Rs. 7000 locked in Sagar’s Thrillophilia account and expiring in August! That struck me every day. Due to none of his fault, the money was locked which had to be utilised at any cost! Come on Its huge money! We started checking in Thrillophilia on where to go! Really did not want to spend on resort stay, please! So the only option which pleased was a trek to western ghats – Tadiandamol trek! I said yes at first! But it was monsoon, with that comes leeches all over! I mean you must already be knowing that I have vermiphobia and leeches always seemed a nightmare to me, that’s the reason I never attempted to trek in Monsoon! Well, I had no choice, somehow Sagar convinced me in infinite ways, finally, he said to me to overcome the fear and face it!
Besides, I asked other friends, few of them frightened more. Most of them told me one thing – Fear of leeches should not stop you from conquering another peak in its best time. Well, well, well! It sounded all easy when they said! But my mind started checking for all preventive measures against leeches. I bought leech socks, tobacco, lime, eucalyptus oil and what not! Well, I was ready to fight against those creepy creatures! Finally, all set and we booked the tickets through Thrillophilia! Phew, this was the background story on planning Tadiandamol trek!
Brief on Tadiandamol trek
Tadiandamol is the highest peak of Kodagu district, Karnataka, India. The third highest peak in Karnataka and reaches an elevation of 1,748 m. A place of interest for trekkers and naturalists. The mountain has patches of shola forests in the valleys.
The Journey to Tadiandamol trek
We boarded the bus from MG road at around 11 pm. Maybe this is the first time we were on a trip with 22 unknown folks. A brief introduction of everyone served as an ice breaker and made us familiar. We dozed off to sleep. Early morning my alarm rang at 5:30 am (which I always snooze 😛 )Well, I just slid the curtains to see the monsoon magic of Kodagu! The beautiful coffee plantations, isolated estates, homes with slanted red roof tiles, water streams and bridges, the drizzling rains, the greenery which has lived through all of these. Well, It can only be experienced! the typical western ghats never failed to amaze me.
The base camp of Tadiandamol trek
At 6:30 am, we reached the Coffee country homestay which is on Palace road, Yevakapadi. The homestay was basic with homemade food. But the location was really beautiful offering views of coffee estates and the cascading hills. We freshened up and had breakfast. As already stated, I was all set with leech proof socks and applied whatever I had got to repel leeches. Everyone was staring at the leech proof socks and also they were getting doubtful whether it would be that scary after seeing my grad preparation! After having breakfast, we boarded the bus at 9:15 am to reach the base camp Govt school (can be started early) I would like to divide the trek to different stages for precise information.
Govt school to Viewpoint – Tadiandamol trek – Phase 1
After a drive of 15mins from the homestay, we reached the base camp which is Govt school at 9:30 am. The school reminded me of the scenes of Malgudi days, it was typically a beautiful Malnad school! We counted the people and with basic instructions from the trek leader, we started to trek. The terrain we get here is mostly road. We started hiking on this road with occasional water streams along the way. Water is really tasty, but be careful on fierce streams (also it’s a home for leeches)We can also scale this stretch with a jeep which takes 100 per head or so and drops till the viewpoint.
After a hike of around 45mins, At 10:20 am we reached the first viewpoint. The view was great and beautiful. But once you reach the peak, you feel this view was minimal! Between there is a small pit shop here to have tea or coffee in between and also at the viewpoint.
Viewpoint to the forest office – Tadiandamol trek – Phase 2
This stretch is mostly a shallow forest with mud trail and river shallow river crossings. 10:50 am we reached the forest office. It is strictly prohibited to camp anywhere in the forest trails. We registered with the forest department with name and phone number and paying a trekking fee of 300Rs per head. The forest department just told not to leave the trail and return before sunset because there were elephant sighting last night. Everyone was worried about elephants, but I was the only one who was worried about leeches. We also have a pit stop here to have Maggi and tea. And a washroom also. Now we got the permissions and we entered the forest trails.
Forest office to the camping site – Tadiandamol trek – Phase 1
The forest trails were narrow for few meters and then The forest trail unleashed the real beauty of Tadiandamol. The beautiful grasslands accompanied us giving breathtaking views. Water streams on the way made us quite fresh. At 11:20 we reached the Hunters rock. There is the last source of water here. We saw fresh elephant dung everywhere and remembered what forest officer said to us. You know what with all these there were some hallucinations of Elephants roar in my mind 😀 I saw my first batch of leeches on a leaf stretching themselves to find warm blood. I just closed my eyes and did not stop anywhere. Well, I felt they were so tiny and they would really need time to get into the shoes. But they don’t know how well I was prepared! 😛
Camping site to Shola forest stretch – Tadiandamol trek – Phase 3
The ascend becomes a little steep and the terrain Is mostly rocky. As we ascended the view got better and better. From here we get a few great viewpoints and amazing views which looked beautiful. At 12:40 we actually entered the forest stretch
Forest stretch – Tadiandamol trek – Phase 4
The forest stretch here is the shola forest. Dense and thick forest with little sunlight reaching the ground. This stretch is mostly 1 km 10mins but is really steep and the terrain is mostly slippery and roots bridges but the trees. It’s a home for numerous leeches. This is where they attack you! So be careful to ascend at a good pace and breathe sufficiently so not to get tired. I got exhausted during this stretch as it was steep and I was literally hurrying to escape from the leeches. Do check your shoes after you get out of the forest stretch. Don’t keep checking while on the forest stretch that would just give an opportunity for more leeches to suck on you.
Forest stretch to the peak – Tadiandamol trek – Phase 5
After the forest stretch at 12:40, all that we have scale is 20mins to reach the peak. This stretch is a little steep but can be scaled at a slow pace. We finally reached the peak with light drizzle. We saw so much crowd at the peak. National flag and State flag were flying so gracefully, which made me proud! Also on myself that I have accomplished. Since it was too crowded, I moved the other side of the peak and found a rock to sit on and relax. I removed the leech proof socks and was happy that it has saved me from leeches. With so much happiness I enjoyed the views of sprawling hills and lush green grasslands. No words to describe. It is true that the best view comes after the hardest climb. I enjoyed the packaged food and spent some great moments at the peak.
At 2:20 we started descending. The descend is better if you have good trek shoes and trek pole. Invest in them. We put on our raincoats as it started raining while coming back. We took a good amount of time while descending and we reached the government school at 5:50 pm and boarded the bus and went to the homestay. Many of us faced a headache after coming back that’s due to dehydration. The climate was moist and we generally do not feel to drink water, but the body is continuously physically challenged, which would demand more water intake. So have more water. as you trek. We had a sumptuous dinner. After dinner, we all started playing mafia, it was my first time and I was too bad at it. Then we started with ghost stories. I really get scared from the stories of Klint and his grandmother, the black magic of Pooja and poor stories by Poola. We called it night after 1 pm. Next day, we had plans to visit the Golden temple. We fell off to good sleep. Stay tuned for the next post.
- Where? – Tadiandamol is located in Kodagu district (300kms from Bengaluru). Drive to Kodagu and reach any homestay in Yevakapadi.
- Difficulty level? – Easy to moderate. Trek terrain is well defined and any first-timer can easily trek with good trek shoes. Its is 6km uphill + 6kms downhill.
- Best time to visit? – Monsoons can be really great because of the rich greenery. Winters are also good to trek Tadiandamol due to the pleasant climate. Avoid summers.
- Camping allowed? – Camping is not allowed anywhere on the trail. You gotta come back to homestay before sunset.
- Trek permissions? – To be taken from the forest office by paying trek fees of Rs.300 per head
- Trek gear required? – Good pair of trek shoes, trek pole, raincoat in monsoon is recommended.
- Water sources? – They are many streams on the way. The last stream is near the camping site/ hunters rock.
- Nearby places? – Golden temple, Chelvara falls, Iruppu falls.
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