Kodachadri Again!

To read my previous visit - Kodachandri Trek

When my colleague Prem suggested a Trek to Kodachadri during a long weekend the timing seemed so perfect that i could not refuse. Having dedicated two and half years to French learning, I had begun to miss out on real treks in the Western ghats. So with the plan allowing me to skip only one of the classes during the weekend, seemed like a great getaway. 

On Saturday, the 12th of October, at 9:30 PM, I met Prem and his German class friends at SRS bus stand. I quickly got introduced to Amrutha, Rajesh, Balaram and Priya. 

Ideally we must have taken Durgamba bus directly to Nitoor from where the home stay would have arranged a jeep to pick us up. But as we delayed the booking, seats were sold out. So instead we took a bus to Kollur. The bus reached Kollur only at 9:30 AM. Another jeep drive of 20 kilometres brought us to the home stay. A local Shetty runs this home stay. The rooms are okay but if you are a little hygiene conscious this might not be your place to stay. You can also opt to pitch tents in the front yard. 

We were ready by 12:00 PM after freshening up and breakfast. We were assigned a guide called Manju. All through the trek I recollected my story from the previous trek that I did in 2008. There are more than one ways to reach the peak. Last time we had taken the jeep route of 13kms. This time the route was via a waterfall and was supposed to take us around 4 hours. As soon as we began the walk it started to rain, so my newly bought raincoats came handy and my first trek in the rains made me feel nice.

The trail takes us up the hidlumane waterfall. It was very tricky with slippery rocks and soil. But it was challenging and interesting. 

During the trek I got to know my co-trekkers a little better. Amrutha is a marathon runner and narrated her recent trek to himalayas. Priya and Balaram are marathon runners too. Rajesh on the other hand was new to this and did find it hard but Prem kept his spirits up. 

Finally at 4 we reached the Bhatra mane area. At the now closed for renovation, guest house we had our quick lunch. 

We immediately hiked up to the peak, another 1.5km trek. Along the way we met several devotees from Kerala visiting Shankara peeta. You can take a jeep from Kollur to guest house and then walk up the last 1.5kms to the peeta. 

One of the main reasons for me to be here was to visit Chitramoola caves, where Shankara is believed to have meditated back in 8th century. I still remember the serene atmosphere from my previous trek and conversation with two swami's who lived there and their peaceful smile with a positive energy radiating from within. 

So in spite of our guide cribbing about how difficult it is and the darkness catching up, I had to visit it. Amrutha, Balaram and Prem joined me. Chitramoola is a 1.5 km trek down on other side of the peak. And its 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. However i was disappointed to see that the new two devotees resting here during ten days of dasara had brought all the facility along and the place was filled with plastic and other trash. 

But nothing can beat the view. It still felt that the beauty of this place was untouched. The mist covered and uncovered the dense Ambha vana that spread before us. After a fulfilling experience and a talk with a student from Kerala who had just arrived the previous day, we decided to return.

At the guest house we requested for a jeep. We returned from the peak at around 8:00 PM. In spite of being extra careful all along the trek, I was bitten by two leaches near the jeep stand at the guest house as we waited for the driver to replace the tires. 

The trek was amazing. We reached home, freshened up and had dinner around a camp fire. I preferred a room while others choose to pitch tents in the front yard. That night, I slept like a child.

Next morning I was up early and among others only Amratha was awake. So we decided to go on a short walk behind the home stay. Almost a kilometre into the forest we found a house. A lady came out and spoke to us. 

At 9:30, after breakfast we were dropped at Nittor where I parted from the group and started my journey towards my hometown Surathkal to meet my sister, niece and nephew.