Yettina Bhuja Trek
The hill gets its name from its shape; it resembles an ox’s shoulder/hump. “Yettu,” means ox and “bhuja,” means shoulder in Kannada. The trails run through forests, grasslands, waterfalls and streams. The final ascent is challenging and makes this trek a popular one. The trails can be confusing as thick vegetation covers these unfrequented trails. It is easy to get lost in these trails.
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How to reach the start of the trek – Holegundi
Board a bus towards Dharmasthala, which is 350 km from Bangalore. Alight at the Kokkada cross, around 15 km before Dharmasthala. Take a Jeep/local bus towards Shishila. From there, take a Jeep to Holegundi, which is the starting point of the trek. Yettina Bhuja is another 7-8 km from this place.
Trek to Yettina Bhuja:
Start walking from Holegundi towards the Kapila River. The river is one kilometre away. You’ll have to cross the river. The water is knee deep and you can easily wade across to the other side. Beware of the rocks though, as they can be slippery.
Once you ford the river, you will come across a timber road that trails along a the Byrapura stream. A trek alongside the stream takes about an hour or so. There is a lovely waterfall too on this path, a bit hidden from view behind trees and bushes. Be careful as leeches abound in plenty here.
After an hour of trekking, you leave the timber route and the stream behind to your right. The trail on your left starts ascending, taking you through dense and damp forests, again full of leeches. The trail can be thorny too. Yet, the route is scenic with a variety of colourful mushrooms competing for attention.
After a couple of minutes on this trail you get a glimpse of the peak. The trail ascends, taking you through forests and after an hour, grasslands. Once again, you can see the distant peak from here. The route now goes through forests, grasslands that boast of tall elephantine grass and green hills until you reach the base of the peak. This is a good place to camp if you wish to watch the sunset and sunrise from Yettina Bhuja. A nearby stream acts as a good source of water for the night.
From the camp site, it is another 30 minutes to the peak. The trail starts behind the peak and is pretty steep at a 70 degree incline. At some places, you will have to climb on all fours. There is another less challenging route that circles the peak and passes through ridges towards the peak.
At the peak, you get panoramic views of hills like Ombattu Gudda, Amedikallu and below, the temple of Byraveshwara. At the peak, it is quite windy with no tree cover.
Descend through the same route and you will reach the starting point within around 2 hours. The route can be slippery due to loose rocks and slippery slope.
Trek to Ombattu Gudda from Yettina Bhuja:
A trek to Ombattu Gudda can be done from Yettina Bhuja. But the trail is long, deserted and the landscape, barren. It is not safe to camp at Ombattu Gudda, as it is very close to Kabbinale forest. There is the danger of wild animals straying to the peak at night.
The half-day trek is via a Jeep track that runs through the Saraswathi Estate. The Jeep track connects two estates, Saraswathi and Lakshmi. The Lakshmi Estate joins the village Hosakere, while the Saraswathi Estate climbs to Ombattu Gudda peak and to the nearby Kabbinale forest.
From the peak, you walk on the forest ridge, climb a couple of hills to get to the Jeep track. Once on the Jeep track, you hit the estate office. The trek route of 10 km on this track is tiring, as there is not much forest cover. The trail ascends and after some time, you tumble into vast grasslands. Few minutes later, you can view the nine mountain peaks of Ombattu Gudda.
You can also trek from Yettina Bhuja to Bhairaveshwara temple, which is a downhill trek of 30 minutes and then towards Ombattu Gudda, which is another 2-3 hours away from the temple.
The return path is via the same Jeep route through Saraswathi Estate and then to Lakshmi Estate and finally to Hosakere. From here, you get buses to Mudigere and from there, back to Bangalore.
Food and Accommodation:
Tents can be pitched on the base of the Yettina Bhuja peak. Avoid monsoon season as the trails can be very slippery. There are streams in the beginning of the trail and also at the base of the peak for water source.
There is no source of water while trekking from Yettina Bhuja to Ombattu Gudda except at the office estate that comes on the Jeep track.
Another nearby trek that you can do is to Amedikkal in Charmadi Ghats.
All photos by Suzay Hathwar.
This trek comes under the ‘100 Best Trek of India’ project.We are looking for more information/ photos/ videos on Yettina Bhuja. If you know more about it, or if you know a better trek in this region, then please write back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.