In the southern belts of Karnataka, you can find the twin trekking sites of Ettina Bhuja and Amedikal. Although the latter is more sought after by seasoned trekkers, it is Ettina Bhuja that has recently been frequented by a host of amateurs and first-timers. The main reasons behind its prominence are mainly because of its relatively easy access and involvement of low costs.
The Ettina Bhuja Trek – Adventurous Journey in forest
Start to the Adventure
Interestingly, the classical name owes its origin to a keen resemblance with the ox’s shoulder. A comparatively short trek albeit with steep plains and hilltop, it still manages to provide enthusiasts with the rigor and stretch, which gives these groups a high of sorts.
The most convenient route to Ettina Bhuja is via a village called Shishila located near Dharmastala. Shishila is just OK to make a stopover in this strenuous journey as the village hardly has any other attraction. After crossing a few small streams (in knee-deep waters) and a couple of shuttled jeep rides, the border area of Chikmagalur is finally reached from where the trails of Ettina Bhuja begin.
The next engrossing crossover is the Byrapura stream that flows along a timber route forest. The wonderful experience of traveling through forests and water in between adds to the trekker’s adventures. Now once the actual dense and stray forest area began, the way to climbing had to be cleared of bamboo shoots and damp adjoining areas.
Staying clear from local leeches, the real ascent just begins. Steep grasslands and patches of forest area all continues right till the foot of the hills. A rich collection of trees that dot the climb also end here. The grassy but damp hills continue their way to the top with in-between vertical spots that come across as too steep. The trekking guide comes of help as he advises to go in short circles.
Along with growing altitude the only other visibility is the Ombattu peak or the still waters of another stream towards the south. The strong sun rays make trekking uneasy as does the gradually slowing ascent. The confusing paths, lack of energy, and a sense of danger bring together a new feeling. It is advisable to halt at this point for taking refreshments and then restart with fresh limbs and renewed vigor.
Worthwhile But Strenuous Experience
The escorting guides are careful enough to inform the altitude levels and the pending distances from time to time. Their prior experience in trekking comes in the warnings they give regarding local flora and fauna and danger from reptiles, which are common at the top.
The final frontier appears to be the greatest challenge while trekking. However, most of the trekkers manage to overcome the cliff and sigh in relief. The next important thing to do is take a handful of snaps and videos of all possible scenes and angles. Another option is to relax overnight in makeshift tents and get some tea made then and there to alleviate the already enriching experience.
One important point to bear in mind is to carry a list of essential utility, including medicines and other emergency needful that the guides are well-versed with. The total expenses of such trips can be arranged from a minimum of thousand rupees onwards.
Note: Karnataka Tourism Department initiative Myecotrip is charging Rs 250 per person and is providing forest guide to trek.