kumara parvatha hiking guide

Hiking Guide To Kumara Parvatha + Sesha Parvatha

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Kumara Parvatha is known to be the most difficult trek in Karnataka and one of the Southern State’s highest peaks. While you might have trekked the likes of Kudremukh and Tadiandamol, Kumara Parvatha is a different ball game altogether. Located in the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, it is a paradise and a treat for nature lovers, trekkers, and adventure seekers. Spanning diverse landscapes such as dense rainforests, lush green grasslands, and more, the hike to the top of the peak must be a goal for any adrenaline junkie and mountaineer.

The Kumara Parvatha peak is hidden for the most part. It is only visible after you cross the mighty six-headed cobra-shaped Shesha Parvatha right behind the Kukke Subramanya temple. However, the complete trail is still popularly known as the Kumara Parvatha trek.

Kumara Parvatha Hiking Guide

How To Reach Kumara Parvatha?

You can reach Kukke, the base of the Kumara Parvatha trek, either by roadways or railways.

By Road

Frequent buses are available every day from Bangalore and Mysore to Kukke. Most people usually come with their groups in their own vehicles and if you plan on doing the same, know that the roads after Sakleshpura are not in great condition. Thus, your ride will be bumpy.

By Train

Going by train is a different experience as you witness the scenic landscape. About 5 trains from Bangalore, 3 from Mangaluru, and 1 from Mysore leave for Kukke daily. Near Sakleshpura, you will pass through several tunnels which enhance your journey. 

To reach the base of the trek, get down at the Subrahmanya Road Railway Station (Station Code: SBHR). From here, you can hop onto shared taxis or autos to reach the Kukke Subramanya Temple, which is 13 Km away. From the Kukke Subrahmanya temple, the hike’s starting point is 1 Km. So you can reach the place after a quick walk or board an auto to the destination.

Best Time To Visit

Kumara parvatha summit

The best time to trek Kumara Parvatha in the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is during the post-monsoon months between October and January. The monsoon season between July and September is lush green, but the continuous downpour makes the trek challenging. If you had to choose a month, go during October, as the forests will still be green, and you can walk amidst nature thriving the most during that month. Due to wildfire and other safety reasons, trekking in this region is banned during the summer, i.e., between February and June.

Twin’s Tip: The trek has become quite popular over the years, and several thrillseekers flock to the place. To escape huge crowds, avoid the weekends and public holidays.

Network Availability

No network is available right from the base point. At a few spots near Bhattara Mane, you’ll get intermittent signals if you use the services of Jio and BSNL.

ATM Availability

Cash is the only mode of payment accepted by the forest department and at Bhattara Mane (for food). So, ensure you carry sufficient physical money. The nearest ATM available to withdraw cash is in Kukke, near Sri Adi Subrahmanya temple.

Languages Spoken

Kannada is the only language spoken by the people of the region. Very few people can converse in Hindi or English. So learn the basics of the native tongue to communicate basic things such as asking for directions, asking for the ticket price, buying food/water, and more. 

Parking Availability

Parking space is available at the base of the trek near the forest checkpost office.

Restroom Facilities

There are three restrooms at the Girigadde forest checkpost office and a couple more at the Bhattara Mane. During weekends, the place is very crowded, and you must wait your turn in a long queue.

Where To Eat?

Restaurants are very limited and are found near the Kukke Subrahmanya temple. 

Right next to the forest entry checkpost office, fresh fruits and juices are served during weekends. There are no shops once you cross the forest entry checkpost office.

Bhattara Mane, Kukke

You can only get food (lunch and dinner) at Bhattara Mane, which costs Rs. 150 per plate. The plat comprises rice with sambar, buttermilk, and some pickles. You can have as many servings as you want.

Carry your breakfast (before starting the hike) for the second day, as you will start very early and be amidst the mountains at breakfast time, far from any restaurant or food stall.

Where To Stay?

Tent stay at Girigade Checkpost office and Bhattara Mane

Trekkers usually take 2 days to summit Kumara Parvatha after halting for the night at Bhattara Mane or Girigadde forest checkpost office. Although tents are available at both places, prior booking is required. It is usually difficult to get accommodations during weekends.

Thus, it is better to carry your own tents and sleeping bags for the trek. After the trek, you can relax and take some rest in Kukke. Many affordable hotels and accommodations are available in Kukke.

Did you know? Kumara Parvatha is the only hiking trail where you can camp inside the forest area in the state of Karnataka.

 

Things To Do In Kumara Parvatha

Although you explore different facets of the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, trekking is the most common activity. You could even treat the trek as a nature trail and find different species of flora. 

Star gazing at night

Our favorite thing to do is to stargaze during the night. Since it’s a sanctuary, there’s not much pollution and the night skies are mostly clear. When you look from your tents, you can see billions of stars lighting the pitch-black sky. The twinkling of these seemingly tiny celestial bodies seems like a painting on black canvas and will leave you mesmerized. 

Hiking Details

Kumara parvatha full hiking route
Kumara Parvatha Trek Entry Point is also a Forest Checkpost Office.

Entry Fees: Rs. 350 per person (for Indians) and Rs. 1000 (for foreigners). This includes the trek fee, forest entry fee, and trail maintenance fee. Extra Rs.75 per night if you’re staying inside the forest premises.

Registration: Prior online registration for forest entry is mandatory. You can register through the official website.

Permission: Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is a reserved forest area, and if you want to enter it, you’ll require a permit from the Forest Department. Any violation of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 is punishable.

Camping: Camping is allowed only at certain spots near Bhattara Mane and Girigadde forest checkpost office. You can hire tents and sleeping bags by calling –  (+91)9448647947, (+91)9480527765, or (+91)9741247271

Timings: Entry from 6 AM to 4 PM. 

Duration: 1 or 2 days

Summit Height: 1715 m

Hike Distance: 22 Km (two-way). Although the forest checkpost office board displays 9 Km (one way), the distance measured is more than that.

Water Resources:

Although there is a water stream 2 Km from the hiking base, you’ll have to take a detour and walk for about 200 m to reach there. This is the only source of water for hikers on day 1.

Just before the Kallu Mandapa (located after Bhattara Mane or Girigade forest checkpost office, which you will be crossing on day 2), you can hear a water stream flowing on your right. After crossing Shesha Parvatha, you can see a water stream flowing to your left. This is the next source of water which will be along the tourists’ usual trail. 

You can refill your water bottles in these spots. Also, please note that little to no water is present in these streams after December, owing to the winter season. Drinking water is also available at Bhattara Mane and Girigadde forest checkpost office (200 m from Bhattara Mane).

Hiking Route:

Kukke Forest Checkpost office at entry

Once you reach the forest checkpost office at Kukke, you will find a long queue wherein people wait for their bags to be checked. The forest officials usually check if you’re carrying plastic or forbidden materials/items. A deposit of Rs. 100 is collected, and the number of plastics is noted down. Once you return, you’ll have to match the count (good if you have more) and get your deposit back. If you have less quantity than expected, a small amount will be deducted from your deposited money.

On the first day, your target should be to reach Bhattara Mane or Girigade forest checkpost office. Most of this 5 Km stretch is covered with a canopy of leaves as tall trees surround your trail. Although sunlight will penetrate through to you, you won’t feel the wrath of the scorching heat, and your experience will be pleasant.

uphill climb at the kumara paratha hiking trail

The terrain is rocky, and the climb is uphill right from the beginning. When you’re walking, pay close attention to the various sounds of the birds and insects residing in the forest, and you’ll feel like the forest has a life of its own.

Twin’s tip: Hydrate often, take regular breaks, eat protein bars, and regain your energy based on your convenience.

Take a detour toward the right after walking for about 2 Km and as mentioned earlier, walk for 200 m to reach a stream. Stretch your arms and legs, sit by the water, refill your water bottles, take a few deep breaths, and absorb nature’s magnificence. After this, you can walk 10m further and find the popular Bheema’s Rock. Post this, and walk until you reach the Bhattara Mane or Girigadde forest checkpost office. The two places are merely 200 m apart. 

Have dinner at the Bhattara Mane, get fresh, and pitch your tents. You’ll have to fill in your contact details and provide a Government ID number (Aadhar number or passport) to the Girigade forest checkpost office officials to get permission for the next day’s hike. Soak in the Shesha Parvatha from the viewpoint near the forest checkpost office. Gaze at the stars until you doze off amidst the trees and sounds of nature.

night trekking for the summit

Next day, carry only the essentials, refill your water bottles, and keep the rest of the items in your bag inside the tent. Start early at 4:30 AM (you’re not allowed to start before) the next day. Expect another long queue for bag checking, this time for any inflammable items or drugs. Although the process is long, tedious, and time-consuming, it is pretty necessary. The forest officials take these checking routines seriously to ensure the forest is neat and tidy, despite being accessed by the mainstream crowd.

After walking for about 3 Km in the open terrain, you will reach Kallu Mandapa. This will be your first pit stop on day 2. Climb further to catch the first rays of the sun among the mountains.

Sesha parvatha summit

Summit Shesha Parvatha after hiking uphill for about 2.5 Km and experience majestic views of the valleys below and the mountains around you. According to the locals and history, Shesha Parvatha is said to protect the Subramanya temple at the mountain’s base.

You will have to stroll for another 1 Km to reach Kumara Parvatha. As you walk, the terrain drastically transforms as you see it shift from an open land to a wild jungle with sparse sunlight.  completely changes from being open to a very shady jungle. Unlike the difficult terrain of the continuous uphill climb, this last stretch is relatively easier besides, a steep vertical boulder is a tricky section during the hike. Be extremely careful in this slippery boulder as it is topped with algae.

Walking 200 m past the vertical boulder lies the summit of Kumara Parvatha. Congratulations, you’ve made it! Spend time, click beautiful pictures, and descend to Bhattara Mane. Make sure to start your descent by 9 AM or 10 AM if you plan to descend on the same route.

Reach Bhattara Mane for lunch, remove your tents, pack your bags, and start for the rest of the descent at least before 2 PM to reach the base before it gets dark.

other route found during descend

You can also descend via the Beedahalli forest checkpost office. The diversion for this route is just 100 m down from the Kumara Parvatha peak. You can easily find the markings diverting you to your right.

Difficulty Level: Difficult, highly subject to your fitness level.

Terrain: Grasslands, forests, rocks, and boulders.

Wildlife: Although we didn’t spot any wildlife except the leeches, the Pushpagiri National Park is home to some of the rarest families of monkeys.

At The Sesha Parvatha & Kumara Parvatha Summit:

From Shesha Parvatha, you’ll get a good view of the Kumara Parvatha. Shesha Parvatha offers breathtaking panoramic views of the western ghats, the surrounding mountains, the trekking path, the valleys, and the distant settlements below. Try to watch the sunrise from the Shesha Parvatha. 

Subrahmanya temple at the Kumara parvatha peak

While Kumara Parvatha is misty most of the time with no views. There is a small temple arranged by piling stones at the peak. The locals also believe that lord Subramanya’s footprint is present at the peak.

Important Points To Remember

  • The use of plastics, smoking, and drinking alcohol is strictly prohibited. All the bags are searched thoroughly.
  • As a hiker, it is incumbent on you to be responsible and not litter. Leave it better than it was before.
  • Although the directions are marked only at very few places along the trail, the chances of getting lost are very limited during the Kumara Parvatha trek.
  • There aren’t many leeches found along the trail. Nevertheless, beware of leeches near the water bodies. 
  • Lighters, matchboxes, or any substance that might catch fire is prohibited.
  • Drone cameras and speakers are not allowed.

Essential Things To Carry

  • Ensure you carry at least 1L of water per person. You can refill along the trail.
  • Take sufficient cash with you as you cannot make online payments because of poor networks in the area.
  • Take sufficient snacks and energy bars. Shops are not available.
  • Cap, sunscreen & sunglasses are essential to ward off the heat.
  • Carry a poncho or raincoat, as the weather is unpredictable in the region.
  • The most important thing is to wear comfortable shoes as the hike distance is fairly long and the terrain is steep.
  • During monsoon season, trekking poles will help you wade across the trail streams.
  • A head torch is a must for the Kumara Parvatha trail, as you’ll be trekking early on your second day when it is dark. You’ll need them while staying inside the tent and having dinner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult is the Kumara Parvatha trek?

The trek distance of 22 Km has to be completed in two days with steep continuous ascend and descend. If you are physically fit and mentally strong, you can do this trek even on a single day. Prior trekking experience also helps. We do not recommend this trek to first-timers.

Know in advance that this trek is difficult and challenging for many.

What is the challenging section of the hike?

Most of the trekking trail follows an uphill climb during the ascend, naming it “The most difficult trek in Karnataka.” After crossing Sesha Parvatha, just before 200 m, to Kumara Parvatha, the large single boulder is very steep with a 45° inclination. 

During the monsoons, the leeches and the slippery terrain make the hike more challenging. But trust us, the rewarding views and the journey do justice to all the arduous paths.

Can we hike solo to Kumara Parvatha Peak?

A guide is not mandatory for the Kumara Parvatha trek, so solo trekking is allowed. Although the trekking route is straight, we recommend you download an offline GPS file for safety if you planning to trek solo for the first time, as there is no signal throughout to reach out for help in case of emergencies.

Can we trek to Kumara Parvatha in a day?

Although the trek is usually done over 2 days, you can complete it in a day if you are physically fit with good stamina and endurance. If you are a first-timer, we do not recommend doing this trek in a day – because of its altitude and the distance.

Is Kumara Parvatha open?

Due to the overcrowding during recent times in January 2024, Kumara Parvatha is closed to visitors effective 01 February’24, until further notice.

If you find this guide helpful, do leave us a comment below. For more detailed hiking guides such as this, travel tips, or anything related to travel, stick with us and follow us on social media handles – Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. 

Happy trekking!

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