HUBBALLI: Wake up to the calls of the Malabar whistling thrush or walk on the trail of black panthers. Come November, the state forest department will open one of the best preserved forest tracks of Western Ghats to the world.
A section of the Great Canara Trail, acclaimed as the longest trekking route in India (288 km), will be open to the public by November. The stretch of about 100km between Ulavi and Castle Rock, the last leg of the trail, will be open for trekking enthusiasts. This leg of the trail entirely falls in the forests of Kali Tiger Reserve. The Great Canara Trail is a trekking path of 288km stretching between Jog waterfalls and Castle Rock waterfall near Karnataka-Goa border. The 288km stretch will have 27 halting sites and is expected to be opened in 2017-18. The entire trail will take over 20 days to complete.
“Already 60 trekking groups and individuals across the country have applied for walking on the trail. We are hopeful that the stretch will be opened by November. The trekkers can walk the entire stretch of 100km or choose a particular stretch depending on their endurance level. We also have openings for weekend treks in the Great Canara Trail,” says Vijay Mohan Raj, a senior forest officer.
The department is working on the cost segment and is trying to keep it affordable. The cost depends on accommodation facilities. On an average, it will work out to `1,500 to `1,800 per person per day. The work on preparing the 100km trekking route inside the Kali Tiger Reserve is under way. “We have already begun conducting 8-20 trekking routes inside the reserve. The work on preparing halting camps has begun and soon the trail will be marked. We have trained guides attached to the department and we are also involving more staff to train for the Great Canara trail,” adds K Srinivasulu, director of Kali Tiger Reserve. The online bookings will be launched prior to the formal inauguration of the trail in Ulavi. District-in-charge minister of Uttara Kannada R V Deshpande is expected to flag off the first batch of trekkers.
Trekkers can also hire trained guides to lead the trail.