Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mullaingiri, Kemmangundi..

Another one from my memories.................. . It was the summer month of May 2007, when we friends at our office decided to take a 2-day break and head towards Chikmagalur. Where all to go; how to go; how many – we had no answers. Also another reason for this trip was that one of our friends wanted to visit Sringeri to offer his prayers before his exams!! Finally we decided on the Hornadu – Sringeri – Hebbe falls – Kemmanagundi – Bangalore, but destiny had other plans in store for us. The temple town of Horanadu is around 100kms from Chikmagalur and about 330km from Bangalore and was swarming with people all over and it was difficult finding a room there. The route to the temple traverses ghats, amazingly dense forests and vegetation. It feels like the most beautiful route one can ever take, driving in midst of the Malnad region, with nature in all her resplendent glory. Horanadu is one of the most important piligrim centres in Karnataka, the main deity being the Goddess Annapoorna. We managed a room after a long wait and had a darshan of Goddess Annaporneshwari coupled with lunch there. After praying to our souls content, we moved on to our next destination, another of the important pilgrimage centers in Karnataka, Sringeri. Reached here quite early in the evening and planned to make a quick dash to the sirimane falls which is around 22kms from Sringeri and 5kms from the town of Kigga. But half way through we had to turn back as the road to the falls was not in a state to be plied on. Disappointed we came back to Sringeri and effectively utilized the remaining day praying at the Goddess Sharadambe temple (especially our friend Santhosh Kumar who desperately wanted to and he asked the priest to conduct "Aksharabhyasa" at the age of 27 !!!!!) and the Vidyashankara temple. Here Tunga river flows silently next to the temple complex and across the river is the revered Jagadguru Shankaracharya Math propogating the Adwaitha philosophy. Found good accommodation at the temple guesthouse big enough for a group of 10 people. With nothing much to do, we in unison chose to rest ourselves as we had quite a lot of traveling to do the next day.
Woke up to a foggy sight outside, hardly anything was visible, after a quick visit to the temples again, we bid adieu and moved ahead to our next destination Kemmanagundi. We had the whole day to spend and were thinking of alternate places nearby to cover where instantly one place flashed across - Mullaingiri – the highest peak in Karnataka at 1913m; well it’s a trekking hotspot but vehicles can drive up to almost 90% of the peak from where you get a breathtaking view of the malnad ranges. Well Mullaingiri and Kemmangundi are located close to each other so we had no problem diverting our route a bit. The view of hill ranges from the approach road present an eye soothing sight and also as it was near monsoon time, the sun was pretty relaxed playing hide and seek among the clouds. The road uphill is pretty good even for smaller vehicles to climb and its tarred too, the beauty lies in the scenic valley that changes with every hairpin bed you undertake. All vehicles stop at a point from where everyone needs to climb to the peak that takes around 30 minutes at the maximum. As there are flights of steps to the top, the walk uphill is not so tiresome or exhausting. Still the beauty of the greenery that one see’s all around is mesmerizing, you cant imagine time fly by as you wander around captivating the beauty in its raw form. Every other minute more we spent on this peak strengthened my resolve to trek and conquer this peak on foot one day. It’s a lovely place and a trekkers haven out there. Luckily no human interference is seen around and also a small temple is atop the hill, which is the highest point in Karnataka.
Tips: Trek route – Mullaingiri is 20kms to the north of Chikmagalur. The trek starts from the base of the peak, which is called the Sarpadaari gate. From Mullaingiri it’s possible to trek to Kemmangundi through Bababudangiri. Mullaingiri to Bababudangiri trek – 8kms Mullaingiri to Kemmangundi trek – 30kms Carry own food and water especially while trekking Camping on Mullaingiri is very tough as winds reach up to 60kms speed during night. Accommodation: Various budget hotels and home stays available at Chikmagalur. Horticulture department’s guest available at Kemmanagundi with prior bookings. Keep the place wherever you go clean and neat. Preserve nature. care for the nature and the nature cares for you!
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