Now that we had a self-supported hiking and camping outing under our belt (See Here), our confidence to take on bigger mountains was at an high. We decided to take on the toughest hike in all of Karnataka, India – Kumara Parvatha, 5700 ft elevation with gradient going beyond 40% in few sections.
A bit of history:
Kukke Subramanya hosts the mighty Kumara Parvatha in it’s backyard (literally). “Kumara” refers to Lord Shiva’s son Karthikeya aka Subramanya AKA Kumara of Indian mythology and “Parvatha” refers to mountain.
As legend goes, Lord Subramanya fought the demon rulers Taraka, Shoorapadmasura and others in a war and washed his “Shakti Ayudha” (a battle axe) in the river adjacent to Kukke. The river was named “Kumaradhara”.
Suhas had first done Kumara Parvatha when he was just 12 years old. With hazy memories from his experience and all the amplified sense of difficulty, leech stories available on the world wide web, we still went with the idea of scaling this mountain but, the Footloose Company way. The plan was to scale this mountain and return over 3 days which meant setting up our camping base mid-way. This mountain peak has multiple routes with varied levels of difficulties. The two prominent routes are from Kukke and from Somvarpet. The Somvarpet is supposed to be an easier route spanning 7 kms to the Kumara Parvatha peak however, lesser known, doesn’t have the splendid views (variety) that the Kukke route has to offer and off course, a more inconvenient access to the base. We chose the Kukke route which is 15 kms one way to the peak.
There are 4 options to scale this mountain:
Option 1: Kukke to peak and back in one single day. This is meant for the pros!
Option 2: Kukke to peak and back to “bhattara mane” on day 1 and climb down to Kukke on day 2 morning. This is what most people / trek clubs do.
Option 3: Kukke to “bhattara mane” on day 1 afternoon, scale the peak on day 2 morning and climb down to Kukke on the same day. This again is a popular itinerary.
Option 4: Kukke to “bhattara mane” on day 1 morning, camp at the view point which is a little ahead of “Bhattara Mane” which also happens to be the mid-point, scale the peak on day 2, camp again at the view point and climb down to Kukke on day 3 morning. This is probably the least preferred choice for most for many reasons but, for Footloose Company – this means being amongst the mountains a little more, feeling humbled a little more, being in the lap of nature a little more.
We started from Bangalore on Friday evening at 5:00 PM and got to Kukke via the Bangalore-Nelmangala-Chanarayapatna-Hassan-Sakleshpur-Shiraadi Ghat-Gundya-Kukke route at 1:00 AM. Total distance is 402 kms.
We returned via the Kukke-Gundya-Sakleshpur-Hassan-Mysore-Bangalore route with a stopover in Namma Mysuru. Total distance is 400 kms.
Google maps will show the shortest route which is through the Bisile ghats but, one may end up taking longer owing to road conditions hence, good to do a due diligence before deciding on the route. Driving through Bisile ghats during the night is a certain NO.
Place of Stay:
On Friday midnight, in Kukke, we took refuge in Sharavana Residency which is a few meters prior to the KSRTC bus stand. There are many such lodges on this road to the Kukke Shree Subramanya Temple and are priced low – INR 600 to INR 1400. For the rest of the two nights in the mountain, we camped at a view point which is about 200 meters from the popular “Bhattara Mane” – Bhat’s house. There are three options available for overnighters:
Option 1: Camping at view point. You will need to carry a tent and camping equipment as there is no roof available at this site, open to sky with splendid views.
Option 2: Camping at the forest checkpost which is another 100 meters from this view point. One could either chose to pitch a tent in the open ground adjacent to the forest checkpost or stay indoors in a room in the checkpost office. Water available.
Option 3: Stay indoors in Bhattara Mane. Water, food and toilets available. Phone No. 9945618495. Do call in advance to book place and food.
While on road, we stopped at an A2B just after Chanarayapatna for dinner. While in the mountains, we cooked on a portable stove using fuel cakes and ate at Bhattara Mane to suit our convenience. We had carried quick fixes like pastas-in-2mins and coffee.
Hiking & Camping Equipment:
One stop solution – Decathlon. Quechua has a range of stuff starting from backpacks, shoes, apparel, rain jackets, hiking tent, sleeping air mattress, air pillow, et la.
This trek route has leeches all through the first (and the last) 7 kms. It is the Western Ghats hence, loads of them are found especially around the monsoons. The trick is to not stop in this patch. It is difficult not to stop as the trail is steep and the body wants to stop and take a breath. It is such moments that allow the leeches to get onto your shoes and then they sneak up your shoes to either your socks or your legs. All they need is a grip onto your skin and they make a feast of you! They don’t cause any pain. They suck on your blood and fall off when they have had a stomach full. The wound caused by them heals pretty fast. No big deal really – if can avoid good, if not then treat the wounds as souvenirs!
Few things that you can try:
- Tie your pants with a rope around the ankle area to avoid them from climbing up your legs
- Tuck your pants into your socks
- Keep checking your legs and brushing them off
Watch us in action:
We made a 3 minutes movie of us hiking Kumara Parvatha. Hope it inspires you to take this challenge. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.