Tada!! I just got back from a super small and awesome trekking trip. After much research and multiple cancellations later, I finally made it.
Meesapulimala is the highest trekkable peak in the Western Ghats of the sub-continent of India. The tallest peak being Anamudi which is located in the same ghats. Anamudi is non scalable due to dense forests and its steep terrain. If you are visiting Munnar for a relaxing trip, do not miss out on visiting the Top-station, from where you can see both the peaks on either side of the view point.
Meesapulimala got its name due to the set of eight hills at the base of the mountain which appears to be in the shape of a mustache (Meesa in Malayalam) and the mountain itself seems to be like a tiger (Puli in Malayalam) – hence the name. The scenic beauty of this place is beyond explanation and is breathtaking. Right time to visit would be somewhere in Oct – Dec since the peak would be above the mist and the clouds making this place dream like. Since my trip to Meesapulimala was getting cancelled again and again, I finally grabbed the opportunity when a friend of mine asked me if I would like to go just days before the actual trip. I did not even think twice as I really wanted to visit the place for a long time and had already done all the necessary research.
How to Reach:
I travelled from Chennai to Kochi by flight. You can either take a flight/ train to Kochi or Madurai and then take a cab/ bus to Munnar. The only legal trip to the peak is arranged by the Kerala Forest Development Board, however people illegally trek to the peak via Kolukkumalai Tea estate. Advising not to do the latter, as the same is illegal and also the terrain from Kolukkumalai to Meesapulimalai is steep and risky. From Munnar town, you need to hire a mountain jeep to the base camp (Rs.2000/- for a round trip) or to the Rhodo mansion (Rs.3000/-) for a round trip. Munnar town to Base camp is around 20kms, so if you are looking forward for a long walk through the Guderdale tea estate, then this is the place. The drive from Munnar town to the Base camp is pure natural beauty. The Guderdale tea estate spreads across the 20 kms stretch covered by tea plantations which are approximately 150 years old scaling till the top of the multiple hills adorning the village. The village is also known as Guderdale Silent Valley due to the absence of any noise either man made or natural.
Where to Stay:
We decided to take the mountain jeep till the Base camp and hike to the Rhodo mansion where we had arranged for accommodation for the night. Alternatively you can even stay at the Base camp (cheaper option – around Rs.1000/- and stay at Rhodo is Rs.3000/-) and start the hike to Meesamulimala at one go. I was apprehensive whether I would be able to do the same as the hike from Base camp to Rhodo is 6kms and another 6kms from Rhodo to Meesamulimala, so decided to break the hike into 2 parts spanning 2 days. The hike from Base camp to Rhodo is scenic and peaceful, you can only hear your footsteps and the your heartbeat. It was rather therapeutic. However I would not say that it is something you should definitely do as you are not going to miss out much. The jeep ride takes around half hour to cover the 6km stretch thanks to the rocky terrain and by walk you can reach in 2 hours. So do it in case you have time and energy.
Hike to Meesamulimala:
After spending the night at Rhodo, I was rejuvenated after a long night’s sleep (no cell reception = great sleep). After having a light breakfast, courtesy of the Kerala Forest Development Board’s amazing cooks, we were set for the hike at around 8am. We were a team of 10 including 2 guides and had become good friends over the last night’s rambling by the bonfire and black tea. The terrain was a mix of steep descents and ascends and a stretch of walking for about 2 kms out of the 6kms hike. In the middle of the hike, we stopped by the heart shaped pond which was a surprise. What tricks nature play. After making a mental note to bring my partner (in life and crime) to see this place, I proceeded to ascend.
Flora and Fauna:
There are couple of unique things that you can find in Meesapulimala not to mention the other set of unique plants that you find in Western ghats in general. One such plant is the Rhododendron which is also the national flower of Nepal. It only grows in the Himalayas and this particular stretch in Meesapulimala. Isn’t it fascinating. The red flower from this plant is used to make different wine varieties (note to self to try in future).
Another is the single blue leafed eucalyptus tree. The hike is adorned with eucalyptus tree, however the single all blue leafed eucalyptus stands like a wonder. The aroma is so strong that you need only half a leave for a relaxing and pain relieving bath.
Caribbean pines are also native to this mountain and is the culprit for the ocean like sounds heard in this place. You will be wondering during the hike, how you can hear the ocean while you are on a mountain and that is because of this tree as this sound is created when the wind blows through the leaves of this tree. Crazy, huh 🙂
At around 1pm, we reached the peak. The view!! See for yourself. The feeling when you can see clouds passing through you 🙂 After spending half hour at the peak, we quickly descended back to the mansion. For the descend there is quicker route which is less time consuming and easier. We were back at the mansion by 3pm. After a quick lunch, we departed from Meesapulimala with a heavy heart and a lot of memories.
Check out the pictures and you know what I am raving about.
Hope you liked this post and found this useful. Do let me know your suggestions and what you would like to know more and how I may be able to assist you.