KP is one of the highest peak in Karnataka whose height is at 5000ft above sea level. Even regular trekkers consider this as one of the toughest of all trekking places in Karnataka. KP is situated on the border of Coorg and South Canara districts. People in Kukke Subrahmanya side call this peak as Kumara Parvata and people of Coorg (Somawarpet) call the same as Pushpagiri. Well, I prefer to call this one as KP. There are two ways for reaching the peak. One is from Somwarpaet in Coorg and the other from Kukke in South Canara. The “Mahurtha” for our trekking was on Friday, 4th of April 2008. We decided to take the Somwarpaet route. Five of my friends joined me and let me acquaint you with them.
Vardhan : A production engineer who believes in presenting mother earth as it is to the future generation. Very cool and lively person and he was my cricket captain as well. He is basically from Sirsi.
Adiga : (Shreesha Adiga)is a software engineer who is known for his witty answers which makes any conversation a humor. A moody fellow but very friendly. His native is Shankaranarayana.
VMH : (Vinayak Mahabaleshwar Hegde) Whose name is abridged to save time is a mechanical engineer who is known for his short temper making fun of which is our favorite pastime. Well there is another name for him and that is “RISING STAR” because of his short tempered nature. He is from Kumta.
Ravi Hegde: An electrical engineer, My roommate for 4 years during my Engineering days and also we had studied together for 9 years and he is the most eccentric person you’ll ever find who has the capacity to become anyone between a nuclear scientist to a veterinary treating buffaloes. He is from Ankola.
Umashankar : My cousin, and he was new to my other friends. Software engineer with intrinsic knowledge on various kinds of areas from Biotechnology to anything in Software. He is from Sagar.
Me : A software bug, From Sirsi.
Ravi lives in Bellary and so he was to join us later. Therefore, I and other four met up in Bangalore bus station at about 10:00 pm on 4th. Adiga and I had taken responsibility to plan for all the essentials required for the trek. But it was Adiga who had planned so meticulously that he had left no stone untouched. Everything had been put into place. Planning was perfect. We had booked our tickets in a Bangalore – Somwarpaet express bus. It was a holiday weekend. The bus was jam-packed and the bus stand with holiday goers that delayed our departure. Therefore, by the time we departed Bangalore it was almost mid-night. We spent the first half our journey reliving our hostel days. Many in our bus were staring at us as we were making a lot of noise. At last, we reached Somwarpaet as the clock struck six.
As soon as we got out of the bus, we went in search of a lodge to freshen-up. All the lodges we went into were unattended at the reception table. We enquired at the last lodge on the row and the receptionist gave us an affirmative answer. But he asked us to pay Rs. 50 each for using the room for freshing up. We bargained and got him down to Rs. 150 in total to which he agreed. We were shown to our room. The room we entered into was so low class, so roadside that it was not even worth 10 rupees. The door to the bathroom was broken. We laughed out our despair, anger. One by one, we had our bath. We were ready to take on KP.
Ravi was still missing. All throughout our journey, we had been checking his position and by that, we expected him to reach us by 11:00 AM. Therefore, we decided to buy the remaining essentials and be ready to leave as soon as Ravi reaches us.Vardhan got out of the room to walk around and met another party, which was leaving for KP. He exchanged the phone numbers with them. They were leaving by bus to Bidalli, which is the foot of KP. He also came to know there was only one bus in the morning and one in the afternoon. So we had to hire a jeep to reach the foot after Ravi joins us. All of us checked out of the room not before giving back a mouthful to the lodge owner for giving us such a filthy room. We bought the remaining essentials: Rice, salt and edible oil. We went to the nearby eating joint and had our breakfast.
When we had finished we called Ravi and was surprised to learn that he had almost made it. He was only a few minutes away from us. Adiga got a call from Ravi saying that he had reached and he left to receive him. We bought mineral water bottles and left toward the bus stand to join Ravi and Adiga. He had his breakfast. In the meanwhile I and Umashankar bought a T-shirt each and four hats. I and Vardhan then went to the nearby petrol bunk and bought half liter of diesel because we did not know the flint stone technique of lighting fire…!!!
Our native places are from such areas of Karnataka that has good density of forest cover. Still we were finding the forest through which we were coursing through very thick. The place is so virgin and that is the reason why it has retained its freshness. After a few minutes of entering of the forest, the guys got into their sportswear. We resumed our journey and after a while when one of us looked at his boots, he saw that deadly looking leeches were clinging. There were so many of them around. Millions of them. We got a little time to shake them off before they reach our bare skin and start sucking our blood. Care is necessary and we took utmost of it. We noticed that at regular points where there were chances of our losing the path, somebody had clearly marked it. The mark also accompanied a value of distance. This made our choosing of the path unambiguous and clear.
Weariness was overcoming each member of the team and it was decided that it was time to have some refreshment. A small clearing near which there was small spring flowing down and had ample sunlight suited us just fine. The sunlight kept the leeches away. We had brought two loaves of breads. One of them was not cut. Our knife was not too sharp. Therefore, the second loaf got funny shapes when it met the blunt knife. When we were in hostel in our studying days, Ravi and Vardhan had the habit of laughing for a very long time for really a silly reason. Once they had laughed for 45 mins at quarter past three in the night just because Vardhan had pronounced “forging” as “forgery”. Such an occasion aroused there as well and we all had a hearty laugh. The reason for that was simple, somebody uttered “GULCOSE” instead of GLUCOSE…. That was enough to start the laughter.We would have continued but for me and VMH who started to get restless. The clock struck 1:30 at this point. We had to reach the top by 4 pm to see the sunset.
The path started to get steep at each of our step. The leeches did not show mercy and they did the job nature had programmed. The difficulties we were facing were compensated with the greenery around us. Sweat was flowing down our bodies. The water bottles with us were gradually emptying. At one point of time, many doubted whether we will reach the peak before it gets too dark. Suddenly the direction of the path changed and when we were about to turn we saw a clearing nearby. When we went there we saw that we were looking down a cliff and were surprised to see how far up we had come. The scene was marvelous. We had climbed around 6 km so far. After seeing some beautiful mountains and greeneries around us we started our journey again.
It was about 3:30 pm, the path stopped, and an almost vertical wall stood in front of us. The wall was about 70 degrees to horizontal..!!!! This was the first real challenge. Our team rested here for a while. Adiga made to the top of the wall very easily as his bag was lighter one. The rest followed him. I had climbed only a 20% of that steep rock when I had my life in mouth when I started to slide down. But somehow I managed to climb up with my bag, water bottle and tent. It was the bag which was heavier, which made my life difficult. Vardhan was left behind. One has to crawl up. As Vardhan took a couple of steps, he lost balance and had to let go the water bottle to save his life. A couple of steps more, Vardhan heard a weird noise and he realized it was his lower that had torn. I had a spare lower. I donated that to him…. Adiga was a little furious with Vardhan because he had lost the water bottle. He went down and got the lost water bottle.
Everyone dropped the bags and went a bit further to reach a cliff. Ravi started to go further seeing which I shouted at him to stop. He ensured us it was perfectly safe and the view down and even I went there to see what he was seeing….wow… it is inexpressible. Sorry… mate. You have to be there to know what it is. Umashankar, Vardhan also joined me.We sat there for a very long time. Talked of how the trek was an overwhelming plan. While we were climbing KP all were telling that they will not come to KP ever in life again. That much tiring it was. But at this place we were paid double the tiring of climbing wonderful KP. The sun started to set and we were waiting for to see that. However, we were not that lucky lot who had the choice of seeing this majestic feature of nature. It was cloudy and therefore we could not watch the sunset.
The light was diminishing rapidly and we had to search a place for putting up the tent. We had light refreshment. We ate the Chapatis we had brought. There are thick bushes and it is a practice to put up the tent between the bushes so that the tent is kept in place in spite of the stiff breeze that blows on the peak. We made 3 groups. Ravi, Adiga and VMH went to bring sufficient firewood for the night. Umashankar came up with a nice spot.
At that point I realized that how much ever advanced man becomes he can never surpass the ingenuity of nature….the most sensual, beautiful and graceful lady. Actually we should have reached the peak early if Ravi had come earlier. We should be on the peak atleast by 3pm so that we can explore more. Adiga and VMH were trying to put up the tent. They started to scold me for not helping him. Vardhan and I ran to their help. It got darker and darker but our tent was not yet ready. Finally, with the help of a torch we finished the task. Nevertheless, the tent was in a very bad shape. Yet it was fit to stay through the night.
It was 7:30 pm. We lighted the bonfire and fire to cook. Umashankar cooked rice and prepared puliogre for all of us. We relished sitting around the fire. As soon as we had finished our simple supper, we went to bed. I asked Vardhan for his camera to see the snaps that were taken on that day. All the others huddled around me and had a look at the snaps. Then I went to sleep….
The only thing that was worrying all of us was the Rain. At around 3.30am I woke up as it was drizzling. Oops..was it. What if this drizzle turned into heavy rain? Everybody was worrying about this question… But Thank god it stopped after few mins.
I got up at 6:15 am. I came out of our tent. I could not see anything below the peak. Everything was covered with fluffy clouds. One by one everyone freshened up. I was as usual taking the snaps of early morning. We went to the water hole and brushed our teeth. We collected water, came back, and cooked our breakfast. Maggie and Upma were on the menu. We relished both the dishes. After that, we packed our baggage.
It was all descent in this part of journey sprinkled with short spells of climbing or level track. I was finding the descent more difficult than the ascent. It was because my knees had to bear sudden shocks with each step. The load on my back aggravated the shock even more. Everybody felt the same. After about one and a half an hour climbing (4 kms) down we reached the coveted “Mantapa”. It was a solitary stone structure. I wondered who would have reached this unexplored land, build this one structure, and go away.
I had even tent in my another hand that made my situation even worse. Thanks to Adiga who took that burden of mine and I was a bit relieved one. We reached them couple of minutes later. We all rested there. We had some Holige to eat. We cooled our feet sitting on the benches. It was excruciating pain in our legs but it felt sweet when we looked at the clouds kissing the peak of KP. This touching scene was behind us. After some time we walked towards our lunch.
When we reached “Bhattara Mane” there was two other trek parties having their lunch. Another one was resting in the Betel nut plantation adjoining the house. We washed our hands and had our lunch. It was a simple lunch yet very tasty. We paid, thanked, and sat for 10 mins before leaving for kukke….Ravi and Vardhan started a peculiar argument about who’s socks is smelling badly..!!! We all had hearty laugh and left after getting some directions for the rest of the journey. Its around 5-6 kms to kukke from Bhatta’s house, the only house in that jungle.....
It was 2:30 when we were on our way down to Subramanya. The path was getting steeper and steeper as we moved forward. The vegetation around us turned slowly into a thick forest. All of the others were in a upbeat mood. Ravi in particular was in full of energy. It was his idea to reach to the water point that was nearby and rest there for some time. It was 3:45 when we reached there.
I heard a sound that resembled a thunder and a drop of water fell on my shoulder. Everybody quickly packed their camera and placed it at the bottom of the bag. We reached the main path when it started to rain heavily. We had only 1 umbrella which was of no use.
Subramanya is a very small yet a beautiful town. A main street and one more adjoining it at a right angle is all that makes the town. The street is lined with many lodges for the tourists. Since it was the end of a long weekend, we had little difficulty in finding a vacant room. At last, we found one and the first thing we did was to have a long bath in hot water. We had something to eat and sat to plan our return journey.VMH and I went out to reserve seats but returned with empty hands. The only way out for us was by train that plies from Mangalore to Bangalore via Mysore. All of us recited our prayers when we visited the beautiful temple of Subramanya Swamy. We had our dinner and it was time to leave.
It was 9:00 pm. Ravi bid us goodbye and left us to Bellary. The remaining of us hired an auto rickshaw to reach the railway station, which is at a distance of 14 kms. Thanks to autowala who took us to station with the speed of almost 80km/hr on road that was full of irregularities. We reached there just on time. But we could not win a seat. It was only when the train reached Sakaleshpur we could find a seat for each of us. Sleep engulfed us only to leave when the topography changed to that of Mysore’s. When we set out foot in Bangalore, it was 7:30. A final goodbye to everybody ended our trek.
What a memorable experience……. I have painted these two days of my life with such wonderful colors that will remain bright throughout my life. So have others who were with me.
Special thanks to Vardhan for helping me to write this experience.
Things to carry before going to KP:
1) Enough water (atleast 1.5 ltr per person)
2) Enough Food Items. (Better to take ready to eat materials, also some chapatis)
8) First aid kit
How to reach KPFrom Bengaluru
1) There is a direct bus to Somavarpet from Bangalore at 9.30pm and another at 10:೦೦pಮ್