Kumara Parvatha is an alluring peak which is part of the Pushpagiri mountain range in the Western Ghats, located in Coorg. Surrounded by dense forest, the trek to the peak is both challenging and aesthetically pleasing.
Our trip to Kumara Parvatha got off to a turbulent start which involved an altercation with the railway staff. Our initial plan was to reach the base train station, spend the night there and start the trek early the next morning. But things didn’t go according to plan when the staff at the railway station didn’t treat us very well. Feeling empowered by a helpline number displayed on the wall coupled with our teenage adrenaline, we decided to give the helpline a call. To our surprise, they responded in a matter of minutes. Standing outside the station master’s office fresh off the phone call with the Railways helpline, we heard the phone ring inside the office and the station master’s seemingly frantic conversation with the caller. We were then summoned inside the office to have our tickets taken away from us and angrily told to find a place to stay in the local city. One of my friends even went so far as to secretly record this misconduct on his phone, hiding his phone as if conducting a sting operation. Unable to take any further action, we retired and finally found refuge in the Kukke Subramanya temple. Even though we were unsuccessful in our motives, our adventure began with a comical story of ‘us versus the system’, and so our spirits were still soaring.
The trek itself was nothing short of breathtaking. As we trekked through the day, we slowly rose above the clouds and the result of our altitude gains soon started seeming like heaven. It was breathtaking. But this view came at a cost. The altitude and distance was taking a toll on us and as a result, our pace was decreasing. Added to this, the sun was descending rapidly. We wanted to avoid trekking in the dark, and since time was of the essence, we decided to head back from Shesha Parvatha itself. As heartbreaking as this decision was, it was definitely a wise one, since it didn’t take very long for the light to disappear and pitch darkness engulfed us. To make things worse, our group of seven split into groups of three and four. It was an exhilerating hour-long night trek back to the base, which even featured the four of us waiting for the remaining three by sitting in a square formation on a pitch dark open ground, being wary of animals by pointing torches in each respective direction. We made it back to the base camp with another interesting tale in our arsenal.
Our next destination was Madikeri, the main district of Coorg. Our plan was to go to Madikeri, find a peaceful place to stay, explore the area and head back from there. But yet again, things weren’t to go as planned. On reaching Madikeri, we found out that the town was occupied in it’s entirety owing to the annual Dussehra festival. And boy was it a festival.
It was as if the entire town was hosting one gigantic party. The roads were thronged by a sea of humanity and the whole town was bustling with ecstatic activity. It was surreal. A never-ending brigade of one procession after another was passing through the main street, and each procession had speakers mounted on top of each other, at least two stories high. And every single speaker in this mountain was blaring rave songs till 10AM the next morning. It was one big party, a sight like no other.
Due to the heavy influx of people into the city, no lodge was available within 12kms of Madikeri and we were forced to call it a night at the bus stop.
The next morning, when we were wandering about the streets looking dejected after a sleepless night, still scratching one of the many etches the mosquitos had left while feasting on us the previous night, a kind man by the name of ‘Ubbi’ offered us a place to freshen up. We blessed him with all the good karma we had built up over our lifetimes. Ubbi was a very cool man. He told us about his travels to Dubai and how he was exploited there, following which he returned to India and opened up a home-stay business. He called us for a ‘crazy’ party he was hosting that night and gave us information about the Dussehra festivities.
Our four day trip to Kumara Parvatha was filled with adventure and fortitude. It had everything- an altercation with government officials, a night trek, a massive party, and a stay at a temple and a bus stop. What more can one ask for?