Kodachadri trek costs upto 18k in govt fees for 10 pax - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Kodachadri trek costs upto 18k in govt fees for 10 pax

Kodachadri is a scenic hill top near Kollur in coastal Karnataka. Devotees visiting Kollur Mookambika temple and nature lovers prefer to visit Kodachadri hills- either via trekking or using 4x4 jeeps. Kodachadri trek will now cost dearly to nature lovers. If you are a group of 10 trekkers, be ready to pay upto 18k in Govt fees alone (for a group of 10 pax), travel and other expenses separate.

As per this post from Kundapraa.com, a local website, revised Forest Department fee to enter Kodachadri are as below
  • Trekking Entry fee 300 INR per person
  • Camera Fee: Upto 1000 Rs per camera depending on lens size 
  • Guide fee 1000 INR
  • Late return fee INR 100 per hour
If you are a group of 10 people, at the bare minimum you will pay 3000 Rs to govt to trek to Kodachadri. But it is very likely you will be delayed on your way back and will pay some penalty, you may need a guide or might have some cameras. So be ready to pay as much as 18000 INR in govt fees for a group of 10 pax.

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Fee type

Per person cost

Best scenario (for 10 people)

Worst Scenario (for 10 people)

Intermediate scenario (10 pax)

1

Trekking Entry fee

300 INR

3000 INR

3000 INR

3000 INR

2

Guide fee

1000 INR/Guide

1000 (1 guide for whole group)

1000 (1 guide for whole group)

1000 (1 guide for whole group)

3

Camera fee

300 (minium)

500 (upto 200 mm lens

1000 (200 mm+ lens

0 (no one takes camera)

10000 (all carry 200 mm+ lens)

4200 (2 pax carry 200 mm+ 2 pax carry upto 200, 4 people carry normal, 2 people no camera

4

Late return fee

100 INR/hour

0 (return within time

4000 INR (4 hour delay by all)

2000 INR (about 2 hour delay by all)

 

Total

300 to 2500

4000

18000

10200 INR


If we have 18000 INR to spare there are lot of other alternate tour packages we can consider, instead of spending so much to hike a hill. This pricing beats some of the international entry ticket pricing...

The camera lens fee is tricky. It says 70mm to 200 mm 500 INR, 200 above 1000
If I have 200mm I fear officials will not settle for 500 but insist on 1000 INR. Camera makers need to learn from automobile companies (who make 3.99 meters, 999cc etc to get tax advantage). Also forest department doesn't know about 50 mm fixed lens- if they learn about it they will charge more I guess...

Why should cameras fee cost so much during trekking? In a wildlife such telephoto lens may get you a nice closeup view of a tiger or black panther etc and you might make some money if you can sell those pics. But in a trekking trail it will be mostly nature, sunset and some bird pictures if lucky. Not sure what is so special

Once you take a photo and publish there are a 100 instagram accounts and companies happy to copy it and re-use, without giving credit, without paying money... Those people should be made to pay part of the camera fees paid to click these pics.

Late fee is another scam. If I am trekking to the top, why not give me enough time to hike up and down as per my convenience. If the rule says "return before 6 PM" that is understandable. But why 1 hour limit from check post to check post? If trekkers rush, run or try to beat the time they may get exhausted and hurt themselves. Why not give them a few hours to explore in comfort? 

Are there any service provided after collecting these much fees? 
No. Don't expect any infrastructure like rest area, first aid kid, drinking water, camping area or such support trekkers may need.

There was a talk of ropeway to Kodachadri. Unfortunately not much news in past 1 year.

I had visited Kodachadri once in 2009 and once again in 2017. Was thinking of visiting again in 2021 but now bike ride to top is reportedly banned. Trekking and jeep rides are two options now, trekking fee is more expensive than jeep ride (trekking should have been cheaper because we are using our own legs, but Govt has its own logic)

Why Govt has increased the fee?
Karnataka has been steadily increasing entry fees to popular tourist attractions. Besides increasing normal entry fees for adults and child, massive increase has been introduced for cameras, depending on lens specifications. If you have 200mm or longer telephoto lens you have to pay 1000 Rs just to take the camera inside a forest or hill or wildlife sanctuary.

Why prices are increasing?
Prices are increasing everywhere- petrol is expensive, electricity is costly, essential goods cost more. Govt is also out of funds due to reduced collection of taxes and covid related expenses. So naturally Govt is trying to milk some more money from tourists desperate to head out and explore. While they know it will turn off a few, most would probably cough up because these price hikes are never advertised on media or announced on official tourist websites. You will realize the massive amount you've to pay only after you reach the venue- at that point it doesn't make sense to go back. If people are aware of total amount they have to shell (like 18k for 10 people) they might find alternate options. 

It is a common business strategy everywhere- increase price and eliminate low value tourists. For example if CCD can sell coffee for 20 Rs a cup they can sell more cups per day, but that is not their motive. They are ok to sell less cups and focus on fewer customers who can afford to pay 100 Rs per cup.

How to mitigate this price hike as a tourist?
  • Explore other places in Karnataka before they are cordoned off and expensive entry fees are levied.
  • Unless you have a chance of earning professional revenue from wildlife photography, try to manage with decent mobile camera, so that you can save on massive camera fee
  • Explore lesser known places. For every popular tourist attraction that is heavily ticketed, there will be a dozen lesser known hills or forests or viewpoints or lakes which are worth exploring. Because they are not popular these places might be free and convenient to enter. 
  • Skip repeat visits may be: If you have already visited a forest  or attraction few years ago, you can skip another visit. The delta (or changes or new attractions) might be minimum and not worth it. Find some other place to explore.
  • If there're some very popular and interesting place you always wanted to visit, may be spend, visit and tick it off your bucketlist. Prices will only go up in future.
  • Go in group and share. Instead of all 5 group members paying 1000 Rs each for 200 mm camera, let one person carry and share the pictures later. Guide services can also be shared among group members
Karnataka tourism is complicated- some attractions are controlled by forest department, few are under KPTCL (Electricity board), few by tourism department, many by private operators, some by ASI (Central Govt body) etc. So each one have their own rules, plans and decision making authority. Unless you visit in person or check with people who have visited recently, it is hard to know latest rules, if it is open, latest fees etc. Karnataka tourism website has made an attempt to provide as much details as possible, but it only contains static info and doesn't have real time info. We can't find out if a place is open, what is latest entry fees etc.

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