I have climbed Thadiyandamol twice, not yet satisfied and looking to get there again as many times as I can. The first time I was there, it was raining on and off and clouds occasionally gave way to display pretty views of the green hills all around. The second time when I went up, it was early winter and I expected the weather to be clear, but turned out to be a more wet day. I am still hungry for the pretty views with clear skies and wish to try my luck again in the coming winter.
On the way to Thadiyandamol
We left on an overnight bus to Virajpet and changed over to a bus that took us to Kakkabe. A short walk towards Thadiyandamol from the bus-stop took us to King’s Cottage – a home stay where we freshened up and had breakfast. Nearly half the way up Thadiyandamol takes us through habitation. The jeep track passes through coffee estates interspersed with forests, and small streams running across the road. Enabled by the genius brains of some pig headed officers, part of this hardly used road has even been blessed with tarmac. Get higher than the habitation and we are suddenly greeted by bliss – unspoiled hills, thick shola forest and green mountain grass as far as the eyes can see. It is difficult find fault in this world encompassing a few rocks here and there, a few flowers breaking the dominance of the green grass and a stream running down from the sholas. Just how I would like it!
On the way up…
The trek looked easy till we reach a small plateau above the coffee estates. Views are awesome with many a layers of hill after hill forming waves of ridges somewhere in the distance. The stream above the plateau and a few big boulders offered a good place to rest and fill water for rest of the journey. The next two kilometers was not all the simple and it took some time and effort. It gets steep and tiring but the views and the surroundings makes the walk a pleasure. Last stretch goes through a shola that I would call ‘real’ forest. Another quick steep ascent and we are already at the top. It takes no more than three hours to make the journey, give or take an hour based on your fitness levels. And once on top, there is nothing else you would desire in life.
Views of the surroundings…
A lunch, some rest, some sleep and some explorations kept the time moving. We started back around 4pm. The steep descent is as much a pain as the ascent, but is at least faster. We camped for the night near the stream in the wilderness. Weather was much clear next morning and we did get better views of the place.
Clouds raising up the hills in the morning…
When we were back at the bus-stop, it was still morning hours and we had time to kill till evening. We headed to Bylakuppe, the Tibetan settlement near Kushalnagar. It is said to be one of the largest Tibetan settlements in the world. We walked around, explored the Golden Temple and a spent a few hours in the Tibetan village before returning to Bangalore in the night.
Inside the Golden Temple at Bylakuppe
The next time we went up the hill was in late October. We encountered residual rains that dripped now and then. And it was much more cloudy. Leeches on the way were bolder this time and hunted us even on the jeep tracks and grasslands. We returned back the same day and stayed in Madikeri for the night. As before, we had another day to kill before returning to Bangalore.
Rain drops on Bamboo
Aimless and plan less next morning, we toyed around with our options and decided to visit Dubare and Harangi dam. Harangi dam is built against a small stream in the forest. It was quiet, devoid of any people or noise – there were only a handful of tourists wandering in the place. The backwaters looked pretty, with some small islands here and there and thick forest on its banks. We drove to Dubare elephant camp from here, where we crossed the river in a motor boat, watched some elephants walking around freely in the camp, and walked a bit along the Kaveri. We did not stay here for long and drove back Bangalore, reaching late in the evening.
River Kaveri near Dubare forest
Our third visit to Kakkabe was in peak rainy days and was equal fun. Though we were determined to climb Thadi again, decided otherwise once we arrived and instead settled down cozily in a coffee estate home stay. Extract from the trip report on this visit:
We reached Kakkabe village at the base of Thadiyandamol at around nine in the morning. One look at the cold and cloudy weather and we decided against climbing the mountain and check-in to the cozy and comfortable home-stay resort run by Poovannas on the way. To tell you the truth, even when we started from Bangalore, I secretly dreamt of sitting and relaxing in the lobby of a warm Coorgi house, though I put up a brave face and made claims of climbing up Thadiyandamol. To my delight, I realized that my fellow travellers were no different and had the same thing in mind! And the fact that I had already climbed up Thadiyandamol twice earlier helped making the decisions. But end of the day, that‘s just an excuse, and we were just being lazy and looking forward to indulge in good things that came with the rains!
The trek up the Thadiyandamol starts from Kakkabe village, which can be reached from Madikeri or Virajpet by bus or car. It can be done as a day trek though it would be nice to camp for a night. It is probably a hike of an 8km or less one way. The best season to get the views may be winter, though my experience is limited to rainy days. For more information on reaching Kakkabe and nearby places to visit, see my earlier trip report to Kakkabe.
Also see other stories about Coorg on India Travel Blog
Kushalnagar is the nearest town to Dubare forest and Harangi Dam. You can take ksrtc bus to Kushalnagar and then hire an auto-rickshaw to reach Dubare or Harangi. If you are driving, you need to continue on the road to Madikeri and take a left turn to Dubare after driving for 10 minutes, and right turn to Harangi Dam after similar distance. Ask for directions when you are in Kushalnagar.