At the summit of beauty

At the summit of beauty

Among the numerous trails that one gets to take in the Western Ghats in the State, the one trek that stands out as the most popular is the climb to Kumara Parvatha. If you ask any seasoned trekker what his/her favourite route would be, the answer is most likely to be this peak.  
               

      Sitting on the border between the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu, Kumara Parvatha, also called Pushpagiri, rises to a height of 5,615 ft. 

Trekking this mountain is not only an exciting venture but an equally Herculean task.

Nevertheless, irrespective of the level of previous experience one has, almost everyone can do it if the hard task is simply broken into small gradual stretches on the trail. 

Arriving at the pilgrim town of Kukke Subrahmanya by dawn, we freshened up quickly and after a quick breakfast, began the trek right away. 

The temple at Subrahmanya dedicated to the snake god is thronged by pilgrims all through the year. The only road lined with shops and hotels leads to the ornate entrance arch. To beat the heat of the rising sun, we chose to trek first and visit the temple on the way back. Even as we stepped into the narrow lane to the right, the buzz of the town was lost and a silence pervaded. At the head of the trail was a signboard indicating the route to the hill and the distance. The path was shaded and a steady walk for an hour brought us to a huge boulder, an important landmark. It is also here that a trickle of water can be found in a rocky depression. The next stretch ascended rather steeply on the slippery trail. Because there was a clearing in the forest cover, we were exposed to the  heat.

An hour later, we were at a grassland patch. This is the first stage of the trek, called Girigadde. The lone house here belongs to Mahalingeshwara Bhat who has been living on this hill for decades. If anyone has trekked Kumara Parvatha successfully it would not be without the help of Bhat. He not only provides shelter for the night, but also provides food to visiting trekkers.A boon indeed.

The day’s trek completed, the evening was spent strolling around the place. A recent facility from the Forest Department is a platform decked with benches which affords a panoramic view of the hill ranges. As twilight metamorphosed into a fiery sunset, the sky was painted with shades of orange and pink. 

A sight worth watching, indeed. Sunrise on Kumara Parvatha range is pristine too. The hills are painted with a tinge of blue as the entire valley is bathed in the morning rays of the sun. As trekkers usually do, we attempted to reach the summit early after paying the fees at the forest checkpost. The trail went up a grassy meadow with a few patches of trees scattered around. Half way up, we came to the stone mantapa where we took a break because of the water source there, but also for the magnificent view of the landscape.

We passed by the steep craggy peak of Shesha Parvatha and the terrifying abyss next to it. The last stretch of the climb was through a thicket followed by a steep rocky slope. At the summit is a cairn mark and a shrine improvised with tiny boulders. The stupendous views from the top extend into the territory of Somwarpet. By the time we completed the trek, we felt a deep sense of satisfaction, rewarded as we were by spellbinding sights.

Though it is also possible to alight on the other side, our plan was to return to Girigadde, which we did, to savour a hot lunch before descending to Subrahmanya. A fleeting glimpse of the deity at the temple brought the curtains down on our two day adventure.Getting there

Kumara Parvatha is generally climbed from Kukke Subrahmanya which is well connected with important towns. The total trekking distance to the peak is 13 km.  Girigadde is at about 6 km where food and basic shelter can be arranged by Bhat.

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