About 250 kms. from Bangalore (Bengaluru), situated in the Western Ghats, lies Coorg, also known as Kodagu. It is sometimes called the Scotland of India, probably for its misty green slopes and lush forests. Thadiyandamol is the highest peak in Coorg at an elevation of 1750 meters.
We, a team of 15 including some fresh college students and guided by Dev Balaji of Nature Admire , started from Bangalore on a friday evening and reached Virajpet in the morning. After having a light break fast we travelled to the foot hills, packed our lunch and started to climb by around 9.
It was a gradual slope and weather was nice with occasional drizzle. The path was lush green with water spots every now and then. We reached our base camp before noon, a small estate outhouse.
After having some food, we set off to see a small stream, with a small cascade of water fall. And this was the most exciting part of the trek. Rain started pouring in and leeches were on their prowl. It didnt take us much time to spot a couple of leeches on our shoes and voila ... they were everywhere ...
... and the worst part was that we were terribly unprepared. Most of us had taken salt packets with us, but didnt care to bring it for this walk. And we paid the price. Soon, everybody was frantically trying to remove leeches from their shoes, socks and dress. The pleasure trip and the beautiful valley turned out to be a night mare for most. Most went back with a handful of leeches. Some were blooding profusely and it lasted for a long time.
well ... the night was peaceful with a pack of cards (and dozens of card games) a bit of cooking, a light dinner and a sound sleep. Some had already decided to skip the big day ahead.
Anyways ... a handful of us decided to take on leeches and rain. Got up early morning and started of to climb Thadiyandamol by around 7.00. All equipped with salt and odomos (i thought that was innovative ... did it work ?) and tied with salt pads around the shin. We had a great day ahead.
We had to go downhill for almost an hour, crossed a couple of streams in between. A couple of leeches were spotted and there was a very small drizzle throughout.
Couple of places with clear water and we refilled some of the empty water bottles. Yeah .... did u spot the doggie in the photo in the snap just below this. He was with us from the beginning !!!
Well everything went on smoothly till the climb started. We all slowed down once the climb started. The climb was not very steep though, but needless to say the path was extremely beautiful and soon we could site the lush green misty mountain top.
We made couple of stops in between, enjoyed the beauty of the mountain ranges and slowly climbed on.
Soon, we reached a beautiful valley surrounded by misty mountains. The mist and wind was so heavy that the mountain top may be visible for a moment, but soon will get clouded. And it was lush green everywhere.
We settled down on top of a small rock and had our break fast. Well ... we deserved a nice break and some food. And due to the mist we were in two minds whether to climb on or not. But, atlast we decided to go ahead.
The food and the lethargy introduced by that break, we all turned a little cold. On top of that the climb was considerably steep from now onwards and the mist too heavy.
It took us considerable time and effort to reach the top. With just another peak to scale we settled for another short break and most of the group gave up there.
But, couple of us could not resist the temptation to 'be on top' and we continued for the last frontier. And we had an unexpected companion. The doggie which accompanied us all this way !!!!
yeah ... at last on top .... we did have to rush back to others, but not before taking a couple of snaps from the high points :)
We went down soon and joined others to start our walk back.
Couple of last looks to the top ... couple of photos and we were back in the valley.
Still savouring the beautiful moments spent on top of Thadiyandamol we continued to descend, camped on the way and prepared lunch and reached back by 2'o clock noon.
Well ... there is more to the story like the sweet story telling moments to those who stayed back and missed all the adventure, the return journey to the place where the vehicle is placed and the cozy dinner in Mysore (Mysuru). Followed by the bad feeling that you get while saying bye to everybody and hoping to meet them later on. But when we reached back in Bangalore by around midnight what stayed mostly in the mind was the misty lush green mountain tops of coorg. It was indeed a trek to remember.
We did another trek to Thadiyandamol four years later. This time, we hired a tempo traveller and booked accomodation @ 'Honey valley', recommended by Pravin & Nisha. 'Honey valley' is @ Yavakapady near Kakkabe, the starting point for Thadiyandamol trek. To reach Yavakapady / Kakkabe, one has to head towards Virajpet (via Mysore - Hunsur - Gonikoppal from Bangalore) and then take Madikeri road from Virajpet. 4 kms in the Virajpet - Madikeri road, just after a bridge, Kakkabe / Yavakapady road goes to the left. At Yavakapady bus stop we were picked up by Mr Suresh Chengappa on his 4-WD Bolero. We had booked the dormitory here and only when I reached the room, I realized that we had stayed @ the same place four years back, when we came here with Dev Balaji!
The trek was as good as last time, though we took a li'l more time! The route from Honey valley to Thadiyandamol took us about 6 hrs! We started the trek @ about 10, equipped with a guide and packed lunch arranged @ Honey valley. It drizzled almost throughout the trek and misty all around making it a beautiful trek. At about 1.30, we reached the base camp and had lunch. This is the same place we had breakfast during the last trek. This is a good location for camping and for food break, equipped with dust bin (guess, maintained by the forest dept.) and a lake. Thadiyandamol peak is abt 1.5 - 2 hrs from here. It started pouring while we were having lunch and the remaining part of the trek was done in heavy rains!
After reaching the peak, I realized that the place we stopped last time, was just off the actual peak. by abt 100m! Infact, I even remembered seeing the hill looking a li'l taller on one side :( Anyways, never mind ... that only made the second time trek a li'l more sweet :) Our guide told us that the peak offers a good view of the far away towns on clear days. Thadiyandamol also happens to be very close to the Kerala border with the valley on side belonging to Kerala state.
Main road near Kakkabe is only abt one hr descend from the base camp and we managed to reach the main road before it was dark. @ the main road we took a jeep to head back to Honey Valley. The jeep ride was also a good reminder to me that the distances have now started looking more and more. We had taken the jeep track from Yavakapady bus stop to Honey valley on foot last time. This time even the bumpy ride in the jeep seemed a li'l tiresome!