Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kuduremukh (1,894m)

Kudremukh also spelled Kuduremukha is a mountain range in Chikkamagaluru district, in Karnataka, India. It is also the name of a small hill station town situated near the mountain, about 48 kilometers from Karkala and about 20 kilometers from Kalasa. The name Kuduremukha (as it is known by the natives) literally means 'horse-face' (in the local language Kannada) and refers to a particular picturesque view of a side of the mountain that resembles the same. It was also referred to as 'Samseparvata', historically since it was approached from Samse village.

The town of Kudremukh is primarily an iron ore mining town where the government run Public Sector Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) operated till the last decade. It is noted for its scenic beauty. Owing to the dense forests, sighting wildlife can be challenging, though the area is rich in wildlife. Nonetheless the drive through the forest ranges can be enchanting and exhilarating. Three important rivers, the Tunga, the Bhadra and the Nethravathi are said to have their origin here. A shrine of goddess Bhagavathi and a Varaha image, 1.8 m within a cave are the main attractions.

The Tunga river and Bhadra river flow freely through the parklands. Kadambi waterfalls area definite point of interest for anyone who travels to the spot. The animals found there include the malabar civet, wild dogs, sloth bear and spotted deer.

Recently, it is declared a Tiger Reserve, falling under the Bhadra Tiger Sanctuary Umbrella. It was declared by the honourable Union Environmental Minister, Mr.Jairam Ramesh.


The Kudremukh National Park (latitudinal range 13°01'00" to 13°29'17" N, longitudinal range 75°00'55' to 75°25'00" E) is the second largest declared Wildlife Protected Area (600.32 km²) of a tropical wet evergreen type of forest in the Western Ghats. Kudremukh National Park is located in Dakshina kannada and Chikkamagaluru districts of Karnataka states. The Western Ghats is one of the thirty four hot spots identified for bio-diversity conservation in the world. Kudremukh National Park comes under the Global Tiger Conservation Priority-I, under the format developed jointly by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and World Wide Fund-USA.


The southern and western sides of the park form the steep slope of the Western Ghat ridge line, with the altitude varying from 100 m - 1892 m (peak). The northern, central and the eastern portions of the park form a chain of rolling hills with a mosaic of natural grassland and shola forest. Kudremukh receives an average annual rainfall of 7000 mm, which has evolved forest types of mainly evergreen vegetation.


The British Government declared Kudremukh region as a Reserved Forest in 1916, to stop rampant slash and burn cultivation practices from penetrating deeper into the Ghats. Well known environmentalist and Tiger expert Dr. Ullas Karanth, undertook a detailed and systematic survey of the distribution of the endangered Lion Tailed Macaque in Karnataka during 1983-84 with support from Government of Karnataka. He observed that suitable and extensive rainforest habitat for Lion-tailed Macaque existed in Kudremukh and that the tract probably harbored the largest contiguous population of lion tailed macaques in the Western Ghats outside the Malabar region. He further suggested that Lion Tailed Macaques could be effectively used as a 'flagship' species to conserve the entire biotic community in the region and prepared a conservation plan for survival of wild population of Lion Tailed Macaques in the region delineating the present national park area as a proposed nature reserve. Based on his report, the Karnataka State Wildlife Advisory Board suggested to the Government that Kudremukh National Park be created. Subsequently, the first notification of the Kudremukh National Park was issued. In 1987, the Government of Karnataka declared these Reserved Forests as a National Park based on the above suggestion.


As of 2001 India census, Kudremukh had a population of 8095. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Kudremukh has an average literacy rate of 80%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83%, and female literacy is 77%. In Kudremukh, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.


A diverse assemblage of endangered large mammals is found in the park supporting three large mammal predator species Tiger, Leopard and Wild Dogs. The important Tiger prey base found within the Park is Gaur, Sambar, Wild Pig, Muntjac, Chevrotain, Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur and the Lion Tailed Macaque.

The wet climate and the tremendous water retentive capacity of the shola grasslands and forests has led to the formation of thousands of perennial streams in the region converging to form three major rivers of the region, Tunga, Bhadra and Nethravathi that form an important lifeline for the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Lobo house is an old abandoned house on top of Kuduremukha.

Hanumana Gundi Waterfalls

Located 32 km (20 mi) from the Kalasa, the water fall has water falling onto Natural rock formations from a height of more than 100 feet (30 m). Getting into falls involves some trekking. The best time to visit this place is between October and May.

Trekking in Kudremukh

There are about 13 trekking routes in Kudremukh ranging from easy to tough. The most know ones among them are:
  1. Samse - Kudremukh - Samse. The duration fro this trek is around 4 days and 3 nights, covering a total distance of about 40 plus km.
  2. Navoor - Hevala - Kudremukh - Navoor. The duration fro this trek is around 5 days and 4 nights, covering a total distance of about 60 plus km.
  3. Navoor - Kudremukh - Samse. The duration fro this trek is around 5 days and 4 nights, covering a total distance of about 50 plus km.
  4. Horanaadu - Sringeri. The duration fro this trek is around 3 days and 2 nights, covering a total distance of about 30 plus km.


Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) is a government run company which was mining iron ore from the Kudremukh hills. KIOCL conducted its operations on an area of 4,604.55 ha for over 20 years. Opposition to its activities built up over the years from environmentalists and wildlife conservationists who are concerned about the threat to the region's flora and fauna, and farmers who are affected by the pollution of the streams that originate in the mining area. KIOCL has been banned from operating in this beautiful Natural Reserve, according to Supreme court order.

The rainfall in Kuduremukh, which is perhaps one of the highest for any open cast mining operation in the world, greatly accentuates the impacts of siltation as claimed by environmentalists. The topographic and rainfall characteristics in combination with the open cast mining of low grade iron ore and other land-surface disturbances caused by the KIOCL operations resulted in very high sediment discharge, with over 60% of the total siltation in the Bhadra system being contributed by the mining area which forms less than six per cent of the catchment. With high quality practices adopted by KIOCL to mine, the flora and fauna remained intact, causing no adverse affects on the nature.

KIOCL used to send iron ore through pipes running through districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada and converted to pellets at their plant in Panambur.These pellets were exported to countries like China, Iran, Japan, etc. by ships.


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