I never seem to have enough of a weekend getaway, yet I venture into a number of them. I always crave for more while I depart. A true nature enthusiast cannot be content with just a weekend for seeking tranquility in the Kodachadri hills. Though I only had a day and a quarter in these bewitching hills, I made the most of it.
I consider myself lucky to have parents who are as enthusiastic as any young trekker would be to tread up a mountain. They are more fit than many people my age. We drove from Mangalore and reached Kattinahole at 5 in the evening. It was too late to trek up the hill and stay in the PWD guest house at the top. The evening was spent by paying a visit to Gowri Teertha, a small pond where bubbles came up when we clapped. We also explored a small hill nearby where we found lovely colourful flowers. We harbored at a quaint homestay run by a humble family at the foot of Kodachadri Hills. We were amidst the hills reveling in the luxury of nature. The peace was ruined occasionally by noisy groups from Bangalore. It was divine to watch the changing colour of the sky from blue to pink after the sun set. Gobbling up piping hot pakoras from the little shop around the corner, we listened to the old man narrating how Kodachadri had changed over the years. It was distressing to hear that Kodachadri which was sleeping quietly in the arms of mother nature until a few years ago, now gets swarmed by tourists bustling in during weekends rummaging the place. We were served home-cooked meals at the homestay which warmed my heart and let me have a good night’s sleep.
The early morning Jeep Ride to the Kodachadri peak at 6 am was no less than a roller coaster ride. We stopped at a place to view the sunrise. I nearly lost my breath by the charm spread across by the rising sun. Standing there amidst clouds felt nothing less than a dream, rejoicing the cool breeze blowing across my face and watching the sky getting painted with hues of orange as the sun rose above.
Breakfast was wrapped up at the PWD Guest House. The most depressing part of this trip was that I saw loads of garbage strewn around the guest house area wherever I laid my eyes. I wish there were no roads for jeeps to take tourists to the top. If trekking was the only way to reach the peak, the place wouldn’t have been flooded with tourists indifferent to nature who came there just to party and click selfies for social media.
We trekked up to the Shankaracharya Peetam at the Kodachadri peak from the guest house. We were accompanied by two young and smart guides -Raviraj (11-year-old boy) and Archana(college going girl). Having reached late the previous day, we could not trek up to the peak and hired a jeep instead in the morning. So, we decided to trek on the way back from the peak.
The trekking trail from Kodachadri peak to the bottom via Hindlumane Waterfalls was much more appealing to me than the peak. We hardly came across people and garbage. It was like five people (My parents, two guides and I) lost in the woods finding their way out. Well, at least I imagined it that way. The hills were so vast that they looked like they became one with the sky at some point. I cannot get over the captivating views we witnessed throughout the trek. Thanks to my Mom for packing those life-saving paranthas. By the time we reached Hindlumane all of us had turned into hungry wolves. Hindlumane’s ice-cold water cascading off the rocks soothed our tired bodies.
After we crossed the waterfalls and covered almost 75% of the Kodachadri Trail, we plunged into a farmland which spilled out lush greenery everywhere. We found a tiny stream flowing along the path we were walking by. My Mom and I went nuts splashing fresh cold water from the stream on each other. It was around 2:30 pm when we crossed the farmlands. Though we were tempted to walk all the way to the homestay, we did not have sufficient time as we had to return to Mangalore from where I had to catch a Bus to Bangalore at night. We decided to call up Mr. Mahabhal Bhat(Our host at the homestay who also dropped us to the peak by Jeep) to pick us up. On reaching the homestay I had to help our little guide Raviraj to write an Essay in Hindi as I had promised him in the morning. A sumptuous home-cooked lunch awaited us at the Dining table. After relishing the meal, we bid Goodbye to the friendly family of Mr. Mahabhal Bhat and drove off to Mangalore.