Nishani Motte Wildlife Circuit Trek

By Vacation India
View of Mountains during Nishani Motte Trekking in Coorg - Image by Rajeev Rajagopalan

Nishani Motte Wildlife Circuit Trek

Trek Schedule
Nishani Motte Wildlife Circuit Trek Details
Interesting Facts of the Nishani Motte Peak in Coorg
Each Person Should Use or Bring


The Nishani Motte Wildlife Circuit Trek lasts most of the whole day. The entire hike is between 14 and 16 kilometers through the beautiful green forests that blankets the mountains. This area is part of the Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka and features many paths and trails that require a skilled guide to help you navigate. Within its borders many wonderful animals live including Indian elephants and elusive leopards. You will not be walking on a smooth paved path. Instead, this trek will lead you through grassy meadows and shola forests teeming with life. The experienced guide will lead you on a gentle upward path up to the impressive summit of the rocky ridge. From here, you will be thrilled to view the entire panorama of gorgeous wild landscape across the Nishani Hills. Do not forget your camera so you can take many pictures to share with friends and family back home.

Although the paths seem quite wild, this trekking route is approved for all able-bodied people. The Tala Cauvery Forest Department furnishes the guides and helps to teach them the best route and detailed information about where the best places to see animals will be. You will thrill not only to see the view from the ridge but also every inch of the thick forests that cover Nishani Motte from that apex towards the anit-poaching camp (APC) found there.

Hiking in the early morning fog to the Nishani Motte Peak in Coorg


Trek Schedule

7:30 AM — Have breakfast at your hotel, pick up a packed lunch there, and then board vehicles to drive to the base of the Coorg Tala-Cauvery Forest range.
08:30 AM — Begin the Nishani Motte trek
01:00 PM — Stopped to eat packed lunch and rest for a while
04:30 PM — Reach the summit ridge
5:00 PM — Begin the descent
7:00 PM — Board as the vehicles for the return trip to the hotel
8:00 PM — Arrive back at your Hotel in Coorg for a night of relaxation

Valley view with green meadows in Coorg - Image by Ramesh R Nair

The lush meadows in a valley in Coorg – Image by Ramesh R Nair


Nishani Motte Wildlife Circuit Trek Details

Your trekking group will begin the journey into the Nishani Motte Trek riding in official forest department vehicles on a dirt track. This path splits after a short ride. The right-hand path heads to the Tala Cauvery Forest range in Kerala, while the left-hand path heads to your destination and the thick forest hiking trail.

Once the tour group is on the path, realize that it may change some based on the time of year you go. The trail passes over a few streams of water which can be quite noticeable during the monsoon season. During the drier months, the water could just be a trickle or simply swampy ground. Either way, it is advisable not to drink from the stream so you should bring in two liters of water for the day trip. Also, realize that these wet areas can have a leeches so take care if you decide to step into the water. If you are lucky, your guide can point out some exotic animal footprints from those who came for a drink. This is one of the great benefits of taking such a trek with an experienced and knowledgeable guide.

The entire Nishani Motte Wildlife Circuit Trek occurs within the Tala Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary’s thick forests in the Western Ghat mountains. This area has been designated as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Biosphere in Karnataka.

Trekking in Nishani Motte Wildlife in Coorg

The return the trip toward base from the Nishani Motte Trek

The hike continues up gentle rolling hills to a high ridge surrounded by thick forests. As you approach the summit, you will see lovely meadows that are perfect for camping in if you are not taking a day hike. Also, it is important to pay attention to any wildlife in the area before you decide to stop for arrest. Your guide will lead to up the hill to the spots where you can look down at the Sri Bhagamandala Temple and village of Coorg. It is also thrilling to look out over the landscape and realize just how far you have come to the dense jungles teeming with exotic plants and animals.

As you follow the path, take note of the Forest Milestones that mark the boundary between the wildlife sanctuary on the right and the locally controlled force on the left.

Besides green hills and dense jungles, the hiking a path will also take you across streams, next to waterfalls, and over massive fallen trees that require a scramble in order to get past. The dim light filtering through the leafy canopy will make the experience seen almost magical.

Irupu Falls during Nishani Motte Trekking in Coorg - Photo by Kajin- Shutterstock

Irupu Falls during Nishani Motte Trekking in Coorg – Photo by Kajin / Shutterstock

By this time you may be getting a bit tired and eager to rest your feet, but do not give up because the most beautiful sight of all awaits your eyes. Give it your all, follow the guide, and step out on the last stretch of the trek with high spirits. The upward slope of this part of the Nishani Motte hike is around 60 degrees, but the reward at the top is worth it. First used by the nearby village of Rajagiri, and then the view opens up to see the lovely state of Kerala. Take another moment to rest, enjoy the views, take some pictures, and congratulate each other on a great hike. However, as the old saying goes, reaching the top is optional, but coming down is mandatory
papaya fruit nishani motte trek south india

Young papaya fruit, Carica papaya. The towering papaya trees are simpler to giant herbaceous plant with large palmate lobed leaves. The fruits are globe shaped and hang in clusters © Gurcharan Singh / Shutterstock

You still have approximately six kilometers of the Nishani Motte trek to go. The descent from the top ridge grows a bit steeper as you head downward and to the left to reach the anti-poaching camp.The landscape splits on either side of the trekking path so you have a unique look on either side. To your left are dense forests teeming with life, while on the right, there are beautiful meadows with diverse plant life, birds, and insects. These spots will stay in your memories for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, you cannot stop and stare for very long. The two kilometer hike down from the Nishani Motte peak must be completed at a fast pace so you can reach the Jeep road at the bottom. This easier stretch of four kilometers still has plenty of interesting things to look at as you hurry along to meet the waiting vehicles. At last, your adventure trek is over and you will be taken back to your hotel and a well-deserved rest.


Interesting Facts of the Nishani Motte Peak in Coorg

View of Mountains during Nishani Motte Trekking in Coorg - Image by Rajeev Rajagopalan

A mountain vista seen on the Nishani Motte Trekking in Coorg – Image by Rajeev Rajagopalan

ALTITUDE 4,167 feet

TRAIL TYPE This circuit trek includes pads through thick tropical rain forests and steep inclines towards Nishani Motte Peak

DIFFICULTY Moderate, no prior experience required

DISTANCE 14 to 16 kilometers

POINTS OF INTEREST Bhagamandala lies on the edges of the River Kaveri. It is important both historically and spiritually in the Indian state of Karnataka. This is a lovely temple, Sri Bhagandeshwara Temple, next to Triveni Sangam. Also, Tala Cauvery is near where the river Kaveri begins and covers the entire region from West to the East Coast of Tamil Nadu.

BEST SEASON Many changes take place in this region throughout the year, which makes any season a great time to experience the trek.

CAUTION Many types of wild animals live in the Tala Cauvery Forest Range. You may see elephants as well as other potentially dangerous wildlife. You are required to go only with a local guide from the Forest Department. In monsoon season, be advised that leeches are a real possibility.

AVAILABLE WATER One or two small streams exist seasonally before you reach Nishani Motte Peak. You can also get potable water at Tala Cauvery and the APC (Anti-Poaching Camp) which comes after doing the summit of Nishani Motte.

REGION Tala Cauvery Range of Western Ghats, Karnataka

COORDINATES 12.331831 °N, 75.531961°E


Each Person Should Use or Bring




A framed pack with adjustable straps that suit your body type. Suggested capacity: 40L           1
JACKET or SWEATER Due to drastic weather changes, bring layers to stay comfortable throughout the day           1
CARGO or TRACK PANTS Either wear rugged pants to protect from thorns and rough terrain or quick-dry track pants           2
T-SHIRTS Long-sleeved, light colored cotton t-shirts keep you comfortable and protect from sunburn          2-3
SUN HAT or CAP Protect your head and face from sunburn and keep the glaring sun out of your eyes            1
SLIPPERS or FLIP FLOPS For overnight stays, a pair of comfortable shoes are needed for indoors at the home stay            1
HIKING SHOES Choose comfortable, broken in shoes with rugged, gripping soles and ankle support         1 pair
SOCKS Wear and carry extra sport or cotton socks to change if one gets wet. Help prevent blisters with double-layer hiking socks         3 pairs
RAIN COAT or PONCHO This is especially important during monsoon season, but a small poncho can help for sudden rain showers all year long            1
WATER BOTTLE At least a 2 liter bottle or water pack for the day hike. Take advantage of refills where the guide tells you            1
TORCH or FLASHLIGHT A small torch with new batteries in case or poor visibility or overnight stays            1
PERSONAL MEDICATION KIT A stocked first-aid kit for yourself and all necessary personal medications you take          1 Set
REPAIR KIT A needle and thread and a few other items in a small repair kit can make the difference on the trail         1 each
TOWEL Overnight stays require a basic towel for your personal needs            1
TOILETRIES A small kit with soap, toothpaste and brush, deodorant, and toilet paper for personal use         1 each
SUNGLASSES Rugged sunglasses for eye protection            1


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