I have a hazy memory of me standing at one of the view points in Chikkamagalur holding my sister’s hand and the elders identifying a faraway hill as Kudremukh from the shape of the hill.
When I did travel to Kudremukh, I was mesmerized as always in my beloved Western Ghats. Kudremukh means face of a horse and it is also known as Samseparvata as it can be approached by Samse village. This is another gem of a place in the Western Ghats situated at 1,894 m (6,214 ft) above sea level. It receives generous rain to sustain the Shola forests and the grasslands. The whole region is painted in different hues of Green and a visitor cannot stop exclaiming at the beauty of the rolling hills.
Kudremukha was known for the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) run by the Government. Environmentalists fought with the government to stop the operations as it was ruining the environment in the region. It has been ten plus years since the company stopped its operations.
There is a grim reminder of the bustling society that once was a home to the many workers deputed in Kudremukha.
Why do you think that the environmentalists took up the cudgels against the government to stop the mining operations? It is because of the rich eco-system that exists in this place, where wild animals, exotic birds, co-exists with a variety of insects, butterflies, reptiles, and amphibians. Abundant flora gives refuge to these lives to thrive and breed.
The British noticed the abundance of wildlife and declared it as a Reserved Forest in 1916 and in 1987 it was declared as a Tiger Reserve. The reserve is spread over 600 square kilometers.
Animals like Malabar Civet, Wild Dogs, Sloth Bear, Gaur, Sambar, Wild Pig, Muntjac, Lion Tailed Macaque, Spotted deer, Tiger, Leopard, Barking Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrels, Flying Squirrels, Porcupines, Mongoose, Venomous Snakes, and Wild Dogs roam the forests here.
The origin of the three rivers Tunga, Bhadra, and Nethravathi is from the hills of Kudremukh. As in all places beautiful beyond imagination, a cave shrine is present here dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathi and a 6 feet statue of Lord Varaha.
The moist evergreen forests nurture wild exotic Orchids, Ferns, Mosses, and Lichens.
Around 13 trekking routes in Kudremukh attract amateur to professional trekkers to this place. Best time to visit is from October to May.
Interesting places around:
Bhagavathi and Varaha Cave Temple
Radha Krishna Temple
Type of place: Hill station
Situated: Chikkamagalur District, Karnataka
Distance: 48 Kms from Karkala, 20 Kms from Kalasa, 130 Kms from Mangalore
Transport: Well connected by road
Facilities: Resorts, nature camps, guest house run by government are available.
Permits can be obtained from Kuduremukha town, at the Reserve Forest Office, opposite the Police Station. It costs Rs200 for the permit and Rs75 as trekking fees, with which they shall arrange a trekking guide if there’s a group of people.