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Saturday, 22 December 2012

A Trek to Tadiyandamol and Chomakunda Hills

Going on a multi-day trek was something I could not have even imagined a month ago. Yet, I could join a group of colleagues (and an ex-colleague who wanted to be featured on my blog ) who came up with a quick plan to visit Tadiyandamol, the second tallest peak in Karnataka, situated near Virajpet in Kodagu district.

Vallary, who had taken up the initiative after a casual coffee break discussion at office, ensured that the trek dates and the plans were finalized quickly enough, under the able guidance of trekking veteran Guru. With everything ready, we started off on the night of 7th December 2012, boarding the Rajahamsa bus of KSRTC towards Virajpet.

It was around 4:30 in the morning of 8th when we reached Virajpet, and after freshening up in the bus stand there, we could only get a bus towards Kakkabe at 6:45 am, the private run Ganga Travels. We got down two kilometers before Kakkabe, near the road that takes us to the Nalknad Palace, the historical monument from the times of king Dodda Veera Rajendra. In fact the original name of Virajpet is "Veera Rajendra Pete", named after the much loved king.

Our path to Tadiyandamol peak was through the Yavakapadi village that is home to Nalknad Palace. We began the trek and reached there around 8:45 am, had our breakfast on the veranda of the school and watched on as the children of the school cleaned the premises and got the class rooms ready for the day with great dedication.

After confirming the trek route and the precautions we need to take while camping near the peak from the teacher of the school, we went and explored the palace, which was maintained in good shape, and had great floral designs on the inside of some of the roofs, had secret escape chambers and dark rooms, along with other usual amenities. The forethought and design that has gone into the little palace is impressive, considering that it was built before 1800.

After exploring the ancient royal monument, we paid respect to the state and national anthems sung beautifully by the school children, and continued on our way, treading the terrain that was getting steeper and ragged. We took turns in leading the group, stopped regularly to replenish the lost fluids in our bodies, and marched on till we found a nice view point around 11:30 in the morning. The sun was blazing down, but we took some pictures and continued on.

As the peak came to the visibility further, the terrains changed regularly, and it made for both a challenging trek and a great viewing around us.

We approached a big rock around 1:30 pm, a potential camping site for the evening when we come back down. This was one option, the other being camping on the top of the hill itself. This place was advantageous in the sense that it had a plane surface, the rock made sure that the breeze is controlled, and there was a stream nearby. We spent some time near the stream even as Vallary got fascinated by all the butterflies around, and then carried on further.

With multiple stops nearing the peak as the trek got trickier, we managed to reach the top of Tadiyandamol hill by 3:30 pm. No words can explain the scenic beauty you get to see all around once you are on top. Surely, even for half a second, everyone would get a feeling of how insignificant one is in front of the creations of nature.

At the peak, though, for me, this was as much exploring the nature's beauty, as it was recovering from the severe cramps that crept in due to heavy loss of fluids from the body through sweating. A couple of intakes of Electral and a few stretches brought me back to normal, and we could easily notice that the peak was not an ideal camping site. At 4:30 itself, it was very chilly. We decided to head back to the rock below to spend the night and Anurag came forward to swap his lighter bag with my heavier one, while on our descent. With the sunset imminent, the descent was in a cooler setting and we got to witness more of nature's magic with the sun playing hide and seek behind the clouds, golden yellow streaks of light just before the sunset and much more. We stopped, took a few pictures and carried on to reach the rock base by 6:45 in the evening.

Once there though, our efforts to set up tent was proving futile, and we remembered the school teacher telling us about some tribal festival happening on the hilltop on the day. We had also seen indications of elephant trail near the stream in the morning and saw another group of people roaming around near the rock base. We decided it might not be advisable to stay there overnight and started a night trek back to the Yavakapadi school with our torches on, in groups of two and three.

We could reach the village around 8:30 in the night, and went to some nearby house along the way and asked their help to heat our ready made food. We had our dinner there, asked the house owner Babu if he could help in taking us around a few other places the day after, to which he agreed. He said he would bring his jeep by 7:30 in the morning, and our plan to visit Chelavara Falls and Chomakunda hill was finalized. We reached the school by 9:30 and retired for the day in the sleeping bags, although terribly chilly night ensured that none of us got proper sleep.

Day 2, and we began the journey in Babu's jeep towards the village of Cheyyendane, where the falls and the hill are located. All through the journey, Ravi, Anurag and Udit kept themselves entertained by "singing" (if I can call it that) some songs, with Vallary, Shilpa and Guru providing company once in a while. Climbing Chomakunda was a much simpler affair, but the view from the top was no less breathtaking. After spending an hour taking in the beauty of the surroundings, we came down to the Chelavara falls that drove away the fatigue of the last day and a half.

A brief visit to the historical St. Annes church, a longish lunch at Virajpet and a series of dumb charades in the Virajpet bus stand followed, and we were off back to Bangalore that night, reaching on the morning of 10th December. A nice and challenging weekend's effort coming to an end...


Unknown said...

Very well summarized.It was really great to have you with us. I hope for more adventure in future.

Anurag said...

Nice one... Unbelievable that you were able to summarize the entire adventure.
Good read.

Prasanna said...

Thank you :)

Unknown said...


Prasanna said...

Don't be Ruju. Sinhagad trip is still fresh :)