I have been thinking about visiting Coastal Karnataka when Vivek mentioned about trekking to Kodachadri. So Naveen, Teja, Vivek and I backpacked and started on Wednesday, Oct 31, by a KSRTC bus to Kollur. After a bumpy drive for almost 12 hours, we reached Kollur the next day morning around 8AM. Kollur is a small village famous for the Mookambika temple. We checked into a room right opposite to the temple. Had a quick bath, visited the temple, and off we went to Udupi. The road again was very badly damaged and the journey took about 3 hours. We visited the Udupi Krishna temple first. When we were walking towards the temple, we saw a bunch of policemen and a few vehicles with flashing red lights on top. When we went in, I was surprised to see Yeddyurappa and a few other politicians.
We then lunched at Diana, a nice old hotel and then went to the Malpe Beach. The beach was awesome and there was very little crowd. Enjoyed playing in the water and took some shots of the fantastic sunset. We then headed back to Kollur for the night.
Since the bridge on the path to Kodachadry was broken, the morning bus in that route was cancelled. So we arranged for a taxi to drop us at Karakatta. We reached Karakatta around 6:30 and started the trek to the peak. After about an hour or so which was more or less plains, we started the ascend. It was a serene forest, a stream gushing below, a scenic path and sun rays falling through the trees. Somewhere in the middle we came closer to the stream. The water was very sweet. After walking for about 3 hours, around 9:30 or so, we came past the woods into a grass land. The scenery was fantastic, though the trek was very difficult since the path was very slippery. The sun rays were falling on one side and the stretch looked like a golden carpet. Another hour or so and we reached the Kodachadry village. There is a temple here called Moola Mookimbika temple and a couple of houses behind where they serve food. I went into one of the house and was surprised to see a private water falls. Again, the water was crystal clear and sweet.
After having breakfast and some rest, we started the climb to the peak, which was another 30-45 minutes away. On the way there are a couple of deviations, one to the Guha Ganesha and the other to Agasthiyar theertham. We were unable to go Agasthiyar theertham since there were lots of weeds on the path. We went to the Guha Ganesh and then started the climb to the peak.
This is one of the most scenic walks I have ever done. There were clouds hanging low playing hide and seek. Though we were very close to the peak, it was completely covered by the clouds. Soon, we walked through the clouds and it was an amazing experience. After another hour, we reached the peak. The peak has a small temple called Sarvajna Peetha, which is the shrine of Adi Shankaracharya. He is believed to have meditated here.
Naveen decided to take rest amidst the clouds while the rest of us descended from there to a place called Chitramoola. Water collected from the mountains trickles through here and flows and forms Souparnika, the river that flows through Kollur. We then climbed back to the peak and then started our descend. We were planning to go to Gokarna (Cow's ear) beach that night and hence decided not to trek back. On reaching the Kodachadry village around 2PM, we had lunch and then took a jeep down to a village called Nedur. The jeep drive was also an experience in itself. At the hair pin bends, the vehicle tilts and I was thinking that I will be thrown out of the vehicle or the vehicle might even overturn
We took the bus from Nedur to Kollur and from there took a taxi to a place called Byndoor. From Byndoor we took a bus to Ankola. We got down at Gokarna Junction and from there took an auto to Gokarna. We reached Gokarna at around 11pm. We checked in immediately and then went to the beach. Vivek told that there is night life on the Gokarna / Om Beach but the beach was deserted. It was a very scary sight to watch the sea and the sounds of the waves at night. We returned to the hotel thinking of going to the beach early in the morning.
Everyone was really tired after the trek and we slept till 10 in the morning while Vivek went to the beach and came back. We then left for Om Beach from there. The beach is in the shape of an inverted "Om", is a very quiet place and has a few resorts. It was very sunny and I found it a bit difficult. After playing in the water for around three hours, we came back to Gokarna.
We had our return bus booked from Kondapur at 9:30 PM, about 120KM away. We were thinking that we could make it but thanks to some bad roads, reached Kondapur only around 10:30. We were looking for options when we found one travel agent willing to stop a bus at a nearby village if we were willing to reach there. We took a taxi from Kondapur and reached that village, got the bus and reached Bangalore the next morning around 8.
This has been one of my best trips and the most difficult treks in the recent times. I also felt very relaxed, thanks to the exhaustion, after the tip. Most of the photos taken during this trip is on Flickr. I am still in the process of uploading the rest.
A few points to note if you decide to do this trip. Every one gives their own estimate of the distance but there is no way for sure to know how long is the trek. It took us around 5 hours to reach the Kodachadri village and another hour from there to reach the peak. Try if possible to reach Mangalore or some place nearby by train. The roads are ravaged by rains and your back goes for a toss. Beware, there were a lot of leeches on the entire trekking path, waiting to take a few ml of your blood. You must be lucky to get a jeep on the way back from Kodachadri to Kollur or Nedur. If you dont get one, be prepared to walk back. Carry lots of chocolates, glucose and water. I have also heard / read that the sunset there is amazing. Also there are a couple of waterfalls nearby in case you are interested. Last but not the least, please do not litter. It is a virgin forest and let it remain that way. I was also told that they were planning to tar the path to Kodachadri but people are opposing it fearing that it will ruin the place.