“Huge expanse of unperturbed greenery moves through valleys and meadows and peaks; in particular the one resembling horse’s cheek”
Spread across the hills of Western Ghats, Kudremukh National Park is essentially a “forest on the peaks.” A peculiar peak here, the Kudremukh peak is shaped like a horse’s face and lends the forest its name. The peaks here seem to merge with the clouds while the deep valleys affectionately accommodate the forests and all the amazing biodiversity in their laps. It is the second largest protected region in the Western Ghats. The scenic beauty of this place paints a serene picture that will leave you stunned! Lying in the Chikmaglur district of Karnataka, the forest houses three main rivers: Bhadra River, Nethravati River and Tunga River, beautiful waterfalls and four ranges. All of this and much more contained within 600 sq km and 1894 m above sea level. Because of the hilly terrain, trekking activities are popular in this area. You require prior permission and a licensed guide.
[Also Check: List of Best Wildlife Sanctuaries in India]
The climate here remains pleasant with average temperature staying the range of 20˚C to 10˚C during the months of October to February. However, humidity takes over during summers and the rainy season. Kudremukh received heavy rainfall ranging from 7000 mm per annum.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Kudremukh is during the months of October to February when the temperature is pleasant and humidity is less.
Wildlife & Vegetation
The Kudremukh national park falls under the Global Tiger Conservation Priority-1 developed by Wildlife Conservation Society and World Wide Fund- USA. It is also the second largest protected area in the Western Ghats.
The Kudremukh national park is bustling with a huge variety of biodiversity and is home to many endangered species as well. The animals diversity here includes the tiger, leopard, wild dog, sambar, chital, deer, Malabar giant squirrel, sloth bear, gaur, porcupine, jackal, giant flying squirrel, mongoose, langur and lion-tailed macaques. The lion-tailed macaques are a rare variety.
Reptilian species including snakes and tortoises can be found here.
Kudremukh houses an amazing variety of 195 species of avi-fauna including the exquisite Malabar Whistling Thrush, Imperial Pigeon, Great Pied Hornbill and Malabar Trogon. It is heaven for those who love birding!
The hills are blanketed with thick forests of a sprawling variety of evergreen and semi-evergreen trees. On the periphery, tea and coffee plantations are spread across huge landscapes adding to the breathtaking scenic beauty of the place. Shola grasslands have a tremendous water retention capacity which led to the birth of the three rivers found here. The four ranges: Kudremukh, Kerekatte, Kalasa and Shimoga stand around the park in protective mode and make way for the trekkers! Beautiful plantations of floral species including eucalyptus, casuarinas and many others are found to bloom here.
Distance from Nearby and Major Cities
Kudremukh lies close to the towns of Chikmaglur, Karkala, Kalasa, Srinegri and Mangalore.
Distance from these and other major cities is as follows:
• Kalasa: 21.5 km via SH 66
• Karkala: 51.4 km via NH13 and Kalasa main road
• Srinegri: 51.9 km via NH13 and Kalasa main road
• Chikmagluru: 106.5 km via Chikkamagluru-Srinegri Road
• Mangalore: 109.6 km via SH1 and NH13
• Bangalore: 331 km via NH 48
• Chennai: 684.6 km via NH 48
• Hyderabad: 767.6 km via NH 7
• Mumbai: 909 km via NH 4
• Delhi: 2183 km via NH 79
How to Reach
• By Air: Nearest Airport includes Mangalore and Bangalore
• By Rail: Nearest railway station includes Mangalore
• By Road: Chikmaglur, Mangalore and Srinegri are well connected to Kudremukh national park via road. The State Highway: SH66 passes through the park. The Park can also be reached via Bangalore through Chikmaglur, Mangalore or Karkala.
Kundremukh national park is one of the most popular national parks in Karnataka. The main attraction at Kudremukh includes trekking. A number of ranges attract trekking enthusiasts from the world over. However, prior permission is needed.
Various pilgrimage centres are also available near the Kudremukh National Park for those wanting to offer their prayers to the deity. These include Srinegri Shradda Peetam, Gangamoola etc. Five sacred ponds are located near the park.
The Kadambi waterfalls inside the Kudremukh also attract a large number of tourists and are worth a visit!
Forest rest houses with decent facilities are available inside the park. However, prior booking is needed. Several hotels and resorts are also available around Kudremukh in the cities of Srinegri, Karkala etc.
Other Useful Information
Entry fee: Rs. 200 for Indians, Rs. 1000 for Foreigners.