Sunday, May 24, 2015

In quest of Coorg's highest peak - Tadiandamol

Roopkund trek was done almost a year back, and my legs were idle for a long time.

As pre-monsoons started to hit some parts of Karnataka, the excitement to trek began to grow. The rains have turned the whole western ghats into a beautiful green carpet.

On May 15th, we decided to trek Nishani Motte hills which is near Madikeri. As usual, some last minute 'dropouts' of our group, cancelled their participation. 

Finally only two of us decided to trek the Nishani hills. Karthik and I prepared for the trek, and departed from Bangalore on May 16th (Saturday). It was a long time since we traveled on a bike. Thus, started our journey on his Apache.

The hustle-bustle of the vehicular traffic made us reach Madikeri around 1.30 PM.

We heard some people saying that Nishani had to be done with a large group.
This made us to change our minds, and trek Tadiandamol instead. Post lunch, we headed towards Kakabbe.

About Kodagu

Kodagu is located on the slopes of the Western Ghats. It has a geographical area of 4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi). The district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada district to the northwest, Hassan district to the north, Mysore district to the east, Kasaragod district in west and Kannur district of Kerala to the southwest, and Wayanad district of Kerala to the south. It is a hilly district and the lowest elevation is 900 metres (3,000 ft) above sea-level. The highest peak of the district Thadiyandamol, rises to 1,750 metres (5,740 ft), with Pushpagiri, the second highest, at 1,715 metres (5,627 ft). The main river in Kodagu is the Kaveri (Cauvery), which originates at Talakaveri and is the lifeline of Karnataka. This river is also called as 'Jeevanadi'.

Temple in Madikeri


Tadiandamol (Kannada: ತಡಿಯಂಡಮೋಳು) is the highest mountain peak of Kodagu district, Karnataka. It is the third highest peak in Karnataka(after Mullaianagiri and Kudremukh). It is located in the Western Ghats range, and reaches an elevation of 1,750 m. Thadiyandamol is a place of interest for trekkers and naturalists. 
The Nalaknad palace at the foothills is an important historical landmark.

The season's first Monsoon trek

From Madikeri, head towards Kakabbe. Proceed towards Bhagamandala and take a left deviation near Napoklu. The route is blessed with greenery and is an amazing place to ride.
The fresh rain had made the whole valley much greener.
At some places, the roads are quite narrow and filled with rocks. This is a real challenge to the bike rider. 

We reached the base around 4.45 PM. It was raining and the light had begun to recede. 

Though the trek does not require any permission, we had to ask permission for camping. There is no forest office nearby. Hence we took the permission of some local people near the base.

Misty evening

The trek is initially along a rocky path adjoining a farmland of coffee and arecanut plantations.

Thick forest
The lush green forest is a great source of inspiration.

Panorama - 1

The trail takes you through the vast expanse of the Shola forests, through endless lush green grasslands and streams. It is a day trek which makes it even more viable for city folks - whether avid trekkers or beginners. 

After trekking for 1 hour , we found a big rock en-route the peak. The cold winds, the poor visibility due to mist and the low light made us to pitch the tent near the huge rock and then calling it a day.

Pitching the tent

Pitching the tent was a difficult task for us, since there were many leeches around. If one leech was removed, two of them would have climbed over. Amidst this, the mist made the visibility poor that made us wonder about the Leeches on our body.
After a thorough inspection, we pitched the tent.
Once the tent was ready , we had our dinner. The dinner was packed Pulav and Jeera rice . Unfortunately, by the time we opened our packed food, it had turned to be a 'Pujeera' rice. Are you wondering what Pujeera means? It is a mixture of Pulav and Jeera rice. A new term coined by me :)

The tiredness and hunger made this as one of the best dinner amidst all odds.

We then talked about our school days, college days and hit the floor for a hard earned , deserving sleep.

Udaya Raaga

The Sunrise next day(May 17th) was one of the best moments I had seen till date. The mist and sun played 'Hide and Seek' . My camera played 'Click and Click'.

Hide and seek of sun

The sky was very dramatic and the moment turned out to be magical.


Golden sky

Getting ready for the final frontier

After packing the tent, we started to trek again. The trail takes us to a small elevation before we climb the mountain. The sholas on the way makes the trek exciting.

Rocky mountain

This stretch with easy gradient lasted for a while. It was exciting enough for us to repeatedly enter and exit the forest covers and the open grasslands. Halfway through the trail we got the first view of the Tadiandamol peak which seemed to be very near.

The Man and the mountain

The slope was getting steeper and the elevation was increasing. The photographer in me was stopping every now and then, to photograph the amazing landscape that surrounded us.

Emerald slopes

Blue peaks

Fascinating valley

Near, yet so far !!
We encountered another Shola before the peak. This was the second time we traversed a forest on this trail. This time it was greener, denser and steeper. Everything was in full bloom after the rains , we were a little reluctant while making way through the thick drooping foliage all around us. 

The path was Leech infected !!

Tranquil jungle path

The path was mostly rocky with lots of thick tree roots. The trail through forest was moderate, but the steep slopes made it pretty exhausting.  

Snaky roots


It took us another 20 minutes to cross this dense forest before we were out in the open again. After getting out, we realized that the shade of trees and the temperature drop inside the forest was better compared to the open grasslands. 

Peak is nearing

After climbing up this peak with excitement, we realized that the actual Thadiyandamol peak was behind the current peak that we climbed (above picture).

Above the clouds

There are not much Leeches here, but a particular type of insect gave us a lot of trouble . It looks like a robber fly, and sucks the blood of people. They come in large numbers and cover you. (Don't worry, its not dangerous). It bit us many times, and our blood became its food eventually.

 Panorama - 2

 View from the peak - 1

 View from the peak - 2

From the peak, there is a small path downwards. This leads to a different view of the same mountain ranges.

Nature at its best

 Wild Flower (Orchid ? )

We are not in an Airplane, but on the Thadiyandamol peak

The lonely cloud is far away,
The only bird has flown away,
I sit alone gazing at the Thadiyandamol peak,
We never get tired of each other, the Mountain and I

Sapphire mountains and the Emerald slopes

Panorama - 3


The descent was much quicker than expected. It took us around 2 hours of time to reach the bike.

" The only thing that disappointed me was the amount of garbage. Cleanliness has to start from within, which most so called 'Trekkers' don't understand.
I brought down a big bag of plastic wrappers/covers that was littered all around.

We reached Bangalore by 10.30 PM after getting completely drenched.

Some useful information

Location :   Kakkabe , near Madikeri

Distance from Bangalore : 270 KMS

Trek starting point : Nalaknad palace (four wheeler) , West wind cottage (two wheeler)

Trek difficulty Level : Moderate

Tadiandamol trek distance : 5 KMS (one side)

Tadiandamol peak height :  1750 m

Total time to trek : 6-8 hours (ascent and descent)

Camping site : At the foothills of the peak( a huge rock )

Best time to trekOct to Feb / Mid May to June (Before monsoon starts)
/*Avoid trekking in monsoons */ 

Permission : Not Required

Trekking fees : Nil

Route from Bangalore :

1. Bangalore - Maddur - Mandya - Srirangapatna - Yelawala - Hunsur - Kushalnagar - Madikeri - Kakkabe

2. Bangalore - Maddur - Mandya - Srirangapatna - Yelawala - Hunsur - Gonikoppa - Virajpet - Kakkabe

Tips for trekkers :

1. Respect Nature and Wildlife.
2. Do not litter the place.
3. Carry good amount of water and energy bars.
4. Take precaution against Leeches.
5. Be a responsible citizen and trekker. If you find plastics en-route, bring it along and dispose it in the waste bin situated near the base.

You may also contact Summiters Adventures, an adventure based company based in Bangalore. They organize treks to many offbeat places in the western ghats and in the remote Himalayan regions.

Hope you enjoyed the TrekLog
Happy Trekking
Thank you

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