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Explore the magic of monsoon

Prajna G R, Jun 20 2017, 0:02 IST

This is the season for adventure lovers to experience nature in all its rainfed splendour. Prajna G R lists some popular trekking trails in the Weste

nature expedition Some hills in the Western Ghats are popular among monsoon trekkers.  PHOTOS BY author, bhagya shridhara, prashanth

nature expedition Some hills in the Western Ghats are popular among monsoon trekkers. PHOTOS BY author, bhagya shridhara, prashanth

Misty mornings, fresh breeze, earth’s petrichor fragrance, luscious green landscapes — monsoon brings with it a yearning zeal to celebrate the coolness and mysticism of weather. This time of the year also ushers in a sense of adventure in nature lovers. And with the spirit of a wanderer and the soul of an explorer, many energetic youngsters get out their trekking shoes to embark on a journey and experience nature in all its splendour. To them, Western Ghats — the benevolent mountains with exotic flora and fauna — is a paradise. The hotspot of biodiversity, Western Ghats attracts trekkers all year round. Yet, it is in this moist season that the Ghats is at its alluring best.

Trekkers’ favourite
Prajwal, a final year engineering student, is a fervent trekker and considers ascending Kumara Parvatha near Kukke Subrahmanya to be his best trek till date. However, the end of monsoon would be the best time for this challenging trek and he prefers to hike the not-so-risky terrains of the Ghats during the season. He says, “I like to trek the areas where the downpour is not ponderous.

And Tadiandamol, the highest mountain of Kodagu, makes for an ideal monsoon trek.” He adds that this terrain does not involve risky paths.

Situated in the village of Kakkabe, 35 km from Madikeri, Tadiandamol is at an elevation of 1,748 metres. The view from the peak is breathtaking and one can hear the wind gushing through the shola forests surrounding the range. He adds, “A monsoon trek anywhere on the Western Ghats requires one to gear up with a pair of anti- leech socks to keep oneself away from the blood sucking friends that are plentiful on these mountains.” A pair of waterproof, well-gripped shoes is also a must for monsoon trekkers. During the expedition, one can also explore the historical Nalaknad Palace at the foothill of this mountain. This trek takes approximately three hours. The time may vary depending on the trekker’s pace and ability. It is not advisable to camp overnight on the mountain range without permission.

Similar to the Kodagu belt, Chikkamagaluru district has a good share of the Western Ghats, among which the Kudremukh mountain range tops the trekkers’ list. A former mining site, which has been declared a heritage spot by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is home to many exotic flora and fauna. While Tadiandamol reflects hues of citron and emerald green, Kudremukh belt exhibits hues of lawn and moss green.

The numerous perennial freshwater streams add to the beauty of Kudremukh. And, the view from the horse-shaped peak is angelic! A 23 km trek up and down, it requires one to take permission and pay an entry fee at the foothill. Also, there is always a local guide accompanying the trekkers.

Fundamental essentials on this trek during the monsoons are a rain jacket and a pair of anti-leech socks. One of the interesting parts of this trek is reaching the foothill itself. During the rainy season, the mud road connecting Kudremukh town to the foothill is swampy and one has to depend on local jeeps for transportation.

Near the temple towns
Kodachadri, near the temple town of Kollur, is visited both by pilgrims and trekkers. With Hidlumane Falls flowing down this mountain, Kodachadri can be a cool trek spot this early monsoon, opines trekker Bhagya Shridhara. “This belt of Western Ghats has an amazing range of flora and fauna and one can spot rare species of birds and insects.” She adds that summers are for treks up North India and monsoons call for exploring the Western Ghats. She explains that Kodachadri can be trekked conveniently over the weekend; however, camping on the hills is not permitted. She adds, “Peak monsoons can be avoided as the stone paths here get slippery after heavy downpour.” A natural heritage site, Kodachadri is at an elevation of 1,343 metres and is zestful with small streams. Jeep rides are available from the foothill to a certain point on the mountain.

Bandaje trek in Belthangady is a two- day trek best experienced in the monsoons. Anush Hegde, a trekker who has trudged the paths of Himalayas, says, “Bandaje is a beautiful trek and you can witness the rolling hills unfold themselves beautifully.” He explains, “We had our own means of transport. Starting from Bengaluru, we reached Sunkasale and camped at a temple site. The next day, we started the trek and reached the ruins of Ballalarayana Durga Fort, our first landmark.

There are a couple of freshwater streams here. Later, we reached the topmost viewpoint at Arbi Falls, which was astounding. With nice meadows, we found perfect grounds for camping here. It’s approximately a 20-km trek.”

A backpacker who enjoys a small company of other like-minded trekkers, Anush does a lot of online reading and research before any trek expedition.

Nature at its best
Bordering Karnataka and Goa, Sural Falls in Belagavi is seraphic and looks like a white cloud falling from high above into the forest green. Situated 50 km from Belagavi on the Jamboti Road, the foothill is reached by backpackers mostly on bikes. Moderate monsoons is the best time to visit this spot.

Prashant Shebannavar, an amateur filmmaker and a photographer, says, “The path popular among the adventure lovers is the trek from Kalsa to Sural waterfall. The viewpoint can be reached from the Delta Forest Lodge, with not much trekking. However, we trekkers take the less-travelled path and trek through three kilometres of thick forest, reach Kalsa Falls and ascend to the top of Sural Falls.” He adds that monsoon is the best time to witness this stretch. With many stay facilities available around the area, this can be an ideal trek over a long weekend.

Overall, a weekend getaway or a nature expedition, the Western Ghats caters to the thirst of adventure seekers with numerous options during the monsoons.

Monsoon Trekking Tips
Dos Ensure that the trekking route is safe. Preparation and precaution are important.
Take permission from the authorities wherever necessary.
Rainwear, leech-proof socks and well-gripped shoes are a must.
Keep your calm when in close
proximity with wild animals.
Carry a plastic bag and put all the waste in it.

Don't No loud noises, no jarring colours.
Never litter the place. Don’t feed wild animals.
Do not camp in the sites where you are not allowed to.
Never stray away from the group.

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