About Kote Betta HillKote Betta, the third highest peak in Coorg at 1620 m above sea level, is situated in Hattihole locality, 15 km from Madikeri region. Kote Betta, which literally means Fort Hill. It has a mythical story that locals narrate. It is believed that the famous Pandavas of Mahabharata have spent a considerable period of their exile at this place and built several stone houses that stand till date.
An ideal place for trekking, the trail takes visitors through villages, undulating terrain of coffee estates, spice plantations, and jackfruit gardens. As one travels deeper, one remains enraptured at the picturesque dense forests and mighty Western Ghats.
If lucky, one may catch a glimpse of a parade of elephants, wild dogs, Sambars, stripe-necked mongoose, Indian giant squirrels, brown palm civets, gaurs, and several species of otters.
As the ascent ends and reaches the flat ground, the sacred Shiva Temple situated atop a climbable rock comes into view. Over the top, it looks as if the clouds have descended to whisper in the ear and welcome with open hands.
The scenic beauty from the top, especially the Kumar Parvata ranges & Harangi dam from the Kote Betta peak is only to be experienced. The pond at the peak offers drinkable water. The feeling of spending a night in a makeshift tent breathing pristine air and gazing at the starry sky cannot be explained in words. It makes us feel one with nature and reminds what we are missing in our concrete jungles.
How to Reach Kote Betta Hill
Kote Betta does not have direct air or rail connectivity. Mangalore is the major International airport, which is closest to Kote Betta. It is linked to nearby major cities through road via taxi, car or bus.
By Rail: The nearest major railway station to Kote Betta is Mysuru Railway Station. The nearest local metro train station is the Subramanya Road Railway Station which has limited rail connectivity.
By Road: Kote Betta is 267 km from Bangalore and 176 km from Mangalore. By car, it takes 5 hrs from Bangalore and 4 hrs from Mangalore to reach Kote Betta.
By Bus: Karnataka State Road Transport Service runs buses from Bangalore to Madikeri. KSRTC and private buses are available from Madikeri to Somwarpet via Hattihole, which is the base station for Kote Betta.
Best Time to Visit Kote Betta Hill
The best time to visit the hills is from October -March.
What Not to Miss at Kote Betta Hill
Attractions and Activities at Kote Betta
1. Trekking: One of the ultimate trekking destinations, Kote Betta promises an amazing experience to hard-core outdoor enthusiasts and trekkers. A physically challenging expedition that rewards its participants with mental stimulation beyond expectations.
2. Photography: Photographers and Scenic Lovers will have a tough time to decide what not to, as against what to shoot, as the place is a nature’s paradise. Amateurs or professionals, one cannot restrain the urge to capture the beautiful landscapes and carry them as souvenirs.
3. Cherish the natural beauty: Located in Coorg, which is fondly referred to as “the Scotland of India”, the Kote Betta abounds in natural beauty with lush green forests and the imperial Western Ghats. The trail is dotted with villages, gardens of Orange, Passion fruit and Pomelo and small streams and falls.
An undulating terrain of coffee estates on one side and verdant hills on another side mesmerize the scenic lovers and alleviate their fatigue. The subtle changes of the landscape from plantations to dense Shola forests and inclines of lemongrass and rocky terrain, elicit a shriek of surprise from the trekkers.
4. Hattihole Bridge: Hattihole bridge situated on the Hatti River is a few paces from the junction from where trekkers start their journey. The initial trial, which the visitors take for trekking is adjacent to the river on the left-hand side. 2.5 km into the travel, a hanging bridge over the river greets the travelers.
The gushing waters below with a swing type hanging bridge secured by wooden planks and rope, against the verdant woods in the background call for a photo session to capture the scenic beauty and store it for posterity.
5. Eco Valley: Eco Valley falls between the trekking base and Shiva Temple on the Kote Betta peak. It is a deep gorge surrounded by hills that reflect the sound.
6. Shiva Temple: The ancient Shiva Temple is located atop the Kote Betta Hill. Visitors can also see the omnipresent Nandi in front of the Shiva shrine. A careful exploration of the rocks around the temple reveal a distinctive sound that suggests a hidden cave beneath the surfaces.
A few feet from the temple and behind a whitewashed structure are two ponds. One of the ponds is used by the natives for performing rites during festivities and is suitable for drinking, while the other is left for animals to slake their thirst.
7. Camping: Camping at height of 1620 m above sea level amidst picturesque settings is both fun and adventurous. The body and mind poisoned by the noise, effusions, and effluents of city life finally find a resort to heal naturally at these serene surroundings.
The activities like singing, dancing, etc. or cosying up with loved ones around the campfire or relaxing under the canopy of clear skies with twinkling stars leave indelible memories in the mind.
8. Mallalli Falls: Mallalli Falls situated in the Western Ghats, at the base of the Pushpagiri range, is fed by the waters of Kumaradhara River. The cascading white waters against the backdrop of black rocks and mushy green vegetation from a height of 200ft in two tiers is a sight to behold and experience.
The swirling white fog and droplets that engulf the surroundings add romanticism and natural beauty to the place. An ideal time to visit the Mallalli Falls is during the monsoon between July and December. The Kumaradhara River traverses through Kukke before merging with Netravati River in Uppinangady, and ultimately emptying into the Arabian Sea in Mangalore.
The hills around the Mallalli Falls are a getaway for trekkers. The place can be reached by private taxis or public transport bus from either Somwarpet (25 km) or Kushal Nagar (42 km). Hanchinalli is the nearest hamlet to the waterfalls. It can be reached on foot too.
Other Essential Information About Kote Betta Hill
- Location: Somvarpet, Coorg, Madikeri, Karnataka, India.
- Timings: Open from 6 A.M. – 6 P.M. 365 days a year.
- Entry Fee: No Entry Fee.
- Height: It is 5314 ft (1620 m) above the sea level.
- Average Temperature: Day temperatures between 26oc – 33oc & Night temperatures 15oc – 23oc during Oct-March months.
- Trek Duration: Total trekking distance is 10 km. Trekking duration depends on physical ability and experience. Experienced trekkers can reach Kote Betta in 3-4 hrs.
- Distance from Madikeri: 22 Km.
- Transportation: Kote Betta does not have a railway station within a 10 km range. Subramanya Road Railway Station is the nearest one, which is at a distance of 33 km from Kote Betta. Sakleshpur railway station is 50 km. from the place. The place is connected to Somwarpet, Kushal Nagar, and Madikeri by road.
- Medical Facilities : Singapura Pete Sub Centre, Kadaba PHC, and Thenkaulipady health centre are Govt. health centres near Kote Betta.
- Network Connectivity: BSNL is the only service provider that offers services at many places in Madikeri. The cell signal strength at some of the places is either very weak or none at all.
Trek Routes to Kote Betta
The first leg of the trek starts from a point close to Hattihole junction. The peak lies at a distance of 10 km from this point. Visitors have the option to trek from here or travel in a jeep up to the foot of the Kote Betta Peak. The jeep journey takes visitors through a rough ride on asphalted and mud road to the base point of the trek. From here, guests walk along the jeep trail, through verdant coffee estates, and locals’ dwellings.
On further trekking, one will come across dense woods and swirling streams that gush with water during monsoon. The quintessential quietude of the surroundings gets broken by the occasional tweeting of birds, quirky noise of insects or chatter of the trekkers.
Trekkers need to leave the trail, take a left turn and walk 0.5 km before taking a right to come across a rocky path that leads to Kote Betta. Trekkers should be careful as most of the rocks may turn out to be slippery due to rains in monsoon.
Further down the line, visitors will reach the ridge from where they can view the Echo Valley. It got its name from the fact that whatever one says or speaks here, the words reverberate and one hears the echo.
A short walk along the ridge and a small climb will lead to Maha Dvara or entrance to the ancient sacred Shiva temple on Kote Betta. A trek along the track will finally take the visitors to the summit of the Kote Betta.
Traveller's Tips for Visiting Kote Betta
1. Differently-abled persons are not permitted to trek. Similarly, people with cardiac problems, spine & vertebral problems and other serious medical conditions are not recommended to undertake trekking.
2. Trekkers are expected to carry all their belongings themselves. So pack your luggage with essentials only and keep it light.
3. Guests are advised to stick to the group and insights of the trek lead/instructor. If anyone wants to take a break, inform the trek lead and then rest.
4. Trekkers are requested to follow instructor’s/Trek lead’s instructions for safety purposes.
5. Smoking & Alcohol is strictly prohibited. Smoking attracts honeybees and their attack could be fatal.
6. Guests are advised not to throw the litter around. People are requested to use dustbins and keep their surroundings clean.
7. Do not panic, if any animal, reptile or insect crosses your path. Keep calm and composed and let it pass by.
8. Inform your guide, if you feel uncomfortable or sick at any point of your journey.
Must carry things include:
Things to Carry for a trek to Kote Betta
1. First-Aid kit with personal medications, if any
2. Waterproof Strong backpack with Pair of clothes, a cap, and Jacket /Sweater
3. Good trekking shoes
4. Leech (Salt/Snuff powder) & Mosquito repellents
5. Sunglasses & Sun blockers
6. Water bottles and packaged food
7. Energy drinks such as flavoured milk, ORS drinks (for electrolyte imbalance) & Glucose
8. Reliable Flashlight with new batteries
9. Tent and Sleep bag/mat
10. Knife and rope
12. Camera (Optional)
Places to Stay1. Raisina Homestay (13 km– Rs1,200/night): It provides 2 BHK & Deluxe rooms spacious enough to accommodate up to 6 people. Clean and well-maintained rooms with basic amenities like TV, parking, Dinning, etc.. The hospitable hosts offer complimentary breakfast as well.
2. The Birchwood Retreat (14 km –Rs. 4,200*/night): A Retreat with Garden view, Pool view, and Pool facing rooms for business executives & vacationers. It promises comforts and convenience in an equal measure such as Conference Room, Printer, Scanner, Gym, activity center, coffee shop Barbeque, Restaurant, and Indoor & Outdoor games.
3. Old Kent Estates & Spa ((14.6 Km –Rs. 8,400/night): A chic and cozy hotel comprising single & twin cottages with all modern amenities such as Beauty & Spa, Barbeque, 24-hr Café, Restaurant, on-demand Bonfire, indoor & outdoor games. It offers complimentary breakfast & dinner as well.
4. The Ibnii Spa Resort (12.8 km –Rs. 10,665/night): This is a premium Hotel consisting of capacious rooms for couples (kids not allowed) with ultra-modern amenities such as Swimming pool, Gym, Yoga, Bar, Restaurant, Conference Room, and Indoor and Outdoor sports.
5. Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa (13.2 km –Rs. 15,500*/night): A privileged Resort & Spa offering different categories of rooms with world-class facilities such as temperature-controlled infinity pool, 30,000 sq. ft Health Center comprising Spa, Gym, etc., Conference Room, Business Center, Restaurant, and outdoor activities and sports.
Places to Eat1. Barbeque Bay (12.2 km): Veg & Non-Veg Kebabs, Indian Bread, curries, salads, and desserts. Drinks available.
2. Coorg Cuisine (13.8 km): Mostly non-veg restaurant that offers authentic Kodava cuisines like pork curry, chilli chicken (Coorg style), ghee rice, Kadam buttu, and neer dosa leave visitors’ licking their fingers.
3. Sri Ambika Upahar (13.8 km): A family veg restaurant that serves south Indian, North Indian and Chinese dishes. Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner are served here at reasonable prices. It offers hygienic and prompt service.
4. Sri Krishna Bhavan (13.1 km): A non-descript small hotel run by an old person, who doubles as waiter and cashier. The lip-smacking south Indian breakfasts such as Idli, Vada, Pongal, Kesari, Upma, poori, etc and scrumptious lunch give other restaurants a run for their money.
5. Abeo’s Kitchen (13.7 km): Gourmet Chinese, European and Central European dishes that leave visitors mopping off their plates. A must place to hang out with friends and families for a quick bite of delicious burgers, pizzas, pasta, desserts, and momos.
Popular Guruprasad restaurant, Swaad Pure Veg., etc. are some of the other hotels that serve delicious food.