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About Kudremukh

About Kudremukh

Located in the Chikkamagaluru district of the state of Karnataka in India is the beautiful mountain range known as Kudremukh. A mining town cum hill station also exists in the vicinity, bearing the same name. This is the third highest peak of the state of Karnataka, and is famous for a horse face-like appearance of one of its sides. It is because of this kind of weird appearance of the mountain that it has come to be known as Kudremukh which, in the Kannada language, means ‘horse face’. This region houses extensive stretches of the tropical wet evergreen forests of the Western Ghats.

Facts at a Glance:

  • Location – Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India
  • Elevation – 1894 metres
  • Geographical coordinates - 13°07'46.24oN 75°16'06.79oE

Mining Township in Kudremukh

It was back in the 1970s that Kudremukh first came to the fore in Karnataka, because of its rich iron ore reserves. Accordingly, plans for iron ore mining were drafted at various administrative levels and the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KOCL) was set up in 1976. KOCL flourished for nearly 30 years, before environmental concerns related to the continued degradation of the forested tracts cropped up in the early years of the last decade. Court orders issued subsequently put paid to all plans of making further inroads into Kudremukh using iron ore mining.

KOCL proposal of turning the mining township into an eco tourism hotspot was also rejected on the ground that the continued exploitation of the natural resources of the region had turned it into a fragile ecosystem. Hence all commercial and environmentally detrimental activities in the mining township and its surroundings were completely stopped in 2006.

Tourism in Kudremukh

Kudremukh National Park

The hilly forested region surrounding the peak Kudremukh was for long, allotted the status of ‘Reserved Forests’, before noted tiger expert and environmentalist Dr. Ullas Karanth began his pioneering work on the Lion-tailed Macaque – the principle species of fauna found in this region. It was Dr. Karanth’s meticulous research work on this species that led him to conclude that special conservation plans were needed in order to preserve the biotic community of this region. He also reported that, given the fact that Kudremukh houses one of the largest populations of the Macaque in the region surrounding Western Ghats, it would be worthwhile to allot it the status of ‘flagship species’ of this region.

These recommendations were duly noted by the Karnataka State Wildlife Advisory Board and subsequently forwarded to the state government. After some deliberations at the policy making levels, the state government agreed to upgrade the status of Kudremukh from that of ‘Reserved Forests’ to ‘National Park’.

However, a few untoward incidents were reported, following the government’s decision to turn Kudremukh into a National Park. Local residents came up with fierce opposition against the plan, which entailed their eviction from the premises of the Park. This led to violent clashes between the police and the locals in the year 2007.

Kudremukh National Park

Flora and Fauna in Kudremukh National Park

Tiger, Wild Dog and Leopard are the three main species of mammals found in the Kudremukh National Park. Being predator species, they support themselves on a diversified prey base which consists of Wild Pig, Chevrotain, Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque, Langur and Muntjac.

The flora of this region is not too well developed primarily because of the abundance of magnetite soil and heavy monsoons which prevent the growth of plants, but support existence of grass. However, the shola grasslands found in the upland regions of the Western Ghats have a characteristic capacity to retain water, which is well supported by the wet climate that prevails all throughout the year. Due to the water retention capacity of these grasslands, we can find a number of perennial streams in this region. Nerthravathi and Tungabhadra are the two main river systems which have their drainage basins in the vicinity of the National Park.

Where to stay in Kudremukh

Being an extremely isolated spot in Karnataka, Kudremukh found it hard to brandish its tourism potential to prospective tourists. However, the tourism industry has grown ever so slowly, since mining activities were halted and tourism became the only commercial, yet environmentally supportable activity here. The state government runs a number of tents and cottages, which tourists have to book well before their visit. However, recently, home stays have also come up in the surrounding areas, and have given prospective tourists more lodging options to chose from.

Activities to do in Kudremukh

Trekking is one of the most thriving areas of tourism in Kudremukh. More than a dozen trekking routes dot the landscape of this region, and make it a paradise for trekkers. Samse, Navoor, Horanaadu, Hevala and Sringeri are some of the places connected to each other via these trekking routes.

Trekking timings: 6 AM to 5 PM (Monday to Sunday)

About Kudremukh

Hanuman Gundi Waterfalls

If you manage to travel to Kudremukh in the months between October and May, make sure you feel the thrill of trekking to reach Haunaman Gundi Waterfalls. It is located nearly 30 kilometres away from Kalasa and presents some of the most beautiful natural rock formations found in southern India. The height of the waterfall is more than 30 metres. 

How to reach Kudremukh

By Rail

The nearest railway station is located at Mangalore, about 60 kilometres away. Important trains connecting Mangalore with the other parts of the country pass through this station.

By Air

The Mangalore Airport is the nearest for domestic tourists. International tourists can make use of Bangalore International Airport, which is about 300 kilometres away.

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