Ettina Bhuja


Location: Byrapura Village, Mudigere Taluk, Chikkamagaluru District, Karanataka, India

Altitude: 1300m (4265 ft)

Difficulty Level: Easy

Trek Distance: 3-4 KM

Trek Time: 1-1.5H Climb, 0.5H Descent


Ettina Bhuja translates best from Kannada to English as Ox’s hump. The name is derived from the hill’s appearance that resembles an Ox’s back. It is an easy trek and therefore attracts first-time trekkers. The hill is easily accessible and the route is well mapped. If you have never trekked before, this could be your gateway to the fascinating world of trekking. Located at the border of wilderness and civilisation, Ettina Bhuja is one of the best trekking options for beginners. Here is my detailed guide to plan your weekend getaway from Bangalore or Mangalore. Let's get going!

 


Plan Your Trek


Best Time To Trek


The best time to trek Ettina Bhuja would be post Monsoon (September to November). During this time, the lush surroundings make this a refreshing trek. But beware of the leetches during this season. You may want to carry some salt to drive them away. 


The next best option is to trek here during winter (December to March). Though the grasses would have now dried up, the surrounding Shola forests displays an interesting mix of colours. 


Though open year round, it is better to avoid peak summer (April-May), only because of the heat.  Trekking during the rains (June-August) can be dangerous as the trail gets slippery. 


Permission


You do not have to take prior permission for this trek as of now. You can directly pay the fee (Rs 50 per person) to the forest guard stationed at the base. Camping is strictly prohibited in this area due to elephant movement and you could be fined heavily by the forest office if found to be illegal camping.  


Itinerary


There are plenty of things to do around Mudigere. Therefore, it would be great to fit in a weekend plan around this trek. Here is a rough weekend plan that you could choose to follow. 


Friday Evening (Around 4PM): Leave Bangalore. 

Friday night (Around 10PM): Reach Mudigere town and stay at a local lodge / Homestay in a Coffee plantation. 

Saturday (Around 6AM): Drive to Nanya Byraveshwara temple and start trekking at around 7/8AM. 

Saturday (Around 1PM): Back in Mudigere. 

Saturday Evening (Around 4PM): Visit Devaramane Betta to view sunset.

Sunday Morning: Head to Mekkangadde Betta

Sunday around noon: Makajalli falls

Sunday Afternoon: Head back to Bangalore. 


You can alter this itinerary based on your requirements. Belur, Halebeedu and Chikkamagaluru can be easily fit into this plan as well. 



How to Get there


Car/Bike:


To reach Ettina Bhuja you have to first reach Mudigere town, which is 250 km from Bangalore (5H drive). You have to take Bangalore-Hassan-Belur-Mudigere route. From Mudigere, take a deviation to Nanya Byraveshwara temple (25KM) located near Byrapura village. Google maps will direct you upto the temple. The road to this location is good. The last stretch is being laid, so it should be up and running soon. 


By Bus:


You can take a KSRTC Sarige bus that ply between Bangalore and Mangalore via Charmadi ghat. You can also choose to take a bus to Hassan or Belur and from there, another to Mudigere. From Mudigere bus station, take a local bus to Byrapaura village. You will have to walk fort he village to reach the trail. 



Where To Stay?


There are plenty of options to stay in this area. Between Mudigere and Ettina Bhuja, you will find a lot of coffee plantations who also run homestay. You could look up for the same on the internet. They charge anywhere from Rs2000-3000 per person for a day. The tariff generally includes food and accommodation. 


If you do not want to spend money on a fancy homestay and coffee plantation visits, you can simply choose to stay in Mudigere town and drive to Ettina Bhuja next morning. Mudigere is only 25km from the Base of the hill and takes about an hour to reach there. MC Grand is a good lodge to stay at. They charge Rs 1400 for a double room. Rs1600 for triple room. Other options include Hotel Athithi, Manjinahani lodging and stay. There is no need to book them in advance.



Things To Carry


This is a fairly easy trek and can be done without a lot of gears. However, here is my standard list of things to carry on a trek - 

  • A good trekking shoe. (The last stretch in particular can be slippery and needs a good shoe. Avoid sandals and sports shoes)
  • A Water bottle. (At least 1-1.5l)
  • Some light food. (You can pack some Mangalore buns from Hotel Sri Ganesh Prasad near Mudigere bus station which opens at 6AM) 
  • Sunscreen lotion 
  • Cap/Hat
  • Carry a Poncho or jacket if you are trekking during the Monsoon. 
  • Trekking pole (Optional)
  • A backpack to carry it all.


Where to Eat?


If you are staying in a homestay, the food is generally included in the tariff. If not, here are some of the restaurants I tried and loved. Hotel Sri Ganesh Prasad opens at 6AM and serves south Indian cuisine. Do try their Mangalore buns prepared early in the morning. 


Annapurneshwari mess serves Thatte idli and Akki roti. This family run mess is worth a visit for its delicious local cuisine.  




The Route


There are two routes to trek to Ettina Bhuja. One from Mudigere and other from Shishila, a small village in Dakshina Kannada district. To trek from Shishila, you will have to arrange a guide as it passes through dense forest. The distance on this side is approximately 10KM and it is a longer trek. I have heard that this route is now prohibited. You could try to reach out to the villagers of Shishila village to find a guide. So, the most popular and easier route to hike up Ettina Bhuja is from the Mudigere side. The Ettina Bhuja trek distance is 3-4 km from this side. Here are the details on this trail. 


The trail is pretty straight forward. As you approach the Nanya Byraveshwara temple, you will find the trail on your left. There is a sign board indicating the same. If you have doubts, please watch my video for directions. 


Once you are on the trail, basically a jeep route, do not deviate until you see a small shed where forests guards are present from 6AM to 4PM. The forest guard will collect a fee of Rs 50 per person and also inform you about the trail ahead. 


If the forest guard is not present during your visit, then just follow the jeep route until you reach the first junction. At the first junction, take a left. A fallen tree, if still exists, is your landmark. Continue on this route till you approach a second junction. Do not turn right or left here. Instead, take the narrow trail in front of you that will lead you to the grassland. 

If you take this trail, you will find yourself climbing the back of Ettina Bhuja; along the slope of the hump. From here on, the trail is pretty straight forward. Be prepared for a steep final climb.


The total distance of Ettina Bhuja trail is somewhere between 3-4km and will take you around 1-1.5H to reach the summit. In case of any doubt, please follow my video for assistance. 


Other Trekking Options Nearby


Devaramane Betta (22KM from Mudigere) is a small hill popular for viewing sunset. There is an ancient Chola temple - Sri Kalabhairaveshwara Swaami Gudi, at the base. 


Mekkanagadde or also known as Pandavara betta is another easy trek around this area. It is located in Maraganda village (26KM from Mudigere). You can find your direction to this beautiful ancient temple called Bettada Bhairaveshwara. Behind the temple, you can find the trail to Mekkanagandde betta/Pandavara betta. It is an easy climb. There are two peaks. Make sure to climb the second peak to get a spectacular view of the forest area and neighbouring hills, including Ettina Bhuja. 


Other Attractions Nearby


Magajahalli Falls / Abbi falls is located 28KM from Mudigere town. During Monsoon, it is dangerous to take a shower there. But during winter, enjoy a refreshing shower under the waterfall. 


You can also visit historical temples of Angadi (18KM from Mudigere town). This place was previously known as Sasakapura or Sosevur which was the original home of the Hoyasalas (of Hoysala empire) who rose to great power in South India. There are temples dedicated to Keshava, Veerabhadra, and Mallikarjuna. 


The magnificent Hoysala temples of Belur (37KM from Mudigere), Halebeedu (54KM from Mudigere) and Belavadi (64KM) are not very far off either. 


You can also choose to drive to Chikkamagaluru (30KM). 



My Experience 



Though an easy trek, it was one of the most exciting treks I have done in the western ghats. We stayed in Mudigere town and drove to Ettina Bhuja early in the morning. The trek took us not more than an hour. There were only a  few people trekking on that day. The views from the summit was mesmerising. We sat there for almost 2 hours, soaking in the beautiful views that lay around us. 


As mentioned in the itinerary, I fit in Devaramane betta, Mekkangaddee Betta, Majakalli falls in this trip. On our way back we had lunch at a small Udupi restaurant called Hotel New Alankar in Hanabal town. It was delicious and I would highly recommend you to try their meal, served on a plantain leaf. 



My Film On Ettina Bhuja Trek - 




Comments

  1. This is a lovely and highly informative post, Ajeya. I have saving this for future reference.
    The area has plenty of options for any visitor. Nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. A perfect weekend getaway from Bangalore.

      Delete

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