Kodachadri is one of Karnataka’s tallest peaks. It is located in the Mookambika sanctuary. While you drive to the sanctuary, you will see waterfalls, grasslands and forests. It will be a treat to your tired eyes. Kodachadri trek will remain incomplete without a visit to Belkelteertha waterfalls. So we will trek to the waterfalls too. The Kodachadri trek is a much desired weekend trek by people who like to take short trips. It is situated in the Shimoga district. There are also temples near Kodachadri like Kollur’s Sri Mookambika temple dedicated to goddess Mookambika and Adi Sankara which are a huge pull for religious people. Located amidst thick forests, the temples are hidden at cool locations and all kinds of visitors like to see the temples when they are here.
Try being there during sunset as you will be able to see the sun bidding goodbye as it goes down across the Arabian Sea. The view from the peak is an enchanting one. Seeing the sunset from a place which has both mountains and the sea is a rare experience which many do not get in their lifetime. Our visit to Kodachadri will be on a jeep, so this is suitable for everyone. The ride will be through amazing viewpoints, thick forests and beautiful waterfalls. The jeep ride will give you an adrenaline kick while descending. There is no reason for you to bunk this hiking trail which you will be doing on a jeep!
This is a trek which will be on the border of Karnataka and amidst pleasing landscape. Kodachadri hills is the home for great peaks and waterfalls. The name Kodachari comes from two words – Kodocha and Adri, which roughly translates to ‘the hill which is home to jasmine flowers’. It is in fact also called the ‘Jasmine of Hills’ too. The Mookambika temple and the vast area of Mookambika National Park is visible from the Kodachadri peak. Kodachadri is the most important point for visitors coming to the national park. People who are fans of wildlife tourism or treks do not miss this place. The peak of Kodachadri is at a height of 4406 feet and is an impressive peak surrounded by thick forests. It is a place where there is biodiversity, presence of different flora and fauna. You will find the Malabar Langoor, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Rock Python, local animals and the different kinds of trees growing in the forests of the mountains.
If you are not going up by a jeep and intend to do a proper trek by hiking up, there is a few information that trekkers like to be aware of. There are two major trails for this trek, one originating from Karekatte and the other from Marekuttaka. Both fall under Shimoga district. The difficulty level is medium to hard as the total distance of Kodachari trek is 14 kms. You will be climbing uphill with some high and low areas. The trail is through evergreen forests, small waterfalls, overhanging rocks and green pastures. The trek takes about 4 hours while ascending and you will need around 3 to 4 hours while descending on foot. The multiple streams and waterfalls like the Hidlumane waterfalls, which we will trek to, forms the source of water but it is advisable to carry bottles of drinking water always.
If you want to camp at Kodachadri, that’s possible too. But don’t forget to get more information and also prior permission from the Kodachadri Information Bureau. You can also camp near the house of the temple’s priest with his permission. You can also request for food and see if he can provide basic amenities.
September to January is the best time when you should visit Kodachadri. At this post-monsoon time, the winds are cool, nature is filled with lush greenery and there will be light clouds floating by the mountain peak. The low humidity and the cool temperature makes trekking more enjoyable. Hotter months like March are not suitable for the trek because the grass will be dried up, and the heat combined with the humidity will suck the energy out of you very soon. Peak monsoon time is also not recommended because the rocks and ground turn slippery after heavy rainfalls.
Wondering how you will reach Kodacheri? Read on to know the different ways in which you can –
By bus – Kodachari is 20 kms away from Kollur. You will have to come to Kollur if you have to go to Kodachari. Frm most big cities of the south, buses are available which go to Kollur. You will easily get buses from Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai. State Transport buses are available from Kundapur which is 50 kms from Kodachadri and from Shimoga, which is 115 kms away.
By rail – If you like to travel by train, then Kundapur is the junction where you need to get down from the train. Then hire a taxi or board a bus which goes to Kollur. Trains going towards Kodachadri from Mumbai and Bangalore stop at Byndoor (Mookambika road). If you get down here, it will take you around an hour to reach Kollur.
Shimoga is 130 kms away from Kollur or Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary. If you come by road, it will take you three hours to reach by a local bus or a private car. You can drive down till Kollur town. KSRTC provides buses too and you can book your ticket online. To arrive at Shimoga, you can book your seat online on a bus which leaves from Bangalore and goes to Kundapur via Kollur. Kodachadri Hills are 38 km from Kollur and the Kodachadri Jeep Stand is 21 kms away.
You can reach the peak through various routes. The Karekatte trail is the easier and more comfortable one. This route smoothly glides over forests and grasslands. The other routes which go through Hidlumane falls like Marakuttaka and Sampekatte are rough, uneven and difficult to climb. You might have to use your hands for support while climbing up the steep parts.
Going to Karekatte – If you want to start trekking from the Karekatte gate, then you have to simply take a bus which goes to Kollur and get down at the gate.
Going to Marakutta – if you decide to take this route, after getting down at Kollur, you will have to board another bus or take an auto till Marakuttaka. You also have the option to ride a ST bus which is coming from Shimoga which is going to Sigandur.
If you come from Marakutta, you will come across four checkpoints. These work as markers for your trail. But unfortunately, there are no markings on the trail from the base village. You must keep on following the trek leader and not wander away from our group. Otherwise you might lose the way. It is a 2km stretch which runs through a jungle area. The journey will take you across small streams, You will be crossing Yeommeonda town, a school, and afterwards, the Hidlumane town.
You will reach the first milestone of the trek after about twenty minutes of heavy-duty trekking! After crossing the difficult stretch and a few rice fields, we will reach a house. Reaching here means the most difficult part is over. Surprisingly, the route which was passing through dense forests will open up to a meadow! There will be signs of human life here like farmland and a few huts, but after this point, there will be no signs of civilization till you reach the peak.
Soon after you reach this clearing, you can reach Kodachadri Falls after climbing up for about twenty minutes more. Again the trek route will become challenging. There are going to be some sharp turns and bends. You will be greeted with the majestic Hidlumane Falls once you successfully cross the harder part of the trail. It is a series of six cascades or small waterfalls. The main fall constituted out of the 6 falls from a height of sixty feet. You can drink this water or use the water to refill your bottles. You sure are going to be thirsty, as you trek ahead! Take some rest, catch your breath and enjoy the beautiful waterfall.
After this, you need to take the trail to your right and trek for half-an-hour more through wilderness. You will soon find yourself facing Kodachadri’s prairies. It is difficult for trees or crops to grow here because of the strong wind. But you cannot lose your concentration while trekking here because there are steep paths and you have to climb a tilt of almost sixty degrees.
You will reach the first peak of the trail after a bit of almost vertical climbing, crossing rocky areas and roots of trees. This is the third success point of your trek after Hidlumane falls, the house being the first. Crossing all the difficult and vast meadows you will reach Kodachadri peak. You will also trek on the winding path which crosses a few slopes before finally reaching here. Enjoy the panorama from your desired destination, you have worked hard to reach here!
Following the trail, you have reached the first peak. You will need to trek ahead for about forty-five minutes more until you will reach a path which is the jeep trail. This is also the way towards Kodachadri temple. This is the last of the markers or checkpoints which has been mentioned earlier. This is also the point where the jeep ride for going down starts. So if you have trekked up by foot, board a jeep from here for an adventurous descent.
Also from here, there is a rough path through tall cliffs which leads to the top of Kodachadri. Here you will find a spot named Sarvajna Peetha where the 8th-century Indian scholar Adi Sankaracharya is believed to have meditated. The spot is like a small sanctuary built with stones. Very near to the Kodachadri peak, there is a forty-feet iron pillar which stands in front of a temple. There is a legend that Goddess Mookambika used this pillar as her trishul to defeat Mookasura, a demon. Till this day, this pillar made with pure iron, has not developed any rust. This in spite of braving through all kinds of weather conditions, especially heavy rainfalls.
Gradually as the day comes near to its end, it starts to get darker. To give our tired bodies a rest, going down to the base on a jeep is the best option. Your feet and knees will thank you for the ride after that hectic trek! But if you decide to climb down, follow the jeep trail only and you will reach the base camp after 3 hours.
There is the Nagara Fort nearby which you can trek to on the next day. This fort is also situated in Karnataka’s Shimoga district. It was built during the 16th century. Irrespective of the decay, you will think that old is indeed gold as you marvel over the remnants of the aristocratic decor. It is quite evident that the fort had a rich history back in time. The grandeur of the defensive wall will be visible as your vehicle nears it, forcing you to visit the fort, if you were mulling over it if you really want to. You can almost spend an hour here before you head back to your city.
If you are in Hyderabad and the travel bug has bitten you, this is a trek which you can do over a long weekend. Escape from the humdrum of the daily drudgery. The Kodachadri trek is one which is based on experience, it is not a luxury trip. Think of Kodachadri homestay and not luxurious hotels while on this trip. You will be rewarded with different kinds of beauties of nature throughout your trek. Thick bushes and jungles, local trees and plants, cascading waterfalls, mountain and hill peaks, historical forts – this trek comprises everything! Located on the premises of the Mookambika National Park, the trek to Kodachadri hills has been popular for a very long time now.
Nature lovers and adventure lovers both love taking the trek as they get to enjoy rolling slopes filled with greenery. It gives you an opportunity to realise how unbelievably beautiful nature can be. As the Kodachari trek is through forests and meadows, the quiet of nature too is a welcome break for our ears which have to listen to all the loud sounds and noises of the city everyday.
Shimoga is nature’s gift to everyone living near Karnataka. It is great for a weekend excursion. The Kodachadri Hills is a quiet presence along the Tungabhadra river here. If you arrive in Bangalore and then head out for the trek, know that Kodachari is 420 kms from Bangalore. It will take you nine hours to reach by road. Among all the trekking spots of Karnataka, this is one of the most popular treks.
The Karnataka Government has declared Kodachadri Betta as a Natural Heritage site. Trekking in the middle of forests, waterfalls and all the wilderness will fill your mind with renewed energy. Visiting the powerful waterfalls will refresh your soul and quench the thirst for a trip amidst nature. Who wouldn’t love to see the sun setting across the endless Arabian sea?
The homestays available in Kodachadri are high on hospitality. There are quite a few homestays here which have all the modern amenities and are fully furnished like any basic but good budget hotel. There are fully equipped kitchens and rooms with excellent views of the landscape. There are also some farmhouses which offer a wholesome experience. You can live a farm-life during your stay here. Some of these homestays are family-owned and they arrange for various fun activities which their guests can enjoy. There are old homestays which ooze culture and heritage through their architecture and decor and they leave you in wonder. You can also trace these comfortable homestays with the help of Google Maps. Some such homestays are:
Kollur is a temple town which is also popular with pilgrims who especially come to see the Mookambika temple. If you want a list of all the places/activities which this town has to offer for visitors, these are listed below:
Kodachadri Hills alone has multiple options for tourists. These are:
6 pm - Beginning of the journey!
Reach boarding point on time & meet your fellow travellers
7 am - Arrive in Karnataka and head to a breakfast joint
Use the washroom for freshening up but no time for a bath.
8am - Heading towards Kodachadri base after breakfast
11.30 am - We will reach the base and get on a jeep!
2.30 pm - Trek to Hidlumane Falls after the jeep ride
5 pm - Go to our stay after the trek.
Accommodation in tents. Minimalistic washrooms available.
7pm - Time for dinner as you cherish about the great day spent
5 am - Wake up and freshen up quickly
6 am - Start the easy 3 hour hike to Belkal Theertha Falls after having breakfast
9 am - Head out for base city after completing the trek.
1 pm - Stop for Lunch
4 pm - Arrive at base city and get on our train to Hyd.
Reach Hyderabad in the morning