The Kumara Parvatha Trek is located in the Western Ghats and it is the highest peak in the Coorg district of Karnataka. The trekking trail, also known as the Pushpagiri trek, here is hugely popular among both beginners and seasoned trekkers and the adventure will take you through densely forested land, rock climbing over huge volcanic rocks and you will encounter some strange and flora and fauna which is only seen in tropical hills. People of southern India frequently come here to enjoy the trek.
The trekking trail takes the trekker through the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary so you also get the double enjoyment of spending a jungle vacation as well as a trek. The total trek time is about 8 to 10 hours and the Kumara Parvatha trek distance stretches for about 13 kilometres. The difficulty level for the trek is from moderate to difficult.
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Best Time for the Trek
Although the Kumara Parvatha trek can be undertaken anytime, the best time to visit are from October to January and from June to September. The summers in South India are extremely hot and humid and you will not get to experience the beautiful greenery around. The humidity will also sap you of your energy. The winters, on the other hand, are quite pleasant and when you start early, you will see the hillside covered in dreamy mists and fog. Even the monsoons are a great time to trek because the hillsides become lush again and flowers bloom along the trail, along with bees and butterflies coming out to greet you.
How to Reach
If you are arriving from Bangalore, then take a cab or a bus. From Coorg, it takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach the starting point of the trek at Kukke Temple.
Flight: If you are taking a flight then you have to get down at Mangalore airport which is about 150 km away from the starting point. Train: The stations at Mysore and Hassan are the closest. You can also arrive at Hubli. Take the Karwar Express or the Bangalore- Mysore Express to reach there.
About the Trail
The trek begins a little way off the Kukke Subramanya Temple and it is easy to find because of the signboard. The climb till this part is really great and you will enjoy nature like you have never before. Rest at Bhatt’s House for a while and then proceed some more for a few kilometres. Be sure to take a permit from the Forest Department here to camp overnight or else you won’t be allowed to. Camp overnight under the stars and marvel at the beauty of open skies.
The next day, the trek will start in the early morning and it will take you to the Kallu Mandapa which is located beside a stream. You will have to Shesh Parvat from here which happens to be the toughest part of the trek. Here the trek first goes down for a while to a clearing and from there again you have to hike uphill which will take you through steep and high boulders. From there you will go through a rocky stretch, which will take you to the meadows and from there to the summit. You will see a splendid view of the Madikeri from here.
Trek Through the Somwarpet Side
This is mostly preferred by seasoned trekkers as it is slightly more difficult than the Kukke Subramanya trail. This trail is also longer and the route more complicated, so it is best to hire a trekking guide or travel with a group. You will have to trek through the dense Shola forest and the trail can change depending on the time of the year.
A round trip cab from Coorg to Kukke Subramanya will cost around INR 3600 and a three day round trip from Bangalore to Kukke will cost around INR 8000 to 9000. The food at Bhatt’s House will cost about INR 150 to 200 per head.
A fee of INR 200 has to be paid at Forest House for camping overnight at Battare Mane. There are plenty of homestays as well and you can opt for a guide and food via a package which is only about INR 1300 per head. There are a number of budget hotels at Kukke Subramanya and they are always in demand by trekkers and pilgrims and the prices start from INR 800 to INR 1500 per night.
You will find many options for food at Battery Mane and it is advisable you have your fill here as there are no cafes or lodge here. Once you reach Kukke Subramanya, there are many hotels which serve authentic Karnataka food. You can opt for the Neo Mysore Café and the Vijay Vihar.
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Places of Interest
The trail will take you through many places of interest and it hence the trek never gets boring. Do not forget to take your camera as you will encounter plenty of splendid sights.
The Kukke Subramanya Temple at the starting point sees a regular influx of pilgrims. It is dedicated to Lord Kartikeya of the Hindu mythology. Then there is the Sringeri Mutt which is a beautiful temple that has beautiful carvings inside it that is very reminiscent of the Vijaynagar architectural style. The Biladwara Cave can be explored as well if you have some time. It is said that it was the refuge of the serpent king Vasuki and you will find these caves en route to the Kukke Subramanya Temple. Another beautiful waterfall here is the Abbimatta Falls and it is a great place for photography. You will also be traveling through the Pushpagiri Forest Reserve and you will find many endangered species living here. You can also see elephants in the reserve in their natural habitat.
If you happen to stay at Coorg later, then do not miss the Abbey Falls, the Iruppu falls and the Namdroling Monastery. You must also visit the Raja’s Seat and do visit the splendid plantations here.
Safety Tips to Remember
- Do remember to carry plenty of water with you as after Battery Mane, there will be no water available.
- This trek is known to have reptiles in stretches and you must be careful of leeches and cobras. Carrying anti- venom might also be a good idea.
- You must also carry an energy bar and pack some light snacks as well. Travel light with a comfortable backpack and you must also wear comfortable shoes. If you have something extra, then you may drop them off at Forest Reserve and take them on the way back.
- Carry a jacket and shades if it is winter.
- Make sure you are physically fit so that you can complete the trek. Do not attempt the trek if you have a heart condition, asthma or blood pressure.
- Enquire if the trek organizer has portable toilets because after Battery Mane there won’t be any proper toilets.
The Kumara Parvatha Trek is exhilarating and thrilling and there are few others like it in South India. You will love the beauty of nature and the splendid vistas they unfold. Do give this trail a try and you are sure to return here again and again.