Land of the Whiskered Tigers
Nature has bestowed wonders upon mankind in the form of scenic beauty. But flowers blossom for those who want to see them. The famous American athlete Wilma Rudolph once said, “The shining of the sun makes a man to do anything for neither the mountains are too high to climb nor are his troubles too difficult to overcome”. Exploring this magnanimity and beauty of nature could be an amazing experience given the length of trekking man makes right here at Meesapulimala.
Centuries ago, Lord Murugan had made this place his abode and blessed it with prosperity and abundance in natural resources. A perfect blend of blue sky coalesced with luscious green mountains, Meesapulimala, has its own story to tell. The vast stretch of grassy pastures giving a person the clear sight of white snow-capped mountain peaks creates positive vibes and a sense of calmness. This natural beauty is favourable, today, to many trekkers to go on a trekking spree here and climb to the highest peaks in the southern region.
Meesapulimala is a name of the Tamil origin that literally translates to ‘Mountains of Moustached Tigers’. The place houses many species of flora and fauna. This naturally occurring snow clad peak has managed to attract tourists from all over the place. The beauty of Meesapulimala lies in the fact that it is situated on the confluence of three divine rivers of Mudhirapuzha, the ever flowing River Kundaly and the blissful Nalathani. Trekkers and travellers here are welcomed by Munnar- a priced destination in the Malabar Coast - before ascending this gigantic 8,661 feet tall wonder. Munnar is considered to be the creation of Lord Murugan. It is at the Tamil Nadu - Kerala border as it bestows us with the richness of medicinal Nilgiris and the colourful rhododendrons irrespective of the languages spoken here or the region to which people belong. To summarize, this place knows no bounds and gifts the tourists with a pleasant environment to thrive upon. The exceptional rhodo valley brings blissful joy with its wide carpet of Rhododendrons. Munnar has been one of the rarest locations which have reserves to some of the endemic species of India.
Some of the lesser known animal species rife to this region include the Nilgiri Pigeons, Sambars, Giant Grizzled squirrels and have increased the inflow of tourists from all over the world. Also, don’t me amazed if an elephant, a gaur or a Nilgiri Tahr visit you on your way.
Love is always in the air at Munnar as it holds the coveted title of the Honeymooners’ Pride.
Meesapulimala is a high mountain peak in the south and competes with her look alike sister, Sahyadri, in the west. The largest tea plantation of Kolukkumalai finds its base here at the Meesapulimala peak. It is an amazing trek that takes you across shoals (or mountain rain forests) that are at a considerable altitude. This leads to the other name that the jungles get, as they are rightly referred to as the ‘cloud forests’.
While ascending this peak travellers have to literally watch over each step they take, as the vast carpet of grasslands are homes to the breeds of leeches. First aid kits are a must have list of things to carry in your backpacks. This mighty peak is one of the nine peaks of this region and unfolds many hardships during its climb that is so tiring to man for a little more than 8,661 feet. One of them could be the lack of oxygen while at the top. But once you succeed reaching atop, you will be swaying over the clouds that engulf you. Your heart will surely skip a beat at the scenery that finally is achieved by this feat. Meesapulimala leaves us speechless with its generosity in bestowing calmness, joy and the beauty. The mightiness of this peak is not just due to its physical appearance but also due to its magnanimous pleasure.
Charming Hillocks of Charmadi
Situated in thick forest of Banjarumale region these are considered the highest hillocks in Charmadi range. Unique Topography and accessibility makes it one of the sought destination for a avid trekkers. Journey along the hair bends in the ghats makes travel memorable.The valleys are dotted with Perinneal waterfalls and swift flowing rivers.Thick forests are also home for the Malekudiya tribal families.
Twin peaks after descending from Ghats beckon and challenge adventurer. At the top of the hill lies a huge bauxite stone, which attracts lightning during monsoon. With this, the hill gets its name ‘Minchukallu’ which means the stone which attracts lightning. For trekkers, who love adventure and challenges, this is their ultimate paradise because there is no short cut and easy route to reach this peak. Apart from tedious trekking route, what adds to the challenge is the herd of elephants making frequent appearances here.
Kumbakallu is another hill which is worth seeing in the vicinity. Trekkers will come across two dense forests namely ‘Banjaru Male’ and ‘Ambati Male,’ which are like safe abode for pachyderms. The elephants are seen even on Minchukallu hill and if locals are to be believed, elephants follow a corridor from the foothill to the peak accelerating themselves in zig-zag movement. At the top of the hill, these pachyderms get their staple food, which is called ‘Aane Hullu’ in Kannada. With the fight between man and elephant increasing over the years, the number of elephants coming to this area has increased.
At the Nostrils End
Mukurthi National Park is situated in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, at a distance of approximately 27 km from Ooty. It lies on the southeastern corner of the elevated Nilgiri Plateau and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere. Spread over an area of over 80 sq km, Mukurthi Wildlife Sanctuary of India has an altitude that averages around 2400 m. The peak’s name in Kannada means ‘cutnose’ and is believed by the local people to be the nose of Ravana’s sister Surpanaka, whose nose was cut by Lakshmana.
The peak is sacred to the Toda tribes of the Nilgiris. According to a legend, when female infanticide was prevalent among the todas, the babies were taken to this side of the hill and killed. Toda women were forbidden to this side of the hill. As one of the women disobeyed, her nose was cut off as punishment. This nose turned into the peak and she became a goddess. Even today, the Todas believe that the souls of men and buffaloes leap together into the other world from the summit of the Mukurti peak.
The flora of Mukurti National Park of India is very much similar to what is found in the Himalayan range. A National Park for Exotics - Endemics and ew intriguing things about Mukurthi is Of the 200 grassland species 105 are endemic to south India. Of these 77 are endemic to the Western Ghats. 22 are found in the Nilgiris alone. Mukurthi has the highest number of scapigerous Impatiens found in any one place, unit area, landscape: in the world.
The landscape is dominated by grasslands, Rhododendron, pine,which are mostly dotted with a number of secluded, dense and sharply defined wet temperate mixed forests. These forests consist of savannah woodlands, along with evergreen trees, smaller than the lowland ones. The main sources of water in the park are Billithadahalla, Pykara and Kundah RiversThe pride of Mukurthi Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu is its significant population of Nilgiri Thar. Apart from that, one can also see Nilgiri Marten, Otter, Barking Deer, Sambar, Jungle Cat, Jackals, etc. The most popular bird species of Mukurti Wildlife Sanctuary are Black Eagle, Woodcock, Laughing and Whistling Thrushes, Wild Pigeon, etc. One can also find a large number of butterflies inside the sanctuary, like Hedge Blues, Indian Fritillary, Indian Red Admiral, Blue Admiral, Rainbow Trouts, etc.
Apple of Eye trek
Sakleshpur is located atop Western Ghat mountains at Karnataka stretching from Gujarat to Kerala. Sakleshapur is Located in the Western ghat Mountains of Karnataka. The Town is located at 3113 feet altitude. Hemavathi river flows in Sakleshpura town. The famous Bisle reserve forest is located near Sakleshpur and the region around Sakleshpur is listed as one of the 18 most diverse spots in the world in terms of flora and fauna. The sub-tropical climate and heavy rains during the wet season create an environment where several unique plant and animal species flourish.
During Murkan Gudda 3900 ft trek, you will pass through forest, waterfalls and a big lake amidst the valleys of Murkan Gudda. You can continue your trek to Uddenamaradavaare. On the way you will pass through Saalu gudda and kallu gudda. From uddenamaravaare you will get a panoramic view of western ghat and beautiful kaadumane tea estate.The view of Ethina Bhuja, Amedhikallu peak, Jenukallu gudda is a feast to eyes.
A journey to Rain Land
Agumbe, at an altitude 826m, is a small village in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. This is the same enthralling location which offered an idyllic setting for R.K Narayan’s Malgudi Days. Agumbe is famous for its spectacular sunsets and also its numerous trekking paths which are truly breathtaking. The forests of Agumbe are home to rare species of animals like tigers, leopards, lion tailed macaques, Sambar, malabar giant squirrel, barking deer and a host of other flora and fauna. It is also home to the King Cobra, the largest venomous snake in the world. Agumbe receives the highest rainfall in South India which makes it the ‘Cherrapunji of the South’. Narasimha Parvatha is the tallest peak in the Agumbe range of the Western Ghats and is about 1,152m (3,780 ft) high. End your trek at Kigga, a small village at the fringes of the forest, at the foot Narsimha parvatha, with a refreshing bath in Siri mane falls.
Peak of View
Among the rolling hills in Kodagu , Nishane motte is a relatively less known peak in the Talacauvery / Bramhmagiri range of coorg. It lies to the south of Bhagamandala - The confluence of Kaveri, Sujyothi and Kannika rivers in a range which extends from Talacauvery in the north to Somamale ( Means hill in local dialect ) in the south in one contiguous stretch without any break, going through peaks like Nishani motte, Tumba male, and Tadiyandamol ( Highest peak in Coorg ). This stretch forms the border between Kannur / Kasargod districts in Kerala and Kodagu district in Karnataka.
Coorg with its misty mountains and dense forests, is often referred to as Scotland of India. They left behind a legacy, which is still an important source of national wealth. The well-laid coffee plantations in Coorg account for almost half of Karnataka's coffee production. And Karnataka continues to be India's largest producer of coffee. Other reminders of the colonial past are the spacious estate bungalows, many of which still have British names and the meandering roads that wind through the district.
Thirumaleguppe Alt 4900 ft or Heap in local dialect is spread partly over the thick hilly forests near the coastal plains on the shola vegetation on the Western Ghats uplands,adjoining Kudremukh National Park bordering parts of 3 districts, viz., Chickmagalur, Udupi and bordering Dakshina Kannada.
Heap is made of steep hills,grasslands and valleys. The hills, which bear the brunt of the severe monsoon wind, give no chance to any tree growth as a result the landscape is covered with grass. The valleys which are tucked in, give commendable protection from wind and a deep soil profile, as a result of which stunted evergreen forests exist creating an unique microclimate, rich with mosses, orchids, etc. The whole scenery of grassland interspersed with narrow strips of forests provide a fantastic picture postcard views for a trekker.
The Lungfull of fresh air and the climb up and down, invigorates the body and soothes the soul.The view of surrounding Irimaleguppe and Horse mane - Kudremukh beckon the adventurous..!.The vertical Monolithic rock face is Impregnable from the East face. During the trek, one can spot and study several wildlife species of plants, birds,orchids, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, insects, etc.
Surmounting the Ox
Situated, near the of village of Byrapura in Mudigere taluk is one of the significant peaks of Charmadi range dominating the landscape towering height 2600 m and there are three approaches to this peak. The name yethinabhuja is a Synonymous of two words: Yethu - Ox and Bhuja - Shoulder . Ethinabhuja has a huge monolith at the top which appears like a giant turtle and 3 huge stones which give an appearance of a stove. This peak is surrounded by many other important peaks of Western Ghats. Yethinabhuja is considered to be one of the challenging trek in Karnataka and is a two day trek if one wants to make it to the peak comfortably. Shishila is a small village near Dharmastala.The starting point is Shishila village where from the trail starts. The initial trail is through a fairly dense forest, but the trail itself was pretty wide. Then the forest cover disappears slowly and grassland starts to appear which continues almost till you get on it.. The monolithic peak is almost 90-degrees, one needs to go around in a spiral to reach the peak and this part of the trek is through a very very dense vegetation and narrow trail which probably becomes waterfall during monsoon. Post-monsoon, one would need to clear vegetation using knife to make way.