Tuesday, 19 July 2016

A trek to the highest peak of Karnataka – Mullayangiri

If you think that you need a bulldozer of a body to go through these trek experiences then you are wrong. Sheer will-power is all that you need to traverse across valleys, ridges and hills to reach the summit !

Heaven is not a different piece of creation, but it is there on the earth itself bonded with the nature.

Mullayangiri hills

Video on 

We trekked to Mullayangiri and Baba budangiri- Chikamaglur on 16th & 17th July 2016. This group had fully charged enthusiasts from my (KV Vizag Steel) school days, who had already trekked Narayangiri and Antharagange and certain new members also. Members for this trek were Soman, Manmeet, Srinivas, Vamsi, Rajath, Anupama and Kanchanmala with her husband Hemanth and their son Dinesh.  We also had new friends Abhishek and Yukthi.

The action started with Manmeet preparing a map for pick up points & Kanchan and family boarding the Tempo traveller van arranged by escape2explore at Banashankari. Kanchan & Manmeet coordinated the pick up at Marathahalli for Soman, the rest of the gang at Hennur Main road and Anupama at Hebbal.

We had the school friends shaking hands and welcoming each other at the pick up points. Friends then chatted up with each other followed by cracking jokes & later music was played for the group. Music was an interesting medley of old melodies of Rafi sahab, hindi melodies of 90s and also popular numbers by Robbie Williams, Mr.Mister, Michael Jackson.  I made it a point to sleep the next 6 hours like any other day in order to remain sane! Am not sure whether my friends slept! The driver would not have slept as he had to drive a distance of 280 kilometers from Bangalore to Chikamagalur

Day One – 16th July 2016
We woke up once the van halted at Kaimara forest check post. Thankfully, our van was the first to stop at the check-post. Curiosity made us disembark the van and check this new place. Soon it was time for selfiegraphy - read photography! We also sipped on hot tea and munched biscuits. Soon we noticed a long queue of taxis, jeeps and buses lined behind our van. At around 545 am, the wait ended with the check-post gate being opened.

We were all thrilled as the van started moving on its way. The driver quickly drove through the roads laced with hair pin curves towards Kumble's Misty Mount Estate and Homestay.
We freshened up at the home stay. Me. Vamsi, Srinivas & Anu decided to take a morning walk. This turned out to be quite an experience. We collected fresh lemons that fell from the tree. Several of the trees were covered with moss and lichens indicating the limited sunshine received. We ventured deeper into the coffee estates to be attacked by leeches! We made a quick retreat.
After a heavy breakfast of idlis and chithranna, we drove to the trek base and started off for the sarpadhari trek to Mulayyanagiri.  

The trek - stretch is fairly steep (almost 50-60 degrees) and first passes through brush and low trees until it turns right alongside a ravine on the right. The trail was found to be slippery owing to monsoons. We keep climbing uphill with very brief breaks in between. The trail snakes along the side of the mountain until we reach the black cliffs of Mullayanagiri and pass through an opening between them. From here, the trail starts to relent as we pass through a small field of short flowering shrubs. Here on, we hit the last and final stretch to the Mullayanagiri peak. The incline gradually increases once again until we see the temple flag at the peak. In about 20 minutes of steady plodding and we would have reached the Mullayanagiri peak. The place is extremely silent and still  - a perfect spot for the temple to exist.

About Mulayyanagiri (Kannada: ಮುಳ್ಳಯ್ಯನಗಿರಿ)is the highest peak in Karnataka, India. Mullayyanagiri is located at 13°23′26″N 75°43′18″E in the Chandra Dhrona Hill Ranges of the Western Ghats of Chikkamagaluru Taluk. With a height of 1,930 metres (6,330 ft), it is the highest peak between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. Mullayanagiri is one of the best trekking places in Karnataka and South India.
The peak gets its name from a small temple (gadduge/tomb) at the summit, which is dedicated to a Tapasvi "Mulappa swamy" who, is believed to have meditated at the caves only a couple of feet below the summit. The caves are accessible and not very deep, they have a direct entrance to the garbagudi of the temple, which is now blocked by the temple priests. Apart from multiple versions of folklore and strong Siddha culture around the belt, the origins or any information about the deity remains ambiguous.

When the present asphalt roads and the 300 concrete steps were not present, a trail was used to reach the peak, known as 'Sarpadari' or 'sarpanadi'. Although it is not very frequently visited now, this trail is cherished by trekkers.

The trek must have taken approx. 3 hours to complete. The trekker is presented with breath taking views from each ascending level. The views of the plains below are unforgettable. So are the beautiful clouds kept on creeping up along ridges almost engulfing us along the way!
The temple at the summit draws a good number of visitors who come on their vehicles through the asphalt roads.

We took the steps from the temple and started a descent of approx. 4 km to the base where our van was parked. This was inconvenient as the group members were exhausted. However, we managed to reach the base and quickly headed back to the home stay. A simple Lunch with rice and sambar, rasam was served which was quickly downed by our group members.  

We then drove towards Bababudangiri hills. 

About Baba Budangiri & Manikyadhara 
Baba Budangiri is a mountain in the Baba Budan range of the Western Ghats of India. Located in the Chikkamagaluru District of Karnataka, Baba Budangiri is known for its shrine to the Sufi saint Baba Budan, a pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Muslims.
Near Manikyadharafalls - Bababudangiri

The main peaks in this range are the Mullayanagiri and Baba Budangiri (height 1895 m). Collectively, these peaks are known as Chandradrona Parvatha Shreni (Chandradrona Mountain Range)as they naturally form the shape of a crescent moon.
Manikyadhara Falls is near Kemmangundi of Chikmagalur district. It is on the Baba Budangiri Hills, which is a sacred place for Muslims and Hindus. It is one of the main attractions of Baba Budan Giri

We then re-entered the trail to hit the more exhilarating part of the entire trek. This stretch involves hiking along the lofty and steep rocky ridges of Bababudangiri. With a cliff on one side and a steep hillside on the other. We noticed the graceful lumps of clouds that hazed over mountains. We crossed beautiful lakes before reaching a staircase towards waterfalls at Manikyadhara.
View from bababudangiri hills - on way to manikyadhara
We were exhausted and needed to head back to the base and then the home stay. Manmeet had taken the lead and tried arranging a jeep – however, there were early bird visitors who took this last jeep out. We were a little disappointed and started walking – soon we saw a mini truck heading the same way. We requested a drop and voila they agreed. This part was totally unplanned and yet we had the maximum fun! We boarded the mini truck and we laughed, screamed and yelled to our hearts’ content!

We reached the home stay by 8 pm. We soon discovered that there was no hot water. With outside temperature touching 15 degrees Celsius, we reluctantly took the cold water for bath. The group members had yet another surprise with disco lights and music to which they all sung and danced! This was followed by a simple dinner and rest!

Day 2 - 17th July 2016
Kanchan, Srinivas, Vamsi and myself went for the morning walk. We took the asphalt roads and stayed away from muddy tracks to avoid leeches. We completed the morning walk in about 20 minutes and headed for breakfast of upma and idlis.
Our guide Manoj suggested Belur and Halebidu as the places to visit prior leaving for Bangalore.

Belur & Halebidu
Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. With Halebidu which is only 16 km away, this is one of the major tourist destinations in Karnataka. Belur is located in Hassan district. According to inscriptions discovered here, it was also referred to as Velapuri.
The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakeshava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple (dedicated to Chennakeshava, meaning handsome Vishnu) as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana. It is said that Shantaladevi herself danced in front of the main shrine during its installation and her dance inspired the poses of the figurines on the temple walls.The first moulding were the temple wall meets the jagati (platform) around the temple is made up entirely of a frieze of elephants

Temple at Belur
There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rayagopuram at the entrance which was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family god. The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana's grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. Darpana Sundari (Lady with the mirror) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attractions in the complex.

Temple at Halebidu
This temple along with Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu and the Jaina monuments at Shravanabelagola are being proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Belur was a great inspiration for Soman who mentioned that he will visit this temple again as he could not soak the beauty of the temple! Anu had visited these temples thrice and yet was able to find something new during every visit. My friends were very happy to complete the temple visit.
We soon hit the highway to Bangalore with only one stop-over at A2B for lunch. We reached Bangalore by 730 pm. Each one of us carried back treasure troves of memories that would last an entire lifetime.

“The natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest” says David Attenborough, British naturalist.

And, if you want to take the walk of your life over every single foot of Promised Land, you have to see it for yourself.


  1. well written my friend! Glad you guys are taking up outdoor activities!

    1. Dear Sid...Thanks! I will always remember your advice given during our meeting at Bangalore ...this meeting gave me the inspiration of taking up trekking

  2. Well written.
    Felt live trekking along the way. Keep going.

    1. Thanks a lot, Veena! Our group missed your presence in the current trek!

  3. Well written.
    Felt live trekking along the way. Keep going.

  4. Wonderful article about the trek,It was really awesome to read your blog.Thank you for sharing such a wonderful information in your blog.Book your bus tickets in advance in leading travel operators like Kallada Travels and enjoy your travel wuth comfortable facilities.