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    For first timers and seasoned trekkers, Karnataka has a number of trekking trails to choose from. It is equally important to take permission and ensure safety.

    Even though trekking in the Himalayas is much sought after, Karnataka has some breathtakingly beautiful trekking trails that are accessible and safe. Kumara Parvatha/ Pushpagiri is the second highest peak in Coorg and has both easy and slightly tough trails, Tadiandamol in Coorg, which doesn’t entail a strenuous trek, and Kudremukh peak in the Kudremukh National Park that is stunning for its flora and fauna, are among the most popular.

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    Pallavi Ranganath, who with three others started Urban ARCKS, says there are a variety of treks to choose from. “There are one-day, two-day and adventurous treks. For one-day treks, Madhugiri Betta in Tumkur district is good, but a bit tough. For beginners Siddara Betta in Tumkur is quite good. For two-day treks, Kumara Parvatha and Kudremukha are good.”

    Ananda Kumar, a senior manager with IBM, developed a passion for trekking since 2013. Speaking about his favourite trekking trails, Ananda says, “Kumara Parvatha is popular both during the monsoon and summer seasons. Kodachadri in Shimoga is one of the most beautiful trekking destinations in Karnataka. Tadiandamol is the highest peak in Coorg and is another popular trekking site. There are other smaller mountains in Karnataka which can be explored as well.” For treks, the best season to visit should be taken into account. Ananda says since summer is fast approaching, beach treks such as Gokarna beach trek is another option.

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    Ananda says 90 per cent of treks can be done singly or in groups, while some require guides. “Four or five friends can go together and travel easily by bus or train. Most of the trails in Karnataka are well-defined.” Anoop Athreyasa, a software engineer and a seasoned trekker whose interest in trekking began when he was in college, says: “I will tell you about my treks in Karnataka based on my experiences.”

    “I have been to Kodachadri five times, three times by jeep, via Hindumane falls and some other route once.” The Bandaje Arabi Falls trek with its lush rainforests and waterfalls, Anoop says was an exciting, full day trek.

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    For first time trekkers, Anoop says the normal routes of Ramanagara, Kodachadri and Kumara Parvatha are safe to explore. But both Ananda and Anoop warn against irresponsible trekking. There are definite do’s and don’ts that must be followed. “Some people think trekking in plain sandals is okay, but it isn’t. You must wear proper trekking or sports shoes. You should carry basic necessities like jackets, proper clothing, water bottles and medicine kits,” explains Ananda . As for the don’ts, Ananda says littering is a big no no. “In remote places and forests there’s nobody to pick up your garbage. I am part of a Conservation Awareness Trust and one of our field activities is clearing forest trails. We have often cleared 100 to 150 kg of plastic covers and bottles.”

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    While there is a thrill in trekking, taking care of your safety is essential. “You don’t have a control over Nature. Unforeseen events can occur,” says Anoop. “So it’s best to stick to the group you’re trekking with. Taking permission from the forest department and authorities are very important. Alcohol and cigarettes are strict no.”

    Information on treks is available on blogs and websites and organisations like Indiahikes and clubs such as Bangalore Mountaineering Club, Bangalore ASCENders and Bangalore Trekking Club organise interesting treks.

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