Kodachadri Peak Trek
Kodachadri is located in Shimoga district and is perhaps one of the most spoken-about trails in Karnataka. The temples of Sri Mookambika at Kollur, some 21 km from Kodachadri, of Adi Shankara and of goddess Mookambika beckon to tourists all year round. Given that most of these temples are nestled in misty dense forests, with pleasantly cool surroundings, it’s no surprise that people throng to them from all over the world.
How to do the trek
There are two trails to Kodachadri:
There are numerous trails to reach the peak. There are trails like Karekatte, which are simple, taking you through gently ascending forests and grasslands, while others from Sampekatte or Marakuttaka via Hidlumane falls are steep and rough; you might need to ape your way up holding onto grass roots and finding your route to the top.
To reach Karekatte: If you are coming from Bangalore, you can take a bus to Kollur directly and alight at Karekatte gate, the starting point of the trek. Karekatte is after Nittur, on the Nittur-Kollur road.
To reach Marakuttaka: Get down at Kollur and then catch a local bus/auto towards Marakuttaka. If you are coming from Bangalore, there is also a direct bus towards Sigandur Cross. You can also catch a local bus from Shimoga towards Sigandur.
How to get to the starting point of the trek – Kollur
The Kodachadri peak is around 20 km from Kollur. Kollur is connected to major cities in South India by bus. Plenty of buses ply to Kollur from Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. You can also alight at Shimoga (115 km) or Kundapur (50 km) and then take a local bus to Kollur.
If you are coming by train, you can alight at Kundapur and then take a bus or taxi towards Kollur. Certain trains from Bangalore and Mumbai stop at Mookambika Road, Byndoor. If you alight here, you reach Kollur within an hour.
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Kodachadri via Karekatte:
- Trek Duration: 4-5 hours
- Grade: Easy
The trail starts from Karekatte gate. The trek on this route is easy compared to most other trails to the top. It takes around 4-5 hours to reach the peak.
The initial path is a wide mud road that leads to a small hotel called Santhosh. The road is canopied by dense forests that are full and green post monsoon. It takes two hours to reach the tiny settlement that has this hotel. You can also start your trek directly from Hotel Santhosh. Private vehicles can easily come until this point.
The trek from the hotel to the peak takes about 4-5 hours. The path gradually ascends from here. Follow the narrow straight path. All around you are the Kollur mountain ranges. The distant guest house at the peak serves as a landmark for you to follow in this dense forest. After some time, the route takes you via open grasslands and finally to the guest house on top. There is also a Mookambika temple here.
From the guest house, you can trek uphill towards Kodachadri peak. The peak is at a distance of 2 km from the guest house. The trail starts behind the guest house, taking you towards Sunset point. Trek ahead to reach Sri Sarvajna Peetha, a place where Guru Adi Sankaracharya is said to have mediated. If you’re camping, you can pitch your tents here. Note that you’ll need prior permission from the Forest Department to pitch your tent here.
To descend, take the same route back. You will reach the base of the mountain in three hours or so. You can then catch a bus to Kollur. Or if you don’t feel like trekking back, you can hire a Jeep to take you back to Nittur directly from Kodachadri.
There is also another adventurous trek that you could do from Hotel Santhosh. You could trek towards Arishinagundi falls. A deviation here takes you towards the falls, which is amidst thick forestry. As the trails are confusing, it is best to take a guide along with you.
Kodachadri via Hidlumane falls:
- Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
- Grade: Moderate – Difficult
One of the popular trails towards Hidlumane falls begins at Marakuttaka Bus Stop near Nittur. Get down at Sigundur Cross after Nittur and walk back 2 km toward Marakuttaka Bus Stop. Spot a big bridge here. From the bus stop, there is a mud road that takes you towards the forest. Follow this mud road and after around 2 km or so, you will reach a stream. Cross the stream. You will go past the village of Yemmeonda, a school, and then to Hidlumane village. Plenty of paddy fields later, the route finally ends at a house.
To reach the falls, cross the dwelling and take the trail going toward the forest. The route from the forest is slippery and ascends towards the Hidlumane falls. Hidlumane is a combination of seven waterfalls with the main waterfall cascading down from a height of 50-60 feet. The first two waterfalls are easy to climb. After that, it’s a little difficult to distinguish the trail.
Once you navigate the slippery trails, you reach the base of the last fall. Take a right here. You will come across a boulder, follow the trail that goes up to reach the top of the falls. This trail will lead you to a Jeep trail. March on this Jeep trail, which ascends gradually. You pass through some narrow stretches and steep grasslands. After two kilometres, you reach the guest house and another thirty minutes’ trek takes you to Kodachadri Peak.
Note: You can also trek to Hidlumane falls through Sampekatte village in Hosanagara. You get buses to this place from Shimoga and Kollur. Once at the village, take the Jeep trail towards the peak. After 500 m, the route takes you deeper in to the forests. After a few metres, you come across a stream. It is a knee deep stream that you have to wade through. So remove your shoes and wade across the stream. After a 4-hour trek in the woods, you will reach Hidlumane falls. From here, trace the same route as outlined above.
To descent, take the easier route via Santhosh Hotel to reach Karekatte. Descending through Hidlumane falls can be treacherous.
Food and Accommodation:
You can stay overnight atop the hill. You could pitch tents or opt to stay at the guest house. You need to book in advance for rooms. There are other homestays besides the guest house, where lodging can be arranged.
Food and refreshments are available at the guest house and homestays.
The best time to trek this place would be from Oct-Feb. During monsoon, it becomes impossible to cross the Hidlumane falls, which will be at its fullest.
During post monsoon, the place is also infested with leeches. It can turn very chilly during night. So take adequate warm clothes if you plan to stay in tents.
All photos by Swaroop C H- More Photos
The secret to ascending any trail lies in building your cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Ideally, you should be able to jog 4 km in 20 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too. Strength This is another area you should work on. You will need to build strength in your muscles and in your core body. You can do some squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can add planks and crunches to your work out.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek. Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
The Kodacheri Peak is just a one day trek. You will only need the following things.
- Small 20L backpack
- One litre bottle
- A jacket or poncho in case of rain