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Trek to Kudremukh, A tale of rains and leeches

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Mesmerizing hills and verdant valleys

I have vacations, I can go anywhere, I can do anything. Yet, the travel bug in me decides to travel 1170kms to Bangalore, for a trek, to a place experiencing the highest rainfall in the Western Ghats. Rolling green hills laid out in a mosaic of sprawling grasslands, cloud kissed mountains, forest trails, bamboo shrubs, and a dozen waterfalls, all of these tricked me to leave the comfort of my home and embark on a monsoon trek to Kudremukh, the Himalayas of the South.

ABOUT THE PEAK

Coming under the Chikmagalur District of Karnataka, Kudremukh is the third highest peak after Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri with a height of 1894m from the mean sea level. Literally meaning ‘horse-face‘ in Kannada, Kudremukh Peak boasts some of the most beautiful views of Western Ghats. The trek to Kudremukh Peak is one of the longest treks of Karnataka with a distance of around 10 km one-way.

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THE JOURNEY

It all started on a Friday night, when the three of us, me, my sister who had come from Chennai and our friend in Bangalore, boarded a bus arranged by a trekking company, with a bunch of odd people. We got the absolute last seats of the bus. When we reached our destination in the morning, our tailbones were acquainted with all the potholes and speed breakers on the way.

At the base village, we boarded a jeep. Somehow surviving the bone-rattling ride, we reached at our homestay in Mullodi, where we freshened up and had our breakfast. We were handed a packet of tamarind rice, which was to be our lunch. By the time our trek guide briefed us, dark clouds had begun to cover the sky. It looked like a storm was heading our way.

Rolling green hills kissing the clouds

THE KUDREMUKH TREK

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After having walked about half a kilometer, we reached the check post of Kudremukh National Park, which is the entry point to the mountain ranges. After walking an initial heavily stony muddy trail, I realized this trek was not going to be an easy feat as the rains had made the path quite slippery.

An important topic of discussion among us was our soon-to-be-companion, Leeches! Everyone shared their own theories and experiences of their encounters with these blood-sucking creatures. All of this discussion did little to lessen our anxiety about the slimy, icky looking slugs. Whilst walking our eyes were continuously glued to the ground, fearing that even a minute of distraction might make us a delicious lunch for the leeches lurking around.

The green carpets of grasslands soon gave way to stretches of evergreen Shola forests, so dense that even the sun rays could hardly penetrate. We crossed our first river here. But none of us dared to hang around to admire the sheer beauty of the variety of trees, whistling birds, rustling leaves and crackling twigs, so as to avoid the creepy creatures from catching up on us. But there was no escape from them! Now and then, we flicked the leeches off each other’s bodies, meanwhile hoping that one of them has not found its way into our socks or onto the back of our neck.

By now, what was drizzle in the morning had converted into a heavy downpour. To shield from the rains, everyone had put on their ponchos and rain gears. And as it so happened that my sister and I, instead of packing ponchos or rain jacket, had packed our school time raincoats with us! Yes, the one with transparent material, floral print, and a funny cap on top! Embarrassed, we tried to avoid putting them on as long as possible, but later when we could no further bear the rains, we, too, geared up in our raincoats and started walking towards our destination.

However, one good thing that happened was, somehow the number of leeches that managed to find a way to our bodies was way lesser than our fellow trek mates who were wearing ponchos and rain jackets! We blessed ourselves for those funny looking raincoats of ours!

Our expectations of clicking spectacular pictures of our trek to Kudremukh and uploading them on social media went down the drain, as the rains had no intention of stopping. Hardly anyone paused to take in the view of the majestic mountains, we had read and googled so much about, as all we had in front of us was a thick fog of grey. Besides, the incessant rains, the constant lookout for leeches, gusting winds, shivering hands, and our runny noses made it very difficult for us to concentrate on anything else other than our air-short lungs!

Thick blanket of fog covered the view ahead of us

In the middle somewhere, we stopped to have our lunch. We opened our rice packets and started eating with our cold, moist hands. We gobbled our food because the rain and wind gushing around us, coupled with the fear that a leech might crawl onto our torso, made us forget all our table manners!

Somewhere between asking for “Aur kitna durr hai?” and Huffing and puffing for air, the three of us managed to reach the top of the peak! We had long back given up the hopes to have mesmerizing views of green velvety mountains. So when at the top, a vacuum of white greeted us, we were not disappointed.

At the top, the winds blew even more strongly, threatening to carry us off the peak. We sat down there for a while and gave our crying feet, knees, and lungs a break. On our way down, the modest shelter of our raincoats did little to provide us any respite from the relentless rains and the strong winds.

THE DESCEND

The way down was even worse because the terrain had become extremely slippery and slushy. Even after being extra cautious, we slipped a few times. Everybody was helping and looking out for each other. The rains lashed harder and did not stop until we successfully completed the 22kms trek and were back at the homestay.

After reaching the room, we removed our drenched, mud-covered clothes and tended to the leech punctures. Some people had it easy, while for others, the blood kept oozing for a couple of hours. We decided it unanimously to cancel the next day’s plan of visiting the coffee plantations and directly head back home, the first thing in the morning. The next day in Bangalore, we tended to our sore bodies and attempted to feel human again.

This entire Kudremukh trek was an experience of a different kind! The feeling of having survived the blood-sucking leeches, lashes of rain and winds and having trekked 22kms were enough for us to proclaim ourselves superhuman!

BEST TIME TO VISIT

For all the monsoon trekking enthusiasts, if the idea of all the miseries we went through appeals to you, then head to Kudremukh between June and August.

But for others, Kudremukh trek from October to February promises “visible” picturesque views of the rolling hills and verdant valleys, a little easier climb and of course, leech less paths!

List of Weekend Retreats for Delhiites: 12 Places Near Delhi

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Places to visit near delhi during weekends

Weekend Retreats have become a compulsion in today’s hardcore life. Everyone is in search of a quick breakout from their hectic scheduled life. Delhiites are the fun-loving weekend party animals. Thus here we come with a list of weekend retreats for Delhiites. 12 Places near Delhi to solve your time in thinking for your coming weekends.

1: Mussoorie

‘Queen of the hills’. This particular place never gets old. Mussoorie is best to visit for all Delhiites for a refreshing weekend. With a good pleasant weather, it is healthy for your pockets too. Hike up, dive into various adventures and enjoy the scenic views to cheer yourself up.

Distance: 275 km

Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year except monsoon.

Mesmerizing Sunset at Mussoorie

2: Rishikesh

Known to be as the Adventure Capital of India. You will always be left with something from this place. Rafting, camping, trekking, bungee, zipping and then the yogic practices. Rishikesh is a perfect stress-booster destination. Relive the best moment of your life here.

Distance: 242 km

Best Time To Visit: September-April

White Water Rafting at River Ganges

3: Jim Corbett National Park

One weekend with the enthralling wildlife. Spend a day or two in the jungle in search of best views of Bengal Tigers. It is known as the oldest and prestigious National Park. Take a long weekend to have an evening amidst rains in Nainital. And a day with jeep safari at Corbett. 

Distance: 235 km

Best Time To Visit: October-June

Jeep Safari & Tiger Sighting

4: Mathura-Vrindavan

This blend of place slays with Lord Krishna. Dance with the Rasleelas there. Holi and Janmashtami are the festivals which will leave you enthralled. Pilgrimage is a fun activity with Lord Krishna. Try it out here. Both the places are scattered with numerous temples of Radha-Krishna. When done with all your party fever, spend a few time with decent fun.

Distance: 162 km

Best Time To Visit: October-March

Colorful Celebration of Holi Festival

5: Lansdowne

It is the most picturesque hill station near Delhi. Surrounded by lush pine forests, this little place is another home to heaven. Rejuvenate and relax from all the worries in this peaceful town. Reach Lansdowne and just do nothing. 

Distance: 246 km

Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year with pleasant summers, pretty monsoons and chilling winters.

Serenic view in Lansdowne

6: Neemrana

For the most sorted weekend, visit Neemrana. The town of forts, lakes and attractions. Nestled in Alwar district of Aravalli ranges, this particular place is a walk in history. Neemrana Fort is a major attraction there which has now turned into a heritage hotel. Spend a royal night at the fort with a magnificent view. Also indulge in adventure activity there.

Distance: 121 km

Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year.

Neemrana Fort

7: Solang Valley

The perfect destination for the adventure junkie Delhiites. Weekend is well settled with mountains in a chilling breeze with all various types of adventure activities. Glide with the paras, zorb in the bubble balls or ski board in snow during winters.  Also with nature at its best to make your weekends best.

Distance: 575 km

Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year.

Adventure Activities in Solang Valley

8: Kasol & Kheerganga Trek

The dreamland trek for every Delhiite. Kasol has come as the new hippy home with all the fun. Be there with your bachelor group for most memorable days.  Kheerganga Trek never feels like a physical pain due to the scenic pleasure all through the way. A dip to hot water natural springs in cool mountains is a best long weekend solution. Also look for other bachelor trip destinations.

Distance: 520 km

Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year.

Night Camp Stays at Kheerganga Trek

9: Jaipur

A weekend out at Pink City of Palaces. Look out for the ways of royalism in our blood, a gift from our classic kings. With it, they have left us with beautiful architectural buildings, to adore forever. Get the breezes at Hawa Mahal, know the stories or more at City Palace, rising up to Amber Palace and pride for the ancient scientific logics at Jantar Mantar. Also come back with the bag filled with alluring shopping items of Jaipur.

Distance: 268 km

Best Time To Visit: October-March

Magnificent view of City Palace

10: Chopta-Tungnath

Another camping destination, which is yet not common and crowded. Drive upto Chopta with your party stuffs. It is a beautiful meadow land between forests. Spend a day admiring the beauty of mountains and chilled nights. Also, trek up to Tungnath Temple and Chandrashila Peak for some hiking trips. You can also get options of hotels and guest houses there.

Distance: 394 km

Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year with variant experiences.

Winter Scenes at Chopta

Also Read: 55 great treks to take up in India

11: Agra-Fatehpur Sikri

If your travel activity include history, art and archaeology, then take a weekend time for Agra. Taj Mahal needs no introduction. We are proudly owning this beautiful wonder of love. With it, Agra also has other important historical sites to visit. Fatehpur Sikri is still standing boldly with ‘Buland Darwaza’. And all of these places are worth a view.

Distance: 212 km

Best Time To Visit: October-March

Evening view at Taj Mahal

12: Kasauli

Head up for a bike trip or a weekend with your family. This place is another soothing destination with great weather. Delhi being in north, keeps it close to mountains. Kasauli is another such small hill town with Victorian buildings and atmosphere to soothe your mind. Drain out the pain of your hectic daily life in the calmness of this place.

Distance: 304 km

Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year.

Christ Church in Kasauli

Head out with your destination and break up for a while from your scheduled Delhi lifestyle.

Also Check: 10 untrodden locations/places to visit near Mumbai-Pune.

mohinanibhawna@gmail.com'
Professional Travel Blogger and founder of The Ghumakkads. Bhawna Mohinani is graduate in Mass Communication & Postgraduate in Travel and Tourism Management.

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