Kurinjal Peak Trek Near Kudremukh National Park
- February 20, 2020
- Tanushekha Agnihottri
When I woke up on Friday morning, I read a text from my roommate that she might not be able to go for Kurinjal Peak trek as she injured her knee last night. The moment I read it I ran across the hall and knocked on her door. The next hour I was calculating all the pros and cons of going for the trek with strangers. I’ve gone for trekking with strangers but every time it tingles my mind somehow. Still in the process of getting used to it. The dilemma remained the same until my roommate somehow agreed to come along.
The idea of trekking excites me much but the little introvert kid inside me was a bit nervous. Well, we were sitting all relaxed with our bags packed when Danish, the host for the upcoming adventure, dropped a text on WhatsApp group asking everyone to prepone their scheduled pick up time by 30 minutes. And all of a sudden my brain started thinking about n number of left-over tasks before I could leave.
I quickly grabbed my dinner, booked a cab, and flew to the pick-up point only to find that Danish and bus were still stuck in Bangalore Traffic. After waiting for almost 20 minutes the bus arrived (yeah Bangalore traffic sucks) and the journey started.
The journey from Bangalore to the Homestay at Balgal
So, this time I tagged along with Muse Community, check them out on Instagram and follow to get updates about weekend getaways. Luckily this time people in the group were either friends beforehand or friends of friends. You know something like the whirlpool effect, the connection goes on and on. Everyone was chatting, a few of them were meeting for the second time and there was a lot to catch up on. A usual bus journey with people chatting, eating and goofing around. And then as we all know the biggest icebreaker is this famous game called “Mafia”. A game I always try to skip but this time in vain.
I tried to understand the game but turned out that people around me were already a master in the game, so it was quite difficult for me to catch up. Then there were rounds of songs where our host played his ukulele to keep the boredom away. And slowly everyone dozed off not because of the music. LOL. But when everyone realized that the next day was going to be long and tiring.
I remember when I woke up in the morning and peeped outside the window I was mesmerized by the view. Hills make me happy; they really do. The greenery all around the curvy roads and the clear sky away from city life chaos are something I always run after. And I said to myself “I am so glad I didn’t drop my plan.”
Balgal River Homestay
There is a little town called Balgal on NH56 on the way towards Kudremukh Peak. Many of the trekkers prefer to stay in the town where you can find good options for accommodations. Kudremukh base camp is approx. 11 KM and Kurinjal Peak base camp is 18 KM from the town.
View from the Homestay. Pic Courtesy @Tushar
Our trek host had arranged accommodation at Balgal Homestay which is situated at banks of the Bhadra River. And to reach the homestay was an adventure in itself. We covered 15 minutes distance on a big bus through the narrow muddy trail. The bus was too big for the trail, brushing off the trees and bumping over the muddy breakers in between. We finally reached our homestay; a big house amidst the hills, a river gushing down nearby, an open field and warm-hearted hosts. The view was spectacular, and I already started to imagine how awesome it’s gonna be at night. We all went to our rooms to freshen up and had breakfast before leaving for the base camp. The food was awesome, we got our packed lunch boxes as well.
Kurinjal Peak Trek
The total distance of the trek is 14 KM. If you’re a beginner, Kurinjal Trek is the best option for the start as it falls under the category of moderate treks. You might find the last leg of the trek a bit difficult as it’s a steep climb to the top. Otherwise, all you need is to hike through the terrains while watching nature slowly unfolding in front of your eyes. The terrain goes from inside the Kudremukh National Park, you will need a permit from the forest department to take up this trek. The lofty trees inside the forest protected us from the sun but at the same time we found sun rays passing through the canopies; that view was enchanting.
Our host, Danish continuously played the ukulele and many of us considered it as a source of motivation to keep moving ahead. “Please keep singing. This trek is like musical chairs. If the music stops I’m sitting immediately ”, said someone very aptly.
While Hiking through terrain inside Kudremukh National Park.
Reaching the Peak of Kurinjal
The view from the peak was captivating my senses in a truly magical way. As I sat at the cliff, I could feel the strong winds that touched my soul. You know how it feels when you could finally spare some time for your self and especially after a crazy month at work. That’s how it felt, pacifying all my stress demons.
There were few other people as well apart from our group of 22. And everyone enjoyed the kind of aura our host Danish had created using his ukulele. Everyone chose their cosy corners at the peak. A bunch of beautiful people singing, laughing, chatting & living in the moment. I love how such places make you forget about all the worries for a while. And Kurinjal peak was one of the places for me. We started to descend from the peak, people in the group were now more familiar with each other. “It’s not difficult to turn strangers into a friend”, an introvert kid inside me thought while chatting with newly made friends.
The Brook near Kurinjal Peak
On our way back, as promised by the host we halted at the brook. The brook that seized all the eyeballs and people just couldn’t wait to plunge into it after a long trek. The water was cool and all of us hopped on stones to take a natural spa. A few of us were playing with the pebbles and it reminded me of childhood days when I used to play the same game of throwing the pebbles far away and the person who throws it to the longest distance wins. I wish we still can win over things just by throwing pebbles in the water !!!
Well after spending some more time near the Brooke we all started to move ahead towards our bus.
Brook at the foothills of Kurinjal.
The Bridge I still can’t get over
On our way back to the homestay, we stopped somewhere in the middle. Our host told us that there was a bridge and it’s worth to see it. And indeed it was a suspension bridge right above the river Bhadra. Rusty metal cables holding the bridge intact which leads to a village area across the river and also a great place to watch the sunset. I loved it. Look at this beautiful picture below.
Hanging Bridge at Bhadra River, Ambateerta, Karnataka.
After an action-packed day at Kurinjal Peak, we came back to the homestay. Our homestay’s hosts have prepared hot potato fritters served with a delicious chutney, and tea was just like a cherry on the top. Right after that, our group gathered at the ground to play some games. I was tired for the day, or maybe I had enough human interaction since morning. So, I decided to spend some time alone doing nothing but gazing at the stars. I miss those twinkles in the city sky. While people played games, hosts were preparing for the bonfire.
The bonfire was set up just beside the river; you can hear the gushing water. What else we could’ve done, so everyone agreed to play Antakshari. I think it’s kinda rare nowadays when we all sit and just sing the night away.
Elaneeru falls- Private Jacuzzi
The next day in the morning we packed our bags and left for Elaneeru Falls. The plan was to visit the waterfall before leaving for Bangalore as it was only a few kilometres away from the homestay. Elaneeru falls are confined by misty mountains inside a forest area in the Western Ghats. To reach the waterfall you have to hike for around 2 KM. The last few meters are a steep climb upwards and soon you’ll find yourself standing beside the falls. Serenity permeates all around only interrupted by the sound of the waterfalls.
The water was extremely refreshing and cold. We stood right under the waterfall to feel the real thunder when water banged our heads with its force. It also acted as a natural massage to our aching muscles. And the fun part was except for our group there were no other trekkers and we treated the falls as our private jacuzzi.
Soulful Elaneeru Falls, Karnataka
All Good Things Come to an End but the Next Experience Awaits
The last two days went by in a blink of an eye for me. I had decided to go for Kurinjal Peak trek at the very last moment I wasn’t expecting much apart from breaking my mundane routine. But it turned out to be an exciting experience and all because of wonderful management by the hosts at Muse Community. Everything was so well planned out, I loved how they included all offbeat places in the itinerary.
I met passionate people who are so good at photography, writing, singing, designing and share the same enthusiasm for travelling. Just the right mix of people and places at the right time. No doubt that you’re going to read more about Muse Community here as I am going back again for a weekend getaway with them.
Also, Muse not only conducts these weekend getaways but also various interesting Workshops, House Concerts, Game nights, Artist Collaborations, and other offbeat events in Bangalore every week. So if you’re interested in bringing back your love for long lost hobbies do follow them on Instagram & YouTube.