Kodachadri, Kudremukh and Kumara Parvatha are the three popular mountain peaks in the Western Ghats of coastal Karnataka. The subtlety of Mother Nature can be best perceived essentially by setting one's foot into the bounteous terrains of such provinces. Although there may be hardships along the way, the experience will rejuvenate you and render a sense of accomplishment, and bestow new insights into the ways of nature.
Kodachadri hills, the peak of which is at an altitude of 1,343 metres above sea level, forms a backdrop to the Mookambika Temple in Kollur. With its dense tropical and subtropical forests and pristine landscape, a trek to Kodachadri hills feels like being in the lap of nature.
Into the wilderness
The first option would be to trek the entire route on foot. Kattinahole, which is a small village in Hosanagara taluk of Shivamogga district, is at the base of Kodachadri. The trekking trail starting from Kattinahole goes through a jungle, a stream, some huts and green pastures, again enters into the jungle, through Hidlumane Falls, thick rain forests and finally leads to the hills of Kodachadri. One can see diverse species of plants, shrubs and trees along the trail.
Another option is to take a 'jeep trek' from the base of Kodachadri. The well-trained drivers take you through the uneven rock-strewn mud roads with sharp twists and turns, with ease. One can hire jeeps from Kollur also.
The jeep drops you at the Public Works Department Inspection Bungalow point where the two trekking trails, on foot and in jeep, merge. From here, what is left is a two-kilometre path, which is the last leg of the trek.
There is a small temple nearby which is believed to be the place of origin of Goddess Mookambika. It is believed that in this place the goddess fought against demon Mookasura and hence, is a pilgrimage destination.
One can find vendors selling fruits and vegetables all along the way up to the peak. While mounting, you get to see unique and interesting shapes of the hills. The panoramic views of dense forests and peaks are truly breathtaking. The thick layers of mist and cloud gently stroking the hills is a common sight.
On the peak, there is a small stone temple called 'Sarvajna Peetha', the spot where philosopher Adi Shankaracharya had meditated in the early ninth century. Legend has it that Goddess Saraswathi was pleased with his meditation and appeared before him.
The Kodachadri peak is well known for its elegant sunrise and sunset views. On a cloudless day, the sun can be seen plunging into the Arabian Sea, a grand spectacle of nature. The best time to visit Kodachadri is post monsoon and winter season when the greenery is more wholesome than ever. It is better to avoid the monsoon season as the trails get slippery and dangerous with rains.