Climbing Coorg’s Highest Peak: Tadiandamol

My last tryst with Coorg was almost a decade and a half ago when I barely knew how to climb a tree, let alone trek a mountain. And thus, despite a week’s vacation in that locale, I could never scale its mountains, which is one of the most popular things to do in Coorg. From there to being a regular trekker, I have surely come a long way. So finally when my friends challenged each other to a trek to Tadiandamol, I accepted it with open arms. Although the competition was among us, we signed up with a trek group for the overall activity.

Before the journey

Last spring, around Holi, four of us headed to Coorg on an early Saturday morning. We availed a car rental from Bangalore to Coorg from a top-rated service provider, so we wouldn’t have to worry about the on-road paraphernalia. Plus, we needed to save our energy for the climb. Thankfully our cabbie was a local and was well-versed with the hilly terrain.

We started while it was still dark outside, so we could reach and start the climb before the sun was overhead. It took us nearly five hours via NH 275.

The hills of Coorg

One of the most luxuriant hill stations of Karnataka, Coorg was as fascinating as I had found it 15 years ago, albeit with more commercialization. But its pure natural beauty with the lush mountains and frothy waterfalls, all laced with a musty-spicy aroma of herbs and spice plantations, still succeeds in creating a mystical aura. As the car slowed down near our base camp, I could feel the blood pumping in my veins, possibly a little nostalgia, mixed with anticipation, and a whole lot of thrill.

Sitting at an elevation of 1750 meters, the Tadiandamol Peak is the highest point of Coorg and the third highest of Karnataka. The trek route starts from the base near Madikeri Fort and takes about five to six hours to reach the apex. There were quite a few groups of trekkers, both pro and amateur, all seeking refuge in the verdant mountain paradise.

Despite the bright sunshine, mountains and its surrounding areas were still covered in mist, which added to the thrill.

The trek

The first few miles were easier and smoother than most trails that I have trodden. So, I could focus less on the walk and more on the surrounding view. As we continued to climb the horizon widened, exposing us to mesmerizing views of the hills and valleys below.  We walked through thick Shola forests, with muddy streams cutting through the trails here and there. We stopped intermittently to refuel us with a quick swig of Gatorade and catch our breath. More or less the entire route of the trek was easily walkable, except for the stretch after Rock Point, where the trail narrows and one need to be careful at every step.

After almost four or five hours, we reached the peak! It was the most jubilant feeling. Although I had done more difficult treks, reaching the top of Tadiandamol seemed long overdue and felt like a different kind of victory! We took our break at the top, stretched out on the velvety ground, under the open sky, and soaked in the breathtaking views of the clouds kissing the mountains.

It took us another two or three hours to climb back to our basecamp where we spent the night, exhausted physically, but rejuvenated in our minds and hearts.

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