Cool Buddies

Muthodi and Mullayyanagiri Trek [by Sharada]

Posted in Animals, Travel, Trekking by Ratheesh & Sharada on January 7, 2009

Chikkamagalur (Younger daughter’s town), is known for its picturesque hills and coffee estates. Our weekend trip to this cozy town was thoroughly spontaneous and a good one at that. We discovered some surprisingly beautiful places very close to this town. Quick trips like this; without too much planning sometimes leave us disappointed, but most of the time we end up enjoying it completely.

So off we started on a weekend in December armed with a bus ticket on our journey. We did not have much idea, though we had done some reading on the internet about some places near Chikkamagalur – the top on our list was Muthodi – a wildlife sanctuary.

We left Bangalore at 11:30PM on an Airavath (KSRTC Volvo), it is a five hour journey to Chikkamagalur. It was a comfortable ride, and we reached early in the morning at 4:30AM. Since there was nothing much to do till the town wakes up, we strolled around the place on the empty roads. While walking we made a mental note on the direction and the road to Muthodi. Chikkamagalur is a small town, there are only a couple of main roads, so it is not very tough to know the directions. We managed to spend around two hours this way, by which time we found the town had started to stir. We walked into Kamat hotel for some coffee. While having coffee we struck a conversation with the owner of the hotel. We enquired about buses to Muthodi and other places nearby. He suggested we take a bus that starts at 7:30am to Muthodi. We decided to have breakfast there and also packed some lunch. There are no government buses to Muthodi, so we walked to the private bus stand, which is just behind the KSRTC bus stand. We had plans of staying back in Muthodi if we get accommodation. The bus did not come to the private bus stand on that day, fortunately we heard about this a few minutes in advance and walked over to the nearby bus stop which was near Chethana Nursing home. The bus came at around 7:45, however we almost got tricked as the name of Muthodi was not written on the bus; we found Mallandur-Kolagamey written. We would have easily let it pass, had we not taken a chance and asked the conductor. Finally we were on our way to Muthodi. It was an uneventful one and half hours trip, though the scenery all the way was enchanting and just as we reached Muthodi a Sambhar crossed the road right in front of our bus. The locals sat unfazed as our jaws dropped at this unique sight.

The bus reached Muthodi at 9:30am, we got off and walked to the forest office to get permission to enter the place. The forest guards were friendly people, who explained to us the things we can do at Muthodi. There are cottages to stay overnight at that place; there is a 3.5km guided nature trek thorough the forest and safari morning and evening. Since by the time we reached we were too late for the safari, we decided to do the nature trek. Even before we started the walk, we spotted a malabar giant squirrel on one of the branches. We quickly took out our binoculars to get a closer look. We immediately knew this was going to be a very engaging trek. We wished to stay there overnight, however we came to know that since it was a weekend, all the cottages were booked. Though we were disappointed, we decided to come back some other time again for that. This time around, we decided to make the most of the nature trek. It started at around 10am with a guide and both of us. As we walked through the forest along a trek path, we spotted an amazing amount of birds, we quickly started noting down the features and identifying whatever we could. We were enchanted by the bird density in that place. To name a few – racquet tailed drongos, red-whiskered bulbuls, woodpeckers, plum headed parakeet, bee eaters, orioles. It was a mesmerizing walk, which we felt was a bird watcher’s dream come true. We took some photographs of the place, experimenting with some photography tips and tricks we had learnt recently. dsc027611

After the walk, we rested near the guest house, at the lunch area. We took out our packed lunch and gorged on it. In case you have not carried lunch, there is a canteen with a cook to serve a decent lunch. After lunch, we sat on a wooden bench in the park and watched birds all around us. We realized even if we sit in one place, there is so much around us to see. So we just sat there and saw an amazing variety of bird life around us. The most important thing on this trip was the binoculars, since without that we would not have been able to enjoy even half of what we did. Around evening, we saw people coming in cars to occupy their cottages. We realized how peaceful the place was till then. We were happy we were leaving the place, since it was not peaceful anymore. The best time to go to this place would be on a weekday, one and half days are more than sufficient to enjoy the natural beauty of the place. If you are not a bird watcher, you can still soak yourself in the natural surroundings, the sweet smell in the air and the cool breeze. All you need to remember is to be as calm and quiet as possible and take care not to pollute the place, since it is right in the middle of the forest. If you are quiet you would spot some wild animals too. Evening is the time for the safari, where all the people who landed were headed, however, for us it was time to leave, since the last bus from that place is at 5PM. Just before leaving we got some time to chat with a young, newly recruited forest official who was friendly; we just talked about his job and the excitement of living in the forest. It felt good to meet young people who were enthusiastic about protecting the forests. dsc02796

The bus got us back to Chikkamagalur, we headed straight to Kamat and had a masala dosa. We somehow had taken a liking to Kamat food, though there are a lot of restaurants in and around the place, we were very loyal to Kamat, not sure why exactly, but the food definitely was extremely tasty there. We had no idea what to do the next day, however, we were contemplating on a couple of plans in our heads. One was to leave Chikkamagalur, travel overnight and reach some other place altogether. Another plan was to take a room, spend the night in Chikkamagalur and next day head to Mullayanagiri. We had this inclination to do our bit of trekking and climb Mullayanagiri. Since there were no suitable buses to any place we wanted, we decided to stay back. This was a decision we would appreciate later, since only when we hit the bed did we realize how tired we were!

We found a nice hotel just next to Bus stand – Samrat Deluxe, we were happy we didn’t have to walk very far in search of a hotel. Also we had noticed that this was one of the good ones in that place. We checked into the room at around 7:30PM and crashed into bed. It was a nice room with TV too, we found the double bedroom decent and clean for Rs.350/-

The next day, we got up rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep. We had bath, packed up and went for breakfast at Kamat again! We found the friendly owner there, so we again discussed the plans with him. The plan was to take a bus that goes to bababudan giri, get down at Sarpana haadi (or Sarpa daari, meaning snake path). We packed lunch and boarded the private bus just in front of the hotel. It was not a very long ride, in about 45 mins we reached Sarpana haadi and were dropped off there. The bus continued to Baba Budan Giri. At Sarpana haadi we found that there was a definite trek path, we knew if we follow that we would reach the top. There was not too much confusion in the route, however in a couple of places we felt we might lose the way. It was a steep climb in some places, however since we have done tougher treks before, this was a very easy climb. We stopped on the way to enjoy the view and take some photographs. It was wonderful view of hill ranges and clouds all around us. dsc02820The sky was a beautiful blue with a white line separating it from the lower air. On the way to the top, we spotted a few raptors and other birds like the Malabar crested lark. Just as we reached the top, we saw a cave formation. Later we came to know that these were unexplored caves. The wind was blowing in our faces as we reached the top, it was an amazing experience having climbed the tallest peak in Karnataka. There is not much once you reach the top, there is a temple that was getting renovated. However the view all around is breathtaking. Though there is another easy route by vehicle to the peak, the sarpana haadi way is much more peaceful as there are no people around and the view is very good all along.

After spending some time at the top, we got down and climbed the hill just next to this. This was not any tourist spot, it was just another hill. Since there were no people there except the two of us, we decided to have lunch there. The time we spent here was one of the most beautiful and peaceful moments. We watched a few raptors hunting their prey. We also heard a jungle cat, but couldn’t see it. We spent the next few hours watching birds, trying to follow their behavior. After we were satisfied with this, we decided to walk back through the road route. This was one of the mistakes we made, since we could’ve easily got down the same way we climbed up. We chose the road instead to avoid the steep descent. But the road is definitely longer, so we had to walk 8km till the junction where we get buses back to Chikkamagalur. On the way we found a temple – Seethalayyana giri, here the priest showed us a short cut and guided us to the road. We refilled our water supply and continued our walk. dsc029171When we finally reached the junction, we were tired, we could’ve waited for the bus but we took an auto coming in that direction and reached Chikkamagalur.

We went to the bus stand to buy our return tickets after this. Without having much to do till our bus, which was at midnight, we decided to go to a small town called Hiremagalur (Elder daughter’s town) nearby. It is just 3kms away from Chikkamagalur, we boarded a bus going to Hasan and got down at the Hiremagalur stop. It was 8:30pm, and the town was already sleepy, there were hardly any activity. However we instantly took a liking to this small town due to the peace and calm we found there. We visited a Rama temple, which is what the place is mainly known for. Seems the temple is around thousand years old, of course it has been renovated now to make it look modern. The specialty of the temple is all the chants are uttered in Kannada instead of Sanskrit. As we walked out, we roamed the streets looking for some night birds, we did spot a few owls and bats. The best part of this place was the night sky was amazingly clear, we were able to see a lot of stars, star clusters, nebulae and even the Milky Way. It was a memorable sight. We then took an auto back to Chikkamagalur. Our bus back to Bangalore came at 11:30pm, we boarded it and immediately fell fast asleep, having the satisfaction of an eventful weekend!

Click Here to view all the photographs

Places Visited:

Chikkamagalur – just a base camp to see other nearby places

  • How to reach – Easily accessible from Bangalore by bus or private vehicle. Buses take 5 hours and there are plenty of government buses, road is pretty decent
  • Places to stay – Samrat Deluxe, Soundarya, many more
  • Food – good hotels available – Kamat, soundarya (both pure veg), many more

Muthodi – Wildlife sanctuary and bird paradise

  • How to reach – From chikkamagalur take a private bus that goes to Mallandur-Kolagame and get down at Muthodi. Bus starts at 7:30am and last bus back is at 5pm.
  • Places to stay – There are forest guest houses and cottages, but need to book atleast 1 week in advance
  • Food – Canteen serves decent food

Mullayanagiri – Tallest peak in Karnataka, moderate trek.

  • How to reach – From chikkamagalur take a private bus that goes to Baba Budan Giri and get down at Sarpana Haadi, from here it is a moderate trek for 3 ½ Kms to the peak. This is one of the routes, the other route is by road (no buses though, only private vehicles) through Seethalayyana giri, this reaches till the top.
  • Places to stay – None
  • Food – There is no food available on the peak, should carry food and water

Hiremagalur – Small town having a Rama temple

  • How to reach – by bus or auto from Chikkamagalur, 3 kms on route to Hassan
  • Places to stay – No hotels, if you know a local, then they might let you stay with them!
  • Food – no restaurants noticed

3 Responses

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  1. gopalakrishna said, on January 29, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Pl inform the height in feet or metres of Mullayyanagiri , as I cannot find it . We visited Mu and even at the car park on top ,we could not see any sign about the height. None of the websites specify the ht.

  2. Abhijith said, on June 22, 2010 at 3:31 am

    how can we book the cottages at muthodi? do u ve some contact numbers through which i can book for our stay there?

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