Wednesday, 10 April 2013

MM Hills-On the trail of a bandit

This is the area made famous or rather infamous by the forest brigand and bandit Veerappan. The area plays host to a variety of flora and fauna and it is located amid dense forests.
There are several temples located within the confines of the forest, which for several years, was deserted by humans for fear of Veerappan. But once Veerappan died, nature lovers, trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts have returned in droves and today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Karnataka.
What is more the death of the bandit has also seen a sharp increase in the number of wildlife and trees such as sandalwood which Veerappan targeted. Elephants, wild boars, langurs, all of which were almost hunted to extinction, have once again made a remarkable recovery and today they too seem to be thriving.
The areas where Veerappan located himself in the deep jungles and some of the trails he followed are now tourist attractions and the Forest Department offers tourists a trek on the famed Veerappan trail.
What makes this area so ideal for a family get together today and a superb picnic spot is its nearness to Bangalore and Mysore. While Bangalore is 215 kilometres away, Mysore is about 145 kms and the area is MM Hills.
Located in Chamarajanagar district, Male Mahadeshwara (MM Hills) forest range, was once the very place where Veerappan operated with impunity. It was also here that Veerappan killed elephants and cut a large number of sandalwood trees.
Today, the very same area has recorded an increase in elephant, langur and bear population and al this is documented with the Forest Department. The department has also noticed an increase in number of  sandalwood trees in Ramapura, Changadi and M M Hills adjacent to the Cauvery Wild Life Sanctuary and also in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
The M M Hills forest ranges today provide shelter to 167 elephants and a large number of sambar, panthers, leopard, deer, bear and langur.
Langur were hunted by Veerappan and his gang members as they believed that its meat is a good cure for asthma. Veerappan was an asthmatic.
Apart from the Forest Department, the Wildlife Conservation Society carried out a prey census. This would thow further light on the increasing population of wildlife in the forest.
Apart from the death of Veerappan, the rise in tusker population can also be attributed to the strict vigil by the anti-poaching squads. The squad keeps a close watch on wildlife from watch towers in 17 places and 11 anti-poaching camps in Tokere, Nadumallu, Yarkayadu, Huliseppatti, Mulpanchar areas in Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.
The Changadi areas of MM hils and surrounding areas is known for sandalwood and timber. This is the very place where the body of former minister from Karnataka, Nagappa, was found. He had been killed by Veerappan
Apart from trekking, bird watching and photography, you can also visit the many caves in the hill ranges which Veerappan made us of when he was alive. The caves on the now quiet mountain tops offered the brigand a perfect hiding place.
It is in these ranges that Veerappan killed scores of people, including forest officials, police and villagers who he though were police informers.
If you come cross forest officers or local guides, they will point out  the many places where the bandit waylaid the STF team and murdered others. In Sorekaimadu, you can still see some huge pits on the forest road which are the sites where landmines blew up police vehicles in 1993, killing several STF men and maiming for life the then Superintendent of Police, Gopalakrishna.
Nearby this spot is Murugandi halla (nallah) where, on November 10, 1991, DCF Srinivas was shot from behind by Veerappan and beheaded while still alive. If you want to trek, the best route is from the Male Mahadeshwara Temple. Take the road to Nagamale from here which is about 2 kms away. From here, the climb is uphill through the villages of  Tulasikere, Indiganatta, K. Kane, Padsalanatta, Mendere, Nedaganane, Nagamale, Kokware, Toukere and Doddane and by the time you reach the Nagamale temple it will be hours of trekking.
Almost all the villages mentioned above were regular haunts of Veerappan and his gang members.
MM Hills is famous for the temple dedicated to Mahadeshwara,  an incarnation of Shiva. The Hills are surrounded by forests of the Eastern Ghats which is contiguous with the BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Forest Department ( Ph:08224-252027 ) has identified many trekking trails and conducts trekking through these forests. The Stanley reservoir at Mettur in Tamil Nadu is just 30 km from here.
The Mahadeshwara temple offers fairly good accommodation. Log on to the temple website for more details.


  1. Hi i am fan of your blog ill read most of the time ur blogs...i went to bandipur national park with my parents really it was amazing in that forest we all enjoyed a lot and we stayed in Bandipur Resorts it was very good to stay i wish to vist again and stay ther

  2. Thank You, Mr.Pawan Kalyan. We hope you continue reading our blog and enjoy the posts.

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