Kumaraparvata also known as Pushpagiri is the third tallest peak in the western ghats of Karnataka at a height of 1712m(5624ft) is very close to Kukke Subramanya temple and is one of the most beautiful peaks in the whole of western ghats. This mountain is on the border between Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu district. So the lights of Somwarpet town in Kodagu can be seen from the peak. It is very popular among the trekkers of South India and an ideal place for trekking and exploring. Considered to be the toughest trek of its kind in South of Sahayadri hills, you can either start from Bidalli from Somwarpet, Coorg or from Subramanya, South Kanara side the latter being more difficult.
The seven of us consisting of met at the KSRTC Bus terminus at 10pm with our tents, sleeping bags, food, waterbottles, rucksacks etc. Boarded the bus to Somwarpet and arrived around 6.15am.The next bus to Beedahalli was after an hour which would take you another 30 minutes to reach your destination.
We had breakfast at a hotel near the bus-stand and covered the 25kms, 1 hour journey to Bidahalli. The first part of the trek from Bidahalli to Hegdemane is 5kms of walk along the normal asphalt road. Enroute we came across the Kumadhara river flowing underneath a bridge. We got refreshed up in the cool water and prepared for the trek applying lime, tobacco salt etc to protect from the dreaded leeches.
As you keep moving forward with paddy fields on the sides of the road and Cardamon strewn across the road on plastic sheets to be dried, you see the peak ahead of us.We reached Hegde Mane a very small village that had greenery everywhere and a major chunk of it was the paddy fields. Simply a feast to the eyes. As we moved further we were slowly and stealthily engulfed in mist.
As you continue further you come across Kumarahalli temple from where by taking a right turn the actual trail starts. The route is mud laden for about 2 kms. By 11.am we reached the forest dept check-post where the entry fee was collected along with a written memo saying that they were not responsible in any way if attacked by wild animals.
On crossing the checkpost, you see the hanging bridge the stream flowing beneath and the last place for filling the bottles with water. . The change in scenery begins instantaneously after crossing the bridge.We enter the dense canopied jungle of Pushpagiri wild life sanctuary with very little sunrays strewing upon the dried leavesd and twigs which was wet due to incessant rains. Beware of leeches in these areas.
The trail is clearly marked by yellow colored sign boards. We reached first of the three boulders which is inclined at a moderate angle and continued moving towards the next boulder which was much steeper. The skies opened up and navigating through the boulder is very hard so we circum navigated around the edge by helping ourselves upward by holding on to the bushes. As it was raining witnessing the same in the middle of a rain-forest was awesome sight. Everything looked so green and lively. 2 hours of journey comprising of two more boulders we reached a point where a signboard mentioned 0.75km to Kumaraparvata (Pushpagiri). By 4pm we reached the top of the tallesht peak in that range. As soon as the rain subsided the tent was pitched immediately. When it was almost dusk the clouds cleared up giving us a GLORIOUS view of the sunset. A fiery red ball of flame and just beautiful.A thing to be remembered for lifetime.
Woke up pretty early in the morning the next day, to have a beautiful view of the clouds above the lower mountain ranges around us.There were 2 layers , one layer in lower elevation than us and one which was at higher elevation. This “sandwich” was so spectacular with some points of the mountains poking their heads out of the cloud cover and the sun playing hide and seek behind this cover. From the top you could actually see the western ghats forests spread to such a huge distance, so many hills, mountains in view.
Started our return journey to Kukke Subramanya by . Since there was no demarcation, the same uphill route was taken. On descending about 1 km, one of the member from the other troop asked us to take the route towards the watering point near the top of the peak.The water point other than the bridge is at the peak and the direction is marked on a boulder with yellow paint, hence the return journey is along that water path.
The initial part of the descend was pretty much along a path of the water falls so it was pretty slippery. At one point we reached a point where there was a huge rock. A small steep route is found along the right side of the boulder from the top. Very steep and slippery. After trekking for an hour, we reach the famous Kallinamantapa – a stone structure capable of holding up a tent. Water bottles are filled up from the nearby trough. This route leads to Bhattara mane amidst a place called Girigadde. The route is mainly filled with grasslands spread over the hills.This view is in complete contrast to what we had witnessed the previous day and some breathtaking drops.
This stretch seems to be under the rain-shadow region and only grass grows here. But the path is strewn with small rocks and boulders which strain our ankles and knees during the descent. An hours trek leads to forest guards office whereone has to display the obtained permission letter. Another 5 mins we reach Bhattara Mane. After having our meal here we started our journey. Some 2kms down the lane we again encountered a leech infested forest and with rains in between the progress was very slow all the way to Subramanya. The trek ended at . Another 1 km journey to Kukke Subramanya town. All of us freshened up and visited the famous temple.
Our return KSRTC bus was leaving at to Bangalore. While waiting for the bus I was just pondering how Kumaraparvata being one of the most challenging and enduring treks in the western ghats gives one an immense satisfaction in conquering this peak. The sunset, the sunrise, the rain, the nature's beauty, the deep forest cover, the vast grasslands, the view of the surrounding hills, super cool and sweet water in the stream, a gang of friends and trekking over 2 days. Well what else can one ask for?? "Trekking is an addiction - a beautiful one at that."
Mr.Prasanna Raghavan, BE in Electronics working with Samsung India Software Operations, Mobile Division, Bangalore. One of his favourite pastime - Trekking and adventurous trips on his bike. View Trek Guru Prasanna Raghavan's personal travel diary at http://prasannaraghavanp.blogspot.com/
Day 1: Bangalore to Somwarpet/Bidahalli 7-8 hours (Night journey the best)
Day 2: Bidahalli to Kumaraparvata -5624ft (13 Kms) - 5 - 6 hours
Day 3: Kumaraparvata 5624 ft to Kukke Subramanya. (14Kms) 4 hours
Outback, open with occasional forest covers. Easy gradients.
Bangalore/Mysore is the nearest rail/bus head to the base camp.
Moderate to Difficult Prior trek experience is required.
Reach Bidahalli by bus/car from either Bangalore or Mysore.
Best Season Worst Season
Oct to Jan Jun to Sep- Toughest during the monsoon.
Apprx cost of the trek
Between Rs 1200 to Rs 1500 per head. This includes all travel, food forest entry fee from Bangalore round trip
Reach Somwarpet / Bidahalli by bus/car from either Bangalore / Mysore or Coorg Route: Bidahalli - Heggade Mane - Forest Guards Office - Kumaraparvata or Pushpagiri - Kallina Mantappa - Bhattara Mane - Girigadde - Kukke Subramanya Town
Things to get
Good quality hiking boots.
One raincoat, One Umbrella, Climbing ropes
Two water proof tracksuits/trousers
Personal Items like Camera, Phone, camera and phone chargers, Towel, Identity cards, toileteries, Slippers, Insect repellants to avoid leeches, Basic first aid kit etc
Three sets of dry clothes
3-4 pairs of socks
One bed sheet, carry mat
Photos of the trek
How to do the Trek
Day 1 (7-8 hours): The adventure starts from Bangalore. Take a bus and alight at Somwarpet preferably around the sunrise
Day 2 (5 hours): Take a short drive by the local bus to Beedahalli. Within the first km of the trek on a normal asphalt road, we came across the Kumadhara river flowing underneath a bridge. On reaching Heggade Mane, we see the Kumarahalli Temple from where the actual trail starts. (If one is travelling by their own form of transportation then it is suggested to drive all the way to KumarahaLLi temple near "Heggade mane", which is about 5km from Beedahalli). A two km trek from Heggade Mane leads to the forest department office where the permission for the trek needs to be taken from. On crossing the forest department, one comes across a wooden bridge. Being the last watering point one needs to fill up the water-bottles in the stream flowing beneath. The change in scenery to thick forest cover begins instantaneously after crossing the bridge. Beware of leeches from this point. There are three boulders to be crossed along the middle strech of the trek with ranging from moderately to steeply angled at some places. It is very hard to climb especially if its rained, as the slippery surface along the slope is strenuous. A sign board to Pushpagiri with distance mentioned as 0.75km acts as another pointer in the right direction. The sunset at the top is one of the most beautiful views. not to be missed. It is advisable to start the trek early so one need not miss the most beautiful sunset view at the top.
Day 3 (5 hours): The sunrise is one of the most amazing things to witness early in the morning if the cloud cover is just about right. Please note that the water point other than the bridge in the beginning of the trek is at the peak and the return trek route to Kukke Subramanya starts along that water path. The boulder to descent after the watering hole is one of the toughest in this trek - Steep and very slippery. One has to make sure to get down along the right-side edge of the boulder (when looking from the top). This route leads to Bhattara mane taking us through the scenic grasslands.This stretch seems to be under the rain- shadow region and only grass grows here. One can find Kallinamantapa along this route and can fill the water bottles again at the trough close to the mantapa. The path is strewn with small rocks and boulders which strain our ankles and knees during the descent. An hours trek leads to forest guards office where one has to display the obtained permission letter. Few minutes walk takes us to Bhattara mane in Girigadde, where a sumptuous meal could be taken (Bhatru Mane Contact No: -9448647947 / 9480230191 Got to book food or accommodation for advance ;booking through phone). The remaining 6km walk is mostly through the forest cover and the final 1 km through the asphalt road leading from the base of the hill to Kukke Subramanya town.
Once you reach there you have enough time to visit the famous Kukke Subramanya temple before boarding the night bus back to Bangalore.