The remaining journey was a steep climb through grasslands and we reached the Narimale guest house at around 3:30PM. The guest house is nothing but a building inside a patch of forest, with very basic facilities. There were already two groups which had reached earlier and had occupied the two rooms. We had to adjust ourselves in the hall.
The guard then immediately asked us to start for Munikal caves. People wanted to rest for sometime, but, since the other gang was leaving, we too decided to start for the caves. Munikal caves are around 4 kms from Narimale guest house and the trail is almost through grasslands with no descent or climbing. Actually, we need to cross the Kerala border to see these caves, an even in these forest areas, the border is well drawn.
After walking for an hour, we were at the Munikal caves. They are also called as “Pakshipathalam” in Kerala. The caves were great.
We then came back to guest house at 6 PM. On the way, we saw the elephants on the Narimale hill. Ananth was lost in the caves and came with the other gang, almost after dark.
We then started the process of cooking. The guest house had the facilities for cooking and we only needed to bring the fire wood from the surrounding forests.
Next day, we got up at 6, and after breakfast, started towards our main destination, Brahmagiri hill. Ananth and Srini decided to stay back taking some rest. The trail till the base of the hill was easy. We sighted a fox, some deers and bison along the way. We reached the base of the hill in an hour. The steep climb started then and some places, it was almost vertical. It took around 20 minutes to climb this last stretch.
We could see the entire range of Brahmagiri and Wayanad from the peak. There was trail towards Kerala which ends at Thirunelly temple. The temple itself was visible from the top. The trek to Thirunelly temple is supposed to be more strenuous and it requires permission from the Kerala forest department.
We took some snaps and started our descent. Our guide showed us a different path for climbing down, since the path we climbed was almost impossible to get down. We reached the guest house by 10:30AM and started the return journey towards Irpu falls at 11:30AM. It just took some 1.5 hours to reach the Irpu falls. The sight of Irpu falls; we dumped our entire luggage and plunged into the falls. It was a great relief after the trek.
We then finished our lunch at the hotel in Irpu falls and started our return journey at 2:30PM. This time we took the route through Gonikoppal and the roads were much better.
Last year, I did only a couple of treks and this year I have decided to trek more frequently. I still have some 12 good places for a 2 day trek in Karnataka alone. Let me see how much I will be able to complete.
Irpu falls – Narimale guest house: 4 kms (3 hours)
Narimale guest house – Munikal caves: 4 kms (1 – 1.5 hours)
Narimale guest house – Brahmagiri : 5 kms (1.5 hours)
Onward: Bangalore –> Srirangapatna -> Hunsur -> Murkul -> Nagarahole -> Kutta -> Srimangala -> Irpu
Return: Irpu -> Srimangala -> Gonikoppal -> Hunsur -> Srirangapatna -> Bangalore
Bangalore – Srirangapatna : 125 kms
Srirangapatna – Hunsur : 48kms
Hunsur – Nagarahole : 48kms
Nagarahole – Kutta: 10kms
Kutta – Srimangala : 15kms
Srimangala – Irpu : 8 kms
Srimangala – Gonikoppal : 20kms
Gonikoppal – Hunsur : 35 kms
Contact Person: Pramod, Forest Range Office, Srimangala. Mobile number: +91 9448813835