Trek to Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri

Chikmaglur Travel Blog

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Cross posted from my Blog.

A trek on the magical Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka and Bababudangiri.

Treks can be exciting in two ways. The place can be so captivating that you don’t speak while trekking or the people make all the difference. It was the first kind of trek that I expected when I landed at the foothills of Mullayanagiri hills on the morning of 23rd June 2007.

The weather was almost perfect with reasonable sunshine to ensure that the trek wasn’t too hot and also provide decent relief from the cold winds in the mountains. We reached a place called Sarpadhari (snake path), the place from where the climb for reaching the peak at Mullayanagiri starts. We reached here around 6:00am and there was a nice streak of sunshine coming out from the clouds.

The Ascent

The climb to Mullayanagiri isn’t too steep and if the weather is decent, as was the case on the 23rd, even a beginner can do it in about 2 hours. Just as we were climbing the sun we could see the dawn breaking over the valley. Even though we missed the Sunrise by about 30mins we were fortunate enough to see the changing colours of the morning sky. Since the entire Chikmaglur area is surrounded by hills, the scenery looked all the more beautiful. I had to stop at many places just to gaze around and enjoy nature at its pristine beauty. 

The climb was largely uneventful as the weather was perfect for a trek. Just enough cloud cover to ensure that you don’t feel drained out during the climb and just enough sunlight to ensure that the chilly winds don’t trouble you too much. It was as perfect as it could get. Just when I was thinking that everything was going perfectly fine, I suddenly heard a loud noise Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr and the van had come to a nice halt near the foothills of the mountain. It woke me up from the nice slumber I had enjoyed for the last 30mins or so.

What I had imagined  What I had imagined….

I looked out thinking that my dream could come true but just one look outside convinced me that there wasn’t going to be an iota of resemblance between what I had imagined and what I was seeing outside. It was pouring cats and dogs at the place where we had stopped and we were going to start our trek at this exact place.

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 What it turned out to be….

20 of us got down from the van, gathered our backpacks (which weren’t waterproof) and started on our journey. It was pouring and the entire route was waterlogged and the route had actually become a mini waterfall at some places due to the amount of water that was flowing down from the top of the hill. It was also very windy with the wind pushing people off the trail at some places. The group had some amateur trekkers who had a slightly tougher time during the climb due to the conditions. All in all, we had to fight the elements mentally and physically to reach the top. If the conditions had been better it would take around 2 hours to reach the top, but in these conditions it took us nearly 3:30hrs to reach the top.And by the time we reached the top a few people were dragging their backpacks which by that time had become heavier than them. But, it was an enjoyable climb and the first one in which I had to face such weather.

Temple on the Hill

image There is a small chatram on the top of the hill and adjacent to that is a temple. A few people stay there and we were served some hot coffee, which tasted heavenly. I think anything hot would have tasted great in those conditions. There is a small cat which isn’t afraid of people that stays at that chatram.

We rested at the chatram for an hour and then proceeded towards Bababudangiri. The trek is around 13kms and we were told that it would take about 6 hours to complete it. We started around 11:30am and proceeded towards BBgiri. We lost our way at one place, but thankfully didn’t go very far on that route to cause too much damage to our trek. At a couple of places we had to cross a few slippery rocks which was quite dangerous. But, apart from this it was a walk in the park compared to what we had endured in the morning.

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During this descent we were able to see the roads and if you don’t observe carefully, they could be mistaken for waterfalls initially. The scenery during this time was pretty impressive even though the elements of nature hadn’t let us relax a bit. We continued on this path and on the way had a little bit of snacks to help us on the journey.


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The valley on both the left and right side of the trail were beautiful. It is moments like this that make a trek eventful. The place was really beautiful even with all the mist and rain. Just imagine what it would have been if it was a little bit sunny!! Well, at this moment I can only imagine. :)

Around 2:30pm we reached the place from which we had to start for the trail to BBgiri. At this place people who want to take the road towards BBgiri can take the bus. We stopped here for about 30mins. Clicked a few group pictures and managed to demolish a few of the items that we had carried for eating.

 image Entire group…..

image Discussing the trail…..

At this point 8 people on the group decided that they would take the bus to BBgiri. The remaining 12 ventured out towards BBgiri and were about to meet some of the most exhilarating conditions.

Towards Bababudangiri

The initial phase of this part of the trek was similar to the conditions we had faced towards the end of the climb to the peak at Mullayanagiri. But, the conditions started getting worse once we had done about 200mts into the trek. This trek was on a ridge with both sides of the ridge being very steep. At some places it was a near vertical fall from the top.

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The second picture shows the side of the mountain. It was a near vertical fall at some places. One wrong foot and I wouldn’t be writing this post. But, it was fun and at the time when we were trekking we never realized the danger. At that time confidence was sky high and we were proceeding without thinking about these things. We proceeded towards BBgiri on this route even though rain and wind had only got worse. The wind had got especially stronger as in some places we had to sit down to ensure that we didn’t fall down due to the force of the wind.

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ensuring that the wind doesn’t push us down….

We proceeded on this trail or rather in the general direction towards BBgiri as we were unable to find a trail at some places. We were about 1:30hrs in this trail when one member suffered a dislocated shoulder. And it happened at the most inopportune time as we had just crossed one of the most difficult paths in the trek. And now we were wondering whether to continue with the trek forward or get back the same way we had come so far. After some deliberation we decided to get back to the road in the same way we had come so far. The logic was a known enemy is better than an unknown friend. It took us about 45mins to get back and during this time we had also asked the van driver to come and pick us up so that we can proceed towards BBgiri. It was around 7:00pm when we reached BBgiri and the conditions there were worse than what we had faced thus far. The Van was shaking at times due to the strength of the wind.

All in all, we were in BBgiri for around 45mins and in this time we had some nice tea and bajji. We changed our clothes and proceeded towards Chikmaglur to look for accommodation for the night and also to find a hospital.

It had been a wonderful day so far. Starting with perfectly imperfect conditions for a trek we had trekked for around 6kms. It was quite enjoyable as this was the first trek in which I had to face such treacherous conditions. Others in the group were also amazing which added to the fun.

The next day morning we proceeded towards Belur and Sravanabelagola. More on that later.

How to reach there

We had hired a van for our travel. I would recommend a Sumo or a Van if the group size is anything more than 6 people. It would work out cheaper than bus travel and you have the advantage of convenience.

Chikmaglur is about 240kms from Bangalore and Mullayanagiri is around 12kms from Chikmaglur. KSRTC buses towards Chikmaglur which start after 10:30pm should do fine for reaching Chikmaglur. To reach Sarpadhari from Chikmaglur, either you should be lucky to get a nice samaritan to drop you or find an autorickshaw for which you will pay more than the Bangalore-Chikmaglur travel. The trail from Sarpadhari to the peak is pretty well marked and the trek from the peak towards BBgiri is also well marked till you reach the road. Ask the local people for better directions and ask more than one person. We were misled into believing that the trek from the road to BBgiri was hardly 1:30hrs, but in that time we felt that we hadn’t even done 50% of the trek.

I don’t have too much information about BBgiri as we didn’t spend too much time there. But consult the locals about weather conditions before camping outside.

Pictures - Thanks to Jaya and Shalini.

For more pictures:
http://picasaweb.google.com/jha.jaya/MullayangiriBababudangiri2324Jun07
http://picasaweb.google.com/sramchandran/InfosysTrek02
http://picasaweb.google.com/shaluG/Mullayanagiri_Bababudangiri

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