If you are living in Bangalore, or any other city in Karnataka, and have not managed to explore the Mullayanagiri Peak, then, it’s time. Without a second thought, pack your gear and head to this lush green enclave in the Chikmagalur district.
The highest peak of Karnataka, Mullayanagiri is a household name for trekkers in and around the state, or for anyone who loves to tread the rolling hills of Nilgiris. Standing tall among the historic Baba Budangiri Hills, the peak is a real gem of Karnataka’s landscape. It is believed that the peak derived its name from a sage named Mulappa Swamy, who used to meditate in the caves, just below the summit.
The peak rises up to 6330 feet from the sea level and is the perfect platform for the most adventurous treks.
To start your trek to Mullayanagiri, you need to first reach Chikmagalur. You can book a licensed Bangalore to Chikamagalur cab to travel to the starting point of the trek. It is nearly 242 KM from Bangalore to Chikmagalur and you will reach in about 4.5 hours. As you approach Chikmagalur, the views of the Nilgiri ranges become clearer and the sprawling mountains welcome you to explore its treasures.
The trek route
To start the trek, you need to reach Sarpadhari, which is another 15 KM from Chikmagalur. The road to Sarpadhari runs through coffee plantations and dense forests and will give you a preview of your path ahead. The small hamlet of Sarpadhari serves as the basecamp for treks to Mullayanagiri and also to the adjoining hills of Baba Budangiri.
Chikmagalur town has a lot of accommodation options for trekkers and backpackers to stay over. You can also camp at the trek base in Sarpadhari.
You can park your car at the base camp and start your trek through the narrow trails, snaking through the rugged mountain terrain. It is quite an arduous trek with the difficulty level ranging from moderate to high, depending on how good you with your treads.
Typically, it takes three to four hours for the entire trek. You can choose from a one-day fast trek or a two-day trek with overnight camping. Most trekkers prefer to camp, especially in the spring or autumn months.
As you reach halfway up the mountains, you will find an ancient cave. You can also take a break here from your walk and explore the cave. Over time, geological events have resulted in mineral deposits and created layers of colorful rocks, which makes it’s a fascinating sight. This naturally-formed cave runs for miles inside the mountains and also houses a huge population of bats. Hence, it is better to tour the cave during the daytime. Once you continue on your route and near the peak, you will find an ancient Shiva temple, perched on the summit. The views from the top of the peak is simply mesmerizing.
Best time for treks
The ideal time to explore Mullayanagiri Peak and its surrounding hills is between October and April. The weather during these months is perfect for being outdoors, with temperatures ranging from 14 to 32 degrees (Celsius). But if you are a monsoon lover, then visit between June and September, when the hills are bathed in the rain shower and portray rich shades of green against the misty horizon. However, if you are planning a trek during the rainy season, it is better to do a day trek and avoid camping.
Going the extra mile
You can add more thrill and challenge to your trek by venturing towards Baba Budangiri Hills. It is another 10-12 KM further uphill. The route is quite scenic and passes through coffee plantations and the wooded areas of the Bhadra Reserve Forest. The forests are home to diverse wildlife and you can expect a sighting of wild elephants or bear. The trek from Mullayanagiri to Baba Budangiri can be quite tiring, hence, it is better to cover it in a two-day trek. You can camp overnight at the grasslands of Mullayanagiri and resume your trek the next morning. Once you reach Baba Budangiri Hills, you can also take a tour of the beautiful Manikyadhara Falls, located about 9 KM further ahead.
With its infinite stretch of verdant hills and valleys, the fresh mountain air, and views to die for, Mullayanagiri is truly the paradise of Karnataka.
Mullayanagiri Trek at a glance:
Ideal duration: 3 -4 hours
Mullayanagiri Trek distance: 3-4 kilometers
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate (up to Mullayanagiri)
Maximum altitude: 6,330 feet
Mullayanagiri Trek route: Sarpadhari – Mullayanagiri
Things to remember when trekking to Mullayanagiri
- If you are traveling in a big group, it is better to avail of a comfortable and spacious tempo traveler in Bangalore, which can stay with you throughout your trip.
- The mountain road in some places can be very steep, with as much 60 degree incline. If you are a beginner, then be accompanied by a professional trekker.
- During the monsoon, the upper reaches of the hills can get misty and foggy with reduced visibility. Always wait for the mist to clear and resume walking.
- Monsoons and winters are prone to gusty winds and chilly air, so clad yourself well enough and carry necessary medication, if needed.