Agasthyamala

An Adventure Pilgrimage

Overview

 Western Ghats is known to be the most bewitchingly beautiful region in the province of South India. There are many mountain peaks that have been explored by thousands of tourists in the past years. Holiday makers seek to fulfil every deep urge of tourists and provide with an adventure tour that not only is comfortable and affordable but also is an experience of a lifetime. Western Ghats is a home to rich and deep green grasslands, gorgeous mountain peaks, rare species of flora and fauna along with a special collection of medicinal herbs. Tourists from every age group can unravel the mystic aura of the beautiful Western Ghats. One such location in the Western Ghats is Agastya Mala near Trivandrum in Kerala. 

Situated at an altitude of 6,129 feet above sea level, it is a famous destination for pilgrims and a paradise for adventure tourists. It is one of the highest peaks in Kerala and is extremely popular for medicinal plants and herbs. About 2,000 different varieties of Ayurvedic medicinal treatment ingredients are found in the area. Tea gardens commissioned by British during their rule in India are commonly found at the base stations of the mountain at Bonacaud, Brimore and Ponmudi. The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is a home to the rarest collection of flora and fauna. The Reserve is mostly open for tourists in the month of January and February and prior permission from the forest department is required to visit this region. 

Agastya Mala offers its visitors the best combination of beautiful dense forests, calming grasslands, spectacular scenic beauty and an opportunity of coming face to face with wild animals. Major attractions around the area are the soothing Neyyar Dam (located at a distance of 23 kilometres from Bonacaud), the beautiful Karamana River, Neyyar River, shimmering Meenmutty Waterfalls, huge estates of Bonacaud and Ponmudi. You can add few more days to your trip and visit these nearby areas to get the true feel of Agastya Mala region and the marvellous Western Ghats. 

The purple peak of Agastya Mala is also known as Agasthyarkoodam and is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya. According to Hindu Puranas, there are seven sages (Saptarishi) and Sage Agastya is one among the Saptarishis. There is a statue of Sage Agastya at the peak of Agastya Mala and devotees are free to offer puja to the statue. It is believed that Tamil language originated as a boon from Sage Agastya. 

This amazing trekking experience will start once you reach the capital of Kerala, Trivandrum. You will be driven to Bonacaud, a small village located at an altitude of 570 metres. This is the starting point of your trek. Agastya Mala peak is about 23 kilometres from Bonacaud but the trekking trail is about 35 kilometres. There are stunningly beautiful hills in this region including the Pandipathu and a few others. The fort like formation close to Bonacaud is another delight for trekkers and travellers. You will be camping at Athirumala which is located at an altitude of 1041 metres above the sea level. Residing in this gorgeous base camp will be one of the most exciting bits of your trekking experience. You can catch a view of a portion of Agastya Mala from here. The vertical rock-face beautifully covered by dense forests in its base. The noticeable hill named Viluvarai stands at the left of Agastya Mala. The junction of Agastya Mala and Viluvarai hills is called Pongalappara. The hill at the right of Agastya Mala is called as Sanghu Muthirai. There are other groups of hills around Agastya Mala including the Ainthuthalai Pothigai. The misty sight of these breathe-taking green hills is enough motivation to continue on your trail further. 

The calming waterfalls, densely populated forests, mind-numbing grasslands, narrow pathways, adventurous activities, remarkable streams and rocky trails during this tour will entice your mind and relax your body. One visit to this place and you will forget the need for spas and salons. You will also pass through Pongalapara, situated at an altitude of 1,460 metres above sea level. Seetha Kulicha Kulam and Muttidippara are also famous stops along your way. The elevation of this trail is so steep that a trekker can feel his knees hitting his nose with every step he takes especially in the Muttidippara region. 

The summit of Agastya Mala is located at a majestic altitude of 1,868 metres. The glory of standing at this great heights while being surrounded by the most spectacular creation of nature is truly a once in a lifetime moment. The peaks that surround Agastya Mala welcome you with open arms. Anjila Pothi is a notable group of mountains standing close to Agastya Mala peak. These five breathe-taking mountains located at an altitude of 1,800 metres never miss to captivate the by-standers. 

There are many trekkers and holiday makers who have organised adventure games in the region. You can co-ordinate with our representative for details regarding some of the on-going thrilling adventure activities. There are plenty of rope activities which are not very tedious to the mind and body of adventure trekkers. Therefore, you can enjoy these activities without any sort of prior training.

The best time to visit Agastya Mala will range between the months of December to March. Depending on the permission and passes provided by the forest department, you can plan your trip. The weather conditions during October and November are usually pleasant and light rain showers are occasionally observed during the period. The winter season kick starts from November onwards but even though the overall temperature does not drop below 18 degree Celsius. 

Campsites of this region are well maintained by the government. There are a few small forts with rooms and restrooms which can be used for resting at night. Few campsites might not have markings on them but the camps near Vazapathiyar stream and Karamanayar extremely helpful during your trip. Trekkers require food which will give them instant energy during this trip. There might be times when trekkers might feel loss of energy especially during steep climbs. Our representatives usually carry emergency food for such instances. A trip among the deepest mysteries of nature that will awaken your every sense organ is exactly what you are signing on for with us.

 

The view of distant hills covered in mist and a glimpse of the river skirting through the deep valley is really a feast to the eyes. 

Amedhikallu

Surmounting the Tortoise Peak

Overview

     Amedhikallu (height 2,800 m), near village Shishila in Dharmasthala, is one of the significant peaks of Charmadi range. The name Amedikallu is a combination of two words: Ame - Turtle and Dikkel – the Tulu word for Stove. Amedhikallu has a huge monolith at the top which appears like a giant turtle and three large stones which give an appearance of a stove. This peak is surrounded by many other important peaks of Western Ghats. Amedhikallu is considered to be one of the scenic treks in Karnataka and is a two day trek if one wants to make it to the peak comfortably. The starting point is Shishila village from where the trail starts. The initial trail is through a fairly dense forest, but the trail itself is pretty wide. Then the forest cover disappears slowly and beautiful grasslands appear which continues to the three stones, the dikkels at the summit.

Bandaje Arbi

The Grasslands of the Sky

Overview

     Bandaje Arbi (waterfall) is one of the most picturesque places in Charmadi ranges of Western Ghats, falling from a height of 500 feet. The trek uphill passing Ballalarayana durga fort is surely an uphill task for the trekkers. The flowing streams, the rolling velvet hills, sight of elephant herds, wild boars if one is lucky, is a feast to the eyes. Passing through  Ballalrayan fort overlooking the town of Sunkashale. Not much remains of the fort except the ramparts. Ballalarayana Durga, is a secluded fort atop a mighty peak in the dense jungles of Western Ghats. All that remains of the fort are its dilapidated traces, but the lush green forests with the steep slopes surrounding the fort gives it the aura of mystery and a sinister charm. The sunset from here is a riot of colors and memorable experience! It beckons every wandering soul. So indulge in this unique adventure and come explore the enigma of this long forgotten place. Come to Bandaje.

Bandallidurga

The Mysterious Hump Beckons

Overview

     Bandallidurga is a hill fort situated at an altitude of 4700ft above sea level near a hamlet called Bandalli in Kanakapura taluk – making it an ideal short getaway from Bangalore. The mysterious humped shape makes it an intriguing object of interest. Not much is known about the history of this fort. Today, the fort is more or less in ruins. The fort is protected by three levels of wall and it seems impregnable. The top of the hill is not visible from the base of the hill. After a steep climb 3 hrs, one reaches the ruins of the fort. There is also a perennial well built by the Palegars (the locals). The trek passes through Lantana bushes, bamboo forest and green meadows. From the top of the hill one can see a panoramic view of M M Hills, B R Hills and other nearby hill ranges. The place is haven for birdwatchers. Birds like Hoope, Bushchat, Woodpeckers, Coppersmith Barbet, Jungle fowl, Green Barbets and Wagtail are found in large numbers.

Bandalli Durga is an ideal short getaway for history lovers, birdwatchers and the Bangalore escapist!


Belligundi Waterfalls

Rhapsody in Silver

Overview

   

Western Ghats are dotted with Pristine streams and Perrineal waterfalls. In the dense forest tucked away are few waterfalls which are difficult to access due to uneven terrain. The rich Sharavathi Valley is home to numerous waterfalls and offer a feast to ardent nature lover. Belligundi known as Kudumari waterfalls is one such waterfalls which offers challenge to any willing to explore it.

The get a very glimpse of waterfalls a and know its magnificience one has trudge through the beaten path. For a ardent trekker to reach the bottom one has cross the interminent streams, wading through grass, shedding blood to hungry leeches, descending and ascending slopes.Walking through the canopy listening to the sounds of chirping birds makes the hike memorable. The sight silver line of roaring waterfalls though the canopy cascading from height of 600 ft brings a pinch of curiosity in a individual.Taking a refreshing bath under the sprinkling water, a natural shower with a vibgyor of colors removes the hardship and rejunevates the body mind and soul..! 

Brahmagiri

Brahmagiri

Overview

   

Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is a moist deciduous and Shola type of forests surrounded by the Brahmagiri Peak. The Irupu falls during monsoon would be full and gushing down to Lakshmana Theerta waterfalls.
The sanctuary is home to Elephants, Indian Gaur, Sambar, Chital, Wild Pigs, Giant Squirrel, Civets, Southern plains gray Langur, Leopards and endangered Lion-tailed macaque. With over 300 species birds found during this trek through misty grasslands, Brahmagiri is truly the monsoon magic spot.
If you have thought Coorg has only coffee and misty mountains, there is more to it; the Chai Patti or Tea Gardens that catch rains and drain to Barpole, and the White Water Rafting is best experienced in Coorg only here!

Gangadi Kallu

Across the Valley’s

Overview

   

Among the prominent peaks around Horse Face Kudremukh peak Gangadi Kallu 4773 ft Altitude ranks the best for its magnificient views.The magnificient cone shaped rock face cliff derives its name from Kurinji flower Strobilanthes kunthiana. Neelakurinji.The shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India. The purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji blossoms gregariously only once in 12 years.
Located about 20 kms from Kudremukh sharing border with Dakshina Kannada district. The point where you start is about 9kms from kudremukh colony.The trail meanders through open grasslands and under canopy from village called "MaLa". where the former route takes you in a jeepable track the later is through thickets of the jungle typical to Western Ghats.
There is an old abandoned UHF receiver station here at the top, but the water is available at 1km distance downhill.The place is abundant with variety of fauna and flora. The Kudremukh National park houses variety of wildlife such as tiger, leopard, wild dog, Malabar giant squirrel, common langur, sloth bear, gaur, porcupine, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, jackal, giant flying squirrel and the mongoose.

The park also has about 195 species of birds which are Malabar trogon,Lion tailed Macaque, Malabar whistling thrush, great pied hornbill and the imperial pigeon.Reptiles like Snakes and tortoises are also found here.

 

Jenu Kallu Gudda

Honey Rock Beckons

Overview

    Situated about 4500 feet above sea level surrounded hills of Jenukallu Gudda, which is the 2 nd Highest peak in  Karnataka . Western Ghats are one of the hottest bio diversity hotspots in the world. We provide finest holiday experience and owe our intent to the much appreciated hospitality culture of our Malnad region.

Camp stay, is sure to fulfill your dreams of waking up in the morning to the different, musical and natural sounds of the rustic nature. If you are a nature and adventure lover, you will find everything you desire, from the rivers, cascading waterfalls, high mountain ranges, jungle trails and many more! 

At Campsite below the peak, you will wake up to a calm and fresh atmosphere with nothing to disturb your mind except the soothing sounds of trees in the breeze. You also get to hear the peacock call in the morning, along with the sweet sounds of various other birds. 

Highlights

Activities : Trek to Jenukallu Gudda 

Grade : Moderate

Place of Interest : 1000 years old Bettada  Byraweshwara temple 

 

 

Kudremukh Trans Trek

Tresspassing the  Hills

Overview

For those who had a glimpse of the horse mane kudremukha , finally summited it and would like to go on a ride in the National Park , there is option of going on for Trans Kudremukh Trek.
Kudremukh Peak is the one of the highest peak in Karnataka and highest in the Kudremukh national park also known as Kudremukha National park. This peak lies about 1892 meters or 6,207 feet above sea level. ‘Kudre’ means horse while ‘mukha’ means face. As the name suggests, it looks like a horse face hence called Kudremukh or kudremukha. This peak lies in the forests of Kudremukh National park. Kudremukh peak trek lies on the list of popular trekking trails in the national park. Kudremukh national park amidst Western Ghats has a very rich biodiversity and home to certain species of wildlife which is nowhere else found on this planet.
Trans trek is a misnomer of exploring the park while summiting the nearby prominent Irumalaguppe peak 4500 ft next to Thirumalaguppe peak 5000 ft. While walking on the steep slopes amid grass lands having a grand view of west face of Kudremukh peak ,adjoining peak Durgada Habba and valleys. Sliding rather than descending to Lobomane or house crossing grasslands. Lobomane or “Lobo’s house” was a house made by Simon Lobo, a priest who made the Kudremukh ranges his home.Passing through the shoala forests in the shadow of Kudremukh peak one reaches a point which serves as re - entrant to park. The Majestic view of twin peaks and view of Irumalaguppe dwarfed under the gigantic Thirumalaguppe makes trans trek memorable. The grandeur of vertical rock face and conical shape of Thirumalguppe peak playing hide and seek with mist visible from the conopy of forest makes one crane his neck often.The trails is home for amazing orchids Seethale hoova and if one is lucky one can spot a Indian Gaurs and Sambar grazing on slopes.
After a long walk and descents brings one to fringes of Kudremukh park thus entering district of Dhakshina Kannada in Navoor . Numerous streams flow interminently and waterfalls dot the landscape here.

Kudremukha

Scaling the Horse’s Mane

Overview

  There might not be any individual in India who has not heard about Western Ghats. The gorgeous assembly of mountain ranges, flora, fauna and magical misty beauty that gloriously resides in the Western Ghats of India might not have escaped the eyes and ears of holiday planners. The Western Ghats appear to be parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula and is a go-to destination during free weekends. Karnataka is a state with immense beauty and natural splendour which often remains unexplored even by native people. There are many gorgeous mountain ranges, splendid peaks and breathe-taking waterfalls in this state. One such mountain peak is Kudremukh. Located at a distance of 360 kilometres from Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka State, it is 7 hour journey. It derives its name from the hilltop that resemblance a horse’s face. Surrounded by dense forests and rolling grasslands, Kudremukh offers a nerve-numbing sight to its visitors. 

Your first stop in this province while coming from Bengaluru will be a small hamlet of Samse. It has nothing but a few shops and crossroads remaining. You can stock up essentials and arrange for a vehicle towards your journey to Kudremukha peak. From here you will be driven on a jeep safari for the first ten kilometres until you reach Mullodi. You can set up a camp in this location for an early morning trek. Kalasa is basically the main town of Kudremukha. But the town of Kudremukha is almost deserted after the closure of mining business. The forest department office is held in the Kudremukh town, which is 20 km after Kalasa. If you have not attained a permit for your trekking, this is where you need to go to obtain a permit. 

The local residents of this region are warm and extremely friendly. There are many houses and families who welcome unknown strangers into their house and let them rest during their trekking expeditions. One can enjoy the fantastic hospitality of these families during the trip. The food served will be cooked out to local ingredients and the taste is unparalleled. 

During this trip, you will come face to face with most refreshing lush green patches of grasslands. Greenery will be redefined in your minds as you will see different shades of green while in here. The calm open meadows will offer you peace that you always crave for in a city life. The bewitching sight of foggy clouds touching the feet of this intense green land will be a memory of your lifetime. 

The Kudremukh National Park is heavily populated with wildlife that is unique to this geographic location. Visitors are mesmerised by the exquisite collection of flora and fauna in the park which includes casuarinas, acacia auriculiformis, eucalyptus and Grevillea Robusta. The wide array of wildlife of this region consists of Malabar giant squirrels, sloth bears, gaurs, common langurs, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, porcupines, jackals, giant flying squirrels, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer and mongoose. You will easily find birds like Malabar whistling thrush, imperial pigeon, great pied hornbill and the Malabar trogon.

   

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