Netravathi Peak Trek- Discover the Untamed Beauty in Karnataka
Walking through the lush green forests, freshwater streams gushing during monsoon, misty meadows, chirping of birds, slushy trails and cold breeze of mountains, is what we see and feel in all the treks. Netravathi is different.Netravathi Trek is a thrilling adventurous trek in Karnataka that offers a unique opportunity to explore the breathtaking natural beauty of the Western Ghats. A paradise for trekkers and photographers, it enriches you with an experience of the thrill of trekking through dense forests, picturesque valleys, and majestic peaks.Drive through the dense, misty and rain-soaked Western Ghats towards Dharmasthala near Mangalore to reach Didupe village, which is the base of the Netravathi trek. A two-day trek provides an immersive experience in the wilderness.
About Netravathi Trek
Located at a height of approximately 1155 meters above sea level in a UNESCO heritage site, Western Ghats is one of the most prominent and most sought peaks in Karnataka. It is about 315 km from Bangalore and takes about 7 hours to reach the base by road.We embarked on our journey by bus at 9 pm after finishing dinner to ensure that we reach the base- campsite by 5 am. We reached by 6 am and were welcomed with warm hospitality from the owners of a very friendly homestay in Didupe village.
It takes about 2 and a half hours to reach the panoramic views and the highest point of Netravathi Peak. It is difficult to say that any one point is the highest point, as the peak or the meadows are spread or stretched as far as the eye can see. The sense of accomplishment and the overwhelming beauty of the surroundings create an unforgettable experience.We enjoyed our lunch with the misty and lush green views of the meadows. After spending some time and taking numerous photographs (which never seemed to be enough) we started descending. It was the time when it started raining too. We had to rush down before it could get slushy and even more challenging.
Start of the Netravathi Trek
After having a sumptuous breakfast with local Malanadu flavours of Sanas, sambhar, chutney and filter Kapi, which served as good fuel for the trek. The homestay also packed lip-smacking vegetarian Pulav along with curd and some savouries to go with our lunch.We began by hopping into a 4x4 vehicle which went off-roading along with lush green forests teamed with diverse fauna and flora. All 22 people managed in one vehicle and was enough for that adrenaline rush. After travelling for about 5 km or so, we reached the actual base point of the trek.
Netravathi Trek Trail
The trek starts with a manageable trail crossing through the fresh streams, tiny waterfalls, lush green and wet forests, the fragrance of petrichor, colours of wildflowers and the melodious chirping of various resident and migratory birds.Initially, the trek involves ascending through dense forests and ascending slopes and steep at times, testing your endurance and stamina. However, the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys make the effort worthwhile. The trek takes you through scenic landscapes, with occasional clearings that offer panoramic vistas of the Western Ghats. These views are a visual treat to the eyes, a photographer’s paradise and a trekker’s delight. These natural water bodies provide an opportunity to rejuvenate and connect with the pristine surroundings.
Village Mud Games in Karnataka
“Unleash Your Wild Side: Dive into the Muddy Madness of Didupe Village’s Thrilling Mud Games!” If you do not play the mud games after your trek, you will be missing an opportunity and a hell of an experience for a lifetime. Highly recommended, one must indulge in these monsoon fun and thrilling monsoon games played in paddy fields. Didupe village, located in the Udupi district of Karnataka, is renowned for its traditional and exhilarating mud games. These unique games have been passed down through generations and are deeply ingrained in the local culture. Games like Tug of War, Mud volleyball, throw ball, and many more engross the players and the audiences with thrill and excitement. I felt it was the best way to connect with the roots of traditions and the vibrant culture of the region.
How to reach the Netravathi trek base?
The best way to reach the last mile is always by road. Enjoy the scenic views of Western Ghats driving through twists and twirls. The base camp of Netravathi Peak is located in Didupe village of Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka state near Dharmasthala.
Mangalore International Airport is the nearest airport to reach Dharmasthala. It is about 75 km and one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Dharmasthala or Didupe village.
Mangalore Junction is the closest major railway station to Dharmasthala, which is about 65 km away. You can either hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Dharmasthala and then Didupe village.
As mentioned, reaching the last mile, road is the best way to reach the base of Netravathi base. There are regular state and private buses/cabs from all the major cities of Karnataka.
Accommodation at Netravathi Peak Trek
As the trekking trail of Netravathi lies in the Western Ghats, the availability of structured accommodation is limited. However, there are a few options one can consider.
There are a number of homestays available in the nearby villages and towns like Dharmasthala, Ujire or Didupe. These homestays offer a comfortable stay with local cuisines and are equipped with all the basic and modern amenities. The homestays will also assist you in arranging the jeep ride and a guide for the trek and mud games. These are the best options and is advisable to book in advance to avoid inconvenience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need government permission for the Netravathi trek?
Yes, you do need government permission to scale Netravathi Peak. There is an entry fee of Rs 500 per person. It is advisable to trek along with a local guide.
What is the best time to visit Netravathi trek?
The best time to visit the Netravathi trek is post-monsoon till winter which is from August to January. The weather is pleasant during this time. However, Netravathi is famous for a monsoon trek and can also be visited from June to August months to experience the lush greenery and the adventures of the monsoon trek.
What is the hiking distance of Netravathi Peak?
The approximate distance of the trek is around 15 km one way and takes about 2-3 hours to reach the peak with an average hiking speed.
What is the difficulty level of the trek?
The trek is moderately difficult as there are a couple of steep stretches. It depends totally upon your level of fitness.
Important points to remember before trekking Netravathi Peak
- Physical Fitness: Netravathi is a challenging trek, so it’s important to be in good physical fitness condition.
- Weather Check: Be prepared for any weather changes. You can feel a mild cold at the peak or may experience a sudden rain shower. Carry an appropriate layer of clothing.
- Trekking Gear: Netravathi is a moderately difficult trek and it is advisable to wear sturdy and comfortable trekking shoes for ankle support and a good grip. Also, carry a trekking pole if you need to.
- Trekking Guide/Group: Always recommended to hire a local guide or to go with an organised group to ensure safety or not get lost in the jungle.
- Hydration and Nutrition: There are no shops/ kiosks on the trail, hence carry your hydration and snacks or food for the trek.
- Be Responsible: Follow the forest and environmental rules. DO NOT LEAVE ANY TRASH. Avoid unnecessary noise and refrain from damaging the flora and fauna.
Netravathi Peak is a trekkers’ delight and a paradise with a perfect blend of adventure, and natural beauty giving trekkers a thrilling experience. One of the most famous treks in Karnataka, Netravathi surely will leave you with memories for a lifetime.