Nestled in the western ghats of the south indian state, Karnataka, is Kodachadri , a mountain peak (altitude – 1343 m above sea level). The first thought that crosses anyone’s mind on mention of Kodachadri is trekking as it is known to be a trekkers’ paradise.
Well, I am not going to go in detail on the trekking part as there are loads of material available on Trekking @ Kodachadri.
How to get there? (and Distance from Bangalore to Kodachadri)
Kodachadri is approximately around 400 kms from Bangalore and 105 kms from Shimoga. If you are planning to take the road, here’s the route
Private vehicles (read as Cars) cannot go till the top of the mountain. Only local jeeps are allowed to ply to the top of the mountain.
The best way is to take a train, preferably a night train (Shimoga Express), which leaves Bangalore around 11.30 PM and reaches Shimoga at 5.30AM.
From shimoga , one can hire a taxi to cover the distance of 105 kms to Sampagatte (foothills of the Kodachadri mountains).
Accommodation (Stay at Kodachadri)
Kodachadri, in itself does not have good staying options. There is one Inspection bungalow of the PWD, which might not suit all. Kollur (35kms from the foothill), offers decent staying options.
Homestays in Kodachadri
One other option that we discovered this time round was ‘Simha Farms’. This place is 5 kms from Sampagatte, a farm spread over 12 acres. This is run by Adithya and his wife Anusha. In the midst of all the greenery, are 2 cottages that can accommodate 3 people each.
In addition to this, there is one big hall which can accommodate around 20 ppl. Food here is simple and tasty and the surroundings are inviting enough to just laze around :-). As per our initial plan , we were to have lunch here and set out for Kodachadri (some by foot and some by jeep). As soon as we reached this place, we started getting comfortable, so much so, that after lunch , most of us almost dropped the plan of going to the top (Kodachadri).
All around the farm , one can find sculptures (Animals, Cave man, etc.). These are hand-made by Adithya’s father.
This place is ideal to stay while visiting kodachadri. More info on reservations are available @ http://simhafarms.com/
After spending a nice and relaxing time at this farm , it was time for us to hit the tracks to the top of the mountain. Since we did not have much time in our hand, trekking was ruled out (since it takes 3-4 hrs to trek to the top). The only other option that we had was to hire jeeps to and fro.
After couple of rounds of bargaining, we rented out 3 jeeps @ 1100 per jeep. Each jeep is capable of carrying 7 adults.
The distance from the foothill to the top is about 18 kms and it takes about an hour to reach the top. The jeep ride is an experience in itself. There is no road at all, only a pathway that looks to be carved out of the rocks. So , the jeeps literally drive on the rocks. Slushy track , uneven surface make the jeep slide to one side. Hold on to whatever you can and leave the rest to the drivers to take you up and down the hill. Kudos to the drivers and to the machine (Mahindra jeeps).
After an hour of “rocking” journey , we reached the top. As we were climbing , we could see the clouds ahead and we went right into them. The sight was very enchanting.
Greenery all over except for the jeep tracks and a sheet of white clouds hovering above the head. For a minute , everything appears to be covered in white and then gradually as the clouds pass on , the greenery returns. Words aint enough to explain the experience .
The jeep takes you as far as it can go , which is the Adi Sri Shakthi Mookambika Temple on the top of mountain.
This is believed to be the real abode of Devi from where Adi Shankara re-established it at foothills at Kollur (50 kms from Kodachadri). A small path from temple leads up to another view-point. During rainy season , expect to see leeches here.
On top of the mountain , there are no options for food except for the “bhattar mane” (in kannada means Priest’s house). You can order food here (of course you need to pay).
The best time to be on top of the mountain is during Sunrise and Sunset. Provided the cloud cover is not thick, one can see the sunset from here. Ideal place to shoot lovely pictures.
We hardly would have spent about an hour’s time before it was time to get back.
I have not covered the trekking aspect as I have not trekked to the top. However, loads of content is available. It’s just a Google away :-)
That’s it from me for now.