Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cool Coorg:Trek to Tadiandamol

Blame it on Thursday! Yes, because that was the night we decided to disappear from the IISc campus and travel to Tadyandamol. If you give a google search you will surely land up on hundreds of pages delivering a tons of details about Tadiandamol. Hence, it is quite evident that the place must be infested with trekkers. It was not a good news because most of the times we become busy in collecting the plastics or other junks ‘sensible’ trekkers throws on the way, but we had a different plan, we wanted to travel to Coorg by bike. It wasn’t easy job since it was 300 km away from Bengalooru and major part of it was a travel on the hills. Santanu is a able rider and was too confident about making it happen. Hence we caught a couple of hours of sleep and started out journey towards Kodagu district in Coorg.

There are different routes to reach Tadiandamol. For the first route one can take a right diversion just after Srirangpattanam on the Bangalore-Mysore highway and travel towards Virrajpet, this route goes via Gonikoppal and Honsur. Once you are in Virrajpet you have to take a left to reach Kakkabe. It is near 25 km from Virrajpet. Kakkabe is well connected to Virrajpet, though Bangalore is not so well connected to Virrajpet. The second route is to go to Madikere and from there you can come to Kakkabe through Betaagiri and Nopoklu. This distance is 37 km. Madikere is well connected by bus from Bangalore. Once you reach Kakkabe you have to look for the Palace! It’s not a very big one but this was sort of a mile stone from where you start your trek towards Tadiandamol.

We took the Virajpet route and reached near Kakkabe around 12:30 p.m. We did not stop anywhere except for asking for the route, Jackies’s steady hands made the travel a comfortable one. We had couple of plans, either to stay at the hills or reach Madikere and stay there. Near Kakkabe there are many Coffee estates which provide ‘home stay’ accommodation. We had planed for one such place called Honey valley next to Kabinikad post office, but it was not possible to take bike up there hence we started looking for some other place, there is another place called Palace Estate near the Palace, it’s a beautiful place but very costly on our standards. Then we found a place slightly cheaper than the other cottages. Most of the cottages there bear a sign board but not this one! You can identify it as the cottage just next to a motel called Coffee County and named as Twins Cottage. Mr. Ashok and his wife allow people the stay there and provide nice food too. We paid for both of us around Rs. 800/- for two days. It was a nice place and we found a shelter, now we had to arrange for our next days’ provisions for the trek. We decided to travel to Madikeri. The road which took us to Madikeri wasn’t the kind through which we traveled till then, it was quite worse, lots of hairpin curves, so it took us more than an hour to reach Madikeri. We had nice lunch there, it was good and cheap, and since we had time we had decided to travel to Abbi falls. Its not far from Madkeri, the road was good and picturesque for the forest and hills. We both had visited Abbi falls earlier so not much charm was left for us, still it was nice to come back to find the same place. I came here with our TMS gang, and had a major game session in the open field near the Abbi falls, unfortunately that open area is no longer existing, there are plantation, its hard to find that beautiful grass meadow. Then we started back to Kakkabe, it took us 1 hr. from Madikere to kakkabe and it was already dark when we came back to the warm shelter.

Kodagu district welcomed us after we crossed the Mysore industrial area; the forest check post announced the area to be under Rajiv Gandhi National Park. The Road was beautiful; wide 4 track black tar road was tearing apart the green forest which soon ended up in the coffee plantation area. The area appeared to be quite rich; we were in Coorg after all. The beautiful coffee estates were really a treat to watch, from Virrajpet the road turns up to the hill and nice valleys started appearing on the screen. Kakkabe is a very small village, typical Coorgy in nature. The Mahindra jeeps and different attires of females will surely catch your attention. The hospitality from Mr. Ashok and his wife was really praiseworthy.

Thick mist covered the whole valley in the morning with chill piercing through the flesh that led us to start bit late for the trek. The breakfast at the house was quite heavy and we, at once, realized that it would take time to digest, but again I liked the coffee more. From this twins cottage we had to travel to the Palace. My imagination ran t wild but this palace was a small one and enough to disappoint me. So we practically started walking from there. There was a tar road where it was possible to travel by Jeep, but we walked; calm steady and experienced legs were moving at a speed we are so used to. The tar road is through a rain forest covered hill and goes by the side of a small stream; we were thoroughly enjoying the silence. The trek rout is very clear; in fact it is possible to travel by jeep for one third of the trek route. The tar rod stretches for 3 km and then the mud road starts, there are diversions on the way but the trekking rout was quite clear. After crossing couple more streams we could see a glimpse of Tadiandamol peak. We were right in guessing that it will be almost 6 km away from the end of the tar road. So we continued our journey on this bright winter morning though the endless grass land, cool breeze and nice sun kept our tempo up. After one hour of walk we stood near a big stone and decided upon further journey details! Once we started climbing up the wind started gaining speed. The chill wind became unbearable after half way climb, till we entered the jungle. This trail for trek never enters the forest except a small part and I can assure you these are the dense most forest in Western Ghats, once you are lost inside, it requires GPS or a mobile phone to track you down. 10 min walk inside the forest was enough to give us this feeling. It was very similar to the one we experienced during our trek to Agumbe. The time we reached near the peak it was too windy. We reached the peak around 10:30 a.m., it was breath taking, if there is a place called heaven, I sure it wont be better than this. We chatted for a while there; gossiping at 1748 meters was a rare opportunity. Airtel welcomed us to Kerala with a full network signal in the cell phone at the peak; it was a worse feeling to be in touch with the world even there. There were many smaller peaks near Tadiandamol and the wind was not allowing us to sit there, we started climbing down and planned to climb up the other peaks near Tadiandamol. It was too early for lunch. We had our lunch on a rocky hill. It was standard lunch, cucumber! We couldn’t eat the bread or tomatoes we took with us. So it was time to climb down, we had a plan to travel to Madikere again have some time spent there. It was December 16th, Saturday, we expected a crowed there but fortunately not many trekkers around. We walked back to the foot of the hill and cleaned ourselves in a small stream inside the forest. We reached the palace around 2:30 p.m. since Jackie was insisting we went to see the palace, it was disappointed and I was happy that now visitors are not allowed inside. There is a school near to the palace and I saw some kids playing some game, I took the picture, can you guess what was the game? Hockey!!! and among that gang a small girl was playing better than her boy mates. Surely IHF will have a moral boosting. Night was calm at Kakkabe, Mr. Ashok’s and his hospitality again touched us. It was a beautiful experience staying with them. Jacike’s steady hands on the bike made the 300 km journey like a 20 km one; the tough roads didn’t affect him and his driving much. The bike did not give much trouble either. We came back to Bangalore by 3:00 p.m to witness India’s fight back in South Africa and my usual place where everyone was worried and complaining for disappearing without any information and there was somebody oblivious to all the happennings.

Some more pics


shash said...

hi Santonu..
Could u please gimme the contact number to secure accommodation for the tadiandamol trek???

divvvvvvvvvvvvvs said...

hi santonu.... can u give me ur phone no. i ll call u ..... can u mail ur phone no. to diwu_s@rediffmail.com, or give me ar ring i ll calll up u... 9844264608 plzzzz.....

Anonymous said...

hi Santonu..
Could u please gimme the contact number to secure accommodation for the tadiandamol trek

my ph no 9448848358


eMAIL- biswadeepdutta23@gmail.com