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After much discussions about various places like Mullayangiri, Kumarparata, Chembra, Kodachadri,, We finally zeroed on Brahmagiri hills this time. With everyone agreeing on place, we,6 of us, scaled mountain this week end.
On reaching Srimangala we need to proceed to Irupu falls, where trekking begins. Distance from Srimangala to Irupu is about 8 kms, connectivity to Irupu falls is not soo good, its better you hire a auto or any private vehicle to drop and also pick you from falls once the trek is completed. Autos can be hired from Srimangala.
We informed our trekking plans at Srimangala forest office on Wednesday itself(4 days prior),who confirmed the same.. It is better to call 2-3 days in advance and get the permission before hand, else than visiting office directly on trekking day. Srimangala forest office Number is 08274-246331..
Our plan was to scale half of the mountain on first day and stay at "Narimale" guest house in middle of forest and Climb the remaining distance and come down the second day. We had our own vehicle, thus travelling over night we reached srimangala via Nagarhole road at 9Am. We went straight to forest office, who redirected us to the IB, where we freshened up. IB and forest office are in same compound. Al tough, IB belongs to PWD, it can be used by tourists by paying a nominal rate. It has a decent bathroom..Thus we freshened ourselves, and went to forest office to get permission letter. The staff were friendly to guide us regarding the trek route and also gave detailed information about the place. we paid all the necessary charges(Entry fees, guide fees, and staying charges at "Narimale"), got a receipt for the same and moved towards Irupu falls to start our trek. Permission and guide are a must, don't attempt without both of them.
|Our guide carrying plastic litter|
The trek path is via shola forest and grassland, so there is a bit of climbing to do till the guest house. Since we were climbing only till the "Narimale" guest house for the day, we followed a slow pace,taking break many times. There are two water points from base till the guest house, so water must not be a problem. we refilled our bottles at both these points. At second water point, it was sad to see soo many plastic covers and bottles littered around by careless tourist, which were patiently picked up by our guide who carried them till the dustbin at guesthouse. It is shear dedication of these staff, which have kept these mountains clean and full of wildlife... As a tourist even we need to act responsibly and enjoy the nature without disturbing its tranquility.
|Narimale Guest house|
Thus we fetched water ,wood and freshened ourselves.. There was still some time for sun to sink so our guide took us to a near by spot from where we could sight some animals. Climbing very small hillock we reached the viewpoint from where we had excellent view of vast grasslands and dense sholas. The place was dead silent without any disturbance. I can barely remember when was the last time i heard such a silence. I loved the place, sitting quietly we could hear sambar,elephant, jackals,
but none were visible..we sat there about an hour without any sightings. Sitting in such a secluded
place, without any noise accept occasional sound of wild animals itself is a wonderful feeling. None of us were willing to leave the place and move back, but mist started engulfing the entire
|Evening view point.|
Halfheartedly we started moving towards our guest house and to our luck a lone elephant and a lone sambar were sighted, both at far distances. Sambar ran away immediately on seeing us, while elephant was at very long distance to be bothered of us! It was wonderful to sight these animals who manage to stay atop these mountains without anybody's disturbance. Finally the sun went down, watching sunset was too an awesome sight. We managed to reach our guesthouse before it became dark. Wandering in dark could be a very risky, as place of full of wild animals especially elephants.
Preparing our dinner with the grocery we carried, we had our night dinner, and thus day 1 ended...
It can get too cold at night, so don't forget to carry enough clothes to keep yourself warm. It is advisable to carry mattress, and torch along. There is a small solar powered light for the entire building, which provides enough light at night.
|Mist engulfing the mountains|
|Sunset from Narimale|
Distance from Guest house till Brahmagiri Peak is about 6 km, and it takes 2 hours to trek the same. since most of this path is via open grasslands without much ascend or descend, we can cover this distance a lot quicker. Again there are two water points in between,so no need to worry about water.
We finally reached base of actual Brahmagiri hill after 2 hours of trekking. Looking from bottom of mountain to its top may give jittery feel to some as it is nearly at 70 degree inclination.But good thing is, none of us refused to climb and we all started scaling peak, finally post many brakes and stops we reached "Brahmagiri peak" after 45 mins. It was a wonderful feeling, the peak itself is divided between Karnataka and Kerala. Demarcation lines which run along the entire area can be clearly seen.. From the peak we can see a temple on Kerala side. Climbing peak may be challenging for some, but yes, the path we traverse to reach this place is worth the strain.Climbing peak could be challenging task in rainy season as legs may slip due to damp soil.
At top,we had light snacks which was carried along. Since there are no trees on top which would provide you with cool shade, we started feeling intensity of sun and decided to scale down after spending nearly an hour on top of mountain. I was amazed to see elephant dungs even on top of peaks, it was interesting to imagine how elephants could climb such a steep mountain.
|Brahmagiri preak from distance|
As always, it was easier to move down and we reached our guest house within 2 hours where we had our lunch. Packing our luggage we left for the base. It took us some 1.5 hours to climb down from guest house to base where our vehicle was parked. Coming down, we thus reached our vechicle near Irupu falls, at 4.30 pm and waved off praveen, who was excellent and friendly guide. And started our journey back to home.
One can trek the the entire route in one day without staying at the guest house and come back the same day, provided you start early, but it will be too much tiring i guess as you've to walk a lot. Our plan to trek for 2 days came handy as none of us were much tired and went to office/college the next day without any body pains.. And there are absolutely no vehicle routes to reach the peak only method to reach the same is by walk. The difficulty of trek could be termed as moderate one, which is not so difficult. But the place would be infested with leeches in rainy season, so take care. Permission to Munical caves has been stopped.
Trekking in sholas and open grasslands was a new experience for me.. The astounding silence in the entire area will definitely ring in my ears for a long time...
Quick Checks :-
1. Brahmagiri forest is located in Kodagu districti, Virajpet taluk.
2. Trekking can be done from both Karnataka and Kerala.
3. Permission and guide are mandatory.
4. Permission to be obtained from Srimangala if trek is from karnataka side, else at Thirunelli if trek is from Kerala Side. Nominal amount is to be paid for trek,guide and accommodation
5. "Narimale"guest house is in between the trek route, with decent accommodation. It has all utensils but you must carry the required grocery to cook.
6. Takes about 2.5 to 3.5 hours to trek 5km from base till the guest house.
7. From guest house the Peak is about 6 km.
8. Four water points from base till the peak, so need not worry about water.
10.Best time to visit would be post monsoons(No leeech problem).
11. Permission to trek during heavy rains and late summers can be denied so confirm your trekking at forest office before start, Srimangala office No :-08274-246331
12. Please be a responsible tourist and don't litter around.