Monday, September 03, 2012

Baale Kallu and Kode Kallu

It had been quite some time since I trekked. After the death of a student (from an other group) during my last trek it had become difficult to venture into forests and hence i had been idle for some time now. It's always risky to venture into forests during the monsoons. The trek becomes at least twice more difficult due to the rains. Poor visibility is also a risk factor in case of encounters with wild animals like elephants. Leeches all around is a real pain to bear with. Since it was monsoon i didn't want to take risk with a big group and only wanted a small group who had previous experience, however at the end we had 3 new members in the group, even though they still lacked fitness they were good enough to complete the trek.

We started from Bangalore by taking a late night volvo bus to Dharmasthala. We reached Dharmasthala at around 5:30am in the morning. From there we took a local bus to Ujire. From Ujire we took another bus to Charmadi. The name of the stop is "Charmadi Hotel".  Owner of the hotel is a very nice person named Hasanabba. We freshened up at this place and at around 8 our guide Isubu came to the hotel and from here we took a bus again to almost peak of the charmadi ghat which i guess is around 20kms. Just after the temple on top there is a jeep track which is the starting point of the trek.

We got down from the bus and started walking on the jeep track. The weather was pretty pleasant with lots of greenery all around. We had taken the risk of trekking in monsoon, its very rare that it doesn't rain during monsoon in the hills. We were just lucky that it didn't rain until we finished the day's trek. But still there was too much of mist on top which prevented me from enjoying the landscape completely. The clouds played hide and seek giving little opportunity for me to capture some pictures.

After almost 30-40min off on the jeep track we can see a house from where you need to take a left and start going towards the Baale kallu peak. It is called Baale(Banana) Kallu because once there used to lots of Kaadu  Baale(Forest Banana ) available at this place. En route to this peak we can also get to view Jenukallu Gudda but due to excessive mist we were not lucky enough to see anything. In fact our guide Isubu asked us to wait until the mist clears as its risky to walk in the elephant path. Both of us could be surprised with sudden encounters which might be even more risky with baby elephants around.

This was not a very difficult trek and we were on the peak by around 11:30 -12. Since we had lots of time and Kode kallu is just around 30-40min from this peak we decided to spend some quality time enjoying the landscape and also to walk around other smaller peaks near by. We moved from one peak to another enjoying the lush green grasslands and thick green forests below and also we could see a couple of water falls at a very far distance. After spending some time taking some pictures we could see dark clouds gathering pace and heading in our direction. We decided to move towards Kode kallu.

It started to drizzle slowly as we walked towards Kodekallu, visibility dropped drastically and we just had to follow the person ahead of us. After around 30-40min of walk we reached Kodekallu. This is one of most beautiful spots i have seen. Kode (Umbrella) kallu (rock) is a huge rock on the peak which is like an umbrella. One can go under it and spend some quality time enjoying the beauty. It has got enough place for atleast 8-10 people or 2 tents for camping. We had our lunch below this rock and slowly the peace of rain started to increase. The charmadi ghat road is around 30min walk from here but due to rains it was a bit slippery. Was surprised to know that it is one of the route often taken by the elephants, just wondered how could elephants walk so easily on these slippery trials. We were almost near the road and it started to rain very heavily.

We had asked for a jeep to come at around 4:30pm and he picked us dropped back to hotel charmadi. We had some biscuits and coffee/tea while talking to Hasanabba about his experiences. He told us he will talk to locals to give some space for our over night stay at the village temple. We got to stay in the Panchalingeshwara temple which had a huge hall beside the temple. People of the temple not just gave us some space to stay but also provided us with utensils and firewood. We brought some "magic noodles"- local version of maggi noodles and prepared our soup cum noodles for dinner. After a heavy dinner I don't know what happened only thing i knew was that it was raining very very heavily.
I got up around 6:30 am and after freshening up, it was still raining very heavily. I went to the temple and saw a group of young men from RSS having their meet. After their prayers they have some games which was very interesting. A couple of us decided to join them and had fun playing games with them. I didn't feel anything bad about the organisation or their ideology but only felt that our so called secular media is not to be trusted completely. After playing with them they asked us what are our plans for breakfast and with heavy rains and not knowing the places around they brought us food/coffee free off cost.

We had plans of covering a couple of water falls on Sunday but due to very heavy rains and also the jeep driver asking 800rs for 20kms ride we decided to cancel our outing to the water falls. It was also very risky to go to the water falls with such heavy rains. Our guide Isubu also insisted that it would not be safe to go towards the waterfalls. So we decided to stay back in the temple. Myself, Diwi and Harsha enjoyed wrestling (Kusti) in the rains after which we decided to venture out in rain to explore some local hotel. We didn't find the hotel but we found a small shop which we almost ransacked eating everything that was available. While coming back from there we got some cucumber and went to a local house asking for some salt and chili. It was fun - heavy rains, and spicy chili.

At around 4,  the rains eased out and we decided to make the most of it by heading towards Dharmasthala. At Dharmasthala we visited the car museum, and wonderful art museum which had a huge collection of old items. It was like free just 5rs and 3rs as the entry fee. One of the hotel in Dharmastala was owned by Diwakar's friend and we went there after visiting the Bahubali statue. They were so kind that they didn't even take money for our food, in fact i felt bad that they were so generous. We couldn't go to the temple as I didn't have a full length pant and half pants are not allowed. All of us were very tired and we went to the new Dharmasthala bus stand for our volvo bus to Bangalore. The next thing i heard was Majestic, Majestic, Majestic.....

Bangalore- Dharmasthala
From Dharmasthala - take a local bus directly to Charmadi. The frequency is a bit less to Charmadi, so take a bus to Ujire. From Ujire you can take a bus to Charmadi. Get down at hotel Charmadi and meet the guide Isubu.
Isubu: 08256 316117, 275378, 9741392369
Hasanabba: 275164, 9972499947, 9481266656
1) Very limited options for food, carry your own food for 2 days.
2) Don't litter this place, please don't throw plastics or any food items on the trial.
3) Take the help of the local guide and carry proper gear while you trek, it has a lot of wild animals be very careful.
It is a moderate trek, yet a very beautiful one.


Wanderer said...

So you're back from your Europe trip eh? And back to a wonderful trek I'll say. Pictures speak for your experience. Monsoon treks have a different, very different feel to them. Add to it leeches. Makes for a lovely combo, doesn't it? :)
Had never heard of these two places. Nice account as usual. Welcome back.

poorna prajna said...

Thanks a lot, i had been to UK only for 15days to visit my relatives there :-) was back long back..
This time around there was not much leeches .. and for some reason i don't usually get bitten by leeches even in the worst of times :-) probably they don't like my blood or it is toxic :-) with all the blore pollution mixed in it.

prasca said...

Raghupati guided me here, i must say thanx a lot to him. Nice writeup & fotos. though i drove thru charmadi many times, Planing to trek in charmadi for the first time.

poorna prajna said...

Thanks happy trekking.. careful about wild animals and rain. And please don't litter the place at any cost

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
adi trekk said...

Hey poorna... Awesome pics.. and well informed blog..
Wanted to ask, Is Permissoin reqd to trek Baale kallu? if yes then from where.. and how do i contact guide? bcoz i'm going with 8 people and i don't want to get lost in forest so..
waiting for ur reply..

sandesh achar said...

Can we finish this trek within one day and return back??

Jatin Munvar said...

Hey Pooja wonderful blog. Is this trek region and is it still Allowed to trek here.

Anonymous said...

Pepper buds said...

For homestay near charmadi ghatt visit