Kodachadri is in Karnataka and is situated inside Mookambika sanctuary. It is the state’s 13th tallest peak. Waterfalls, forests and grasslands will welcome you as you move towards the sanctuary. For a weekend trip, the Kodachadri trek is ideal. It falls under the Shimoga district. Watching the sunset from Kodachadri is one of the must-do for tourists when they go there and taking a jeep ride is also one exciting thing to do, which adds to the whole experience. We will also be taking a jeep ride to visit the sun bid adieu for the day. It’s surreal to watch the sun set across the Arabian Sea from Kodachadri’s sunset point. It is a wonderful feeling to be in a place where there are mountains and sea too, especially when nature looks so glorious during the setting of the sun. You will feel lucky to be there! As we will reach the Kodachadri base on a private hired vehicle and will take a jeep to go see the sunset, this is a trip which should be comfortable for most people. You can book the package solo or you can visit with your family too. The drive to Kodachadri will be through beautiful waterfalls, green forests and superb viewpoints.
The Kodachadri trek falls on Karnataka’s border. Kodachadri is also called ‘Jasmine of Hills’ and the two words ‘Kodocha’ and ‘Adri’ together form the name ‘Kodachadri‘ and it means that this hill is a home for jasmine flowers. From the Kodachadri peak, one can have a total view of the Mookambika National Park and tourists visiting the national park make it a point to not visit Kodachadri. Wildlife enthusiasts and trekkers love to visit this area, especially when they live in neighbouring states or anywhere nearby like Hyderabad. The Kodachadri peak is 4406 feet high and has dense forests surrounding it. The place has an impressive biodiversity and along with various kinds of trees growing in the mountainous forests and local animals, you might also see Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Rock Python and Malabar Langoor!
If you are looking forward to a real trek by yourself and not a jeep ride, we would like to help you with some information. This trek has two trails – one is from Marekuttaka and the second is from Karekatte. The Kodachadri trek distance is a total of 14 kms and the difficulty level is medium to hard. You will need around four hours while climbing up and also three to four hours while descending on foot. There are natural sources of water like the waterfalls and streams, but we would advise you to carry drinking water. Camping at Kodachadri can be done too with permission from Kodachadri Information Bureau.
If you stay in Hyderabad and you have only three to four days to spare, avail this trip having a combination of hills and waterfalls. The Kodachadri visit will help you escape from the boredom of daily life. It is all about experiences which are NOT about luxury but enjoying nature at its finest. Throughout your trek, the historical forts, jungles and bushes, peaks of hill and mountain, waterfalls and different kinds of trees and plants will reward you. No wonder the Kodachadri hills remain a popular weekend destination for nature-lovers and adventure-freaks alike. As you will trek through the rolling meadows and forests, the quietness will calm your soul. Shimoga’s Kodachadri hills are located adjacent to the Tungabhadra river. The Kodachadri Betta has been declared as a Natural Heritage site by the Karnataka government.
The temple town of Kollur not only has the Kodachadri Hills, but also the Arishinagundi Falls, which we will definitely trek to. But one of the major attractions nearby is the Nagara Fort, which we will visit first, even before going for the Kodachadri jeep sunset ride.
We will start the trip with an offbeat experience – visiting a 16th century fort located in Shimoga district of Karnataka. The fort is 17 kms away from Hosa Nagari. It is also known as Shivappa Nayaka Fort or Bidanur Fort. In the 16th century, the Keladi Dynasty ruled the area and this fort was not only their headquarters for 250 years but was also their last capital!
Nagara fort lies in a deserted area and upto this day, this fort is not so much visited by regular tourists which makes a trip to this ancient fort more mystical. If you are a history buff and get enchanted with ruins and remnants of forts, then a visit to the Nagara Fort will be exciting for you.
The fort is situated on a hillock and a clear lake is visible from here. There are many guardrooms on the fort. The water system bult then is so developed that it still works! The water reservoirs were built using old technology in order to collect water which was flowing down the hills. The fort had water-filled trenches built surrounding it. There is the Akka Thangi Kola tank and a Darbar Hall which is worth visiting on the fort. The walls built with rocks and the Darbar hall though, are really in a dilapidated condition. The majestic architecture of the fort makes it one of the best places to visit in Shimoga.
Visiting Nagara Fort will be a refreshing break for your tired eyes which only face the screen for most of the time! The farmlands and the valley, cool air,Sharavati river’s tributaries, a glance of the Sahyadris, the ancient reservoirs or dams filled with water and the silence all around will be a soothing balm for your mind and soul.
Udupi is a coastal town which is one of Karnataka’s hidden gems. It has beaches and temples and is rich with its traditions and heritage. Out of all the places Udupi has to offer, we will visit the Varanga Temple, the Udupi Shri Krishna Temple, the Malpe Beach and St. Mary’s Island.
Varanga Jain Temple – This Jain Temple is located in Karkala and we will visit this temple before going to the Malpe Beach. We will visit the temple as soon as we enter Udupi and will take a boat-ride to reach the temple! The temple is open from 6am to 6pm and the nearest bus stop is the Varanga Bus Stop, Karkala. One can spend up to three hours in this area. The greenery and lakes surrounding the temple make it a picturesque place. To reach the temple, one has to take a boat and one boat almost holds around twenty people, which adds an adventurous streak to the simple boat ride. The Jain temple is more than a thousand years old. The temple is right in the middle of a lake and the greenery provides a perfect background for some fantastic photos that you can click here. During the boat ride, you will be able to see different fishes swimming in the water and even tortoises. One can get food and rooms in the temple vicinity. A visit to this temple is a serene and pleasant experience which should not be missed when visiting Udupi.
Malpe Beach – With St. Mary’s Island forming a backdrop, Malpe Beach is an excellent place for photography enthusiasts. Situated in Udupi’s Malpe village, this beach is located on the shores of Arabian Sea. It is one of Karnataka’s best beaches and one of Udupi’s top tourist destinations though it is sadly given a miss by many tourists. The Malpe Beach is between Malpe Port and Swarna Nandi river. The sand of this secluded beach is silverish-white in colour and has rocky islands. This beach is located at the mouth of the Malpe river or Udyavara river and is a great place for solo travellers.
There are four rocky islands on the coastline of Malpe – Daria-Bahadurgad in the north, Daria-Gadara-Kallu in the middle and Kari-Illada-Kallu in the south, and the very popular St. Mary’s Island, which would be our next destination, is the fourth one. We will take a boat from here to reach the island. The visit to the Malpe beach will be a memorable experience for you with the majestic blue sky, the swinging palm trees, stretches of golden sand and the pristine water of the Arabian Sea. One can visit the beach between 6am to 7 pm.
St.Mary’s Island – St. Mary’s Island, Karnataka,is actually a group of four geographically important islands, which are North Island, South Island, Coconut island and Daria Bahadurgad island. There are hexagonal columns of rocks on these islands and they help in the study of how land masses were formed on earth. Malpe’s fishing harbour is the closest harbour from where tourists can reach Mary island on boats or ferries within half an hour. At once, a ferry can carry thirty people and ferries are available between 9.30 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening.
You will be able to cover the full island in one or one and half hours and it is an extraordinary sightseeing place because of the wildlife and rock monoliths. The story goes that while searching for a sea route to India, Vasco Da Gama first stepped foot on this island. As a dedication to Mother Mary, he renamed the islands as ‘El Padron de Santa Maria’, hence it is also called Mary Island. But if you are wondering if St. Mary’s Lighthouse is also located here, it’s not. You will find a lighthouse at Kapu beach which is 17kms away from Malpe.
Krishna Temple – The Shri Krishna Matha is an imp[ortant pilgrimage site for pious Hindus of India. Lord Balkrishna, Krishna’s child form, is worshipped in this temple and the idol is decked with jewels. It is open to visitors from 5 am to 9.30 pm.
The temple looks like an ashram and it follows the Dvaita or Tatvavada philosophy. Madhavacharya, who was a famous philosopher, had established this temple way back in the 13th century. The Vaishnavite saint was the founder of Dvaita school of Vedanta. He had found the Krishna idol buried amidst a big sandalwood ball. This temple has been known to be visited by well-known saints like Kanakadasa, Chaitanya and Purandaradasa for Lord Krishna’s darshan. A small window of the temple, which is called Kankana Kindi, is a major attraction for religious tourists as it is believed that it is through this window that Lord Krishna had given darshan to saint Kanakadasa, his devotee.
There are two unique features of this temple – one is that, no one can get a full view of Lord Krishna’s idol! Krishna here is traditionally worshipped through an inner window with nine holes which stands for Vishnu’s ten incarnations. The window is silver-plated and has beautiful carvings. This window is known as the Navagraha Kitiki or Kanakadasa window, about which you have read above.
The second standout feature is that, usually the Lord’s idol is kept east-facing in temples. In this temple, Lord Krishna faces the west. In all the eight monasteries here or Ashta Mathas, the idols face the west. The 8 mathas have managerial and administration duties upon them. Each of the mathas take on the responsibilities for two consecutive years and this transferring of duties goes on in a cyclic manner between the ashta mathas. The matha carrying out the responsibilities also has to bear the expenses and contributions made by devotees are also used. Contributions can be done in cash or by offering things.
The Arishina Gundi waterfall is one of the important places to visit in Karnataka’s Murudeshwar and is in fact considered to be the best among the five waterfalls in Udupi district, which are totally unmissable. It is 10 km away from Kollur temple, 67 kms away from Murudeshwar and from Udupi, the distance is 83 kms. The Arishina Gundi Falls is also known as the Arasina Makki Falls and originates from the Kodachadri Hills. We will be trekking to this famous waterfall located in the premises of the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary (nearby Kollur) and is surrounded by thick forests.
As you might have already guessed, this waterfall located in the middle of dense forests is near Kodachadri hills. Onecan take their jeep upto 8 kms into the forests, after which the real trek route starts. There are signs signalling the way to the waterfalls on the route. One can get the permission to enter the waterfall area from the check post which you will see while you enter the forest.
The trek to this waterfall is not very easy and we will do a 6 km trek before we are greeted with this beautiful waterfall. It will almost be a 6 hour trekking expedition. On entering the sanctuary, you will have to do the six kilometre trek. The path leading to the waterfall is difficult with steep gradients but trekking is the only option if you want a glimpse of this amazing waterfall. The waterfall even flows underground for some time before it makes it fall from a height of 300 feet before it flows down westwards in Kollur towards the sea.
On your trekking route, the canopies formed by the trees in the middle of the deep jungles will be so thick in places, that it is even difficult for the sunlight to seep through it. Indeed this will be the most exciting as well as the most adventurous day of our whole trip! This trek is very much worth the effort that you will put in because unlike most popular waterfalls, this one is not very crowded and the sight is wonderfully panoramic. The cascading waterfalls with rocks surrounding it makes for great photos. During the late afternoons, the waterfalls seem to get a new life as the water almost gets an orange tint when the light of the setting sun gets reflected on it. You will also be able to see rainbow colours because of this reflection. In fact, the falls is named Arishina Gundi because of this orangish-yellow tint. In Kannada, Arishina Gundi means a turmeric pit. The water of the Arishina Gundi Falls, flowing through the forests is considered to have medicinal benefits.
The Arishina Gundi waterfall is a huge waterfall and the water forms a natural pool below. This plunge pool has a remarkable depth. The pool is almost thirty feet deep in its central point! As there are sharp rocks below the waterfalls, swimming in this pool is not recommended. If you go anytime soon after monsoon, the water force will be unbearable. If you are really keen to swim, the smaller streams which flow nearby are better options. Also, this trek is not actually advisable during the monsoon season. There is a ‘Way to Arishina Gundi Falls’ right before the last kilometer and from there the path becomes leech infested and very slippery which becomes extremely challenging and dangerous too.
Meeting fellow travellers at the boarding point and getting on the train!
Please reach the boarding point on time
6 am - Heading for breakfast after reaching Karnataka.
(We will be saving almost an hour by freshening up in the train only.)
7 am - Head towards Kodachadri base
1 pm - Have lunch on the way & visit Nagara Fort (or Canal Falls)
2.30 pm - Proceed for the Kodachadri jeep ride after Nagara Fort exploration
3.30 pm - Starting the jeep ride to go to Kodachadri to view the sunset!
6 pm - Head towards our stay after finishing the ride. (Tents + basic washroom facilities)
7.30 pm - Reach the camp area, freshen up & get ready for dinner!
Accommodation: Typical camp stay, separate for men and women, with provision of bed sheets. Two basic washrooms will be there.
5 am - Time to wake up, freshen up and leave for Udupi.
7 am - Move towards Varanga Jain temple for the boat ride
8.30 am - Reaching Varanga Jain Temple by boat. Click photos and leave for Malpe beach.
10 am - Arrive at Malpe beach and then go to St. Mary’s Island by boat.
11.30 am - Arrive at St. Mary’s Island. We will enjoy here for some time, click pics for our social media accounts before leaving.
12.30 pm - Head back.
2 pm - Get lunch after reaching Malpe beach.
3 pm - Complete lunch and head towards backwaters for kayaking for about 20 to 30 minutes.
4.30 pm - After Kayaking, proceed towards the well-known Krishna temple. Then we will again view the sunset from the beach.
6.30 pm - Head back to our campsite.
8 pm - Arrive at the campsite. Time for dinner by bonfire!
5 am - Wake up, freshen up and leave for the falls.
7 am - Trek to the waterfalls starts. ( Total duration - 5 to 6 hours, distance covered - 6 kms+6kms)
10 am - Reach Arishina Gundi Falls. Click photos to our hearts’ content.
11.30 am - Leave for the base.
2.30 pm - Arrive and immediately leave for base city. Lunch to be had on the way.
7.30 pm - Reach base city and get on the train to Hyderabad.
9 am - Arrive at Hyderabad.