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DESCRIPTIONBrahma Giri Hills
BrahmagiriLocation: In coorg, near Kutta. Quite close to Nagarhole NP.
Nearest Town: Kutta, Srimangala. Gonikkoppal is the bigger town nearby.
Distances: 275km from Bangalore.
Route:Route 1: Bangalore - Mysore - Hunsur - Srimangala - Iruppu - Bhrahmagiri.
Route 2: Bangalore - Mysore - Nanjangudu - Gundelpet - Sulthan Bathery - Mananthavady - Kattikulam - Thirunelli - Bhrahmagiri.
Karnataka SRTC runs only one Rajahamsa through Srimangala which goes to Kutta from Bangalore. There are ample number of services to Gonikoppal. From Gonikoppal private buses are available in plenty to Srimangala. From Srimangala Iruppu falls is just 10km away and the trek starts from here. Route 2 is 50km more than Route 1. To climb from Kerala side you will have to travel in Kerala SRTC after reaching Kutta to reach Kattikulam. From Kattikulam you can get private bus or Kerala SRTC bus to Thirunelli from where the trek starts.
Camping Sites: Forest guest house inside the WLS.
Trek Length: 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)
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Best Time To Visit: dec-febWorst Time To Visit: Monsoon
Summary: Brahmagiri is a hill range in western ghats on the border of Kerala and Karnataka. The hill range is a trekkers paradise. There is a peak in these ranges known by the name Brahmagiri. On its south is the Thirunelli temple in Wayanad district of Kerala and on its north lies the Iruppu falls in Kodagu district in Karnataka. The Brahmagiri peak is trekkable from both Kerala side and Karnataka side. The trek from Kerala side begins at Thirunelli while from Karnataka side begins from Iruppu falls. Forest Department permission is required for trekking. If you are trekking from Kerala side you have to get permission from Thirunelli Forest Range Officer. While from Karnataka side you need to take permission from Srimangala Forest Range Officer (ph:08274-426331). The Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary lying in Kerala side is also a famous tourist attraction. This is a cave in which too many number of birds arrive during the mating season.
Food and Accomodation: Gonikoppal is the nearest place with decent hotels in Karnataka side. While trekking from Karnataka side, Narimale Estate Guest house is the place of stay. If you are approaching from Kerala side, at Thirunelli itself you can get hotels for food and
stay. The forest guest house at Thirunelli also offers stay. Mananthavady is the nearest place with decent hotels in Kerala side.
Important Phone Numbers:For booking accomodation in advance at Narimalai: Contact Person: Pramod, Forest Range Office, Srimangala, Cell # : +91-9448813835
For booking accomodation at Inspector's Bunglow for stay at Srimangala (This is right next to the Forest Range office. Night stay for 7 people, worked out to less than Rs.675 here): Contact Person: Rama, Number: +91-8274-246693
Coorg Guest House - Owner :Dr.Vince +91 9448126427/08274246325/ +91 9845452222
Therunelli Forest Range Office: 04935210377
Permission: You have to get permission from forrest office Srimangala. A guide is compulsory. You can find the guide near Iruppu falls, where the trek starts.
Things To Look for:
Things To Be Aware Of:
How about going trekking on Brahmagiri hill and falling right into the lap of Mother Nature?
The sanctuary derives its name from the highest point, the Brahmagiri peak, which is 1607 m in height. It covers an area of about 181 Kms.
Trekking Along Brahmagiri Hill
Brahmagiri, at 1608 m above sea level, is a hill range on the Western Ghats bordering Kerala and Karnataka. It is situated on the border between Wyanad District of Kerala state on the south and Kodagu District in Karnataka on the north side.
Pack your bags and head to this trekkers’ paradise that is graced by the ancient Thirunelli temple in the Wayanad district on the south and adorned by Iruppu falls from the Kodagu district ofKarnataka in the north.
December to February is the best time to visit the hill and one should avoid the monsoon. The hill is at an approximate distance of 270 km from Bangalore. If you’re trekking from Kerala, you have to begin at Thirunelli and whilst trekking from Karnataka, you have to begin from Iruppu falls. Permission from the Thirunelli Forest Range Officer and Srimangala Forest Range Officer has to be taken while trekking. The nearest towns to Brahmagiri hill are Kutta, Srimangala and Gonikkoppal. Taking a guide along is compulsory and his charges will range around INR 200.
The area has mainly evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, and in the higher altitudes, there are grasslands with shola forest patches. Bamboos are well represented in these forests.
What to See and Do
Thirunnelai Temple: Legend has it that the Thirunnelai Temple was built by Lord Brahma himself and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It lies on the side bordered by Kerala. Also celebrated as the Kasi of the South or Dakshina Kasi, the temple has 30 granite pillars constructed in traditional style.
Pakshipathalam: Pakshipathalam is another major attraction on the Kerala side of the Brahmagiri range having an altitude of 1740 meters. Legend has it
that the cave in Pakshipathalam was used by Gurus and Rishis in primeval times. It is also known as the Munikal cave in Karnataka.
Iruppu Falls: Originating from the Lakshmana Tirtha River in Karnataka, Iruppa Falls is one of the most sought after destinations in Karnataka. According to fables, Lord Rama and Lakshmana were in search of Sita when they became thirsty. Lord Lakshmana shot an arrow to Brahmagiri hill from where the Lakshmana Tirtha River sprang. It eventually flows into the Kaveri River.
Wildlife and Birds At Brahmagiri
The top of Brahmagiri Hill is well forested and has a lot of wildlife. Mammals in the Sanctuary include Lion-tailed Macaque, Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Wild Pig, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgiri Langur, Slender Loris, Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Giant Flying Squirrel, Nilgiri Marten, Common Otter, Brown Mongoose, Civets, Porcupine, Pangolin.
Python, cobra and king cobra are some of the reptiles found in the Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary.
Interesting birds in the Sanctuary include emerald dove, black bulbul and Malabar trogon.
How to Reach Brahmagiri
Brahmagiri is about 60 Kms from Coorg and about 270 Kms from Bangalore.
From Bangalore via bus: KSRTC bus service provides several options to go to Gonikkoppal. From Gonikkoppal, you can select from a host of bus services to reach Srimangala. KSRTC services only one Rajahamsa bus to Srimangala from Bangalore. From Srimangala, you will have to travel 10 km before reaching Iruppu falls from where your trekking journey will begin.
From Bangalore by car: Drive through Mysore Road to reach Srirangapatna. After driving for a while, take a deviation from Hunsur and proceed to Gonikkoppal. On the way to Gonikkoppal, you will have to take another deviation towards Nagarhole/Srimangala/Iruppu. Past Ponnampet, Hudikeri and Shettigiri, you will reach Srimangala from where you have to head towards Iruppu and begin your trek.
From Kerala by bus: Reach Kutta and take a Kerala SRTC bus to get to Kattikulam. From Kattikulam you can take a private bus or a Kerala SRTC bus to Thirunelli from where your trek can commence.
The nearest place with good hotels on the Karnataka side is Gonikkoppal. While trekking fromKarnataka, it is advisable to book accommodation at Narimale Guest house. If you are approaching from the Kerala side, Thirunelli is ideal for several no-frill options for lodging. The forest guest house at Thirunelli is also a decent alternative. Mananthavady is the nearest place with places of residence on the Kerala side.
Coorg – Irpu Falls and Trekking in BrahmagiriD E C E M B E R 5 , 2 0 0 5
When I got into the bus last Friday evening, I was headed towards fulfilling a long-
standing plan: to climb up the Brahmagiri hills. Brahmagiri peak, located in Coorg
district of Karnataka is a part of Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The climb goes
through leech ridden tropical forests to grasslands and shola(forest high in the hills
where grass is the dominant vegetation, and trees are found in small groups where
water is available) above the forest line, and offers great vistas of Sanctuary area
and the planes below.
We started our hike a little late on the Saturday morning. By the time we had
breakfast, took the necessary permits and changed buses to reach Irpu, it was
already 10.30am. Fortunately it was not a sunny day, which made the climbing easy.
The climb starts from Irpu falls, a well known landmark in Kodagu(Coorg). Leeches
waiting on the forest floor gleefully welcomed us into the National Park once we
walked past the waterfall. The initial part of the journey offers easy walk via tropical
forest and lot of bamboo, and starts getting steeper slowly. We encountered several
streams on the way and water is in plenty. Forest floor all the way is littered with
colorful dry leaves and green saplings besides the bridle path.
Rich colors of the forest
It was 2 hours of climb before we left the forest below us and hit the grasslands.
Some steep climbing for another 30 minutes and we reached our base camp – the
Narimale forest camp.
The Narimale camp inside the forest
A Stream that runs next to the camp
Narimale camp is built to shelter forest guards who are on duty to watch against
poaching. It serves as an excellent base camp to visit nearby peaks – Narimale
peak and Brahmagiri peak. The presence of the camp also reduces the load of the
trekkers by not having to carry any camping material.
More about Coorg on paintedstork.com
* Driving trip to Coorg
* Relaxing in Coorg in the monsoons
Tired and hungry that we were after a good climb, we quickly prepared food and
hogged on it. After a short rest, we headed for Narimale Peak, which is 1.5km walk
from the camp. As we walked through the grasslands, a Sambar emerged from the
shola and ran away after seeing us. Some one in the group sited an elephant too.
Narimale Peak offered us beautiful vista of the plains below, the sholas and the
Brahmagiri peak at a distance. As the sun moved below the horizon, we made a
quick retreat to the camp. It started raining as soon as we reached the camp and we
were lucky not to get caught in the rain. We prepared an early dinner at the camp
and then went to sleep.
Our escort takes a look at the sholas from the Narimale Peak
View from Narimale Peak
The next morning was foggy and the visibility was low. We contemplated over
breakfast if it makes sense to climb the Brahmagiri peak in this weather. But since
we did not have much else to do, we decided to make it anyway. The walk to
Brahmagiri takes you through grassland, and occasionally through small patches of
shola. Small white and pink flowers dot the green grassy plains.
The peak to the extreme right is Brahmagiri where we were headed.
After an easy walk for almost two hours, we reached the foot of Brahmagiri Peak. As
we looked up to it, the peak was completely covered in fog and we could not see
what is up for us. The bridle path to the peak suddenly got steep and we were
quickly climbing at 45 degrees. It soon got worse – it must have been around 60
degrees slope or even worse. It would have been a climb of may be 150 meters to
the top but the quick ascent got us tired quickly. But once we were up there, the
vista was beautiful and worth all the effort. Interestingly, while we climbed up in
foggy weather, other side was completely clear and offered us nice view of a valley
At the Brahmagiri Peak. Inscription reads that the Peak is 1600 meters above the
sea level and is 9kms from Irpu waterfall.
Walking on the ridges of Brahmagiri Peak
We rested here for a while and walked a bit on the beautiful ridges. A bit of walking
and we saw a few Sambars and a ma elephant with its baby. Weather had
completely cleared up as we headed back and offered good view of the
surroundings and the Brahmagiri peak itself. We also got to see Wild Gaurs on the
way back. A few of us discovered thorns of porcupines here and there. Elephant
dung was littered wherever we went. A pair of Nilgiri Langur were spotted on a tree
at a distance. There was life in every part of the sanctuary.
Nothing goes waste in the forest. Even the dung of the elephant supports some form
As we returned to the base camp, we packed up quickly and headed back to Irpu.
An hour and a half and a lot of leech bites later, we were back at Irpu Waterfall for a
refreshing dip in the water. We came down from here for a session of refueling our
stomach and returned to the city by the overnight bus.
Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary is a restricted area and one has to take permission from Range Forest
Officer(RFO) at Srimangala village. Call the RFO a few days in advance and inform your trekking plans so
that they can arrange a mandatory escort for you. Getting permits is easy and hassle free.
To reach Srimangala, take a KSRTC bus to Gonikoppal from Bangalore, which is 6 hours journey.
Change buses here and travel for another hour to Srimangala. Pay the necessary fees at Srimangala
RFO office and get your permits. You can also shop here for groceries you will need for your stay at the
top. Irpu falls, where the trek begins is another 30 minutes by bus. There are not many buses from
Srimangala to Irpu and you may have to hire a jeep if you can’t get a bus.
ACCOMMODATION NEAR IRPU
You can get no-frills accommodation at the temple near Irpu offers. There are also some home stay kind
of resorts near Irpu, one is Ramcad which is pretty close to Irpu. Nearby village Kutta has some places
like Pearl Garden, Chilligere Estate and High Falls Holiday
TREKKING IN THE PARK
The Narimale camp, which is in the middle of the forest, is the best place to stay. Camping elsewhere is
probably not allowed, but check with the RFO if you want to. Narimale camp is 4.5km from Irpu falls and
can be covered in 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on your fitness. From the camp, you can trek to Narimale
Peak, which is about 1.5km, and takes around 1.5hrs to go and come back. Brahmagiri
Peak is 5kms and takes around 2 to 2.5 hours to climb up. Another place to visit is Munekal Caves, which
is 3.5kms from the camp. Munekal caves is called as Pakshi Patalam at Kerala side of the sanctuary.