I was inquisitive about the route and tried my level best to get a ride from Kemmangundi to Baba Budan Giri or Mullayanagiri but there was no public transport on that route and private taxi was too taxing on my budget. My incessant efforts finally settled down and I decided to follow the conformist way. From Kemmangundi, I returned back to Lingadahalli and then got another connecting bus to Chikmagalur.
A: Tarikere,B: Kemmangundi,C: Baba Budan Giri Peak,D: Mullayangiri Peak,E: Chikmagalur
Chikmagalur is not only the gateway to Western Ghats but it is also one of the largest coffee producer’s districts of the country. I reached Chikmagalur at around 8:00 PM so I was a bit apprehensive about getting an accommodation but I got struck with a pleasant surprise. I got a decent room with clean bed sheet and toilet in just 150 Rs… Hang on… one liter Aquafina water was also complementary with the rent… We do criticize our country all the time for its innumerous problems and inconvenience… but did you ever get a free water bottle even in one of the finest five star accommodations in first world countries? ....forget about the price tag though…. And till then, My legs were paining like hell because of arduous trek to Hebbe Falls so I slept early.
Sarpadhari : starting point of Mullayanagiri trek
Next morning, I went to bus stand and boarded a bus to Mullayanagiri base point but unfortunately I was in the wrong bus which dropped me at Kaimara where I befriended with Mr Rajesh who also offered me a tea. He used to work in Bangalore but could not caught up with big city so finally he is content in a small town called Kaimara adjoining to majestic western Ghats. It’s an enriching experience to meet people who return back to their roots after exploring the other side of planet. After an hour, I hopped into the bus going towards Baba Budan Giri and asked the driver to drop me at the starting point of Mullayanagiri trek.
Trail uphill on Mullayanagiri trek
Standing at an altitude of 1930 meter, Mullayanagiri peak is the highest peak of Karnataka and a challenge for trekkers. Mullayanagiri peak lies in the Baba Budan Giri range of Western Ghats which is blessed with rich flora, fauna and minerals. The starting point of Mullayanagiri trek is called Sarpadhari although there is a concrete road that goes till Mullayanagiri peak via Sitalayanagiri temple but there was no public transport on this route. From Sarpadhari, there is a steep trek of 4 km till Mullayanagiri peak which is moderately difficult. Be careful while trekking in monsoon, some of the rock patches are difficult and dangerous. The initial stretch of the trek has some breath- taking vertical slopes those can be a severe challenge for an acrophobic person. Being solo made a bit anxious on this trek but the incredible view of Western Ghats revitalized my strength.
Nandi Statue on the way to Mullayanagiri
After 2-3 km, I reached to an old temple under a big tree entangled with dense shrubs which made it difficult to locate the actual deity. I was lightened up to see relatively horizontal land on my way. After hiking more, I reached to a Cave which is very close to Mullayanagiri peak. The Cave provides shelter to those who wants to stay on the peak in night. A temple is built on Mullayanagiri peak which is maintained by Karnataka Police. The Temple authority also assists if you want to pitch in your tents on the peak. Strong wind flow and concentrated mist on the peak dropped the temperature significantly. I can imagine how challenging it would be to spend a night on the peak without warm clothing. Even in afternoon, I was shivering in my short and T shirt. There was no visibility from the peak therefor it was certainly a walk in the clouds experience.
Cave near Mullayanagiri peak
Most of the people prefer to come here by road in their own private transport rather than following the strenuous trekking trail. There was none on the peak when I reached there and temple was also closed so I asked the temple supervisor to open it. I was also attacked by leeches which were very common for me after trekking for so long in Western Ghats. After kneeling down at the temple, I decided to descend back via concrete road. I was hoping to get a lift till the main road which I later got after reaching Sitalayanagiri temple. Sitalayanagiri temple lies 2 km before Mullayanagiri peak. Thanks to the family who allowed me in their car and dropped me till the main road which saved 5km of walking.
After accomplishing Mullayanagiri peak, I was again on the same road waiting for a ride to Baba Budan Giri peak.
Clouds enveloping Mullayanagiri