Monday, June 11, 2012

Mullayanagiri and Bababudanagiri

After having covered most of the treks around Bangalore, it was time to move on to greener pastures primarily the Western Ghats and what a way to begin our endeavor there. The trek to Mullayanagiri and Bababudanagiri was simply the most adventurous and liveliest trip we have ever had.

Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka(about 1930m) and is really one of the feel-good treks - you reach the peak fairly quick and yet have the pleasure of being atop the tallest peak in the nearby vicinity. Bababudanagiri is a nearby peak whose claim to fame is due to the presence of a temple and a Durgah within the same premises and is a reasonably popular tourist spot (Can be accessed without having to trek )

This trek had by far the biggest gang of people i have been trekking with - 18 of us and getting together the group was in itself an interesting event. What started as the plan for our regular trekking group to hire a Sumo turned initially to having book a tempo traveler to eventually a 18 seater Swaraj Mazda. This being 3-4 months after we completed our B.E, ended up being a mini-reunion of sorts with all the wild and wacky characters thrown in :)

New Characters:

It is the sign of the difficulty of this trek that most of the new guys who joined us for the trek never chose to turn up again !! (or more likely just got busy with wife and kids ;) )

Goutham Bhat (aka Google) - Has been waiting for this intro a long while. You have to wait a little longer for Bandajje.

Hemanth Murthy

Anil C

Anil Kumar (aka Punk)

Arvind (too many nicknames to list here )



Shayan (super shayan !!)

and his friend Hemanth (who keeps sending all of us forwards even 4 years after the trek)

The Trek:

Date : Nov 2 2007
Time : 9.30 pm

Picking up such a big group from their houses was an impossible task and so all of us assembled at Shreyas's house in Vijayanagar. Unable to park so many bikes at his house, we were fortunate enough that ambi(who didn't make this trip) offered to take care of few more bikes as well as repair shayan's bike(which broke down even before we started our trip officially !!). With only minor delays, we started off in the swaraj mazda towards chickmagalur. The new trekkers in the group who probably mistook mullayanagiri trek for a leisure trip to Goa started off boozing resulting in lots of omelets on the way ;)

Reached chickmagalur early in the morning and after having freshened up in a small lodge, moved towards Mullayanagiri. The trek starts from a place called Sarpadari is about 15 km from Chickmagalur towards Kemmangundi. The starting point is easily recognizable by an arch on a small pathway up the hill. Our plan was to trek Mullayanagiri and from there till Bababudanagiri by evening and stay overnight there. Carrying only the essential things (and fortunately not the tents and stuff) we told our driver to reach Bababudanagiri by road and wait for us till evening.

Thus we started the trek toward the tallest peak in karnataka around 10 am. The trek to Mullayanagiri is a short and sweet trek. Not too long but fairly steep overall. It was misty even late in the morning and was rather cold at times. The vegetation was mostly green and thick. Without doubt an ideal start to the trek. In about 1.5 hours we reached the peak and took stock of the astounding views around the mountain. Had a very early lunch and a few pictures and we were ready to roll on to the next peak.

Now, as mentioned early there is a proper road from mullayanagiri(once we come down) to bababudanagiri but obviously we wanted to trek and not walk. The alternative is a path through 4-5 mountains with the only glitch being that there is no clear cut path for the same. The only information we had from few blogs was that there is a BSNL tower that is visible from Mullayanagiri and just follow in that direction and it was probably the best way of doing this(if you don't want to use the road). We started from Mullayanagiri around 1 towards the BSNL tower which looked literally miles away. The path starts from behind the temple at the peak and is fairly steep going downwards.

After initial descent from mullayanagiri, we reached a tar road and for a long time we couldn't find a way up the next mountain. Group also got divided trying to climb at various places and failing repeatedly. Finally Keerthy and srikanth found a way up the mountain through very high (waist level) bushes and we just followed them. We weren't really sure if this would lead to a proper path or if it would end in a dead-end. However we just proceeded as still had fair amount of time before darkness. In the meanwhile punk and Jp had climbed a totally different but neighboring mountain and decided against coming down but follow the path hoping both our paths converge sometime later.

From there began our real adventure of the trip. After about 30-45 min of really steep climbing in direct sun (the mist disappeared and it was hot by then) , we were able to sight the BSNL tower again and felt confident we were on right track. Though there was a nagging thought that there was hardly any path all along and we were basically climbing through the mountain with no established paths. At times the climb was so steep that we could do only 20-25 steps at a time. I literally counted few times and couldn't do more that.This went on for about 3 hours with the bsnl tower being sighted and missing and sighted again. We had unconsciously divided into 3-4 groups based on relative speed of trekking with the job finding the paths taken up by Keerthy and Srikanth. Jp and Punk eventually joined us going in a different route but were fortunately visible most of the times.

Eventually we passed the BSNL tower and then saw a road and some signs of civilization and felt relieved that we finally reached Bababudanagiri. The final stretch was one of the most dangerous with just a foot wide path with a steep fall one side. It was around 5.30 pm when i finally reached the spot and got the shock of my life when keerthy who had reached mins before me told it was NOT bababudanagiri and that we need to walk 4-5 kms on road to reach bababudanagiri. The place we reached had a small waterfall called Manikyadhara (that we had no clue about). You need to get down on concrete steps to reach the base. Considering that it was becoming dark and still more than half the group had not yet reached this place, we took the call not to walk till Bababudanagiri but instead a hire a jeep. It was really getting dark by then and somehow the last group of Avinash, Haseeb and co reached us safely.

Then came another momentous ride of 20 mins in a jeep through broken ghat roads where 18 of us shared a jeep. Yes, thats right 18 people plus a driver in 1 jeep. We were ready to pay for 2 jeeps instead of this irrational stupidity but the jeep guys promised us they can take up to 30 people and 18 was such a small number. May be they deserve a mention in Guinness Book of Records for their feet. Well with no josh to walk, just took the jeep and we sat everywhere from bonnet of the jeep to the top !!

Bababudanagiri is a very small town with few shops and couple of lodges. We were curious about the hindu shrine and a muslim durgah being in the same premises and checked them out. Admittedly there was decent police presence and an interesting place to say the least. It was around 7 and it started drizzling. We found our swaraj mazda and also found a nearby place where we could put up the tents. Since the wood available were all wet, me and Shreyas purchased some dry ones from a hotel there (which wasn't that dry really as it was still rainy season).

With torches in hand, we setup the 3 tents we brought from Bangalore. Being the first time that most of us were setting up tents, it was a big struggle with rain and heavy winds. Setting up bonfire was even more difficult even with kerosene in hand. Even if we could start the fire it was impossible to maintain it with the consistent drizzle. Eventually we gave up. The big 10 people tent fell immediately and since some of the guys were reluctant to sleep in tents amidst wind and rains and had already decided in sleeping in the bus, we just setup the 2 smaller tents. One tent ended up hosting a fish and drinks party while the other one had tired souls trying to sleep.

And sleep we did. Just me, gupta, arvind and haseeb. Till the tent fell on top of us around 12 in the night with heavy rains pelting on top of us. So we had to run helter-skelter to the bus while the rest of the guys proclaimed their wisdom in sleeping in the bus in the first place.

Sunday morning greeted us with clearer skies and since we had loads of time, we decided to go to Hebbe falls. That activity was preceded by cleaning all the tents including the pure veg but early rising guys being forced to clean fish skeletons !! Hebbe falls can be reached only via Jeeps and this time luckily we hired 2 jeeps and had a rather comfortable but extremely intellectual journey with deep scientific arguments between one fully drunk, one partially drunk and one teetotaler. Ya they did discuss the creation of the world and evolution and what not till the party ended with arvind slapping shreyas for god knows what reason !!

Hebbe falls had lots of water with sprays reaching us from long distances. Had lots of fun playing with falls and posing to pics of course. Started the return journey late in the afternoon and though we were tired by then gupta became very enthused and started extreme viva session of everyone's crushes. Fortunately no one came to blows and certain secrets remained as it was supposed to be :)

Reached home well after mid night and that concludes still the most riskiest and fun-filled(looking back) trek ever. 

Route To Mullayanagiri:

1. Take a bus to Chickmagalur or drive till then.
2. Mullayanagiri trek starts from a point called Sarpadari and there are lots of buses from chickmagalur which go till there.

Distance from Bangalore: 270 km

Better to know:

1. There is supposed to be an easier way from Mullayanagiri to Bababudanagiri than the route we followed amidst bushes. Though having never been there again i have no clue where it is.
2. Hotels close extremely early in Bababudanagiri though it is a tourist spot and visited by lots of pilgrims of both the religions.


  1. finally mullayanagiri blog completes :)
    blog has the rough route map to be taken. I suppose you got lost at the road crossing

  2. Ya maga somehow we didnt pick up the right point to climb the mountains after we got down to the road ..

  3. Hi there, read your blog about Shivagange trip. Very Imformative blog. Me and my hubbie would like to visit SHivagange on our kinetic. was wondering how the ghat roads were as I would be riding in parts. Did you all guys switch off the engine downhill? Need some tips, Kusum

  4. A very good writeup mate. Was planning for a trek to this place and this reading filled up with lot of enthu and joy. Keep travelling and blogging..