Green Route is the famous segment along the Bangalore and Mangalore railway line in Karnataka, within the pristine part of Western Ghat mountain ranges often called the trekker's paradise.
This is the segment on the railway track from Sakaleshpura to the Kukke Subramanya Road station. This is a unique beautiful spot in the whole railway track because of the dense green forest in which it is situated. This stretch of the track with length about 52+ km has around 50+ tunnels and bridges with length varying from few meters to 0.75 km and height varying from few meters to 200 + meters. The tunnels are absolute terrestrial abyss.
This is one of the most picturesque spot (route) in the Western Ghats of the South Kanara and Hassan districts of Karnataka. You can either start from the Sakleshpura or Subramanya Road Station. The trek is famous for the absolute wilderness that one may encounter during the trek and the beautiful rivulets, landscapes and breath taking bridges. The trek is also famous for the frequent encounter with the wild elephants in the Gundya and Sakleshpur range. One has to be very careful during the walk in Yedukameri forest. Elephant-human encounter is very common in this place, especially in the adjacent coffee estates, blame it on the encroachment we have done or ecological imbalance. Many times elephant-human encounter is fatal. The gentle giant is never gentle all the time.
How to Reach Green Route
The trek starts from Donigal, a small railway station found 8 km after Sakleshpur along the Shiradi Ghats. One has to get down and walk to the railway station from the road. Getting the help from locals to know the exact point of railway station is advisable as the railway station does not have any name boardings or finger post. Once in the railway station, advised to get the train timings as we may encounter trains while crossing the bridges. It is ideal to start the trek around 6:30 AM so that we can finish the trek before the dawn. Wear soft heel shoes as the entire trek is on the railway track.
Initially the trek will look disgusting as we are forced to look down and walk and we may not be able to enjoy the scenic beauty of this place. Very soon we will be able to adapt to this enjoying the nature and also walk carefully. The destination could be Yedukameri(approx 17 Km) or Shirabagilu (approx 25-30 km) or Gundya. It is advised to stop the trek at Yedukameri and descend towards Bengaluru Mangaluru highway via Kempuhole
En Route to Yedukameri
The trek is at its best if one does the trek from Donigal to Yedukameri which can be covered in 5-6 hrs. The initial walk from Donigal to the first bridge will be a pleasant. We encounter the first bridge after a walk of a km. The first bridge is a real test for all who suffer from Acrophobia(fear of heights). If some one feel extremely frightened while crossing this first bridge, it is advised to return back instead of venturing as there are bigger bridges ahead.
After crossing the first bridge, look out for the small streams that run beneath the valley. It is obvious that the instincts pushes us to get down at this place to play in the stream but a walk further ahead will bring the second bridge beneath which a stream runs with decent amount of water and current to enjoy. This is an ideal place to have the breakfast and finish up the morning formalities.
There is a small road that runs towards the left of the bridge, which will take us to a small human settlement in this place. In case of any emergency, reaching out these people would be better instead of going back towards Donigal and Sakleshpur. While playing in this stream watch out for glass pieces and sharp stones. Don't spend more than 45 mins in this place.
The tunnels start from this place, the tunnels stretch few meters to 0.6 km. One has to watch out for few waterfalls found on the right side of the track after the second bridge. There is a tunnel on its extreme end has a small door which lead towards the edge of the cliff from where the waterfall would be visible. Advised to be extra careful while standing on this edge.
Ultra giant boulders which forms the left wall of the cliff has given rise a peculiar vegetation. Plant resembling planktons grow here. The stones are porous and soft, this is a very good evidence for the existing theory which explains the origin of Western Ghats. It is easy to get carried away with the appearance of few fruits on the way, advised not to eat them unless some one is sure about how edible it is.
Bridges & Tunnels in Green Route
Look out for the adjacent photo attested, this long bridge is at the mid-way between Donigal and Yedukameri. There is an exit from this point. Taking a right at this place will lead to Bengaluru- Mangaluru high way. Watch out for Elephants at this place, advised to take the help of the local railway workers at this place. Before crossing the long bridges, try taking a note on train timings with the railway workers. Cross the bridges as soon as possible. Try not getting stranded on the bridge, every bridge has a small stand on which around 5 people can stand in case of a train crossing. Every bridge comes with a wide plate running through out the length of the bridge making the walk safe and easy. The long terrestrial abyss tunnels greet the trekkers after every bridge. Tunnel# 11 is the longest running for 0.6 km. Taking a bright torch is advised while trekking. Watch out for small snakes on the tracks in the tunnels. Talking loudly and making noise during the walk in tunnels will be helpful in chasing away animals. Try walking making a human chain while walking so that no one misses out in the tunnel.
The longest bridge comes after tunnel 11, try finishing the lunch at this place. There is a stream that runs beneath this bridge which can be reached taking a right deviation at the end of the bridge. Beginners are not advised to take these cross routes, probability of getting lost in this evergreen forest is high. Majority of trekkers would be tired while coming back to track from this stream. Its better to have a lot of fluids in the lunch instead of a heavy solid lunch. The up route towards the track would be confusing, advised to be very carefully at this place. Leeches are found around the damp places near this stream.
The subsequent bridges and tunnels are long and within no time Yedukameri would be nearing. Not to be surprised if elephant dungs are spotted on the tracks. The forest around Yedukameri has a healthy elephant population. Its a lot safer to reach Yedukameri before the dawn.
Yedukameri Station & the Wild Descend
Yedukameri station draws the end to the trek on the rail route. Trekkers take rest here or camp at night. There is a small path that runs towards the foothill, trekkers are advised to walk in this path. This part of the trek is the most exciting and the dangerous one. Not to get panic when you spot any fresh Elephant dung or an Elephant. Once the descend is over, we land into a beautiful valley and a wonderful stream that runs at this place. Watch out for a path towards right, i.e follow the stream and be careful at the crossings. After 200 mts from this place, the road will divide into two, trekkers should take the right branch. The left one goes up the hill. After this point, the path would be obvious. It will take around 3-4 km in this jungle to reach Kempuhole.Crossing the Kempuhole will take to the Bengaluru-Mangaluru high way which ends the trek of totally 17 + 5 km