Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kemmangundi and Chickmagalur travelogue

This was a quite a sudden plan and its like we (8 of us) just backpacked without any planning. We had checked many posts in internet about the place and found that kemmangundi was the place thats of concern (green, secluded and many places to trek and sight seeing).

Theres no private lodges or any big shops at kemmangundi. only 2 buses/day ply to kemmangundi from a place called tarikere(1.5 hr travel) and 2 buses from a place called linganahally (1.5 hrs from chikmaglur). so we went straight to tarikere in the morning by ksrtc and reached by 1 pm. It was a very uninteresting and dusty town.
Since all the guest houses at kemmangundi was booked (no private lodges there) we didnt take a risk to go there and search for place to stay. we went to a nice hoysala temple at amruthapura(10km from tarikere) and a dam (bhadra River project - not worth going-just like many other dams). Since buses were unreliable we hired a Sumo (Rs 1200) for goin to kemmangundi and a falls on the way(kallhatti falls -on way from tarikere 2 kemmangundi). Even though it was january, climate was less colder/hot than bangalore. Kalhatti falls was a decent one with stream flowing from way up so that we can trek uphill some distance find a private spot for bathing..
By the time we reached kemmangundi it was 2 pm and we had the lunch at guest house canteen(only place where food is available in kemmangundi). By 4 pm we started towards a place called Z-point.. the trek was about 3 km and the way was unbelievable... Very edgy trek towards the peak edge.. It was worth the effort.. The place was amazing at sunset.
We returned back to kemmangundi. To our dismay the last bus back to linganahalli or tarikere has already left. By some real luck we heard that a booking had been cancelled at the guest house and they can accomodate us. It was a very decent guest house though a government one.

We started early in the next morning next day towards Hebbe falls in a jeep ride (Rs 800)(13 km) for 8 persons. It was an unbelivable ride. The driver literally was mountaineering on a jeep(the way included a rock climb on a jeep ! (mountain dew ad.!)) . Simply impossible on a car or bike.. The falls was superb (falling from 168 mts) u reach there after some 1 km trek from the dropping point of jeep). There is also a trek route(5 km) towards hebbe falls from the startin place. but the even in the winter,(Jan) the day was quite hot and the trek pretty steep and the way pretty dry, full of red sand and dust. we spent time till 2 pm there and returned back to guest house by trek and a guide(impossible without a guide). The last bus back to linganahally was at 4.30 pm and we catched it and then from there to chikmaglur we reached by 7.45pm. We had a ksrtc bus and reached back to bangalore at 1 am.
Only worthy place we had missed was a place called (Babu budan giri/mulliangiri - highest peak in karnataka - 1900 odd mts).

I would recommend anyone planning to make a booking at kemmangundi guest house and go straight there so that u dont waste time on travelling back and forth.. Coffee powder is quite good and cheap at chikmaglur and one can make shopping there.
our budget was per head : Rs 1400.

Skandagiri travelogue

The place is about 40 km from Bangalore. This is not the place for some greenish forest trekking..
It is a steep trek of about 500m uphill through some dried rocks and some green trees.
The route: on the way to Nandi hills at the bottom of the hills you gottu take a right turn and ask for skandagiri en-route.

Best time: I went during Dec.. but you should be lucky enough to see the clouds.. We started at 12.30 am in the night and reached the place at 2 am and started trekking at 3 am reached the peak at 4.30am and waited for sunrise. Its best to see the sunrise even though we can trek at afternoon to see the sunset. We went during a full moon day so that at night things were bright enough without a flash light. Its useless to go to this place in mid day. U can get to see the sunset then.
Place: there is parking space at the bottom of the hill and some people are always available as guide at any point of time even at 2 am at night (we paid rs 150). If you are going at daylight guide is not necessary. some tea/omlette vendors maybe present at hill top to your surprise. hot tea at 1350m at hill top at 4.30 am enabled us to survive the cold wind..

We were lucky enough to catch the glimpses of sunrise among the clouds. If you ask me if its worth going there at night -- You can see the pictures for yourselves.