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A Complete Guide To Mullayanagiri Trek

Save for a few steep ascents, Mullayanagiri trek is quite a simple one. The trail passes through a serpentine forest with cool breeze and the sound of birds chirping. Once at the Mullayangiri peak, you’ll be awe-struck by the amount of bliss that nature can provide. This trek is a true reprieve for a tired soul.

The peak is located in the Western Ghats of Chikmagalur. It derives its name from the tomb of Saint Mulappa Swamy, which is located at the peak. The saint is said to have meditated in the caves surrounding this hill. A small Shiva temple exists on the summit. You can see the complete Western Ghat ranges from the summit.

Short Itinerary

Trek to the apex of Karnataka

  • At 1,930 m, Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka.
  • Standing majestically above the rest of the Western Ghats, this hill offers unprecedented views of all its neighboring ranges.
  • With every step you take, the view gets more and more breathtaking.
  • The starting point of the trek is called Sarpadari. “Sarpa,” in Kannada, means snake and “dari” means way.

Detailed Trail Information

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The never-ending shola grasslands of Mulayanagiri.

Mullayanagiri is a part of the Baba Budangiri range. Baba Budangiri is a holy place of the Sufi saint Baba Budan a.k.a Guru Dattatreya and is a place revered by both Hindus and Muslims. From Mullayanagiri, one can also trek to Baba Budangiri. The 10 km trek goes over hills and grasslands with some steep descents.

Mullayanagiri Trek Trail

The trek to the peak from Sarpadari is a half-day trek. The peak is at a distance of 3-4 km from the starting point and takes about 3 hours to ascend.  The initial part of the trek is steep, vertically inclined at 60 degrees or more. The path is lined with bushes and trees. After some time, the trail zig-zags along the mountains and the ascent becomes steeper. You will soon hit a massive rock. You need to move ahead, passing through the opening in the cliff.

After trekking for around two hours, you will come across a Nandi (Bull) idol beneath a tree. Dense shrubs and flowering creepers surround this statue. From here on, the trail becomes less steep. Walking further, you will come across some deep caves infested with bats and insects. These caves are multi-colored due to mineral deposits on their walls. From these caves, the trail once again starts ascending. This is the final stretch of the peak. There is another Nandi statue very near to the peak. Soon after this, you will come across the temple at the peak and the tomb.


For descending, take the same route back. You can also go down via the 250 odd stone steps in the hill, which takes you toward the concrete road joining Mullayanagiri foothills from Chikmagalur. But from here, you will have to hitch a ride back to the town. The frequency of buses is very low on this route.

Alternatively, you can also trek toward Baba Budangiri from Mullayangiri temple. This is a moderate trek of 10 km from Mullayangiri, passing through ridges, hills and grasslands.

Mullayanagiri to Baba Budangiri trail

The trail for this starts behind the Mullayangiri temple. It is a steep descent towards the main road. Grasslands, shola forests and amazing views keep you company on this descent. Beware during monsoons the entire valley will be covered by mist and the trails will be slippery!

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Bababudangiri ranges of chikamaglur

After two hours on this trail, you will hit a tarred road. Walking further till you spot the Gundi forest checkpoint. Take permission here to trek further toward Baba Budangiri. Cross the road; the route starts ascending after this. Walking on this route takes you to the narrow ridges of Baba Budangiri. There are mountains on one side and plains on the other side. The BSNL telephone tower is the only landmark here.

After some time, as you near the BSNL tower, the trail turns steep, not to mention dangerous. This stretch is narrow with a 300 ft drop on either side. After 30 minutes or so, you reach the tower. From here, it is another 20 minutes’ descent to Manikyadhara waterfalls. There are shops here selling refreshments. This place is also a good place for camping. From here, Bababudangiri is another two-kilometre trek. This stretch is easy as it is a tar road. You will also get a vehicle from here to take you to Bababudangiri.

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Near Manikyadhara enroute Bababudangiri.


Camping inside the nation park premises is banned.

Water source

There is no water anywhere on the trail from Sarpadari to Mullayangiri. So, it is best to carry enough water from the base. On the trek from Mullayanagiri to Baba Budangiri, it is best to carry water from Mullayanagiri. The only other source of water on this trail is at Manikyadhara. 

How To Reach The Base of The Trek

The trek starts at a place called Sarpadari in Chikmagalur. Chikmagalur is around 280 kilometres from Bangalore. There are plenty of buses connecting Chikmagalur with major cities. From Chikmagalur, you can hire a Jeep/auto or take a local bus to Sarpadari. Sarpadari is located at a distance of 15 km from Chikmagalur.

If you are driving, then once you reach Chikmagalur take the road towards Baba Budangiri. Take a left turn at a place called Kaimara, which is around eight kilometres from Chikmagalur town. You will come across a Y-intersection. A left here will take you towards Mullayanagiri peak. After driving around half a kilometre on this route, look out for a small arch on the left. This is Sarpadari, the starting point for the trek. “Sarpa,” in Kannada, means snake and “dari” means way.

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Enroute to Mullayangiri

What To Pack For Your Trek

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Trek backpack

No, stuffing it all in isn’t the right way to do it Packing a backpack correctly saves precious time that you might waste trying to find your things later. It is wise to spend some time on learning what really goes into packing a backpack.

What should I pack

On a trek, you only get what you take. Something as simple as a forgotten matchbox can cripple your cooking plans throughout the trek. So, it’s essential to prepare early and prepare well. To begin with, make a checklist. While shopping, remember this thumb rule – keep it light. “Every item needs to be light. This ensures that your backpack, on the whole, stays light,” says Sandhya UC, co-founder of Indiahikes. Balancing out heavy items with light ones isn’t going to have the same effect as having all light items. “Always opt for good quality, light items,” says Sandhya.

How much should my bag weigh

“Your backpack for a weekend trek should weigh between 8 and 10 kg,” explains Arjun Majumdar, co-founder of Indiahikes, “To break it down, your tent should weigh around 2.5 kg, your sleeping bag, around 1.5 kg, and the ration, stove and clothes should constitute the other 5 kg.” The best way to plan is by concentrating on the basic necessities – food, shelter and clothes. Gather only those things that you’ll need to survive. Do not pack for ‘if’ situations. “That’s one of the common mistakes that people make – packing for ‘if situations’. It only adds to the baggage that you can do without on a trek,” says Sandhya.

One good way to go about it is to prepare a list of absolute essentials. Start with the most essential and end with the least essential. That way, when you feel you are overshooting the limit, you can start eliminating from the bottom. Another tip is to be smart while packing clothes. Invest in light. wash and wear fabrics. “Replace a sweater with two t-shirts,” adds Sandhya. Layering is the mantra when it comes to trekking. Refer to Sandhya’s clothes list to pack smart.

Trekking hack

Trek backpack hack

How to pack 

The thumb rule for this one is to eliminate air spaces. Make sure that everything is packed tightly, especially clothes and jackets, as they tend to take up maximum air space. Put in all the large items first. Then squeeze in the smaller ones in the gaps. This ensures minimum air space. A good way to pack clothes is by using the Ranger Roll method.

Click on the image to view the Video

Where to pack 

Bottom Sleeping bag: Make this your base layer. Sleeping bags tend to be voluminous, but do not weigh much. They’re perfect for the bottom of the bag. Tent: Just like the sleeping bag, even tents are voluminous and light. Keep the tent poles separately and place the fabric at the bottom of the backpack. 

Middle Heavy jacket: Roll up the jacket in a tight ball and place it in the middle of the backpack, close to your back. The middle region of the backpack should always have the heaviest items. You can store other things like rations or mini stoves in the middle. Other clothes: Roll other clothes and place them in the remaining space, to fill air gaps.

Top Water: Water, although heavy, needs to be easily accessible. So put it in the topmost region of your backpack. Medicine box: This is another component that you wouldn’t want to be scavenging for when in need. Poncho: It could rain at any time in the mountains. So, ponchos should be accessible easily. Also, having a waterproof poncho at the top of the backpack provides additional waterproofing to items in the bag.

Backpack essentials

Backpack essentials

How To Get Fit For The Trek

Cardiovascular endurance

The secret to ascending any trail lies in building your cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging every day. 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 every day. 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 workout.


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.


1. What are the stay options near Mullayanagiri?

There are many homestays and resorts at the base of Mullayanagiri. You can also stay at Chikamaglur town, where there are more budget accommodation options available.

Trek Contribution


Usha Hariprasad is a freelance writer and has worked with Citizen Matters, Alternative and Indus Ladies writing about travel and green living. She worked in the IT field for 5 years before deciding to follow her passion for writing. She is now part of the content and tech team at Indiahikes.

If you’ve done this trek recently (or are going to in near future), get in touch. We’re always on a lookout to feature trekkers to share their experiences, information, pictures, videos, maps on our website and social media channels

A note to trekkers

Indiahikes does not run the Mullayanagiri Trek any time during the year. However, it is a wonderful Do-It-Yourself trek

Indiahikes only runs treks in the Himalayas. You can choose a Himalayan trek that you wish to based on your experience, season and difficulty here