Wild Wonderful Karnataka

Trek to Mullayanagiri
Kiran Srinivasmurthy


Summary: Mullayanagiri is the Peak of Karnataka and also to the south India ( need to check if this info is correct) . We were team of 10 people, best part of the team is two kids of age 5yrs and 6yrs. Climate was not very good it was raining through out the trek in installment. We trekked from the Sarpadari to the peak, it took as around 3hrs to do that, with the kids. Our happiness had no bounds once we reached the peak.

Team: Anil, Kiran, Sai, Amit, Vishwa M, Vishwa S, Latha, Pooja, Athresh ( 5 yrs), Sweety ( 6 yrs).


Our office team had gone for many places like beaches, river side camps, forest, city tours. This time we decided to go for a trek. Our previous trips had most of the comforts and Luxury, like good hotel stay, journey to and from the place were comfortable, good food, etc, etc. This time we wanted to come out of that and wanted to do some difficult thing. Two of us Sai and me have small kids, dilemma was whether to take them with us or to leave them back in the city. Finally we decided that we will trek with the kids. I should really tell once we finished the trek we felt great about our kids. The cooperated so well, so well that we never felt that we made a wrong decision in bringing them.

mullainagiri trek We booked KSRTC bus at 11:30 (Rajahamsa) to Chikamagalore 10 tickets were booked, two child ticket. One of the team member got swapped, it was Vishwa instead of Bruce. We assembled at Majestic at correct time, got inside the bus. We got a word from our bus lady conductor that we need to push the bus to start it. We thought our trek has started. Most of us got down and pushed the bus. Bus was in good condition expect it did not start at beginning, later part of our journey we never had any problem because of the bus. Journey was quite comfortable. We reached Chikamagalore at 5:00AM, it was still very much dark and it was raining. We found that KSRTC busstand toilet was good enough place to finish our morning work.
We got information that bus which takes us to base of peak was standing in next road. We reached there to find that bus will start at only 8:00AM, but there were people inside the bus waiting for the bus to move. In summer bus starts at 6:30AM, since it was raining and heavy mist and fog, driver cannot see his way out so bus will start only at 8:00AM. We are not ready to wait till then. We tried to inquiry any Jeep to drop us to the base. After some drama by bus conductor, jeep driver, auto driver we found a Jeep which can take us to the base, by this time it was 6:45AM. Jeep needed a push to start, condition of Jeep was not very good. All 10 of us got inside the jeep. It was not comfortable not very uncomfortable too.

Jeep reached the base at 7:15AM. The part has a board saying way to Peak. This path is called Sarpdari Some of us finished the breakfast packets which Sai had distributed at bus stand. Then started to climb, climbing is very steep from starting. Rain had not stopped at all, once in a while it used to stop for 5 to 10 min as if it is taking a advertisement break and again it used to start. Luckily it was not heavy at beginning. At mid way it was quite heavy for some time. We were prepared to face the rain as we knew that it may be raining during this time. Followed by the rain is heavy breeze, it was so heavy that it can take away our tight caps put on our head and move us away if we are standing loose. ( I do not know to say how many kms / hr ). mullainagiri trek
Anil had been to this peak last year. He was our Guide to the Peak. He said that it will be quite steep climb all the way till the peak. As he remember he said look for the Cave which will be landmark half way. Luggage which myself and Sai carried was heaviest, may be around 16 to 17Kgs. We had combined luggage of our family on our back. Our wives were carrying Water bottles and some small items. After about ˝ hour of steep climbing Sweety ( Sai’s daughter ) started screaming as she became afraid seeing insects like snail, caterpillars, etc. She latterly started to say she cannot step one foot more. Hats off to Sai, he carried her some distance over and above the luggage he had. Later she released that these are harmless and need to move on. She started walking. My son was okay with them as he likes hitting stones, throwing mud at them, which he will not do when we are around. Seeing Athresh moving with out fear also helped Sweety to gain confidence. We were looking for Cave all along, which was first landmark which Anil had said. Anil, Amit, Vishwa (S) were quite ahead we were communicating with them by shouting “Did we reach Cave”, response was “not yet”. At some point the climb is very, very difficult we just have space for one shoe and need to go up. Later we reached a place where we just see on huge boulder with water flowing on it. There were small cuts in middle. We need to cross that boulder to go other side. Initially it looked impossible. At least for kids we thought it not doable. One slip we will be down about 20 ft below. We may not die but sure to have lot of scratches on our body. Other people Anil, Amit, Vishwa ( S) had crossed this. I think Vishwa had taken more difficult route to cross this, going above boulder and coming back again to the path. I slightly made up my mind and crossed the boulder, kept my luggage came back helped Athresh and Pooja to cross the boulder. Sai could do it later, Sai and myself helped Sweety cross and then Sai crossed Latha. Now Vishwa(M) was on other side he started getting fear of height. He felt this is undoable doable. Then Sai and myself stood on down side and help Vishwa(M) cross the boulder. He might have got the fear probably because he thought of consequence if we slip. In trekking we need to think less, and keep stepping ahead that’s what I have learnt from my previous experience. After that Vishwa (M) took up the speed and caught up with Amit. I think Anil was ahead by about 10min. From Amit and Vishwa (M). Even Vishwa (S) caught up with Amit and Vishwa (M) in short time. After some time Vishwa (S) and Vishwa (M) were standing at one place, we were not able to see them but we could hear them ( due to thick mist ) . As usual it rain was pouring and mist has increased. We could hardly see 15 ft ahead. We reached that place with great difficulty due to very steep climbing. This place has a tree which is hosting lot of plants on it. Tree looked amazing we could hardly see the brown branches as small plants had grown on them. There is a small Nandi (bull which is official Vehicle of Lord Shiva ) below the tree. Athresh started getting problem with cold so we took rest of about 20 to 25 min below this tree. Athresh was literally shivering of cold we changed his clothes put some powder to the body ( Thanks to Latha’s idea of doing this ). He became alright.

mullainagiri trek We had not seen leaches till this stage, now saw one inside Athresh Sweater; it had not touched his body yet. This was the only leach we saw in our trip. We had expected more leaches. Anil’s explanation about no leaches is due to the height of the place. I had put my Camera and Mobile inside a plastic cover and inserted inside the bag. Now I removed it made call to Vishwa, by this time Vishwa ( M) had reached the peak. He said we need to just walk another 10 min to reach the peak. Later we started walking again. After about 5 min we saw a cave, which we thought we should get much, much earlier. We did not go inside as it was full of water and less mood. I thought I will come back after leaving others to take snap inside the Cave. From Cave to top was just 2 min walk and we were peak of Karnataka. Time was around 10:45AM then. Wind was very heavy.
We could not spot others who came front. We shouted no use. We waited there outside temple for about 15min in the wind and rain. Some people who had come to that place in car and taking the stairs said that our people are searching for us. Later I timed out. I went inside the temple, there is a house inside the temple compound. Our people are happily sitting inside after changing the dress. Later I called others we changed our dress then had a lunch which the priest prepared. We had bought some Chapathis with us which we had during the lunch. We gave away the remaining Chapathis to the temple people.

We had a agreement with the Jeep person that he will give a call to us about the picking time. Going back the way we came was impossible only seasoned mountaineers can do that with lot of equipment with them. We had decided to go till Seetalaian Giri by walk and from there we will catch a Jeep. Even though some of us wanted to stay night over the peak, majority wanted to go back, reason was simple, we did not have anything to do and going outside was out of question do to heavy mist, wind, rain. We decided we will come again one day in summer and stay on peak for one day. mullaiana giri trek
At around 1:45PM we left the temple, my self and Amit wanted to take photos in cave which was below due to heavy wind and rain we dropped as we could hardly open our camera. I did not take any photos as my lens was getting covered with water as soon I open the shutters. We were supposed to go below 500 steps and walk for about 3 Kms to reach the Jeep place. Getting down had a experience of its own. It was raining heavily with wind of very high speed. We were feeling as if we were getting hit by small jelly stones all over the body. Luckily Athresh enjoyed it instead of crying. He started singing and climbing down. We took around ˝ hour to climb down the stairs. Then started walking, walking was not very difficult as we had done the worst. Road from the steps is a tar road of about 3 to 4Kms to Seetalaian Giri. Me and Sai’s family were behind of others. We walked for another ˝ hour on road then we met the Jeep person. He had come ˝ Kms towards steps from Seetalain Giri to pick us up. We got inside the Jeep and came back to Chikamagalore at 3: 45PM.

People who are interested only in trekking experience can stop here. Who enjoy reading stories can go ahead.

Now the debate was whether to take a Lodge or to start to Bangalore. I was for taking Lodge since others were not keen I to left the Idea. We enquired if we could get bus to Bangalore in evening. There were no Delux bus to Bangalore at that time Delux bus starts only at 11:00PM. So we booked Volvo (Aiaravatha) bus which was at 12:00AM. Vishwa (M) wanted to go to Bangalore same evening. So he took a red bus ( ordinary bus ) at 5:00PM and reached Bangalore at 12:00AM. Most of us were not ready for red bus. I felt it will be more difficult than trekking to go in red bus un-reserved.

How to kill the time from 4:30PM to 12:00AM was the question. We decided to go for a Movie. Common language which all could understand was Hindi. We put our luggage in cloak room, mine and Sai had become 23 + kgs now as our shoes, wet clothes were stuffed in. We went to a theater which runs Hindi movie, there a Telugu movie was screened. Then we took another auto came to a theater which was screening a Kannada Movie “ Gowramma “. Amit was great enough to agree coming to the movie. For him this will be like watching a movie with out voice. After movie we went to restaurant had Dinner came back to bus stand. Our bus was standing in front of us with doors closed, sat on bench for 1 hour.. Bus door opened, we got inside had a very nice sleep till Bangalore. Journey was more comfortable then upward thanks to very good suspension, AC, and bus condition of Volvo. Reached Bangalore at 5:00AM, took our vehicles from Railway station parking stand. It was a very memorable and successful trip. I look forward to go for more trekking with this team.

Highlights : Kids climbing the peak was great. Most of them were first timers ( Sai, Latha, Vishwa ( M), Vishwa (S), Athresh, Sweety ), still all could make it with not much difficulty. Adjustable nature of the whole team, ready to use public toilet, do change in bus stand, watch movie to pass time, wait at bus stand, travel 10 people in one Jeep. I feel that this team can survive any condition if required.

~ kiran srinivasmurthy

original article: http://kiru-ms.tripod.com/mullayanagiri.htm external link

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