The beautiful mountains of Munnar provide the perfect setting for going on an adventurous trekking expedition. There is no dearth of hills, mountains and trekking trails in Munnar. Popular areas for trekking in Munnar include the Anumudi Peak, Rajamala Hills, Top Station, Devikulam, and Eravikulam National Park.This time we tried Yellapetty to Top station hike exactly it will covers the top of the great Sahya Hills.
The fluffy snow and lisle of rain shaped their way in unison to present a beautiful morning chaperoned by dew, rain drops and mellow sun rays. This particular morning, when the village was effortlessly showing off its charm to the world we decided to go on a ride. The birds bestowed soothing background music for the beauty that surrounded me.
This tamilian village in Kerala with its morning allure was absolutely enough to make any nature lover awe in amazement. The beautiful remnants of Scenes like these are exactly the reason why it does not allow travelers like us to be a couch potato or in some cases very home sick! Unanticipated rain quickly got us all to ‘Navneet Hotel’.
I arrived here yesterday at the ‘Devikulam Adventure Academy’ as a part of a hiking expedition organized by the Idukki YHAI unit through Chokramudi, Yellapattai, and Top station. To freshen up from the Hangover from the previous day’s hike to Chokramudi hills, I sought to enjoy a nice warm cup of tea. Whilst savoring my much needed drink, my co traveler Vishnu who is an Army officer in Pune showed up, followed by many other people who signed up for the hike. After our breakfasts, we got our lunch food packets pre ordered for the hike. After securing them safe in to our backpacks, the Jeep that should necessarily take us to Yellapattai drove in.
Amidst a robust rainfall, we all bid farewell to ‘Devikulam Adventure Academy’ which sheltered us all for a night. Everybody’s face reflected how the rain that lasted an entire day is going to affect our trek. The plot of the trek was from Yellapattai to Top station. A jeep ahead of us and two cars trailing behind us were clearly visible, in the middle of still very strong rainfall and freezing cold the vehicles inched forward. As if someone’s prayers were answered, the intensity of the rain reduced when we reached Yellapattai. Mohanji (Our Trekking guide) gave us instructions to be obeyed on the trek along with a tiny box of something to all of us, wearing raincoats and ready for the trek.
As a precaution, my travel mate Ravi goes on to say that ‘it’s better not to smell those things’, probably sensing our nature to smell whatever we come across. He later explains it to all of us what the use of that particular powder was. En route our Journey, we are bound to encounter many blood sucking leeches which are known by a wide variety of names. So, the trick is to mix this powder with some water to keep the mischievous lot away. The smell that filled our nostrils when Chandrika soap(Bath Soap ) and the powder solution were mixed; felt like: forget the worms not even the elephants will dare to come near us!!
Yellapattai, a countryside village divided into numerous territories as farm areas and homes with the help of fences. For name sake, there exists two to three shops here and is about 17 KM far from ‘Munnar’. Farm produced carrot, cabbage, tomato, strawberry and the lot are mainly cultivated here. A native of the village was kind enough to pick out a carrot from the field and offered it to us. And the taste of it lingered in my mouth for so long. We gradually progressed from the plain landscape to an inclined region. Right after the area where people inhabit and the tea plantations were, the terrain leads in to the deep Jungle very quickly. Along the way, we could spot the spikes of porcupine shed on the path.
Mohanji suddenly asked the people who collected them from the ground to leave them behind. Because that’s the way it should be. When we return back from the forests, even the soil under our boots should be dislodged then and there. Here, we have no right over anything but just a glimpse of the beautiful perspective the nature offers. This is the unwritten, unsaid law of the travelers. Bit by bit, the endeavor part of the trekking began. We all advanced forward enjoying the real wild side of the woods. One, where the tiger, leopard, deer, buffaloes and the elephants; all lived in harmony.
The western side of mountain ranges is very rich in Ayurvedic medicinal plants, priceless species of trees, and the diverse flora and fauna. We caught sight of the Niligiri Marten very often now. The walk through these forests, filled with the abundance of the bio diversity in addition to the pristine effect of nature makes our heart melt. Pure oxygen, the sounds of the bird chirping and the various living beings altogether offers us a visual feast, not to mention the renewed energy and a very enlightened soul that comes as bonuses.
Whatever we think about us, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves once in a while, that we, the human race is a part of the nature itself ; and this journey gifts us an irreplaceable opportunity to realize this universal truth because our mind and body alike is purified to such an extend now. I was a little surprised to see that some of the blood suckers actually did manage to stick to our bodies despite the very smelly solution we had on. It makes it nearly impossible for us to rest in between our tiring hikes because the leeches are so good at what they do such that, within moments they sense the human smell and come in many numbers quickly from among the dried leaves.
We moved further via a very narrow path in the deep jungle by clearing the branches and thorns that barred our way. I realized that it is going to be very troublesome and dangerous for one to venture in to these woods without the aid of someone really familiar with the place. The main traits and mystery of a profound Jungle was very much evident in this one too. After hours of climbing a very steep terrain, we managed to reach a very elegant hill top filled with greenery and pretty stones and humongous rocks. Very cool breeze welcomed the disgustingly sweaty and equally tired travelers.
An extremely beautiful place popularly known as ‘Peak valley’ among the travelers from the city and the place also goes by the name of ‘Kottagudi valley’ within the common folk. A place that came right out of dream land and fantasies, located approximately 7500 ft. above sea level. There stood ‘Meeshapulimala’ right in front of us in all its glory. The so called heaven enclosed by heart wrenching beauty made us all forget how hungry and exhausted we actually were. Downhill lay, a part of Tamilnadu far away, and barely visible with its beautiful vast landscape at a stretch.
Adjoining the right side was the world’s highest tea plantation in ‘Kolukkumala’ and towards the left side were the mountain ranges of Top station. The clouds which appear to rest there create an illusion of being in a magical land. Magnificent and stunning sight with the potential to put any unrest soul at peace, such heartfelt moments. From the ‘Kurangani’ village at the foot of top stations to the very devious criss crossed roads to ‘Kolukkumala’, and the solitary trees brought me back to the world of reality. After I ate my pack of lunch which tasted so delicious, we all got out of the Jungle through a different way which is less frequently taken by travelers.
From the looks of it, most of the pathways demanded one’s full effort and concentration to be found. We went in further down the road; too little sunlight but rather plenty of biodiversity was the character of this forest path. We struggled quite a little to climb down a very steep slope to reach an even ground at last. The sightseers saw this as an opportunity and took some time off to rest. Several of them had more than two leeches clutching tight on to their bodies, which was something everybody was least bothered about at this point because of the artful and majestic images they got to live in and undoubtedly etched in to their memories.
We also came across several footprints of a leopard while we journeyed through the tea plantations. At that moment my legs felt very strong! Besides the fact that I did long to see him so bad. Maybe, who knows the wild beast must be hidden somewhere in the woods and watching us with keen eyes ready to attack. The locale was effortlessly filled with numerous enchanting elements of nature, the breathtaking views, and tea ranches and not to mention the vibrant flowers in different shades yet very captivating. We were lucky enough to see the once film setting location of ‘Life of Pi’ now popularly known as the ‘Land of Pi’ and various other views before finally reaching our final destination : Top station.
After enjoying a hot cup of tea once again I caught the first K.S.R.T.C. to return back to Yellapattai. Our travel has almost come to an end; and the emotions that brought forth were evident in every one’s faces. We bid goodbye to each other saying let’s all meet again on another journey from Yellapattai if destiny permits hopefully; and all our minds undeniably filled to the brim with the memories, the experience, peace , cheer and all its treasures from the last two days. The light at the end of the tunnel.