Kumara Parvatha Trek

Highlights of the trek:

  • Trek on one of the most well known trails in Karnataka, to the second highest point in the state
  • Located in Coorg, the trek takes you through some beautiful, dense forests
  • With some steep ascents, the trek is sufficiently challenging for beginners and experienced trekkers alike
DIFFICULTY:

Moderate-Difficult

TRAIL TYPE:

Forest, boulders

DURATION:

2 days

ROAD HEAD:

Kukke Subramanya

BASE CAMP:

Kukke Subramanya

BEST SEASON:

October - February

The trek to Kumara Parvatha is one of the most popular treks in Karnataka. This is the second highest peak in the state, after Tadiandamol. It is located in Coorg district and begins in Subramanya village. The mount is located behind the famous Kukke Subramanya temple in the village.

The trek comprises of two peaks, the smaller Shesh Parvatha, and the higher one, Kumara Parvatha at 5,600 ft. Legend has it that Shesh Parvatha protects the temple of Kukke Subramanya at the base.

The two day trek covers a distance of 14 km each way. The route is closed during the monsoons, and opens in October, until February. The trail is beautiful, winding through thick deciduous forests and vast meadows.  Steep ascents in some parts make it slightly difficult. Trekkers need to watch out for leeches, especially right after monsoon. The jungle is also known to be home to several species of cobras, including the King Cobra, and suitable care must be taken while walking.

Trek Details

Day 1: Kukke Subramanya Temple to Forest office

  • Time taken: 4-5 hours; 2 km from temple to starting point + 7 km on trail
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous ascent throughout.
  • Water sources: None. Carry at least 3 litres of water.

Reach Kukke Subramanya latest by 1.00 pm. This will ensure that you reach the Forest office before dark.

The trek begins some distance away from the Kukke Subramanya temple. To reach it, take a right turn from the Anugraha lodge near the temple. Continue straight for a couple of kilometres. A board marks the start point, and the actual trek begins from here, covering 7 km from this point onwards. There are no sources of water until the end of the day’s trek, so yuo need to carry enough water to last till the end of the day.

The first quarter of the trek is through thick forest. The walk is a continuous ascent. You need to be fit to cover this comfortably. The trail is clearly visible, with no forks.

After trudging through the woods for around 6 km, the trail opens into a grassland. It continues through this, ascending slightly through this land for another kilometre until it reaches Bhattara Mane (Bhatt’s House). You can stop here for food and water, and make use of restrooms. There are no public toilets after this point.

A short distance from the cottage is the forest office. You need to take permission here for trekking and camping. There is a charge of Rs.200 per person. The flat grassland is perfect for setting up tents. Trekkers usually camp nearby for the night, as camping beyond this point is prohibited. Another option for lodging is Bhatt’s House – you can seek shelter for the night in his front yard as well.

Day 2: Forest office to Kumara Parvatha summit and return to Kukke Subramanya

  • Altitude: 5,600 ft
  • Time taken: 13-14 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous ascent throughout.
  • Water sources: There is a stream about 1 hour from the starting point. Make sure you refill your water bottles here since there are no sources ahead.

Start between 5.00-6.00 am as it’s a long day today. You can leave your equipment at the forest office and collect it while returning. The bulk of the trek takes place today. You slowly gain altitude as you start trekking. After walking for about an hour through the plains, the trail reaches Kallu Mandapa, a pavilion of sorts, next to a stream on the right side. This is the last source of water until the peak.

From here, the trail descends for a short while (a few hundred metres), before ascending once again, scaling the Shesh Parvatha.

The hike uphill is steep, and the toughest part of the entire journey. The trail is clear and visible, and cuts across boulders, gaining altitude steadily for around 5 km. There is dense forest to the left, and a sheer drop to the right. Reaching Shesha Parvatha from the forest office takes 5-6 hours.

On reaching Shesha Parvatha, the trail begins to descend again., for about 200-300 metres, towards the final summit. Now begins the territory of high-altitude forests, silent and misty in the morning. Keep an eye out for cobras on this part of the trail. The descent ends in a smallish clearing, which used to be a popular camping point earlier, and is a good spot to take a short break.

The next, and final, part of the journey is all uphill, coursing past huge boulders along the way. After 15-200 metres, you arrive in front of a tall, completely vertical rock face. The trail picks up from the left of this wall, and leads to the top of it, winding through rocky terrain again. This is followed by a short walk through a meadow which leads to the summit. A short walk past some bushes opens into a flat field, with a beautiful view of the Madikeri side of the climb.

This is a good place to have lunch and sit for a while, before beginning the walk back down along the same route. Plan to start your descent latest by 1.30 pm. It takes 3-4 hours to return to the forest office, and 2.5 hours more to get to the base.

Trek documented by Revati Tongaonkar. Trek information provided by Vishnu Benne. 

Grasslands on the way to Kumara Parvatha PC: Dhanush
Trekkers walking through grasslands on the way to Kumara Parvatha PC: Dhanush
Campsite on the Kumara Parvatha trek PC: Dhanush
Jungle trail PC: Dhanush
Ascending towards Shesha Parvatha PC: Dhanush
View from Shesha Parvatha PC: Dhanush
View from Kumara Parvatha PC: Dhanush
Shesha Parvatha from afar – it is the hill located towards the middle of the photograph, beyond the forests PC: Dhanush

How to reach Kukke Subramanya

Kukke Subramanya is approximately a six-hour drive to the west of Bengaluru. You can take a private vehicle, or travel by public buses, which ply regularly to and from Kukke Subramanya. These cost approximately INR 450-600 one-way, depending on the service provider and the season. Private vehicles can be parked at a parking lot by the temple, with no fee.

Make sure you reach Kukke Subramanya by 1.00 pm on Day 1 to reach the campsite before dark.

 

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Sneha Rao

Sneha Rao

Sneha is an erstwhile HR professional from Bangalore, now living in Mumbai. She has trekked several trails in Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Kerala and Meghalaya. She holds the Green Trails idea close to her heart and enjoys researching and writing about the environment.

4 thoughts on “Kumara Parvatha Trek

  1. Hello Team, am looking forward for Kumara Parvata trek this weekend(24th and 25th) or the next(31st and 1st). Would like to know if there is a batch going on these dates and also would like to know if there is an available slot.

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