Monday 18 March 2013

Kudremukha - The thirteen trekking routes to this hill station

This is the second largest declared wildlife protected area of a tropical wet evergreen forest in the Western Ghats. The forests here are so dense and the canopy so thick that though it hosts a variety of wildlife, including tigers, it is impossible to sight the animals so easily.
It is also the place where three important rivers pf the State take their birth. It is also part of the world’s bio hotspots.
The south and western sides of the protected national park are part of the steep slopes of the Western Ghats ridge line and the altitude varies from 100 metres to 1892 metres.
The North, East and Central portions of the park are part of a  chain of rolling hills with natural grassland and shola forests. The average rainfall here is around 7000 mm, and this makes it one of the wettest places in India.
It is so rich in wildlife that it harbours the largest contiguous population of lion tailed macaques in the Western Ghats outside of the Malabar region.
What makes this region all the more unique is that it has more than thirteen recognised trekking routes, each with its own character and unique charm.
Till a decade ago, one of the highest grade of iron ore in the world was mined here until the Supreme Court stepped in and banned mining. Since ten mining has come to a stop and wildlife has thrived. The scared environment is showing signs of regeneration.
This is Kudremukh or Kudremukha in Kannada, which means Horse face. It is a beautiful hill station in the eastern ranges of the Western Ghats in Chikamagalur district in Karnataka State.
Set amidst picturesque forests, undulating hills and thick forests, the small but beautiful hill station is 48 kilometres from Karkala and 20 kms from Kalasa.
One side of the Kudremukhs resembles the face of the horse and, hence, the name. Locals also call it Samseparvata, as it was approached from Samse village. It was primarily a mining town till it was stopped by a Supreme Court Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S. H. Kapadia. The judgment is a superb and painstaking work which is available in public domain. It is considered a landmark judgment in the annals of Indian judiciary.
Coming back to Kudremukh, it has enough of everything-wildlife, trekking routes, bountiful nature, rare fauna, water falls, hills and valleys and Shola grass.
It is in these ranges that the Tunga, Bhadra and Netravati take birth. The Kadambi waterfalls is breathtaking. The tiger reserve and the forests are full of sloth bear, Wild dog or Dhole, Spotted deer, Snakes, Malabar Civet, Gaur, Sambar, Leopards, Jackals, Lion tailed Macque, Porcupine, Mongoose, Barking deer,
Giant flying squirrel and Malabar Giant squirrel.
It is also home to 195 rare species of birds. You cans sight
Malabar whistling thrush, Imperial pigeon, Great pied hornbill
Malabar trogon and several others.  
The best time to visit Kudremukh is between October and May. Eucalyptus, Grevillea robusta, Casuarinas and Acacia auriculiformis are common trees here. There are also tea and coffee plantation.
This is also a habitat for the Lion-tailed Macaque and it  probably harbours the largest contiguous population of lion tailed macaques in the Western Ghats.
The national park overlooks the Arabian Sea and it is spread over thick hilly forests near the coast and shola vegetation on the Western Ghats uplands It covers the districts of Chickmagalur, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.
The Kudremukh peak is 1892 meters high. Trekking to Kudremukh peak is from 6  a.m., to 5 p.m., after which you will be not allowed as per forest rules.
The KIOCL Dam is nearby. It remains drained most of the time. Hanuman Gundi Waterfalls is a beautiful spot but you are allowed only between 10 a.m., and 4 p.m. It is located 32 kms from Kalasa, the waterfall and the water falls onto natural rocks from a height of more than 100 feet. The trek to the falls is slightly difficult. The best time to visit this place is between October and May.
You have to take prior permission from the Forest Department to stay back at the peak or anywhere near the park.
The Samse - Kudremukh trek takes four days and three nights, covering more than 40 kms. A longer trek is Navoor - Hevala - Kudremukh – Navoor and this is five day, for night exercise covering more than 60 kms. Another good trek is the 50 kms Horanaadu – Sringeri route. This trek takes three days and two nights and the distance is just a little more than 30 kms.
The Nature Camp in Kudremukh is a beautiful place to stay and enjoy your time.
Well, my suggestion is head for the Kudremukhs and forget all the rest. Leave yourself to enjoy Nature at its best.

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