This is part 2 of the drive to Kemmangundi from Bengaluru. Although this speaks exclusively about the trek, I highly recommend reading part 1 before you continue. Part 1 of this journey sets the context in which this trek happened. Hoping that you’ve read part 1, let’s jump right into the journey, shall we?
So as I robotically drove through the forest stretch, ideas of how to get out of my difficult situations in life started bombarding me. As I was slowly drowning in those ideas, evaluating each one for its merits, the meadows entered the scene and knocked some awareness into my head. Until then, every twist and turn of the ghat section showed a glimpse of the hills we were going to climb. But all hell broke loose when we reached the final stretch of the ghat road. On our left was a steep drop into the densest forests of Kemmangundi. Lush green for sure, but deadly.
But the best thing is that the entire mountain range we were gonna climb was right in front of us. We could see each peak distinctly from that final stretch of the road to Kemmangundi. It felt as if the mountains threw an open challenge, come find out which one is the Z Point. And within a split second amidst the faceoff, we reached the end of the road to Sri Krishna Rajendra Hill station, Kemmangundi.
Let The Hike To Z Point, Kemmangundi Begin
We parked the car and clicked a lot of pictures with the entire mountain range in the background. It was so childlike excitement because there aren’t many treks that I’ve been on where the peak is visible from the starting point itself. That certainly should be the truest definition of, “so close yet so far”. The start of the trail is through a park. Raja Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar walked in that park and now it is open to the public for recreational activities. One can even book a stay at the resort and immerse themselves in the beauty for a bit longer.
We started the trek through the park entrance. Until we reached there, the only sound my ears got used to was the car revving up and down. But the moment we entered the Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar park, the rustling leaves, the whistling wind and the chirps of birds perched on humongous trees took over. It would be an understatement to say, it was mesmerizing. Much of the initial stretch of the trail was covered under the canopy of decades-old trees. The trail goes by the recreational area of the Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar Park.
I could spot a children’s play area, a wooden bridge built over a water stream, a couple of fountains in the park. But what really caught my eyes were the statues of Seeta, a deer and Lakshmana (I guess), and a Ravana-like statue. The statues supposedly depicted the act of “Seetapaharanam” from the Indian epic of Ramayana. I couldn’t find any link between Kemmangundi and Rama’s trail during his exile and neither could google help me.
The Revelation On Kemmangundi Z Point Trek
We continued walking on the muddy trail, listening to the music of the greatest artist ever. Almost 15 minutes into the trail, the canopy of trees above us slowly started to disappear. We were back under the direct heat of the scorching sun. I made a squinting face looking at the sun and the sky. But I guess someone was testing me to check if I’d continue on the trail under that heat. Guess who got stumped. As we continued the hike, the stunning dense landscapes of the Kemmangundi forest area entered the scene.
The forest was so dense that for miles at once, we couldn’t even spot a single tree trunk, let alone a patch of ground. We continued the trek through this trail. I wasn’t sure if it was the scorching heat or I was weak from all the exercise I missed in the past few months, I was tired just 30 minutes into the trek.
And almost mysteriously, we heard the sound of a stream in front of us. We walked quickly towards it and there it was. A pitch-black stone wall stood in the background as the pearly white stream ran down it. We rested here for a while to catch some cold breeze. The water was fresh, so you could even fill your bottles if needed.
The trail ahead had enough shade, at least as far as my eyes could see at the time. So we continued walking after a 10-minute break at Shanti Falls on the Z Point trek.
The Grueling Climb En Route Z Point
Much of the Z point trekking trail until Shanti falls was flat.
The trail ahead of Shanti falls was covered under the shade of a canopy of trees. It didn’t take long for us to stop again. I think less than 10 minutes after Shanti falls, we stopped at a crossroad on the trail. Ahead of us were two trails. I didn’t have enough time to research the trail. So I was confused about which one to take. Luckily for us, we spotted three guys climbing down a trail on the right-hand side. So we assumed that was the right trail and took the right turn.
We stepped on the trail and realized it was steep all the way to the top. It was almost 20-30 degrees steep. I took a deep breath and started the climb. If the steep climb was one huge task, the scorching heat made it even more difficult. But like always, the harder the climb the better the view. So almost midway on the steep trail. We stopped to take a quick breather and some water. I casually turned around and noticed the stunning view of Kemmangundi forest.
The next half of the trail was exhausting for me. It has been many months since I last worked out. My physical activity had hit rock bottom over the past couple of months as I was just sitting and typing all day.
But at that point in time, I felt reaching the peak could be a small win I could give myself. I mean that’s how huge successes start as. A teeny-tiny bit of effort to conquer a small peak and you continue pushing yourself. What do you know, within no time you’re on the Everest.
The Final Push To The Peak In Kemmangundi
So I pushed and pushed myself hard. After a 25 minute grueling climb, we reached the peak. I sighed and threw my bag aside that by now was feeling like a boulder sitting on my back. We started exploring the peak. The peak was a cliff and there was a 70-80ft drop straight into the forest down below.
My phone beeped and I picked it up. It was a notification from Zomato. I swiped it left on the notification but somehow my fingers went straight to the maps icon. I opened maps and checked if we reached the right peak then I clicked on the dot to reset the pin to my current location. The point where we were didn’t have any name. That’s not right, my mind whispered. I panned the map slightly towards the left and found a trail marked on google maps.
The name of the trail as per google maps – Z Point trail and lead straight to another mountain top i.e Z Point. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and informed others that we were on the wrong peak. I pointed my finger towards a peak in the distance and said, “There, that is the Z point”.
The right trail was indeed the wrong one. I went ahead from my current position to see if we could jump onto the right trail and reach Z point. But there were a lot of boulders between the trail and us. So we decided to drop that plan.
The Cave Lunch At Kemmangundi
Although it was the wrong destination. The peak was very rewarding. The peak offered uninterrupted views of the forest and villages we drove through. Not just that, there was another peak on our right-hand side whole face resembled a panther. I tried posing for some Black Panther kind of stills ;).
During our exploration of the peak, we randomly climbed down the rock we sat on. Right below the rock where we sat, there was a cave. Finally, someone answered our desperate pleas to save us from the scorching heat. The moment we entered the shade of the cave, a cold breeze swept off our faces. And surprisingly, it was shivering cold within no time. My hands were shaking once I washed my hands for lunch. After a quick lunch break, we decided to explore the peak on the right side. The trail was clear and it didn’t appear very far, although the trail was steep.
Once everyone reached the second peak, we started the climb down. Climbing down the steep slope was even tougher. We literally crawled like spiders but with our stomachs up like the girl from exorcist. Once we got down the slope, it was a walk in the park and everyone reached back to the parking space without a scratch.
A Failed Attempt At Exploring Hebbe Falls
Chandan drove the car on the way back and after two hairpin bends, we stopped at the Hebbe falls entry point. Hebbe falls is a stunning cascading falls in the western ghats. The falls are about 10 kms from the main road private vehicles were not allowed as it was a tiger reserve. Travelers are expected to take the jeeps that ferry you back and forth. The jeeps cost about 3200. You could pay it up and go alone or wait for 7 more people to join. We were already five and were waiting for more people to join. 10 minutes passed and no one came. Around the 15th minute, a couple arrived. We asked them if they wanted to join. They agreed but we were running short of time. So I told them we won’t stay there for long. Probably half an hour at the maximum and they didn’t agree. It takes about 40 minutes to reach and visitors are allowed to stay for 1 hour and come back. So overall it was a 2.5 hours affair.
We waited for a while but in the end gave up on that plan and drove down the lush green ghat roads. Once we reached the foot of the hills, we saw a board that read, “Kallathgiri Falls”. Maybe this was part of the grand plan to let us witness at least one waterfall in this trip. So we decided to pay a visit. Coffee plantations surrounded the road. We reached the parking spot within no time. I was surprised to see a number of cars parked in there. Then I saw people walking on roads in wet clothes. We walked further ahead on the road and saw carts selling coconuts and it struck me that it is a temple.
Kallathgiri Falls Exploration
Since our uncle passed away a year ago, I and my brother weren’t supposed to go to temples. So there is a small stream that runs down the hill and over a man-built wall. The wall had god statues built into them to make the water look like it is coming from the feet of the god. The water then runs over the pathway to the temple before disappearing into the forest. The water on the road provides the pilgrims with a way to clean themselves before entering the temple. So we decided to explore the place while the others stood in line to pray the god.
We climbed a small staircase built at the edge of the wall. A small trail starts out leading into the forest. We continued walking and spotted many pilgrims partying and bathing in the upstream water. A 5-minute walk later, we reached the end of the trail. There was a tiny water stream piercing through huge rocks. We clicked a couple of pictures and joined the others.
It was 5 PM when we left Kallathgiri waterfalls. We were roughly 270 KMs away from Bangalore. We thought we’d anyway reach midnight, so why not explore more places. So we decided to explore Amrutheshwara temple in Amruthapura before reaching Bangalore. The temple is so mesmerizing that it needs a dedicated blog post for itself.
And with that i concluded the much needed, refreshing trip to Kemmangundi. Hope you enjoyed the drive. Let me know in the comments below 😀
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