An escape into the wilderness

Top 5 places to explore in the Western Ghats

The Western Ghats has always been known for its scenic beauty and is the centre of attraction for nature, wildlife and adventure lovers and photographers. With Karnataka emerging as one of the famous go-to destinations, places like Mysore, Hampi and Kodagu are flooded with tourists throughout the year. These places form an urbanite’s dream to escape the chaos-ridden city. 

Here are some destinations located in the Western Ghats where one can rejoice in the pristine lap of nature and also experience an adrenaline rush with thrilling outdoor activities. Their proximity to Bengaluru makes it a perfect weekend’s trek for those who crave solitude. 

Mullayanagiri. DH file photo

1. Mullayanagiri

Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka located in the Chandra Dhorana Hill range of Chikkamagaluru. It receives its name from a tomb of Mulappa Swamy, a saint, situated at the summit. The peak can be reached by trekking the Sarpadhri trail which snakes along the mountain and reaches the back cliff of Mullayanagiri. The Hebbe falls can also be visited during the trek. While getting back, one can either return through the Sarpadhri trail or take the trail back to Kavikal Gandi check post. The best time to visit the place is from September to April when the weather is pleasant. The trail is covered with grasslands, trees and the Shola forest which is breathtaking. The trek can be extended to Baba Budan Giri ridge which is more challenging. 

Sunset at Kumara Parvatha. DH file photo

2. Kumara Parvatha

A place that has been gaining the attention of rookies over the past few years is Kumara Parvatha. It is the highest peak in the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary located in Somwarpet Taluk in Kodagu District. Trekkers can either enter from Kukke Subramanya via Giri gadde or from Beedahalli via Heggademane temple. The Beedahalli route is lesser known to the trekking fraternity from urban areas. The scenic hills and lush green vegetation are attractions for all. The place is best to visit from October to January and June to September. It is a mix of both moderate and difficult trails. While trekking one can easily view the lights in the town of Somwarpet as the mountain lies between Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada.  

Tadiandamol. DH file photo

3. Tadiandamol

Tadiandamol is the highest peak located in the Madikeri Taluk. It has Shola forest in the range which is clearly visible while trekking. The name is derived from Kodava language which means the largest base and can be roughly translated as the tallest mountain. The peak can be approached from Nalknad Palace situated at the base of the hill. One will come across a couple of streams with crystal clear water during this trek. The lush green mountains, misty atmosphere and no human interference is a must visit preferably after the monsoons.

Yana caves. DH file photo

4. Yana 

Yana's major attraction is the two tall pointed karst rock formations, Mohini Shikhara and Bhairava Shikhara. The rocks get their names from the legend of Mohini-Bhasmasura. The Yana caves are located deep inside the forest of Kumta in Uttara Kannada. The Yana trek trail has an amazing landscape with lush greenery consisting of a variety of plants and animals, especially butterflies and birds. Many people visit the pilgrimage site to get the blessings of the self-manifested Shivalinga and the idol of Parvathi, especially during Shivarathri. Water droplets drip over the linga from the roof here, adding to the holiness of the temple. The time of visit best suited is October to February.

Agumbe. DH file photo

5. Narasimha Parvatha

The Narasimha Parvatha, also known as the Agumbe peak, is located near Kigga. The trek can be started either at Kigga or Mallandur. While trekking from Mallandur, one can see the Barkana waterfalls. The water sound of the water flow amidst the silent forest is soothing to the ears. The best time to visit is from November to February. The trek involves some steep climbs taking one deep into the forest and giving a chance to experience the beauty of the Western Ghats. Upon reaching the peak, one can enjoy the view of the enticing Kudremukh range. The blue sky along with silver clouds and misty mountains are an absolute beauty to witness. Agumbe region receives the highest rainfall in Karnataka making it a bad idea to trek during monsoon.

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