Sunday, July 18, 2010


The summer after the end of college in 2007 was officially the last holidays for most of us(Except the ones who did masters later). Made lots of plans for many get-together trips and treks but eventually shivagange was the only one that materialized.

Shivagange is a small hillock near Dobbspet in Tumkur district that is famous for a shiva temple and olakala Teertha. There are more chances of finding temple devotees than trekker in this particular hill.

Our normal gang assembled for the trek except couple of folks who went to their native places. In pursuit of a female company to convince her parents for the trek, harini finally managed to find an unlikely companion and we were all set for the trek.

New Characters:

Balakrishna: The most mischievous and funny guy of our group. But shifts seamlessly from comedy stories to horror stories anytime especially when the timing is right(i.e. in middle of forest at midnight). Nature lover and more likely to be found somewhere in north-east of india than in bangalore though he is supposed to be a software engineer working here.

Vinutha: Surprising company for our trek. Very simple and soft-spoken girl. Completed her first trek with us with absolutely no complaints.

The Trek

Date: May 2007
Time: 7 am

8 of us - me, Keerthy, Srikanth, Shreyas, Pavan, Harini, Bala and vinutha started off in 4 bikes towards Tumkur road. Morning rides are always pleasant and after an hour of riding we stopped for breakfast at Kamath Upachar where disaster struck(for only me). After breakfast we were just taking pics including harini riding my famous Enticer ;) when i decided uncharacteristically to try a wheelie. With my enticer not really being conducive to a wheelie took srikanth's discover. Totally misjudging what even 112 cc can do, ripped the throttle and left the clutch and after a fleeting moment of being high in the air literally fell crashing down. However the disaster was not really falling which barely caused any damage to either me or the bike but being chided for the first(and so far last) time by the bike owner, Mr kaams !!

Not long after that, we left the restaurant with me feeling stupid, srikanth sulking and rest having a good laugh about it. Shivagange is about 10 km from Dobbaspet junction and we reached there quickly enough. The entrance to the hill is via a temple gopura where the bikes can be parked.

Most of the trek up has steps carved out of stone so it is hardly a challenging trek. To make it more interesting we generally avoided steps and walked directly on rocks where possible. The most fascinating or rather irritating part of the trek is the abundance of monkeys all around. Unlike other places, the ones in shivagange are rather aggressive and would actually pluck things from your hand/shoulder. Any eatery that is exposed is likely to end up in one of the monkey's mouth. Bala lost his bag temporarily before he heroically retrieved it from the monkey that took it !!

There are few temples along the way to the peak with one famous spot being Olakala Teertha. Basically there is a narrow crevice between rocks where spring water flows and one needs to stretch their hands to touch them. The legend is that anyone who has sinned will not be able to touch it while a pious person would be able to touch the water. Considering that the only person in our group who couldn't touch it was vinutha (and she was mighty upset with that) the legend was dismissed immediately though we had some fun at her expense.

Almost at the peak there is a Nandi statue with a nice view and just beyond that we reach the top of shivagange where of course another temple welcomed us. The climb to the top is not that strenuous even in summer and you would find lots of devotees climbing to the top on barefoot. There are no of small shops along the way selling snacks, buttermilk and cool drinks.

There were nice views all around though it being summer there was not much greenary to be seen. It was quite hot and complaining from harini about her skin resulted in staying about an hour before starting the descent down. Most of the time was spent in posing for pics.

Descent down was quick and reached down by 1. Swapped our bikes and came back to bangalore for lunch. The roads were good enough to easily maintain 80-90 speeds then. Met few other friends - Sharath, Keerthana, Padmini, Rajesh, Kiran and Akshaya who couldn't come for the trek for a rather late lunch in some hotel in Rajajinagar( too far back to remember). The contrast between sun-burned trekkers and freshened up rest of the gang can be visibly seen in the pics !!

Overall a nice short trek that doesn't physically stress out much. A rather short drive and doesnt require much planning.

Route to Shivagange:

1. Take the Tumkur road if coming from Bangalore City. A new alternative is to take the NICE road from either bannerghatta road, kanakapura road or mysore road. This joins the Tumkur road much further down avoiding most of the traffic at yeshwantpur, jalahalli cross etc.

2. Take left at Dobbaspet towards shivagange onto SH3 (there are boards indicating the same)

3. From there it is about 12 km on small winding roads. There are enough boards the guide the people.

Distance from Bangalore - 60 km

Better to Know:

1. Buses from Bangalore to Tumkur might stop at Dobbaspet and one can take autos from there.
2. Since the trek is short no need to carry anything other than water. Snacks and cool drinks available on the way up.
3. Strictly don't carry anything in hand or on outer pouches of bags. Pack and zip up the bags to avoid wrestling with monkeys.
4. If eateries are bought from vendors finish it there itself.
5. There is not really much cover at the top except couple of rocks. So better to reach early in the morning or late in evenings during summer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Kodachadri(1343 m peak) was a late addition to our plan of going to NITK Surathkal for their cultural fest in 2008. Going so far (relatively by our 8th sem standards) across the western ghats and not trekking seemed like an oxymoron. Kodachadri is a fairly popular spot for guys willing to trek in western ghats. There are couple of different routes to reach the peak and lots of varying answers as to how long it takes to trek this mountain.

The peak is 1343 metres high and located in Shimoga district. There is a jeep track that goes near the peak for people who want to avoid trekking and there is Bhattru Mane at top where you can get hot food.

About 11 of us from our group had attended the cultural fest at Surathkal which was awesome fun. The special part of it was midnight volleyball one of the days spiced up by shreyas in particular. Bharath was named BD in this trip and got stuck with that name forever. Most of us got temporary tattoos done too and showed it off next couple of weeks when we were back in college. Datta won a photography contest for which he never got the certificate nor prize money(so all of us didnt get treat either :( ) . St Mary's Island was another special part of this trip. Pavan and Goutham decided against trekking as pavan got some work back in Bangalore and they returned directly from Surathkal while the rest of proceeded to kodachadri.

New Characters:

Shreyas: More experienced than any of us in trekking. But surprisingly this was the first time we went on trekking together. Normally ready to take any risk and at home in nature. Probably my only company to literally get high for many of initial treks.

Mohammed Haseeb: If 2 wheels can do it why should the 2 poor legs be used is his mantra. Fortunately there are places that aren't accessible on bike. So he grudgingly accompanies us on few select treks. Shorter the trek , higher will be his enthusiasm !!


Rest of us who went to kodachadri with me were Keerthy, Srikanth, Rajesh, Dattatreya, Bharath and sudhindra.

The Trek

Date: Feb 2007
Time : 6 am

We had a very tight schedule for the whole day leaving from Surathkal to kodachadri and back to Bangalore the same evening. The return bus was booked from Kollur at around 6 in evening. So we had finish trekking and be back by then.

Left Surathkal early morning and took the bus to Kundapura. From there we got the bus to Kollur. Few guys went to the temple while rest just spent the time around. We got to know we had to take a bus from Kollur to Hosanagara that goes near kodachadri gate and start trekking from there and the last bus back to Kollur was at 4 pm. If we missed that we would miss the bus back to bangalore too. So we had to be at full pace at this trek without whiling away time too much at any place. In addition everyone was vague as to the time it would take to actually trek. Answers varying from 3 to 6 hours up.

Took the first available from kollur and in about an hour got off at the point from where there is road going right from where we needed to start trekking. Fortunately every one was ready for the rather quick pace we had to maintain. Initial part of the trek is very easy. Hardly any slope and mostly grassland. There is very wide clear path in this part of trek. We covered this stretch at breakneck speed with hardly any breaks. There are couple of shops towards the end of this plain which we got after about an hour of fast walking.

By that time sun started and the path became more steep. It looked like trekking finally instead of just walking on grasslands. With only haseeb and su struggling a little, rest of us pushed them and continued our march towards kodachadri. After a while we were able to see the peak and there was moderate greenery around. Being February, it wasn't exactly lush nor was it dry. But there was enough forest cover surrounding us. At one end of group Rajesh was eternally on phone (with us gossiping about the caller ;) ) and at the other end Haseeb cursing for making him do it (trekking that is). There was one final stretch of 1 foot wide path with steep drop on one side which was the only risky part of the entire trek. After about 2.5 hours after starting, we reached the house where bhatru stays. Most of us exhausted by then due to the speed we managed.

We ordered food and decided to roam around in the meanwhile. There is a direct jeep path that comes up to this place via a different route.There is a small temple which can be obtained on climbing further from the bhatru mane. The path to this is rather steep and narrow. Me and shreyas went to look for the waterfall which was near bhatru's place. But after few minutes we kind of gave up and came back to have lunch.The lunch wasn't great but i guess anything would taste good when you are hungry and tired. Had quick lunch and decided to start back.

Started back around 2 pm and it was continuous run to the bottom as i perceive it. None of us took any big breaks and just ran/jogged/walked till we reached the road from where we started trek in the morning. There are too many lose stones in the path down and hence the probability of twisting ankle wasn't that high on coming down too fast. By around 3.30 pm we were comfortably at the supposed bus stand and waited for the bus to take us down to Kollur. This was one descent where we didnt enjoy the surroundings that much and focused too much on speed and time. Not the ideal way to trek in general but thats the best we could do then.

We got the bus at 4 and man how these guys drive in ghats. We were sitting in last couple of rows of the bus and for every turn from left to right or vice versa which was taken without even a faint application of breaks we fell to the other side. The question of what happens if there is opposing vehicle wasn't much on the driver's thoughts i suppose. Irrespective of how you drive to be confident on someone's driving isn't easy and it was actual relief to reach the base safely. Not surprisingly, we were well in time for the bus back to Bangalore. Had food at a hotel and took the bus we had already booked at 6.

Route to Kodachadri:

1. Buses from Bangalore to Kollur via Shimoga goes via Kodachadri gate.
2. Buses from Bangalore to Kollur via Mangalore reach Kollur via different route. Get down at Kollur and catch bus to hosanagara.
3. Can go in a private vehicle too. Self-driven cars parking might not be safe though.

Total Distance: 400km from Bangalore

Better To Know:

1. Accomodation need to be booked before hand in bhatru mane or PWD houses available there.
2. Camping in tents also possible.
3. Mobile signal available most of the trek.
4. Rainy season is supposed to be more fun.