Those who have viewed sandalwood movie “Galipata” have marveled at the scenic beauty of Mugilupete. Perhaps, a few of them wondered where on earth the Mugilupete exists. However, if you are determined to get a closer view of Mugilupete, you ought to come to Kodagu to enjoy the scenic beauty.
Heaven on earth:
If you arrive in Kodagu and enquire the route to reach Mugilupete, none of them will no such a hill exists. Because, the name was devised for the movie, while the natives of Kodagu called Mandalapatta. The natives donnot find anything special in it. It is just a hill among many hills, but for those city-folks who are caught up in daily chaos of urban living, the pristine surrounding will sooth their strained nerves and revive jest for living.
The heavenly abode of Mandalapatta lies at about 20 kilometers away from Madikeri that comes under Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuary. One should get permits from forest department to go there. One can go there through Madikeri – Abbi falls route and also Madikeri – Somavarapete route, where on would come across a village known as Makkandoor that lies in about 8 kilometers on either routes. The road to the left takes you to Mandalapatta. Meanwhile, one can reach there by trekking through the forest from Kukke – Subramanya.
Zigzag road gives adrenaline high:
It is indeed a thrilling experience to pass through zigzag roads of Madikeri – Abbi Falls, the coffee and cardamom plantations, fresh water streams…long ranges of Western Ghats and dense vegetation in the gorges. It would transpire one to dream world altogether. The locals used to take their livestock to grace in the hills and also feast on hunting. There were no roads, while in the recent developments, a few stretch of road has been tared till the guest houses of forest department, as Mandalapatta is gaining significance as tourist hub. One has to proceed further on dirt track without any choice.
Noise pollution free surroundings:
Mandalapatta lies about 4,000 feet above the sea level, where a few tourists arrive annually. In Kodava vernacular language Mandalapatta is known as hill or higher landmass. The natives may call Mandalapatti that is indeed a heaven on earth. One has to climb in steep roads. The four wheel automobiles are ideal to reach there, and not advisable to drive in a saloon car.
The locals get the thrill of driving in zigzag roads in their jeeps, while majority of youngsters walk all the way to savour the beauty of Kodagu, walking on hazardous path exhausted and over joy once they reach the summit at view point. The clouds in heaven bodies, expanse of scenic beauty, mist revives ones spirit and marvel at the natures wonder. The pleasant breeze on a mid-day, thick fog, the streams gushing in the gorges is a rare delight indeed.
Hub of rural games:
If Mandalapatta is the heaven for tourists, it is the ground for rural games to the youth living in the neighbouring villages, Hammiala, Mutlu, Soorabbi, Makkandoor, Devastoor, Mutnadu, Hacchinadu villages, in order test their adventure spirits. It’s the fact. The rural sports meet has been organized at the leadership of Kalachanda Ravi Tammayya by Kodagu Paschima Gatta Moolanivasigala Vimochana Sangha, since the past 15 years spending huge money during the summer.
The rural youth, women, elders, juniors of nearby villages climb Mandalapatta on the rural sports meet. The people climb the hill early morning on the day scheduled for sport meet that begins at about 10.00am. The sports torch will be lit amidst blowing wind a challenge indeed to sustain the light.
The different games competitions were held separately for children, men and women. The competition of plucking the coconut was held for teenagers to test their stamina, strength and skills. It is a unique competition, wherein the children were made to sit round and a coconut is thrown in the middle. The winner is the one who gets hold of the coconut braving amongst each other and holds upright. It’s not a easy task, the fight and snatching will go on whereby the coconut change the hands and finally someone caught hold of it and proudly displays it upright. Next is the cross-country race by the rural folks without any shoes had to cover 10 kilometer. The children, women and men partake in different categories.
As the sports meet is progressing, it will be time to have fellowship meal. The rural folks come to partake in sports meet, to get some recreation from their farming. They bring along with them special dishes that they share with each other and chit chat. After this, tug-of-war will be held for women and men. The stronger teams display the prowess and the viewers motivate with applauses and blowing whistles.
Shooting the coconut:
Another heroic sport of Kodagu is being shooting coconut with a gun. The people with keen interest in hunting take part in it. A coconut is being hung to a tree, which has to be shot. The shooters continue to shoot without bothering of wasting the bullets in unsuccessful attempts. The man who drops the coconut by shooting will be honored as Sarpanch. The women also participate in this competition to show their brave hearts. Later, dirt road biking and 4WD adventures will be held on hills which is a high adrenaline driven sport, by then its nearing sunset. The prizes will be distributed to the winners of different sports competitions.
The children, women and men who gathered at the venue dance to the tunes of Kodava music and its already sunset. The people return to their homes in full-moon night.
The visitors to Mandalapatta have a natures trove, while the rural folks living in remote villages nearby live with bare necessity. They use kerosene lamps because the electricity supply is a faraway dream, no roads, telecommunication and bus services. In spite of faraway from modern world, the rural folks enjoy basic living and united in common bond. It is indeed due to their unity, Mandalapatta remained as a natures trove.
The revenue and forest department jointly drawn up a proposal to lay tea estates in Mandalapatta a few years ago, in order to rehabilitate the tribal families living in Nagarahole nature reserve. Meanwhile, the rural folks opposed the proposal that has led to abandoning the project. Mandalapatta has no proper access road even for tourists. The former minister M C Nanayya had laid the road at a cost of Rs 1.60 crore a few years ago, which the rural folks call as Nanayya road.
The movie makers who are delighted of scenic beauty of Mandalapatta are arriving for shooting their movies. The nature lovers are concerned of any environmental damage due to be caused by the camera crew. The tourists are advised to take along with food and beverages because nothing is available nearby. They had to take their garbage unfailingly to maintain its virgin surrounding. Meanwhile, a note caution, the tourists are not advised not to go at a time whenever one wishes, because wild tuskers roam the jungle. Since, no soul is nearby, none of them will come to your rescue in case of great need.