Take on a challenge by trekking in the wilds of the Western Ghats.
Preserve the pristine beauty: A waterfall in full spate in the Western Ghats
For the adventurous who are eager to discover the beauty of the Western Ghats, the southern Malnad region of Hassan district is the best place to explore. The wilds of the ghat really pose a challenge to the trekking buffs. The southern Malnad is a forest clad hilly region with heavy rainfall. On the western periphery are the picturesque ghats extending from the pass at Bisle Ghat to the Jenkal Betta, with lofty peaks. According to Major Montgomery, who was enchanted with the beauty of the Western Ghats, “the character of the country is generally undulating till on approaching the ghats, when it becomes precipitous. Perhaps there is no scenery in India more beautiful than the southern part of this tract, adjoining the northwest Coorg. It resembles for the most part the richest park scenery in England: hills covered with the finest grass or equally verdant crops of dry grain adorned and crowned with clumps of noble forest trees in some instances apparently planted most carefully and certainly with perfect taste.” This description of the Western Ghats by him, by and large, holds good even today.
On the tracks
The trek on the railway track stretching 58.6 k.m. from Sakleshpur to Subramanya road, which was shut down for gauge conversion some years ago, is a lifetime experience for the trekkers. Considered to be one of the most beautiful trekking routes, this track has 58 tunnels, some of which are as long as 300 meters and 109 bridges.
One can witness about 25 waterfalls before reaching Subramanya. Trekkers should keep in mind that it is difficult to walk on the bridges as in some places the planks have been broken and the surface is slippery. They should also be careful as the area is infested with leeches. A deserted Yedakumeri railway station suggests the trekkers have reached their destination.
The Railways are working hard to complete the gauge conversion between Sakleshpur and Subramanya. On completion it will be very difficult to trek in this stretch. However people can enjoy the beauty of the Western Ghats by travelling in the Hassan-Mangalore train.
The tropical forests of this region are home to rare species and are classified one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots in the world. The ecosystem of the Western Ghats has been facing danger in the last few decades because of large-scale encroachment, logging and permission and incentives given to forest based industries and development activities like hydel dams.
During a recent trek in the area, locals alleged that the promoters of Kempu Hole hydel project had cut more than 500 trees and not 50 trees as promised.
They are also opposing Gundia High Head Scheme (GHHS), a 300 MW power project proposed by the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited. The people regret that the quantity of rainfall has reduced due to denudation of forests over the years. Incessant rainfall which they were experiencing in the past, is a thing of past.
The villagers of Hongadahalla in Sakleshpur decided to reduce the pressure on the forest cover in Western Ghat area and protest against any hydel project including the GHHS project of KPC.
They also appeal to the trekkers and tourists not to spoil the surroundings by strewing plastic materials and requested them to extinguish the fire after cooking in the forest area.