breakfast. At 9.15 a.m. we started descending from the same route and reached Battaramane by 12.30 p.m. Post lunch we started again and reached Subramanya village at around 3.30 -4 pm.
We reached Bangalore at 12.30 a.m.
Read all the experiences which I gathered during the trip and some important advice for the first-timers in my next blog.
Things to Carry
Since you would not find many shops, restaurants or any medical help once the trail starts. It’s important to pack your bags with all essential requirements and yet keep it as light as possible. Below is the list of must-haves.
- Trekking backpack ( waterproof if possible)
- Trekking shoes & socks
- Trekking stick
- Additional small backpack
- Dry fruits, energy bar, electrolytes, and energy drink
- 4 liter of water
- Personal medication
- Tissue paper
- Extra pair of trekking clothes
- Caps or hats to avoid direct sun
- Comfortable clothes for nightwear
- Sunscreen lotion, moisturizers or skin ointments
- Mosquito or other insect repellents
- Sunglasses and camera (if necessary)
- Waste bags
Some important points to remember
- Do keep it in mind that the entire experience is really strenuous and tiring but equally rewarding.
- Don’t expect any help or luxury treatment and all the facilities are very basic and you need to sail through the entire journey yourself
- Along with physical fitness, you should be prepared mentally to enjoy the discomforting experience too
- Be cautious and careful not to litter or make the environment dirty in any way
- Keep yourself hydrated. Keep munching energy bars.