Kudremukh Trek

Kudremukh national park is located in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka. It is also one of the few tiger reserves in the state. Kudremukha in Kannada, literally means, horse face. The name is derived from the highest peak in this range which resembles a horse’s face at a particular angle. Kudremukh is Karnataka’s 3rd highest peak after Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri. Every year, several trekkers flock to scale this 1894 m (6214 ft) high peak. Here is a detailed report for you to plan your next trek - Kudremukh Trek. 


Plan Your Trip 


Kudremukh national park is closed for trekking during few months of the year.  At other times, you will need a permission to trek. Therefore, it is important that you plan your trek in advance. Due to fear of forest fire the national park is closed from the month of January to May. The exact dates will be furnished to you by the forest department or Homestay owners. The permission can also be arranged by them. 


You can enjoy this trek during the monsoon, if you do not mind the rain and the leeches. The dry seasons can obviously hot and tiring but offers clear sky and great views. The best time to trek here would be just after the rains - Between September to December. 

 



How To Get There?

 

If you are trekking in Kudremukh national park, you will probably have to stay somewhere in the village of Mullodi. To reach Mullodi, you will first have to arrive at Kalasa, a small town located 310 km from Bangalore (118 km from Mangalore). 


There are overnight buses from Bangalore to Kalasa. KSRTC Volvo bus and Sugama sleeper coach are two overnight buses available. You will reach Kalasa by 5:30AM. You can also choose to take KSRTC's Karnataka Sarige buses to reach here during day time. These buses do not need reservations. 

 

At Kalasa, you will have to arrange for a jeep that will take you to your homestay. Homestays offer this service at a nominal price that can be shared among the trekkers.  



Itinerary 


For Kudremukh Trek, my recommendation would be to take a Friday night bus to Kalasa followed by an early morning jeep ride to Mullodi village. Freshen up, have your breakfast and begin your trek before 9AM. You will take an entire day for this trek. If you have time in the evening, walk to the refreshing Somavati waterfall. Back  at your homestay at dark, relax by a campfire. 


Next morning, you could choose to relax there or take a morning jeep ride to Kyathanmakki. By noon, reach Kalasa. If you are lucky, you might find a direct bus to Hassan or Bangalore. If not, take a local bus to Kottegerah cross. From here, you will find plenty of buses to Bangalore. That way, your return journey will not require a reservation.  You shall be back in Bangalore on Sunday night at around 10 PM. 


If you wish to spend more time at Mullodi, then you can choose to take one of the two overnight buses (KSRTC or Sugama) from Kalasa on Sunday night and reach Bangalore by Monday morning. In this case, you will have to pre-book it. 

 


Where to Stay?

 

The village where the Kudremukh trail begins is called Mullodi. At the Mullodi village, several villagers now offer their homes for stay. Trekkers can reach there and plan their weekend. Food and stay is offered at a nomnial price of around Rs500-800 per person, per day. 

 

Some of the popular stay options are – 


Rajappa - 08263-249333, 9481179008, 9483983324, 8417823542, 9480943770


Satish Homestay -  9481074530 


Mullodi Homestay -  9481578065 


You can also stay at the Forest department which is located on Kalasa-Karkala road. They do arrange treks as well.

 


Permission 

 

You will need to take prior permissions for Kudremukh trek, as only limited trekkers are allowed to scale the peak every day. Only 100 trekkers are allowed every day, therefore, you will have to first book your trek. You can do so by directly contacting the forest officers or it can be easily arranged by the homestay owners. On the day of trek, a fee of around Rs 600 per person is to be paid at the forest department office which is located at the beginning of the trail. 

 

 

Guide


Kudremukh trek has a defined trail but since you are trekking in a jungle, it is advisable to follow a Guide. Again, homestays do arrange for experts who charge around Rs 500 per group. 

 











Things To Carry


Like on any trek, a good trekking shoe is a must. Good shoes are your friends during any given climb. Needless to specify that you will have to take enough water. However, there are running streams along the way and at the summit in case of emergency. Homestays do pack your lunch but you can choose to get some food of your own if you are choosy. 


If you happen to trek during the wet season, do not forget to carry some salt or snuff to drive away the leeches. And you definitely need a poncho to cover your self and your expensive gadgets. 


The dry seasons are terribly hot and it is advisable to carry sunscreen lotions and a cap to prevent severe sunburns. Finally, carry a light backpack to throw in all your things. 

 


The Route 

 

The Kudremukh trekking trail is 9km long. One way trek takes you around 4 hours. A round trip would be 7-8 hours. It is not an easy trek by any means. The difficulty level is somewhere between moderate to difficult. The trail passes through 9  patches of forest area before reaching the grasslands. During the monsoon, beware of the leeches. These jungles hide plenty of these blood suckers that chase and cling on to you as soon as you are in their vicinity. 



If you are lucky, you shall spot some animals along your way. A herd of deers is a common sight, specially during monsoon. 

 


The last stretch of the Kudremukh trek is extremely steep and will challenge you for sure. But the fresh breeze and the spectacular views from the summit will allow you to enjoy the fruits of all your hard work. 


Other Trekking Options Nearby

 

There are a few other treks around this area. However, these are not as exciting as the Kudremukh trek. Kallchiki and Bavikonda hill trek is a good alternative when the Kudremukh trail is closed (Jan-May).  

 

Somavati Waterfall is one of the most beautiful locations in this area. Take a short walk to the waterfalls and spend an evening or an early morning there. It is located in Mullodi village. 



Other Attractions Near By

 

After your exciting trek, if you yearn for more thrills then this location will not disappoint you. On your way from Kalasa to Mullodi, you will pass by tea and coffee plantations. Stop to enjoy the beautiful views. In the month of April (A week after the first rains), the place is covered in coffee blossoms, filling up the air with its potent fragrance. 

 

Take a thrilling jeep ride all the way upto the summit of Kyatanmakki hills (15km from Kalasa) and enjoy the spectacular views from the summit. You can enjoy short treks at the summit, hopping from one peak to another. 

 

You can also choose to visit the Bhagavathi nature camp, Sharadamba temple at Sringeri, Anapoorneshwari temple at Hornadu (Famous for its tasty free meal), Sri Rishya Shringeshwara temple at Kigga and Kalaseshwara temple at Kalasa.



My Experience 



I have been to this place 4 times and the Kudremukh national park never fails to impress me. I have hiked on the Kudremukh trail twice and Kallchikki/Bavikonda trail twice. Both are exciting but Kudremukh trek is obviously more challenging and adventureous. I had trekked both in Monsoon (August) and in dry season (May).  


Both seasons have its own charm but I specially enjoyed my trek during the Monsoon. We were able to spot a herd of deers from up close. However, as we reached the summit, the clouds blocked our views. We also had to run through the forests to avoid being attacked by leeches, of which there were hundreds. We returned back with loads of bites from the leeches.  



The dry season always renders great views with clear sky. However, it is very hot and makes the trek even more challenging at times. The lushness has given way to some tanned look here and there. I stayed at Rajjapa's homestay and would recommend the place to you. However, most of these homestays offer basic amenities suitable for trekkers. 


Here is my film on Kudremukh Trek - 



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