There’s nothing ever soothing for the soul than getting an escape route to explore nature in thrilling treks, and what boosts one’s wanderlust, even more, is a Monsoon Trek! You heard it right. Climbing the heights amidst a rainy wet forest, enjoying its petrichor and beholding the gushing rivers is an unmatched experience that hikers and trekkers crave. We have got you covered here with the top 5 monsoon treks in Karnataka.
Even as this December greeted us with rains in many parts of South India, (snowfall would have been cuter), mayhap it rang a bell. Here are the top five monsoon trek spots in Karnataka that you can set out for in 2024.
Situated in the Shimoga district and about 420 km away from India’s Silicon Valley, this spectacular location forms the heart of Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary. With its picturesque villages and paddy fields, thick forest that is home to several endangered species, rolling green hills, stunning waterfalls and the mist, the Kodachadri trek will imprint an evergreen memory in your lifetime.
A monsoon trek destination with rich ancient history and stories, Kodachadri holds the famous temple built of stones at its peak where it is believed Goddess Mookambika slayed the demon Mookasura. The misty fog-clad temple is dedicated to the renowned philosopher and theologian Adi Shankaracharya who meditated at the peak back in 7th AD.
One of the major attractions, the breathtaking Hidlumane waterfalls, forms out of seven falls of which the highest is the toughest to catch up with. One cannot resist plunging in and taking a dip in the chill water of the cascade. The dense Shola forests of the Western Ghats, with their canopy, and rich flora and fauna to explore, are a paradise equally for beginners or expert trekkers and nature lovers.
At an elevation of about 1343 m from sea level, the Kodachadri peak also offers you a glimpse of the Western coast in the non-monsoon times. In an approximately five-hour long trek, one may go solo to get immersed in nature’s serenity or hire a jeep ride with friends and family to ascend the muddy trails to behold nature’s beauty that the clouds embrace from the top.
Reckoned among the tough and thrilling treks in Karnataka, Kudremukh is rich with its dense tropical forests, lush green meadows, rippling brooks, and plantations of pepper and coffee. Situated in Chikkamagaluru district, it is part of the Kudremukh National Park, the second-largest protected wildlife zone in the Western Ghats. The peak in a peculiar shape when viewed from the side is named Kudremukh which means horse’s face in Kannada.
At a height of 1,894 m above sea level, it is counted as the second highest peak in Karnataka following Mullayyangiri. Commence your one-hour trek from the forest office to find the horse’s face side view of the peak, and it may trick you into assuming it is quite easy close to climb, but no! You have another exciting three hours to ascend that peak point.
The beauty of the trek lies in the fact that you will traverse the splendid Shola forests in order to reach the peak. Shola (Solai in Tamil) is the local name for South India’s tropical montane forests situated amidst the rolling green meadows. A bonanza for the shutterbugs, as they may be lucky to spot a variety of flora and fauna including deer, peacock, lion-tailed macaque, Malabar giant squirrel, common langur, leopard, and more.
You will also be fascinated by bubbling streams and waterfalls as you cross the forest, but do watch out for leeches. What greets you as you step out of the forest is a magnificent view of the green rolling hills all around you. Covered by mist and clouds time and again, they literally play hide and seek with your eyes!
3. Bandaje Falls
Bandaje trek is an exciting combo of two treks – Ballalarayana Durga and Bandaje falls, a fact not known to many. About 280 kilometres from Bengaluru, Ballalarayana Durga is situated in Chikkamagaluru district. Bandaje falls is also known as Bandaje Arbi, the word “Arbi” means waterfall in the local language.
The waterfall that drops from about 200 feet is formed by the tributaries of the Nethravathi river and is still an unexplored paradiswith e in a remote spot in the Western Ghats. Ballalarayana Durga remains the perfect monsoon trek with its breathtaking view, long stretches of green meadows, thick shola forests and torrential rains.
The forest is rich with old trees and a variety of birds. The peak holds a dilapidated fort that dates back to the 17th century. The trekking typically begins from Mundaje, and leads to the Bandaje Arbi before culminating at the abandoned fort, wherein the last part is challenging for the trekkers.
The highest peak of Coorg, and the third-highest in Karnataka, Tadiandamol showcases a marvellous view of greenery, coffee plantations and a lingering aroma of coffee all around. Trekking often begins from the Nalaknad Palace, traversing the Chelavara Falls and the Padi Iggutthappa temple. The monsoon adds to its beauty with a spread of colourful blooms along the trail.
As you climb to the peak, which is at an elevation of about 5,735 feet, it gives a splendid view of the emerald carpet of grasslands and green hills stretching in all directions of the peak. Monsoon trek lets you see the cloud embrace the hill and valleys teasing and entertaining your eyes.
While the evergreen shola forests decorate the valleys, one gets to spot other tree types including nutmeg trees, Betel nut trees, fishtail palms and more. The forest is also home to a variety of species in the animal kingdom including Calotes Versicolor lizards, millipedes, butterflies etc.
5. Nishani Motte
Part of the Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, Nishani Motte is part of the Bhagamandala range of the Coorg district and is home to a versatile species of plant and animal species. The key attraction of the trek, which sets out through the pristine shola forest and green meadows on the trail, is the thrilling ridge walk towards the summit and it offers a magnificent view amidst the cloud-clad valley.
The trek of about 15km is often guided by guides authorized by the forest department and they have the know-how of animal movement in order to take you through safely. You may watch out for elephants or leopards or their hoofprints. The trekking trail also offers a view of stretches of paddy fields, cardamom and coffee plantations as well as religious sites en route Nishani Motte.
The summit offers an exceptional view of the landscape with the Cauvery meandering across it, the ranges of Brahmagiri hills and the Kerala forest and a 360-degree panoramic view of the valley from a height embraces by the clouds.
Monsoon is a time that invites versatile ideas to pamper one’s soul be it a panchakarma treatment, rappelling in a nearby stream, a rain-drenched football or a simple cup of tea over hot pakoras. However, you can think out-of-the-box in 2024 to block a few calendar days to go trekking at the above five best monsoon trek destinations in Karnataka. As your spirit soaks in the rhythm of the rain, an exhilarating trek to climb these heights exploring nature and wildlife will leave you entranced!
Written by: Rajani RP