Kumara Parvatha Trek
To begin with, this trek was planned in just 3 days. Although Vikram, Amruth and I wanted to make this trek happen, it was difficult to get people to confirm and also arrange for a tent and sleeping bags. This time I had been busy the entrie week. Didn't get any time to organize anything. On thursday Vikram booked for the tent and sleeping bags from BMC (Bangalore Mountaineering Club) for rent. Amruth and Vikram collected the same on Friday. I came back from work at about 8pm. It took time for me to collect a rucksack from KMA (Karnataka Mountaineering Association). The bus to Kukke Subramanya was to leave at 10:00pm. I put the tent in my rucksack. Amruth and I went to Majestic and met up with the others - Vikram, Raghavendra and Anil. The only bit of planning allowed us to get seats in Rajahamsa (Govt. of Karnataka deluxe bus). Day 1 - 05/06/2010 SaturdayReached Subramanya bus stand after a long and a slow journey. At 6:00am in the morning, first thing I noticed was that the road was wet meaning it had rained. Rain was the only thing we prayed doesn't spoil our trek. After a break of about 2 hrs (included a brief visit to the temple, freshen up and also finish the morning daily stuff), we started on our trek. This was at 8:30am. Started off towards the mountains. The road thinned, people density reduced and finally we found a board which said, "Welcome to KP - route this way". Now the actual trekking starts. Into the thick forest, the ground was wet by rain the previous day. Praying for a rain-free day, we started climbing. Photography as usual started off with a bang. All of us clicking pictures, admiring the scenary.
About 20 mins into the forest, I actually had my first encounter with "Leeches". To say the least, I was completely terrified and was determined not to stop till we reached the top. The trek distance was 10kms with Bhattara Mane at a 5km distance from the base. That was our pitstop for the afternoon lunch (we finished off with breakfast in Subramanya). Vikram and Raghavendra were completely fear free. With just sandals/chappal, they had no problems with leeches coming onto their leg. It would
attach and suck blood, they would them remove it. I on the other hand was so terrified to see them asked their help to remove them off my leg (Shoes and socks). I didn't stop/sit for the 3kms. No breaks what so ever. What ever break we took, I was standing and infact dancing in one place. Finally when I had almost given up, we found a huge rock. Also found another team of people taking rest there. They had salt. So resting there was like heaven. After half an hour or so, we again started our climb. After another kilometer, the area was infested with lesser leeches. We stopped a couple of times. When there was about half a kilometer or so, Vikram, Amruth and I decided that we were going to finish our trek at Bhattara mane. Anil and Raghavendra however were in form and ready to take on the great KP. With difficulty we reached Bhattare mane at 1:30pm.Good food was served to us there. The trek had become very difficult mainly because of the tents and heavy luggage we carried. Having decided to drop the extra luggage in Bhattara mane and having seen the peak covered with clouds (mist), all of us decided to make it to the top. We left Bhattara mane nearing to 3pm. The trek from here didn't have leeches. So it was a wonderfull trek for me. At about 4pm we reached the Kallu - Mantapa. This is another pit stop on the way to the top. Enjoyed the scenic beauty the mountains had to offer at this height, and experiencing a strong but short shower, we started our climb up. It was getting dark and clouds started covering the mountain. We could barely see each other. Just about 5 mtrs of visibility.
At 5:45pm we reached some point near the peak where we found 2 more people tented there. We decided to pitch the tent next to theirs. The cloud and the time made us think it was time to camp. Not 5 mins after pitching the tent, it started raining. We didnt' even get to check for leeches on us, bags or in the tent. All of us just got it and sat in there waiting the rain to ease. It however didn't stop. It was difficult to go out of the tent. It was raining very heavily. Water started dripping into the tent from the bottom and the fear of leeches getting into the tent and into places where it shouldn't go was getting to me and Amruth. We had the chapatis we had brought at about 7:30pm and decided to go to sleep. The plan of having a camp fire was out of question. Anil slept in with the other trekkers as they were 2 people in their tent.
Day 2 - 06/05/2010 Sunday
In the middle of the night at about 1:30am, we were woken up by a leach on my hand. After removing it out, Vikram was asking whether it was day break or not. On checking the time it was just 1:30am. Another 6-7hours for the sun to come up. We went back to sleep, atleast tried getting some sleep. At 6am, we decided to get out of the very conjusted tent and set up the camp fire. We had brought dry wood and had borrowed some petrol from the other trekkers yesterday. Fire was lit after great difficulty. After a nice warm fire time, we decided to go up to the peak. We packed up our bags and the tent. Left it there and started our climb. Even at 8am, there was no sun and the visibility was still almost zero. We reached the peak at about 9am. Took some picts and made our way down. We reached the camp site at 9:00am, took our stuff and started on our way back down to Bhattara mane. Breakfast was decided to be taken at the Kallu Mantapa. At 9:30am, on our way down, the sun shined brightly clearing the clouds and opening up the valley. View was just breathtaking. A lot of photographs - SLR and ordinary camera. We reached Kallu Mantapa at 10:30am. Had breakfast and took a long rest. At 11:20am we started again down to Bhattara Mane. We reached Bhattara Mane at 12:20am. Had a great lunch, picked up the stuff we had left there by 2:30pm and started the descent to the base. Again we had to go through the leech territory. I was sckeptical about that part but we did eventually had to come down. I thought the trek was almost over. Only the 5 kms that we had come up the last day was left. But nature had its own plan for us.
The dark rain bearing clouds started covering the entire mountain range. We could see rain pouring far away below in the valley. There was a bhattaru who also was venturing down to Subramanya. He had an umbrella. He said that it was going to definitely rain and that it would be very heavy. We had to take a call as to whether it was a good idea to move down as quickly as possible or return to Bhattara mane and camp there for the night. We decided to continue down as Amruth and I had to get into work the next day. Anil and I were carrying the tents in our back pack and we had good shoes. We were faster than the others. So we decided to take the lead, spilt into two teams and continue down. We didnt' want to go down slowely as the more it rained, the more the path turned into a river - filled with leeches.. We dashed, jogged and walked our way down the path. From Bhattara Mane, the only stop we made was at the large stone we had taken rest when we came up. We thought it would be leech free, but since it was raining, the leeches had come up the rock to take the warmth that the rock had in it. A wrong call to stop. Now we again started to jog down the path. There were trees fallen in the path. We had to make alternate routes and round abouts to continue down. The only time we stopped was when either I or Anil was tired. That was the only time we took out the leeches out of our shoes, socks and legs. I had stopped worrying about the leeches now. The fear of getting stuck for the night in the forest with more leeches was more than just the fear of leeches coming onto my leg. We didnt' find the kilometer sign boards that we had seen when we climbed up. We went on and on and on for a long time (seemed to be a long time for us - no watch / no mobile / no purse - nothing. Since our bags were not water proof, we gave our stuff to the others). Then. all of a sudden we saw a fence lining infront of us. No way through and there was a small path running parallel to the fence. This was it. We thought we both were officially lost. Not knowing what to do. For all we knew, the fence could just go on for kilometers. It was getting dark (Due to the wheather) and I asked Anil about whether we should continue down to go back. Going back was not an option. So we continued down. After a minute, I saw a white house on the right. The only thought that ran in my mind was that we were fine for the night. Coming further down towards the house, finally we saw the road and the board from were we had started the trek! YES!! We had come down (another way but still we made it down). Only on coming down and getting water from a home nearby we realised that we made it down in 1 hr (that's 5 kms in 1 hr downhill in the rain)..
The lady in the house was very kind to give us 2 ltr water bottle. Btw, I forgot to mention that we didnt' have water bottles too. We finished the water, cleaned our leg, shoe and our socks, we waited for the others to come down. They too came down quite early. We just had to wait for about 45mins or an hour. We all were down by 4:30pm. We went into Subramanya town, booked tickets on the 10:00pm bus to Bangalore and took a room for 3 hrs to freshen up. After a nice bath and a visit to the temple, we left Kukke Subramanya and KP at 10:00pm. I was home in the wee hours of Monday morning. (6am). Vikram, Anil and Raghavendra went to BMC to return the tents and sleeping bags. It was a wonderfull trek with a lot of very difficult situations. It is infact the most difficult trek I have ever gone in my life.
Trip route: Bangalore > Kanakpura > Kukke Subramanya.
Trek route: 1) Kukke Subramanya -> Bhattara Mane (take the road on the left going away from the temple to start trek) -> Kallu Mantapa -> KP
(I did forget to mention - After bhattara mane we get a forest check post where one has to be 115rs entrance)
Difficulty: 4/5 (Difficult)
Challenges: Terrain of about 60 degs or more. Difficult climb. Leeches.
2) Somwarpet -> Beedahalli -> Mallikarjuna Temple-> Hegade Mane -> KP
Difficulty: 2/5 (Easy - Medium)
Challenges: 10 times more leeches that the other route. Very easy climb though
Best time to visit: November to March
More info on route: http://tagindia.blogspot.com/2008/05/kumara-parvata-trek-kp.html
PS: We planned to trek from Kukke to Somwarpet but decided not to cause of the leech infestation on the KP to Somwarpet route. There is a falls on that route actually which one could enjoy.
Picasa Album link: http://picasaweb.google.com/arun.s.0106/20100607KumaraParvatha
Heaven to Earth - Journey