Its been a long time since i trekked in Charmadi range.. Narayan came up with a idea of trekking to Amedikallu. So Narayan, Anirudh,Prithvi and I left on 8th of february 2008 to Dharmasthala. Amedikallu can be approached via Shiradi Ghat and Charmadi Ghat side. If you go via Shiradi Ghat get down at Kokkada which is 15 kms before Dharmasthala and take a deviation towards Shishila , which is 18 kms from Kokada. From Kokada there are buses to Bangalore every half an hour. The other route is to reach Dharmasthala and take the first bus at 7.00am to Shishila via Kokkada which takes around 2 hrs. Road from Kokkada to shishila is not good.There is only one direct bus to shishila and if you miss that bus reach kokkada and from there take another bus to shishila.
We boarded a bus to Dharmastala on Friday night. From Dharmasthala we took the direct bus to Shishila. Our local contact from Shishila village, Gopu Gokhale had arranged for a Guide (Channappa), who was waiting for us at the bus stand. Gopu Gokhale’s house was our base camp. After a nice breakfast at his place, we took an auto from Shishila to reach the starting point of the trail to Amedikallu . We reached the starting point of the trek at 10.00 am. It was very hot.
Amedikallu is one of the significant peaks of Charmadi range .Ethina Bhuja and Ombattu Gudda are other prominent peaks which are parallel to each other.The name Amedikallu is a combination of two words: Ame- Turtle and dikkel – Tulu word for Stove.
Amedikallu has a huge monolith at the top which appears like a giant turtle and 3 huge stones which give an appearance of a stove. Initially the trail was pretty wide through a fairly dense forest, later, the trail narrows down, the forest cover increases and the climb becomes steeper. After trekking for nearly an hour , we had the first sight of Ethina Bhuja on to our left side. We took some rest, took some snaps of the peak and started trekking again. It was a strenous climb with no water source at all. After an hour of steep climb we reach the first and only water source before reaching the top. There wasn’t much water flowing. We took some rest there and filled our water bottles and started the climb.
We come out of the forest cover and entered the grassland.Now we had the first sight of the 3 stones (stove), one part of the name Amedikallu. We were in the open area and it was very hot. We were very tired because of the heat. Ethina Bhuja was standing majestically at the left of us. Our Guide told us that there is a route from amedikallu to ethina bhuja inside the forest, but its difficult to locate the path,since the forest is very thick and not many people frequent that route.
For the next 2 hours we climb continuously, mostly through grasslands. The grass was dry and it was very very hot. This part of the trek was tough and there were no trees cover at all. We could see many surrounding mountains, Yerikallu, Ettina Bhuja to name a few. We had many photo-breaks throughout this climb. At last we reached a Rock shelter at 2.00 pm. Mr Gopu Gokhale had given us packed lunch. We had our lunch and slept there for an hour. Our guide told us that it is another 1 1/2 hour climb to the top.
At 3PM, we decided to move ahead.We had to reach the top of the huge turtle shaped monolith rock from here. The path was inbetween Stove and the turtle shaped rock. We had to cross over to the other face of the rock by walking along its side through the dense forests. The growth was thick and Mr Channappa led us excellently from the front by clearing out the thorny trees. Now we were at the back side of the turtle-shaped rock and it took another 30min of difficult climb to reach the peak.
We had finally reached the camping ground which is about 25m below the peak. Our guide suggested that we camp here and go to the top without our sacks . We were all very tired.
We pitched our tents and started trekking to the top of the peak. It took us another half an hour to the top. We could see all the surrounding peaks . Kumaraparvatha was covered by clouds. After some rest and taking snaps , we came down to our camp site. totally we had covered a distance of 6-8km, which took us nearly 6 hours with an hour rest after our lunch. While we sat down to enjoy the surrounding views, the guide went down looking out for a water source. It took him 45 min to get water. We had taken a 5 ltr can and that was just sufficient to prepare vegetable bath. Everyone was tired, and immediately went to sleep.
We got up at 6AM when it became bright outside. We were above the clouds and we could see the lower mountain ranges completely covered by clouds. Took some snaps of the beautiful sunrise, started preparing tea.Since we didn’t have much water left, we decided to have breakfast until we reach a water source. By 7AM we started getting down. We had taken chappati’s from Bangalore. By 9AM we had reached the water point ,had our breakfast. Our guide washed all the vessels which we used for dinner. After a long break, We started trekking down. We wanted to finish it before the sun fully comes out. We were into the open area and were sweating.
From here onwards it was a continuous descent through the grassland. It was a pretty tiring descent in hot and humid conditions. We managed to reach the end of the trail at 11AM. Channappa went to bring the auto. We took bath in a near by stream. It was very refreshing. Gopu Gokhale served us luxurious lunch on plantain leaves. After such a sumptuous lunch We slept in his house for some time, since the next bus was only at 4.00 pm to Kokkada.
We visited Shishileshwara temple on the way. The temple is on the banks of Kapila river. One can feed fish here and we could see hundreds of them fighting for the food which people offered. The fish have grown so fearless that they come and fetch directly from our hands. We reached Dharmasthala at around 6.00 pm. Finally we were in Bangalore at 7.00 am.
Points to be considered.
01) It is better to do the trek from November to january.
02) Since the water point are not closer, it is better to go with a guide who can fetch us water.
03) Amedikallu is not a day’s trek. It takes atleast 6 to 7 hours one way.
04) Be careful of ticks during summer.There are plenty of them enroute.
05) Gopu Gokhale in Shishila provides excellent service including arranging for guides, transportation, food.