|The unspoilt Kundadri hill station in Karnataka situated in Teerthahalli taluk of Shimoga, still remains one of the favorite spots for tourists keen in mountain trekking. The mountains are unexplored and one can feel the excitement in discovering new pathways to the peak. Kundadri hill station is a huge monolithic rock formation about 3200 feet above sea level. It is covered with dense evergreen forests.
A seventeenth century Jain temple is situated on the hilltop amidst the serenity that belongs to the mountains. Beside the temple there are two ponds with placid water and lotus blooming. Kundadri named after the Jain monk, Kundakundacharya who was said to have practiced severe penance here throngs with Jain Pilgrims during the Makar Sankranti. It is so named because of the horse-faced range that overlooks the Arabian Sea. Situated at 1894 meters above sea level the mountain ranges are interlinked with one another with deep vales and steep cliffs. There are many caves and mountain tracks still left unexplored in the hill station of Kudremukh. It is trekkers delight to trace out new paths to reach the summit.
The town of Kudremukh is primarily an iron ore mining town where the government run Public Sector Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) operates. It is noted for its scenic beauty. Owing to the dense forests, sighting wildlife can be challenging, though the area is rich in wildlife. Nonetheless the drive through the forest ranges can be enchanting and exhilarating. Three important rivers, the Tunga, the Bhadra and the Nethravathi are said to have their origin here. A shrine of goddess Bhagavathi and a Varaha image, 1.8 m within a cave are the main attractions.Tourists plan for a vacation in the quiet hills of Kundari to enjoy its solitude, the cool breeze that blow from the west, the clear blue firmament and the setting sun that may the most mesmerizing experience for many. Rivers flowing at the foothill can be seen from the mountaintop and the backwaters of Varahi Dam add to the scenic beauty.
If you are planning a trip to the Kundadri hill station in Karnataka you would be enjoying trekking the scenic mountain slopes, bird watching and visiting the magnificent falls. To reach Kundadri hill station you can travel from Teerthahalli via Nalur or through Kammaradi-Begar-Hosagadde to ‘Kundadri circle,' the commencing point to climb the hill. It is always advisable to plan the trip from Nalur because of distance as well as easy transport. The route from Kammaradi-Begar-Hosagadde will befit those who start their journey from Sringeri. If you love hiking you can take the route from Teerthahalli via Kammaradi- Nadabur-Halakunda and about a walk 6 kilometres from Kammaradi to reach the foothill.
Gangamoola, or Varaha Parvatha, a mount with a height of 1458 m above sea level within the border of National Park close to Kudremukh, is acclaimed as the source of three rivers Tunga, Bhadra and Netravathi originating from Western Ghats. It has the distinction of being a part of UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.A cave, which is inaccessible during the rainy monsoon seasons, enclosing a 6 feet image of Varaha and the temple of Goddess Bhagavathi are the main attractions here.The hill is densely populated with forest trees and has a good annual rainfall in its account. The hillock is very rich in minerals, with significant magnetite-quartzite deposits, yielding iron ore.
Kalasa, meaning a water pot, is the abode of the Kalaseshwara Temple of Lord Shiva and is a holy temple-town and a tourist spot located near Kudremukh on the banks of river Bhadra. Local mythology points the origin of Kalasa connected to the wedding ceremony of Shiva and Parvathy. It is believed that visiting Kalasa bring punya, a greater religious merit. The Girija Kalyana, commemorating the marriage of Shiva and Parvathi, is an important festival here attracting many tourists.Kalasa, an agricultural land, depends on Bhadra river for its water needs. It is famous for the agriculture products such as coffee, varieties of Ayurvedic herbals and plants and spices. Located in the midst of the heart of the Western Ghats, Kalasa has nearly a pretty pleasant climate in all the seasons. Kalasa attracts many tourists with private resorts and five major water spots, known as pancha theerthas. This is a nice place to spend some time to get the religious blessings as well as natural enjoyment.
Horanadu is a holy city, laid in the middle of charming natural scenarios, for Hindus residing near Kudremukh. This place holds a beautiful temple Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shri Annapoorneshwari, a historical temple of Annapoorneshwari installed in 1973. The shrine renovated with a new idol of Adi Shakthi installed recently, is the main attraction in Horanadu. The place is attracted by plenty of pilgrims who are provided free boarding and lodging by the temple.The main deity of Annapoorneshwari is made out of pure gold, looking imposing and amazing. The legend and folk stories tell that a person who seeks the blessings of Annapoorneshwari would never be having any shortage for food in life. Any devotee who visits here will leave the temple with a sense of fulfillment. Horandu is a place recommended for visiting.
Hanuman Gundi Falls:
One of the main attractions close to Kudremukh is Hanuman Gundi waterfalls. The waterfalls, slashing down from a height of more than 100 feet falling onto natural rocks majestically, is an exciting scenery.One can trek for some distance to get into the falls and to have body rejuvenating and refreshing bath. The forest department has constructed some nice and safe steps to get down into the falls for a nominal Rs 30/- per head. A calm and isolated destination, here one can enjoy the beauty of silence and marvel of the waterfalls.
Flora at Kudremukh:
The flora in Kudremukh National Park consists of mostly evergreen and semi-evergreen forests near the coastal plains on the western portion and the shoal-grassland habitat at elevations above 1400m on the Western Ghats.
The Burma Monsoon Forests of Manas lie on the borders between the Indo-Gangetic and Indo-Malayan biogeographical realms and is part of the Brahmaputra Valley Biogeographic Province. The combination of Sub-Himalayan Bhabar Terai formation with riverine succession leading up to Sub-Himalayan mountain forest makes it one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world.
The sanctuary has recorded 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 50 of reptiles, and 3 species of amphibians. Out of these wildlife, 21 mammals are India’s Schedule I mammals and 31 of them are threatened.The fauna of the sanctuary include Asian Elephants, Indian Rhinoceros, Gaurs, Asian Water Buffaloes, Barasingha, Tigers, Leopards, Clouded Leopards, Asian golden cat, Capped Langurs, Golden Langurs, Assamese Macaques, Slow Loris, Hoolock Gibbons, Smooth-coated Otters, Sloth Bears, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Sambar Deer and Chital.The main wildlife species in Kudremukh include tiger, leopard, wild dog, jackal, lion-tailed macaque, common langur, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, Malabar giant squirrel, giant flying squirrel, porcupine and the mongoose.
Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple is an ancient and revered shrine located in the picturesque surroundings of Horanadu in the state of Karnataka. Horanadu is 100 km south-west of Chikmagalur.The deity in the Annapoorneshwari Temple, Annapurneshwari, is said to have been installed by renowned Sage Agastya. A learned astrologer, Venkitasubba Jois, renovated the sanctum in recent years. With the installation of the new image of Adi Shakti, now the temple is called Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shri Annapoorneshwari. The deity of the temple has been designed in unique manner: the single image depicts the Devi standing on a peeta with Devi Gayatri, Sri Chakra, Shanku and Chakra in Her four hands. Adi Sesha surrounds the recently renovated sanctum of the temple, while Ashtagaja, Koorma and others, form the Padma Peeta.
Everyone who visits the Annapoorna temple is provided with a three course vegetarian meal irrespective of their religion, language, caste, or creed. Male visitors to the temple have to remove their shirts and preferably cover their shoulders with a towel or a shawl as a symbol of respect and humility in front of god.The main deity of Annapoorna is made of gold and it is believed that a person who seeks the goddess' blessings will never have any scarcity for food in life. It is also believed that Lord Shiva had a curse upon him once and that this curse was reversed only when the Lord visited Goddess Annapoorna and sought her blessings.
On an average around 5000 devotees are said to visit the Devi temple every day, travelling through the midst of thick forests and valleys. The route to the temple traverses ghats, amazingly dense forests and vegetation. The scenery and the pristine atmosphere have a spiritual effect on every person travelling to and visiting the Annapoorneshwari Temple.
Located in Kudremukh, the Jamalabad village is famous for its fort, Jamalabad fort, located 8 km north of Beltangadi town, is 1788 ft above sea level and used to be known as Narasimha Gudde, which refers to the granite hill on which the fort is built. It is also referred to locally as 'Jamalagadda'.The fort, built by Tippu Sultan in 1794, was named after his mother, Jamalabee and is said to have been built over the ruins of an older structure.The fort is primarily inaccessible save a narrow path, with nearly 1876 steps to the fort that are cut out of this granite hill and lead all the way to the top through the fort to the summit.
Inside the citadel, there are two small fresh-water springs and some tanks to store water. Some of the bastions have dismantled iron cannons with European markings. The rest of the fort consists of ruins of walls and parapets.The British captured the fort in 1799 during the Fourth Mysore war. According to legend, those out of favour with Tipu were hurled down this fort to their death.
These days, Jamalabad is a trekking destination, with the climb up to the fort being classified as 'medium difficulty level' and the top of the fort offers good views of the surrounding landscape and the Kudremukh range.Every visitor has to pay a nominal entry fee at the forest check post at the base of the hill. It is advisable to carry sufficient water since there is no potable fresh water available on top. The nearest town with any communication and medical facilities is Beltangadi.
A check dam across the Lakya, the tributary of Bhadra river, built by Kudremukh Iron Ore Company is the so called Lakya Dam having a height of 100 m. The main utility of this dam is to collect the waste materials from the mining operations and since it is a dam of silt not water.The dam is at the backdrop of picturesque hilly terrains, shoal forests and calmly flowing rivers. It is argued that the Lakya dam has already made the submergence of 572 hectres of shola forests and raising the heights or constructing a new dam will submerge more areas. The dam and the surroundings are scenic and lots of tourists are attracted towards it.
Radhakrishna temple is a place of interest of Kudremukh offering a panoramic view of the whole place from here. A Kudremukh park has also drawn the admiration of people. Lobo House is an old deserted house on top of Kudremukh.
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