Place: Kudremukh National Park
State: Chikmagalur, Karnataka
The Kudremukh National Park is the second largest Wildlife Protected Area (600.32 km2) belonging to a tropical wet evergreen type of forest in the Western Ghats. Kudremukh National Park is located in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi District and Chikkamagaluru districts of the State of Karnataka. The Western Ghats is one of the thirty four hotspots identified for bio-diversity conservation in the world. Kudremukh National Park comes under the Global Tiger Conservation Priority-I, under the format developed jointly by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and World Wide Fund-USA.
Kudremukh National Park is spread partly over the thick hilly forests near the coastal plains on the western portion and the shola vegetation on the Western Ghats uplands, covering parts of three districts, viz., Chickmagalur, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. The Kudremukh peak, by which the national park derives its name, is the highest spot at 1892 meters. The hills, which bear the brunt of the severe monsoon winds, preclude any tree growth added to that the region is known for its rich low grade magnetite soil which primarily inhibits plant growth. As a result, the landscape is covered with grass. The valleys which are tucked in, have reasonable protection from wind and a deep soil profile, as a result of which stunted evergreen forests exist creating a unique microclimate, rich with mosses, orchids, etc. The whole scenery of grassland interspersed with narrow strips of forests provides a fantastic vista.
Three important rivers, the Tunga, the Bhadra and the Nethravathi are said to have their origin here. A shrine of goddess Bhagavathi and a Varaha image, 1.8 m within a cave are the main attractions. The Tunga River and Bhadra River flow freely through the parklands. The area of the Kadambi waterfalls is a definite point of interest for anyone who travels to the spot. The animals found there include malabar civets, wild dogs, sloth bears and spotted deer.
Stay at Kudremukh
The government provides shelter including tents and cottages. It is advisable to reserve well in advance before visiting the town. Now there are some places in between Kudremukh and some people have opened home stays and even there are guest houses .
Trekking in Kudremukh
Trekking to the Kudremukh peak is permitted from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm after which you will be not allowed as per forest rules. The Lakya Dam is drained most of the time and is not of much interest for visiting. Hanuman Gundi Waterfalls is a good place to visit but you will be allowed entry only from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please note If you are found wandering in the forest near the peak in the late hours without a guide or a local accompanying, the forest officers have authority to detain you.
The locals of Kudremukh can be approached for any help and they are also very hospitable. Littering is prohibited everywhere in the Kudremukh area and in the mountains. If found littering while trekking you could be penalized. There are about 13 trekking routes in Kudremukh ranging from easy to tough. The well-known ones are:
Samse - Kudremukh - Samse. The duration from this trek is around 4 days and 3 nights, covering a total distance of about 40 plus km.
Navoor - Hevala - Kudremukh - Navoor. The duration from this trek is around 5 days and 4 nights, covering a total distance of about 60 plus km.
Navoor - Kudremukh - Samse. The duration from this trek is around 5 days and 4 nights, covering a total distance of about 50 plus km.
Horanaadu - Sringeri. The duration from this trek is around 3 days and 2 nights, covering a total distance of about 30 plus km.
Nature Camp in Kudremukh is one of the beautiful places to stay at.
Hanumana Gundi Waterfalls
Located 32 km (20 mi) from Kalasa, the waterfall spills onto natural rock formations from a height of more than 100 feet (30 m). Getting to the falls involves some trekking. The best time to visit this place is between October and May.