Ghats Beckon!

Article published in Deccan Herald Newspaper 25-Nov-2015

It was mid-September when I got the opportunity to cherish the beauty of the Western Ghats. Rolling hills, lush landscape, beautiful pink flowers, dew-filled grasslands; it was a view right out of a picture postcard. I was at Kuduremukh, a mountain range and name of a peak located in Chikkamagaluru district. The name literally means ‘horse-face’ in Kannada and refers to a picturesque view of the side of the mountain.

Kuduremukh, Karnataka
Kuduremukh, Karnataka

Along with my fellow trekkers, I started from Bengaluru at night to reach Kalasa, a temple town in Chikkamagaluru, the next morning. From there we hired jeeps to take us to a home-stay. The ride to the home-stay was on a slushy uphill road, which was scary but thrilling. It was drizzling and the weather was pleasant. We freshened up and had a light breakfast, which was sumptuous. Later the owner of the home-stay gave us a home-made lotion to apply on our legs to keep the leeches away as we were going to be in the leech zone for a few hours. We started our trek, which was initially wayward into the forest and across small streams. After a couple of hours we reached the grasslands and they looked beautiful. It was drizzling; the landscape was adorned with rain drops, which looked like pearls on the flowers and grass. We saw the clouds pass by and I was mesmerised by the beauty and serenity of the place.

The trail wound its way around the ranges and then we came upon another small forest. It was also a slushy and a wet trail as it was raining. The highlight of the trail was obviously the leeches who were waiting for us. There were zillions of them and every 100 metres we trekked, we stopped for a couple of minutes just to shake them off, be it real or imaginary ones!

The rolling hills
The rolling hills

The final mile was up the peaks but by this time it was raining cats and dogs and the path was very slushy. We climbed it nevertheless and then came upon a short, straight path leading to the peak. I presumed that the view from here was amazing but as it was cloudy and raining, we could not see anything.

There was no shelter at the top so we just sat by the rocks, hydrated ourselves with juice and a bar of chocolate. It was a serene place. We walked down a bit and stopped at a clearing. There was a stream flowing by and we had our packed lunch of mango rice.

It was delicious. After resting for about 15 minutes, we started our downward trek. Trekking down was very difficult as the path was slippery. After falling down a couple of times, I held on to a good pace.

We finally reached the forest; the streams that we passed earlier were now overflowing. We made it through, together. It was getting dark and we had to rush to the home-stay.

The pain in my legs and exhaustion were pulling me down but we made it back. We tended to our leech bites and had dinner and chatted away into the night. I thoroughly enjoyed the trek as it was my first monsoon trek. It brought a feeling of euphoria and was a thrilling experience. What can I say, I was floored by the beauty!