A chain of mountains runs parallel to the west coast of India — these are the famed Western Ghats. Several of these mountain peaks have become trekkers' delight.
In Karnataka, one of the most well-known and most visited peaks is Kudremukh. It is the third tallest peak in Karnataka’s section of the Ghats. Situated in Chikkamagaluru district, Kudremukh is at a height of 1,894 m above sea level.
The peak derives its name from its unique shape, which resembles the face of a horse with a flowing mane that stretches across the slopes. In Kannada, 'Kudremukh' means ‘horse’s face’.
After having trekked to Kodachadri — another peak in the Western Ghats near Shivamogga, we decided to explore Kudremukh. Ours was a motley group of teens and adults, all eager to get to the great outdoors for a refreshing break from the restrictions on socialising that Covid had placed on us.
We drove up to Kudremukh from Bengaluru and stopped at a homestay close to the starting point of the trek. After a simple breakfast, we set out on our journey at around 8.30 am.
For the trek, we had to obtain tickets and permission from the Forest Department, as our path took us through the Kudremukh National Park. Plastic was not allowed on the trek.
A walk through the Shola forest — the view of the undulating hills, set amidst vibrant green grassland — was scintillating. We strolled past moss-covered trees, crossed small streams and walked on narrow paths in the woods. We stopped frequently to capture the beautiful view, both in our minds and on our cameras.
We cleared the lower altitudes and climbed higher, the grassy peaks, set against a clear blue sky.
Soon, the pleasant morning started becoming sunny and warm. We kept looking for the ‘horse’s face’ in all the hills that we saw. A good four to five km into the trek, we started to tire a bit, but we were only halfway there. We had to cross several more hillocks to reach the final peak.
And then, as we reached a clearing, we spotted the face of the horse on the hills. This kept us going. The hill we saw did resemble the side of a horse’s face, with trees stitched together to form a long, stretched neck.
It took a gruelling climb of another three to four kilometres before we actually reached the peak. Once there, we were exuberant — we had done it!
After taking several pictures and eating our packed lunch, we started on the return trip. Some places were slippery with loose stones and we skidded quite a few times. The climb down was less strenuous. But we had to be careful to watch our step and avoid slipping on loose stones.
While the climb up had taken us five hours, we managed the return trip in about three-and-a-half hours.
After a warm bath and a hot meal, we relaxed and sat around, talking and joking about the climb. In fact, we were more than happy to plan our next trek — to Mullayanagiri, Karnataka’s highest peak!