Kumara Parvatha also called Pushpagiri, is one of the exciting trek locations in Karnataka. Popular among the trekking fans as KP, the Kumara Parvatha Trek trail is well trodden but equally challenging , typically takes an overnight stay at the mountains to complete.
Before we get any further on the Kumara Parvatha Trails , let's take a quick look the KP trails orientation and how to finalize your trail.
The trek route is fairly in a east-west orientation across the Western Ghats. In other words you'll be trekking across the Western Ghats, scaling the third highest peak in Karnakata.
The eastern end of the trek is a Beedehalli, a tiny village some 22km from Somwarpet town in Coorg. The western end is practically the car street of Kukke Subrahmaniya Temple.
Between these two points lies a varying stretches of terrains with, equally varying difficulty to trek. Approximately at the midway point is the Kumara Parvatha peak, hovering over 5,600 feet above sea level.
So here come the first decision you would need to make, if to trek from Subrahmaniya side or from Beedehalli side.
And still, if you would want to trek the full trail or trek up to the Kumara Parvatha peak and return back to your starting point, be it Subrahmaniya or Beedehalli.
Whatever is the decision, it's about 20km of trek overall.
Let's look at the pros and cons of the two ends of the trail, that can help you to decide which direction suits better in your situation.
The biggest highlights of Kukke Subrahmaniya end are its better connectivity and the relatively better facilities around the town (hotels, shops, restaurants etc). And of course the Kukke Subrahmaniya Temple itself.
It's quite straight forward to reach Kukke Subrahmaniya town from most of the larger cities around .Check out how to reach from Mangalore to Kukke Subrahmaniya and Bangalore to Kukke Subramanya. That'll give you broadly the two major connection plan for Kukke, from these two major cities on the west and east of Kukke respectively. You'll find quite a few daily bus connections to Kukke Subrahmaniya from Mangalore and Bangalore side. And of course there is a Kukke Subrahmaniya also has a railway station nearby, though the train frequency is a bit limited.
Kukke Bus Stand is located hardly 2km from the edges of the forest where the trek trail starts. Most of the lodges , restaurants, shops, the parking lot and the temple (where you can get a free wholesome meal!) are located much closer.
So, the point is this... Kukke side is with better facilities, whether to set out your exuberant trek or to receive you after an exhausting trek.
How does it fare on the Beedehalli side? This tiny village is sparsely connected with Somwarpet by the lone bus service. This is about a 22km journey. You need to get to Somwarpet for any long distance connections, like to to Bangalore (240km, 5hours) or Madikeri (40km, 1½ hours). There are about 6 direct bus services between Somwarpet and Bangalore. And quite a few to Madikeri with Somwarpet.
If that lone bus service to/from Beedehalli does not gel well with your itinerary, consider hiring a local jeep service to Somwarpet, a popular means of transport in this part of the state.
Checkout 4 Route Ideas : Bangalore to Kumara Parvatha, to make your own travel plan either to Beedehalli or Subrahmaniya ....
In summery, the Kukke side fares a bit well from the connectivity stand point.
What about the trek itself? Which direction is more favorable? From Kukke or Beedehalli?
For a couple of reasons the Beedehalli side is a shade batter to set off the trek. To understand this take a look at the topography and the nature of the trek path.
The 14km trail from Kukke to Kumara Parvatha peak is all about scaling 1½km (about 1500 m/4930 feet) in elevation. From the Beedehalli you'll reach the Kumara Parvatha peak after 600 meters of elevation over a 7km long trek. That's Beedehalli is already at an elevation of 1100 meters, where as Kukke is about 140 meters.
So from a difficulty scale the Beedehalli to Kumara Parvatha peak fares better (or less challenging, if you're an avid climber!)
Another factor to consider is the type of the trail. Here again look at the trek trails from both the ends to KP Peak. From the Beedehalli side, the trail mostly passes through thick forest cover. What it means is you will not be exposed to the hot sun (it's really hot to trek in open), thanks to the forest canopy most of the distances till the peak from Beedehalli forest checkpost.
The story is quite different on the Subrahmaniya side. The first 6½ km is through thickly wooded forest cover, and pretty steep too. Then you'll enter open grassland terrain, still with steep gradient to scale. You'll get the forest canopy cover only towards the last 2km to the KP Peak. Doing this under the scorching sun is no mean thing. Also the trail zigzags its way practically though the bare undulating highland, with strong headwind to drag your energy.
These are the main pros and cons you can possibly consider in finalising the trail.
Check out the '4 Route Ideas : Bangalore to Kumara Parvatha' where various route options are discussed.
Plan with your friends, all it takes is a weekend for that much procrastinated KP trek. It's much easier than you thought, and even more rewarding as an experience!
What to Carry to KP:
Here is a list of what to carry and towards the end what not to carry!
Tooth Paste & brush
Camera : Given the breathtaking photo opportunity you will have, lugging a SLR is an asset, and as much as a liability, thanks to the tedious nature of the trek. An SLR is going to weigh about a kilo, that's roughly going to account 10-20% of your luggage. Pack smart.Pack light. Leave every avoidable accessories behind. Do not carry multiple lenses.
Take your favorite wide angle lens over the zoom, if you've to make a choice between the two. KP's panorama is better captured with that wide angle glass, as carrying zoom is more of a liability here.Now, bring additional waterproof polybag to protect the camera. Bring the lens cleaning soft cloth. It's quite likely that KP is a soaked affair, esp during the monsoon/post monsoon season. You may want to leave that bulky SLR Bag and pack your camera in the backpack instead. Keep the battery fully charged, and leave the charger behind.Unless you have very specific reasons (like shooting moonlit mountains cape), leave behind that tripod also!
That compact camera is a no issue. Bring it along, fully charged.
Garbage bag: This can dual as the waterproofing aid for packing stuffs also.
Cap (Hat): This is a must bring item, esp if you are to trek on the Subrahmaniya through the open grass land. Prefer those cricket type hat than the baseball cap.
Torch : This is one of the must bring thing. Get a lightweight waterproof torch. Check out if you can buy one of those compact torch with whistle . Prefer the LED type as it's light weight and the battery can last for the whole night.
Mobile Phone: To your surprise you may get signal at the mountain trail, may be not. For sure you'll get good signal connectivity at the Subrahmaniya and Beedehalli end. In between it is erratic to no signal. Prefer that cheap mobile over the power guzzling touch phones (give facebook a day's break!). Charge the phone fully. Bring a spare charged battery. Keep in mind, when the signal is erratic, your phone will constantly 'search' for signal, depleting the battery super quick. Keep it off if there's no signal. Use text messaging over calls. Also don't leave the phone exposed to the hot sun, that too can deplete battery pretty quick.
Here is a piece of preparatory info for the novice trekkers to the Western Ghats
Check out with climbing /Adventure /Mountaineering Clubs in your city. It's likely you can join up with teams heading for KP. Those from Bangalore check out Bangalore Mountaineering Club. They organize pre-scheduled regular treks to KP
Equipment Rental: Do it the right way! See what you can get on rent. The list top with Sleeping Bag and Camping Tent . See www.rentongo.com , www.shadytents.in , ww.bmcindia.org , www.ozoneindia.com etc who rent trekking equipment.
Kukke Subrahmaniya Temple has a Clock Room to too keep store your baggage, if you plan to visit the temple. It's free of cost storage facility. Not a locker, but just rows of open shelves with number. Do not leave any expensive things, as a matter of prudence. This is located right next to the temple's tower, the point where the road from trek trail passes.
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