The Complete Guide to Ettina Bhuja Trek

Charmadi Ghat is one of the many western ghats that are known for its outstanding scenery. It is a stretch of about 25 km from Kottigehara of Chikmagaluru to Charmadi of Dakshina Kannada district. To relish the beauty of the Ghat, you can trek to a series of mountains that come within the Charmadi belt. 

Ettina Bhuja is one such mountain that is a part of the Charmadi range at an altitude of 1300 m (4,265 ft). It is situated in the Mudigere range of the Chikmagalur district. 

Ettina Bhuja meaning Ox’s shoulder is one of the unexplored treks in Karnataka. Locals call this trek as Shishila Gudda trek.

Panoramic views of the Charmadi range and Shishila valley can be seen from the peak. It is surrounded by many more hills like Deepadakallu, Amedikallu, Ombattu Gudda and Jenukallu Gudda.

➤ Highlights

1. View of the Ettina Bhuja

1. View of the Ettina Bhuja

A unique structure of the peak that looks like an Ox’s shoulder or hump. You spot this just after trekking for five minutes from the temple. 

This resemblance of the structure got the name Ettina Bhuja trek.

Watch out for the shape of Ox’s hump. You will see this resemblance just after 5 minutes of a trek from the temple. Picture by Aniruddha Kalghatgi

2. A grand welcome to the forest with the background music of birds chirping

Trekking inside the forest is the most thrilling part of the trek. The birds calling in the background and the leaves rustling in the wind, you will notice a sudden change in the surroundings as soon as you enter the forest.

After 15 to 20 minutes of a trek from the temple, you will enter a forest. This is the starting point of the forest. Home to a variety of birds and leeches. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

3. A splendid view of the Charmadi range and Shishila valley

The best reward of the trek is when you reach the peak. The view of the lush green valley and the mountains is astonishing. A perfect setting for reflecting with the view of the ranges of Charmadi and Shishila valley.

The view from the peak. You can see the complete range of Charmadi Ghat. Picture by Ranjith Naik

➤Trail Information

Ettina Bhuja trek can be done by 2 routes. One is from Shishila village and the other is from Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple, Byrapura. 

A guide is a must if you are trekking from Shishila village. There is no proper trail to follow. This route also involves many stream crossings. Some of these streams are always above knee level with high current and can be a bit tricky, dangerous for first-timers. 

The trekking from Byrapura village is pretty straight forward. You do not have to take a guide if you are an experienced trekker.

The Ettina Bhuja Trek can be divided into 3 sections. Here is the trail information for Ettina Bhuja that starts from Byrapura, Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple.

Section I: Starting point from Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple to the Forest

Trek Distance: 800 m
Trek Duration: 15 minutes
GPS coordinates of the temple: 12°59’13.0″N, 75°34’27.8″E
GPS coordinates of the forest entrance: 12°58’52.68″N, 75°34’18.27″E

Your trek starts from the Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple. It was built in the 13th century. This temple was a part of the fort which Hoysalas built. It is believed that you can hear OM sound from the temple bell.

There is no place to freshen up here and no drinking water source. You have to fill your water bottles in Sattiganahalli before you start the trek.

The entrance of Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

If the weather is clear, you can see the peak from the temple itself. There are many small hills around the temple from where you can also see the peak of Ettina Bhuja.

The peak of Ettina Bhuja can be seen from a close-by hill near the temple. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Fifty meters before the end of the temple, you can see a small trail that starts. It is towards the south-west direction of the temple. The trail from the temple is a mud road with small stones.

Just after 5 minutes to your trek, the trail opens up to a beautiful view. Turn 75 degrees from your right to see the Ettina Bhuja peak. 

Ettina Bhuja from the first viewpoint. Picture by Aniruddha Kalghatgi

Once you cross the first viewpoint, the trail up to the forest section has a good ascent. You have to trek for another 15 more minutes to get to the starting point of the forest. The trail can become slushy if it rains. So watch out if you are trekking just after the monsoon season.

The trail up to the forest section. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Section 2: Forest section to the Second viewpoint

Trek Distance: 600 m
Trek Duration:  15 to 20 minutes
GPS coordinates of the Forest section:  12°58’52.68″N, 75°34’18.27″E
GPS coordinates of the second viewpoint:  12°58’41.54″N, 75°34’4.94″E

Once you enter the forest, the trail becomes steep. It is not a very dense forest. However, you will find a lot of leeches during monsoon at every step. You also hear the wonderful sounds of birds chirping. 

Tip: Apply Dettol or Savlon before the start of the trek to avoid leeches. Just let it be and remove once you reach the grassland or summit if you find any. 

After 15 minutes of climb in the forest, you will see two trails. Stay on the trail to your right. Both the trails look like they intersect at one point. However, the left trail takes you to another forest section which leads you in a false direction.

Trek inside the forest. Picture by Naveen

As soon as you exit the forest section, you can see the grassland in front of you. After a couple of minutes of a climb, you reach the second viewpoint. The view just opens up and leaves you stunned! You see the lush green Charmadi range to please your eyes. Take a few minutes here to rest. Have a small water break and enjoy the 360 degrees view of green hills and valleys as far as the eyes can see.

Enjoy the view from the second viewpoint as soon as you exit from the forest. Picture by Ranjith Naik

Section 3: Second viewpoint to the peak of Ettina Bhuja

Trek Distance: 700 m
Trek Duration: 30 minutes
GPS coordinates for the second viewpoint:  12°58’41.54″N 75°34’4.94″E
GPS coordinates for the final climb:  12°58’48.83″N 75°33’55.52″E

From the second viewpoint, you can clearly see the peak of Ettina Bhuja. The trail is steep till you reach the peak. It can become slippery if it rains. So be careful when taking your step here.

Tip: Wear proper trekking shoes. You can carry a trekking pole if you have as well. These two things will really help a lot in trekking.

The trail from the second viewpoint to the peak. Picture by Naveen

There is a proper trail until you reach the last leg of your trek. Once you reach the hump/shoulder, the tricky section starts. 

There is a rock phase to climb which is of 75 to 80 degrees inclination. This rock is a bit unsteady. You have to keep one leg at a time. If you are trekking in a group, one team member can climb first and help others.

The tricky section where rocks are unsteady. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Once you are at the top of the peak, you will want to just dive into nature. Enjoy the panoramic view of the lush green Charmadi range and the gorgeous Shishila valley. 

You are surrounded by vibrant shades of green mountains. Look out for Jenukallu Gudda, Ombattu Betta and Deepadakallu behind you towards the south. To the north-west direction is Amedikallu which is another prominent peak in this region. 

Views of the Shishila valley and Charmadi Ghat range from the peak. Picture by Ranjith Naik

Spend half an hour at the summit and take the views the trek has to offer.

The descent is the same route as you came up. If the trail is not slippery you can reach down to the temple in 40 minutes.

➤ Best Time to do Ettina Bhuja Trek

Best time to do Ettina Bhuja trek is the post-monsoon season. Ettina Bhuja from Bhairaveshwara temple is accessible anytime after the monsoon (From September to February).

If you are trekking from Shishila village, you can do only after October as the current of Kapila river will be high.

During the monsoon season, the trail becomes slippery. As a result, the final section of the trail becomes very difficult to climb. In summer, it becomes too hot and you will not get to see the real beauty of the Charmadi range.

➤ How Difficult is the Trek

There are no sections on the Ettina Bhuja trek that can be classified as a difficult section. However, The final leg of the trek can be a little tricky in the monsoon season.

There is a rocky section which is of 75 to 80 degrees inclination. You need to climb up to reach the peak. This section is very narrow. Only one person at a time can proceed. During the monsoon season, it can be very slippery. 

Last leg of the trek where the rock has 75 to 80 degrees inclination. Picture by Naveen

➤ Trail Map of Ettina Bhuja Trek

Route map of Ettina Bhuja Trek. Screenshot from Google Earth Pro

➤ How to Reach the Base of the Trek

Ettina Bhuja is located close to Dharmasthala. To be precise, Byrapura village, Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru district. You need to reach Byrapura to start the trek. 

Bangalore to Byrapura route is one of the most scenic routes. You can reach there by your own vehicle or you can take public transport.

Reaching Ettina Bhuja by your own vehicle

If you are planning on reaching Ettina Bhuja base using your own vehicle, you can use this link to help setup navigation in google maps. For a more detailed explanation, read through the information below.

Ettina Bhuja starts from Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple, Byrapura. 

To get to Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple, Byrapura, there are 2 routes from Bangalore. But the shortest and the best route is via Hassan. Take the highway from Bangalore to Hassan.

From Hassan take the Mudigere road via Belur. At Ambedkar circle, Belur turn left to stay on NH73. This will directly take you to Byrapura. If you take the right road(Gondenahalli road), you will have to come via Mudigere which is the longest route.

After 34 km from Belur, take the left. This is Mudigere Gowdahalli road. Stay on the same road to reach the temple after a 22 km drive.

Reaching Ettina Bhuja by Public Transport System

You get direct buses to Mudigere/Dharmasthala from Bangalore(both during day and night time) which is the nearest city for the starting point

Best option: Take a bus at night that leaves after 11 PM from Bangalore. Travel time is 5 hours. You reach Mudigere between 4:30 AM to 5:30 AM. There is a washroom facility at the bus stand. You can freshen up there. 

There are 2 options to reach Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple, the starting point of Ettina Bhuja trek from Mudigere:

  • Bus: Only 2 buses from Mudigere to reach Byrapura. They leave at 7 AM and 10:30 AM. Take the first bus. Get a ticket to Gowdahalli or Hosakere which costs around Rs 26.
  • If you are getting down at Gowdahalli, walk for 5 kilometres straight to reach Sattiganahalli village. After 10 minutes of a walk from the village take right and continue for 5 more kilometres to reach the temple. If you have taken the ticket to Hosakere, Get down at Sattiganahalli and walk for 5 km.
  • Auto: If you do not want to take the bus from Mudigere, you can take an auto. Autos will start only after 5.30 AM. They charge around Rs 600 per auto. However, they drop you till the Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple.

Return option: If you are planning to do only Ettina Bhuja trek, book the return ticket to Bangalore from Mudigere that leaves after 5 PM. 

The last bus from Gowdahalli is at 4 PM. make sure you reach there before time. It will take 45 minutes to reach Mudigere Bus stand. 

Stay options: There are no good hotels near Mudigere bus stand. If you wish to stay there, look for homestays that are a bit away from the bus station.

Nearest International and domestic Airports for Ettina Bhuja trek

  1. Mangalore International Airport – 121 km to Mudigere
  2. Bangalore International Airport –  275 km to Mudigere 

➤ What to pack for Ettina Bhuja Trek

  • Basic First Aid kit*
  • Identity Card
  • Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
  • Water (Minimum two litres)
  • Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
  • High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
  • Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
  • Quick Dry Full Sleeve T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
  • Poncho, only during monsoons
  • Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
  • Optional: Trekking poles

*First aid kit:

  • Scissor
  • Band-aids (Regular & Waterproof)
  • Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
  • Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
  • Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
  • Cotton roll & Bandage
  • Crepe Bandage
  • 1-inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
  • Micropore tape
  • Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
  • Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)

Note: Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

➤ Frequently Asked Questions

Permission for trekking to Ettina Bhuja

You have to take forest permission if you are starting from the Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple. Here is the link where you can get permission. 

If you are starting the trek from Shishila village, you do not have to take any permission.

Food and Water sources near the trek

The nearest town is Mudigere. There are a few restaurants near the bus stop where you can pack your food. But it is recommended to pack your food from home or on the way to the base as you reach the temple early in the morning.

There are no water sources available on the trek if you are trekking from the temple. Sattiganahalli is the last village. You can fill from houses in that village.

A Guide for Ettina Bhuja trek

If you are trekking from the Sri Nanya Bhairaveshwara temple, you do not have to take any guide. But trekking from Shishila village requires a guide.

Other nearby treks to Ettina Bhuja

You can do the Jenukallu Gudda after completing Ettina Bhuja. There is a direct trail from Ettina Bhuja itself. But the Government has closed that route. You have to come back to Hosakere and from there walk up to Jenukallu Gudda.

There are also other treks like Deepadakallu and Amedikallu which can be done in one day.

Mobile Network

There is a good network on the Ettina Bhuja trek. BSNL works throughout the trek. Vodafone and Airtel catch the signal in few of the sections.

Nearest ATM

The nearest ATM is at Mudigere. There is no other place where you can find an ATM.

➤ Nearby Places to Visit

Dharmasthala: The main attraction of the Dharmashala is the Manjunatha Swami Temple. The temple will be open to devotees from 6 am to 2.30 pm and 5 pm to 8.30 pm. You can visit the temple after completing the trek.

Other famous treks:  Jenukallu GuddaOmbattu BettaAmedikallu and Deepadakallu trek.

➤ Trek Contribution

Trek documented by Nayana Jambhe

Banner Image: Ranjith Naik

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