Every time I and my best pals go on a bus trip to the Western Ghats, a fight breaks out among us on who will sit next to the window. This time as well, I won the fight. I can fight another hundred such battles, to get the closest position to experience the divine beauty of lush green covered mountains of Western Ghats.
The local bus was filled with the fragrance of jasmine coming from the garlands hung on the photos of Yesu, Allah and Ganesha placed above the driver. Watching the gently drizzling rain, trees covered with thick green growth, flow of cold breeze – a sense of warmth filled up our hearts. There was a feeling of relief on our face since the so called year-long plan for this trek has finally materialized. I began to enjoy every bit of this journey of lifetime with my eyes glued to the window glass freshly sprinkled rain drops. The bus winded up the ghats and headed towards Kodachadri.
The name ‘Kodachadri’ is derived from two words, ‘Kodacha’ or ‘Kodashi’ and ‘Adri’, a Sanskrit word. According to local sources ‘Kodacha’ means upside down and the ‘Adri’ refers to the peak of the mountain. It is linked to a legend about Lord Hanuman when he dropped the Sanjeevini Parvat while returning after reviving Lakshman, it fell upside down thereby creating the place ‘Kodachadri’ (upside down mountain). It is also believed that Guru Adhi Shankaracharya did his meditation on top of the mountain. He is believed to have sat on the ancient rock cenotaph on the peak named, ‘Sarvajna Peetha’.
The bus took a deep breath and stopped at Nagodi village to drop us, and continued on its seemingly everlasting journey. This is the right place to begin the trek to Kodachadri. The trek is approximately 10 km from the base to the peak, which can take around 5hours from Nagodi village. Another alternative is to reach the peak by boarding a jeep at Kollur, which is helpful for those who cannot walk.
However, for a lifetime experience, I suggest one should do the trek journey to see the variety of flora and fauna. Further, the trekker’s path offers vantage points for spectacular scenery of the surroundings. People trekking for the first time should take care to travel with lots of water and start early in the morning.
There is a small canteen at the foot hill; make sure to pack refreshments since you will not find any other shop on the trekker’s path. Keep an eye out for the blood sucker leeches which would be in abundance during rainy season. A local treatment to keep leaches away is to apply a mixture of tobacco and lime soaked in water on your legs.
On the summit, the only means of food and shelter is the Bhat family. The family charges a small amount of money for food and blanket. The Karnataka state government has plans to make an all season metaled road the road right up to ‘Shankarapeetam’. However, environmentalists feel that this development would destroy the tranquility as well as disturb the natural habitat of many species in the region.
The main attraction of this place is the trek itself and the sunset. The sunset view seen from the Kodachadri peak on a clear day is an enchanting experience. Sunrise can also be seen from another hillock just behind tourist bungalow. It is mesmerizing to just stand on the hill-top and experience the cold breeze whispering the secrets of natural beauty. Do not wonder if you feel like god since the place itself is like a true heaven on the earth!
Fact file –
• Nearest Town – Kollur around 20 km away
• Transport – travel from Kollur by jeep on a 40 km long winding mud road with many hair-pin bends. Bus available from Shimoga city
• Nearest Railway station is Kundapura on Konkan Railway route.
• Other attractions – Mookambika Nature Camp – 4 km south of Kollur
• Food – carry your own food for the trek
• More info – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodachadri http://usandeep.com/trekking/kodachadri.html