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The Crown of Karnataka - “Mullayangiri”

The dream start 
Mulliyangiri one of the dream place to visit in my list located in Chikmagalur. The place which is famous for coffee and is known as the 'coffee land' of Karnataka, one of the largest coffee producer’s districts of the country. Mullayangiri is the highest peak in Karnataka, with a height of 1,930 metres (6,330 ft), it is the highest peak between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. Friday night as planned everyone assembled around 10:30 PM at the pickup point near majestic. At 11:15 PM we started from Bangalore with the fear of rain play in our plan. With fun filled night journey we reached our homestay by 4:00 AM.

Homestay: The Wildernest
It was a muddy road of 1.3 Kms stretch towards homestay. Few of us decided to walk instead of going in TT. So we got down and started early morning walk and reached homestay “The Wildernest”. Our homestay was in the center of greenery, covered with beautiful flowers, cloudy peaks and coffee estates. We can see the peaks covered in the mist, the view which will make you start trek then and there itself, but we controlled our wild thoughts and everyone went to get fresh up and get ready.   
Our Homestay!!
Day 1 Trek
Enjoying at Kalhatti Falls
Our first day trek started late credit goes to breakfast, so only we decided next day breakfast we will have outside. We took a guide from the homestay and started our first day trek to Kalhatti Falls. We walked in the midst of greenery, route which is fully covered with coffee plantations, tall trees. First we reached at the small stream of Kalhatti Falls, everyone got crazy when they saw water so as I. After couple of photo sessions, covered the small bridge then moved towards Kalhatti Falls. After so much discussion finally guide took us closest to the falls. The trail was more of uphill, sleepery full of leeches. When we reached the pain had complete meaning. Kalhatti falls drops off an overhanging ledge which allows visitors to walk underneath and can have showers. It was just pure, refreshing and worth reaching there. Everyone started giving their best possess and few got into the water. “Aaaaahooooo, Yahooooo, wohhhhh hoooooo, haaaahaaaahaaaa” these are the screams you will hear those who get into the falls. :D After spending wonderful chilling time at the falls we came back to homestay for lunch by 1:30 PM along with Chaku, our intelligent guide through out our trek and would run and join us whenever we take any group pic. He followed us to the top and guided us like a human guide. I just loved him he was so adorable without tail but the other dog always coming in front of photo with his tail. :P 
Climb at Z view point
We finished our lunch by 3 PM and moved to next point in visit list which is Kemmangundi. “Kemmangundi” a peerless hilly site and is 1434m above the sea level. It was freezing, cold breeze was add on. Hardly could we see anything. After spending quick time there we hurried for view of ‘Z View Point’. There is a steep uphill trek leads to the Z point, a spectacular vantage spot at Kemmangundi. We reached the base of Z point and started moving fast because it was almost sunset and also it was leech territory. Few travellers told us not to go now because it is around 1.5 Kms from here and route is dangerous to trek in night and we will not be able to make it. Because of time constraint and other team mates pace it was decided to stop and return back. 

In the clouds 'Z view point'
Keeping all this aside myself, Naman and Sant(h)osh wanted to do it and we did it. We covered that steep uphill in mere 12 minutes.  What I should say about the view. This was my thrilling experience. It was breathtaking, serene views from hilltop offering a nice ariel view of the distant Shola grasslands in the undulated Western ghats. The wind force was so strong and dangerous that I was not able to handle my body weight. I have to sit down and wait for the wind force to reduce; I also can’t wait for long enough with the fear of losing line of sight of my other two trek mates. The mist was so thick giving you access to see more or less in 5 meters only.  After spending few minutes we started descending and literally we were doing balancing act while running. One wrong step and you are gone that’s what it takes in these treks. And it took us only 10 minutes to reach base point where others were waiting for us. What next after that? Yeah all stories about the view point. From achievers face you can make out how exciting it was. I can describe it as “I was walking in the clouds.” 

Kallathigiri Temple
Next we visited Kallathigiri Temple. At Kallathigiri, pilgrims love to witness a small temple that is sandwiched between the waterfalls and rocks. Being a quint essential Indian temple, it retain idols and stone sculptures of the predominant God and Goddesses that turns this place into a pilgrimage destination worth a visit. Here someone in group realized that he has got a leech stick to his tummy and the funniest discussion was “Leech trekked from top or bottom to reach to your tummy” :D. Our plaster boy donated lots of blood which scared everyone in the group, and after evening tea we came back to our homestay for which everyone was waiting eagerly to check themselves because of leech attack. After that everyone got fresh up, started with introduction, spending fun time discussing whole day trek moments and after having finger licking dinner everyone retired for the day. 

Day 2 Trek – Mullyanagiri 
Day two as planned started early. All packed their bags and started after saying bye to our hosts. We had our breakfast on the way itself while playing dum charades. Lets see next time how can you act for Kismat Connection and Chandaala, the funniest part of acting Sant(h)osh would be cursing his Kismat on this. :D With fun on high we reached at a small village had tea and started checking for route to peak. We got mixed response from the villagers. Few said not to go this time few said you can. We were in dilemma because after this trek we won’t be going to homestay to check where we got leech bite; we have to wait till we reach Bangalore. Finally decided lets reach the starting point and then decide. 
Team 1 at Sarpadhari before start of Mullayangiri climb
The starting point of Mullayanagiri trek is called Sarpadhari. From Sarpadhari, there is a steep trek of 5 km till Mullayanagiri peak which is moderately difficult. There is also a concrete road that goes till Mullayanagiri peak via Sitalayanagiri. We reached Sarpadari at 09:00 AM and divided the group in 2 teams. Team 1 of 6 people, including me took the trek route via Sarpadari and Team 2 took the concrete road. After preparing ourselves we started. Best prevention I came across to deal with leeches during this trek is ‘Salt and lemon.’ 

Slips, steep an awesome climb to the peak
One should be careful while trekking in monsoon; some of the rock patches are difficult and dangerous.  The initial stretch of the trek has some breath- taking vertical slopes those can be a severe challenge for an acrophobic person. We were walking bit slow in group to give support and maintaining line of sight. There were points were it was very difficult but in a group we made it. The breathtaking view of Western Ghats revitalized my strength along with superb team to climb with. Without any halt we made it to the top by 10.15 AM. Pure elements, refreshing and undoubtedly magnetizing that captivate people from every caste and creed. Landscapes and sceneries that are stunning will always strike our mind.

Team rocking at the Peak
With the Temple on the top surroundings covered with mist, temperature varying between 15 degree to 16 degree with wind force at its best we were celebrating our climb. After 15 minutes Team 2 joined via steps route and to their surprise we reached before them. After taking couple of good shots and roaming around we started descending. The step route was also not so easy. One wind force is enough to make any skinny person fly. Well our organizer was with the group and we all reached the base safely. 

At Bababudhan Giri datta Peetha 
After that we moved to have our lunch post that we visited Bababudhan Giri Datta Peetha. It is known for its shrine which is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Muslims. There are direct steps which will lead you inside. Photography strictly not allowed inside request all travellers to follow this. After paying our visit we moved towards Manikyadhara Falls which is just 4 kms away from Bababudhan giri on the Baba Budan Giri Hills. The view point, the falls was beautiful only part was not going along was pilgrims who come there think that they have to throw away their clothes after pooja as part of tradition which makes that place so untidy. It’s all in humans’ hand, if we want out natural environment to be natural. After wonderful scenic view we moved towards Honnamana Halla Falls. Everyone started experimenting with their special stunts including me. Altogether we covered many places in these two days and after dinner around 10 PM we started back to Bangalore and everyone was door drop in midnight.

Memory to take forward
The long wait for Monsoon trek finally worth waiting the moment I trekked the highest peak of Karnataka ‘Mullyanagiri’. In spite of heavy downpour at most parts we were able to complete our trek as planned and even more than that. The weather was just awesome and it supported us like anything. The mist, cloud, wind, greenery, food, and the group were just perfect. Trekking is one way of meeting wonderful people and I am glad to bug them with my sardar jokes. :P Osssuuummmm experience without a SINGLE leech bite. Rain treks are not easy but it is not that difficult too when you have strong will to do it, so just push yourself. I achieved what I dreamt of now looking forward to climb next in to-do list..!!!
Panoramic view from the peak

Written By     : Ajita Madan
Main Blog       : Live Life
2nd Blog         : Kannada Blog by Channa
Date of event: 22nd June, 2013
Place            : Chikmagalur

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