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Saturday 31 May 2014

Brahmagiri Trek

After a small trek through the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve, in and around of Mukurthi, Avalanche hills, Emerald and Kodanadu, this is trekzone’s second attempt to be in close to nature. And here it is, to the peak of Brahmagiri hills.

9 enthusiastic nature freaks gathered from three southern states. Anish etan, one of the trekzoner’s chalked out a plan before two weeks and finally decided to move on our way to Brahmagiri hills in the Kerala Karnataka border.

Trekzoners gathered at Gudalur, The Nilgris, the previous night on 30th may. On 31st may, we started the trip at 4.30 A.M in two cars, the dashing i20 and the sporty swift. The road was calm in the early morning, making our trip more energetic. It took around 3 hrs to reach Manandhavady from where we had breakfast (aapam and peas curry). We did pack our lunch, fruits and water bottles etc.

After breakfast we took the road to thirunelli via kaattikulam which would take around 35 km to reach forest IB at Thirunelli. As prior permission was obtained from the forest IB, they too were expecting our arrival. The officer greeted us, gave some instructions and advices, soon the tickets were bought and we were on the way to the peak. And there begins our trial.

At 8.20 trekking was started with Narayanan etan as our guide. The jeep trial began from the forest IB .Gradually we sensed the environment thick and greenish.
The sounds were replaced by crickets, chirpings, and small streams. One of our trekzoner’s (shanmugam) is a naturalist. He added the informative part using scientific names but whenever he starts to spell some scientific word trekzoner’s would master the art of escapism. In that case he spotted varieties of butterflies like Common Zesible, Oak blue, Common Mormon, Blue Mormon, Common Rustic, Common grass yellow etc.during the ascend. After a point we breached our way into cut roads. Now it really sensed that we were in the forest, nervous about the leech which was strewn over the cut roads and there it was, the first anticipitated scream by myself (sudhina) with a leech clung on my feet.

Leeches had clung into some of our shoes and gradually into our socks. But constant checking helped us out from the blood suckers. During the trial we did get some delicious mangoes.Thriptha was the happiest to have those mangoes and a side stick for her support. She even pocketed some.
 We could hear the sounds of temple bells and percussions far away. Narayanan ettan said that was from the ancient Thirunelli temple which is situated on the side of Brahmagiri hills. All the while ahead, till the peak we were able to spot the temple. As we moved up, the sounds faded away.

After a 3 km trek, watch tower was spotted. It was 2 stairs and approximately 35 meter in height. We climbed up the watch tower and could see wind rushing into the lush green grasslands. That was really a good sight. Binu had acrophobia (fear of heights) that, Anish eta had to pop him to the top of the tower.
He hesitated to look down even! Some took selfies from the top of the tower .To the right of the watch tower was Brahmagiri hills and to the left was the trek towards Pakshipadhalam which is closed due to several reasons ,suspected Maoists and preservation of rare birds. So we took the way right to the hills.

The most interesting thing during the climb was, we won’t be able to see the rest of the hills unless we climb one. Likewise we had to climb 5 hills to reach the peak. The first hill was steeper. After a 3 km trek through the forest, seeing the first hill really made our trial tougher .By the time we covered one, all of us started panting heavily.
Watch tower view from the 1st hill
Had a break, had a sip of water and started the second one, there we realized the most consoling element during the ascend was enough of water bottles.

The third hill was comparatively less tough. At some point of time, sunisha even thought of going back to the base and Thriptha was seen chatting with Anish eta like “Do we really have to climb the fifth one ettaaa??? But finally she was pulled over to the peak. We also had some bananas to charge our alleviating energy. We had fast movers in the trekzone. Arun etan and Binu used to move fast the uphill, later we got to know the comical strategy behind it. Guess what! These two would run first and hide somewhere after 50 meters to take rest and would start hibernating inside some caves or bushes and wait till our heads pop up for their next run. This strategy was later revealed by Anish eta and Shanmu anna!

Ascend was getting tougher. Whenever there comes a point where we couldn’t move forward, the photography session would start by Dhanesh. Thriptha’s walking style gradually changed similar to the great Sir Charlie Chaplin, with the side stick she was carrying all the way. We found hard to take even 20 steps.
Everyone had a helping hand so the trek eased up. Sunisha was pulled by Dhanesh, at some point Thriptha was pulled by Anish etan and myself by Shanmu anna. That seemed to be longer enough and almost started crawling. When we look back we could spot everything so tiny. By the time, we had just 3 bottles left so the option of having lunch at the peak was a big thumps down.Anyways we decided to carry it back to the tower.

Finally, after covering those steep hills we reached the peak of Brahmagiri hills which was 1608 meters ASL.
Panting gradually transformed into deep breaths. Imagine a place with 360 degree of just mountains! All had different tinch of green. We could also spot the Kerala Karnataka border from there.
Kerala - Karnataka Border line
Permission from Karnataka forest department is required and vice versa for those entering into the Kerala border. We found different types of insects which can bite like a mosquito but unlike mosquitoes this one is attracted by dark colored clothes.

We spent about 45 minutes roaming and resting around the peak and clicked a group photo.
An unforgettable one. Enjoyed the serene nature. Wished we could have stayed more but the scorching heat was under the skin, slowly we started our descend. The way down the hills was a bit slippery. Couldn’t trust the greeny grasses for a support as they were sharper and one can easily get cuts. Sreejith etan slipped out for couple of times and Anish etan‘s ankle got twisted during the long descend.

Once back to the watch tower ,opened our lunch packets and within no time we finished our lunch and got some clear and chilled fresh water there, filled up all the bottles and got ready to descend the rest of the trek.
While coming back we had less fear for leeches. All were damn tired but at the same time had happiness that it was all the way back from the peak. Finally we were back to the forest IB and bid salaam to that place.

We drove 5KM to a riverside jungle resort Aadi villa with a tree house. Would say that Aadi villa was perfectly what we wanted that evening. The climate suited our mood too. It was evening 5 we all got freshen up, some in the nearby river and later enjoyed playing cards along with having hot and fresh omelets. We had a kid who doesn’t know how to play rummy, that’s Binu, so we gave him the job of a match referee. At night we had delicious rice, chicken curry, papad, and dhal for the veggies of trekzone. We couldn’t pull the grip of our sleep after a good meal, so we split into the tree house and to the villa and popped into the bed with the joy of having done this. Rest for the rest continued.
Aadhi Villa @ Tirunelli

Author : Sudhina VK


  1. Super... trucking nu poyi vannathu polundu. Waiting for 2 nd day.

  2. Enjoyed a lot reading unni.. wonderful work. Waiting eagerly for the 2 nd day adventurous experience..

  3. The treking travelogue through the Nilgiri biosphere is really fantastic. to day is the world environental day now we know that the western ghats are under danger,deforestation ,irregular mining ,hunting and encroachments. These are the major problems.You the youngsters are loving the nature and make others to love and care. all the best carry on to new heights.

    1. thank you acha.for sure we ll contiunue doing ths.:)

  4. A memorable trekking. And we will continue this..

  5. Great work kutuma.... vayanayude puthu rasam pakarnu thana enta priya kutukariku enta elavedha ashamsakalum

  6. Can get the exact feel of trekking sudhi.... good ..keep writng..

  7. sudhimaa...:-) great work dr...i also traveled along with you ......!and really i missed it:-(

  8. :D :D Sudhi you damaged me lot

  9. Nice... became nostalgic as I remembered my Nilgiri days .......beautiful photographs.......