Monsoon pilgrimage – Mullayyanagiri

I am back again and looks like this series is becoming pretty long winded. The reason I am doing installment posts of this trip is to do justice to all places that deserve a good deal of description.

Chikmagalur (Mullayyanagiri)

Date: 17 Aug 2012

Mode of transport: Car

We reached Chikmagalur by 12:30pm and were pretty hungry. Hence, it was unanimously voted that we need to get our stomachs filled before we went any further. Hotel opposite to the KSRTC bus stand was pretty decent. Only basic items were available. I chose veg-biryani and others took meals.

Our mood lifted as we drove towards the familiar road of Mullayyanagiri, the tallest peak in Karnataka. We had a few incidents en-route, courtesy our very rude and idiotic driver. Thankfully none of them related to accidents. He simply refused to drive to the top, arguing that no car can pull in that incline. Of course we being the seasoned travellers and given that S graduated from CKM, we didn’t buy his argument. In fact the car was very old and the engine was weak and hence all the drama.

Seethalayyana giri math is a stopover en-route.  Last time we rode here, we had stopped parked bike at this place and climbed on foot from there onwards.

After a lot of coaxing, we reached the base of the stairs in car. Light drizzle had started by then. It was cold and the climb up the stairs was nice. I soaked in all the beauty I could. On a non foggy day, beautiful mountain ranges are visible which make for very good photographs and backdrops for photographs. There was green everywhere and a little misty. Made me feel like it was a dream.

Mullayya temple at the top doesn’t fascinate me much. Added to it, this time there was a group from nearby village, one of whom had become God and demanding some stuff. Initially it got me curious and my mind was making plans to bust him, but common sense prevailed and I left the place.

Trivia: Mullayyanagiri is the tallest peak of Karnataka. Standing at 1930 meters above sea level, it is one of the trekking routes in Karnataka. The place Chikmagalur district itself belongs to Malnad region and the peak decorates the majestic Western ghats. Hence green and cold can be witnessed at the top.

One can visit Bababudangiri and Manikyadhara falls too.

We drove back to Chikmagalur and started towards Hornad.

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Kotebetta climb

It was a beautiful morning. A bit too sunny for my liking, but it was beautiful nonetheless. According to our plan we headed towards Madapur from Somwarpet by around 9 am and reached Madapur 15 minutes later. Since we had a private drop-off, we chose to get down at the HattihoLe bridge (a little further from Madapur). It was me, S and our friend. The river HattiHoLe flows with such a melodious sound that it stayed with me for a long time. In Kannada we call it “jhuLu-jhuLu naada”. It is melodious and rhythmic. Made me want to take a dip in the water, but we had a much serious business at hand. Also, I couldn’t see a way from where we could get into the water. I wasn’t sure of the currents either. Better not venture into unknown waters.

We started on the beaten path taken daily by workers and owners at the estates en-route. Yes, there are a lot of coffee estates on the way. At some point we came across a signboard indicating the direction of Kotebetta and the distance.

Hatti HoLe

Hatti HoLe - The river at the base of Kotebetta

Direction board at the base

We saw a hanging bridge on our way, which was very well-built. I personally have a phobia to step on anything that doesn’t hold still. It was a great experience to walk on this bridge while it swayed above the river in full flow. But we didn’t cross the bridge for our trek.

The hanging bridge

Then we walked through bushes, patches of forests and open lands trying hard to ignore the scorching sun. But he didn’t ignore us. We were tired more often and kept sipping water throughout the climb. The climb was made worthwhile by breathtaking view of the mountains around.

Me and our friend, watching the drifting clouds

The clouds drifted freely, making our view hazy but equally wonderful. We could feel the cool wind as we reached a considerable height. We also experienced clouds on our skin once we reached the peak. They drifted toward the peak, and we stood there, arms wide open as if to embrace the passing clouds. Meanwhile getting chilled by their cool.

Temple

Temple at the peak. Not the actual peak. The actual peak can be seen behind the temple.

There is a temple at the top and we observed that there had been a sacrifice the previous day for the deity. However, I wasn’t interested in going inside the temple. We watched the mountain ranges and passing clouds for a long time, after which the guys relaxed a bit on the low-lying rocks, S read Sherlock Holmes while the friend watched an episode of Friends. Yes, that is exactly what they did! While I was busy capturing their madness on camera.;)

After spending some time there, we decided it was time to climb down. The climb down somehow seemed never-ending. We got back to the bridge where there is a bus stop and had some tea at a nearby shop. In Coorg, private bus transportation is really good. Everybody seems to know everybody else. And people are very friendly, making jokes about things and generally being joyful. It was raining faintly and the bus we got into was a small one. The conductor loaded a bunch of bananas into the bus and I was surprised to see that he gave everyone in the bus a banana each while he ate one. Now, who does that these days?

We got down at our stop and walked back to my sister-in-law’s house for a hot bath and food, while remembering the wonderful trek.

Information:
Kotebetta literally means Fort-mountain. It looks like a Kote from far away, hence the name. There is no fort on the mountain. Google says it is the 3rd highest peak in Karnataka, next to Tadiyandamol and Brahmagiri. Madapur is located around 20 km away from Somwarpet. The buses which goes to Madapur from Somwarpet stops at Hattihole, and there are plenty return buses before dusk. Who knows you might get a banana or two too 🙂

Updated after a few memory refreshers from my husband 🙂 I should give it to him, he has a great memory.