Mar 22, 2011

Kumara Parvatha or Pusphagiri Trek

Gradually I let go of my thoughts, mundane reminders of an employed existence and feel the system gradually hum to a stop along with that of the bus engine at Kukke Subramanya. The neon sign of "Neo Mysore Hotel" greets us. Six people landed to make their way to Kumara Parvatha or the Pushpagiri Peak to walk 26kms and a 5600 ft (1712 m) ascent.

Trek Route
We took the route from Kukke, which is supposed to be the more difficult route as compared to Somvarpet (refer to this link for information on the route from Somvarpet). A little before the temple a tar road on your right heads out for Kumar Parvatha. I suggest packing lunch at this stage unless you've asked for lunch to be arrange about mid way at Bhattare Mane (+91-9448647947 / +91-9480230191). After about a km on the tar road you come across the adjoining sign to your left, where the trail starts.

The first part is up to Bhattare Mane which is about 5 kms, 4 of which is through the wooded areas with a reasonable incline. We started at 0700 hrs and a comfortable climb saw us at Bhattare Mane at 1045 hrs. As you are just about to reach Bhattare Mane you will see a blue and green sign saying "Don't tease wild animals" and then this sign which also greets you with a splendid view of the Pushpagiri peak.

The thing to note here is that the peak is actually the one (right most of the three) which appears behind the first two.

Bhattare Mane is a pleasant place and quite the haven surrounded amidst numerous fruit trees. There are cows there so you will find a dung trail to follow.

We left Bhattare Mane at about 1130 hrs for the peak. Nearby is the forest check post, the ranger charges Rs 200 per head for entry and promises a refund if you're coming back the same way. At this time of the year there are barely any water sources so do carry adequate water from here, at least 2-3 litres since the initial 4 kms of the 7 km climb is without tree cover and the sun beats down rather mercilessly. This however is the easier bit, winding pathways over gentle rolling hills, peppered with little benches overlooking the valley at two points.

Beyond this you will see a mantapa, a simple stone structure with 4 pillars, this somewhat marks the mid point of the stretch between Bhattare Mane and the peak. We embarked for the first peak from here and thereby onto the second post which there is a heavenly wooded stretch which ends in a steep rocky climb shortly before the Pushpagiri peak. The valley view is splendid form here.

We left Pushparigi around 1715 hrs, and started our climb back. It was adequate to make to the mantapa by sunset. The climb down was leisurely, we took our time to be in the mist which starts moving in at dusk. The view below is from the second peak.

Thereby most of the 4kms to the forest check post was by the moonlight. The dust trail shining in light of the moon over the dark hill side. Most of the path is strewn with rocks hence making the walk back rather precarious by moonlight. The other options are to camp at the Mantapa or the peak, we choose to spend the night near the forest check post in this wonderful gazebo with the big moon shining down.

The softer things that make a trek memorable
The most important things that make a trek memorable are the people. Vivek pulled this together for all of us. I am sure we all owe him a big one for this :). Anupam was the sprightly guy with energy unbounded who kept all of us going, you definitely want one of him for every trek (not to mention his bird spotting skills). You need Rahul around for perfect comic timing (or to be the object of humour) and Shravan and Tarun (Ra) for being awesome in taking Rahul's case! (or simply being awesome all along the trek when you just want company to trudge along)

Then there is the western ghats, vast and seemingly endless from the perspective of the tiny people atop Pushpagiri. The mist settling in and the full moon peeping from behind the clouds in all its radiant luminescence.

That feeling of the tired bones, when existence is reduced to food and sleep. When we begin to appreciate things like running water and a simple hot meal is most fulfilling (or for that matter benne masala dosa at Kumar Kripa at Kukke). And at the end of the day, when we can still get back to a city, blend in, to have a 'tower' of beer at Froth on Top, Mangalore and indulge in more bird watching at Sizzler Ranch amidst a lavish meal, I yearn for the open spaces and wonder when I can do this all over again.


Dark Knight said...

And of course, the humble yet clean bathroom was a huge relief :D

Anupam said...

Neat! Damn crisp both word and photo wise. I especially prefer the latter.

The gazebo looks like it has been snowed around. (At least in the preview pic)

Srikanth Manjunath said...

Nicely written buddy...we too ventured in March 2011, but we ended up near almost near valley after the mantapa..due to heavy rains...

You are narration as cool as cucumber....

and nice snaps as well

Rahul said...

Simply gorgeous photographs... what a lovely trek it would have been till the top...