Meesapulimala Trekking Near Munnar

Meesapulimala is the second highest mountain peak in south India. It is situated near Munnar town in Idukki district, Kerala state. It can be reached ONLY BY TREKKING. The mountain peak is at a height of 2,640 meters or 8,661 feet above sea level.

Meesapulimala Meesapulimala. Image courtesy – Laser Shine.

Meesapili mala means ‘Tigers moustache shaped Mountain’ in the local language, Malayalam. It is the highest mountain peak to legally trek in south India. (It is illegal to trek to the highest mountain peak in South India, Anamala.)

Kerala Forest Development Corporation Ltd (KFDC), a Government of Kerala undertaking, has Package tour to Meesapilimala, as part of promoting Kerala Tourism. It can be booked online (Munnar package). The Meesapulimala trekking is an Eco-friendly tourism package. Contact numbers are 04865 230332, 8289821400, 8289821401, 8289821408.

It is illegal to trek to Meesapulimala by any other routes than using any of the  three package tours from KDFC, given below. Those caught doing illegal trekking (mostly with illegal passes from Kolukumala) may be imprisoned for a term extending from one year to five years and (or) fine ranging from rupees 1000 to 5000, plus penalty charges for any damage done to the environment.

The problem with illegal trekkers is that they leave a lot of plastic materials in the  area, which is home to Nilgiri tahr (Varayadu) and many other animals. Post-mortem reports of some of the dead animals in the area has proved this. 4.5 kilograms of plastic was found in one of the dead Varayadu‘s stomach.

How Do I Go to Meesapulimala?

The package tour of Meesapuli mala starts from the Forest department’s office on the Munnar – Mattupetty road. It is situated near to the Munnar Post office junction and close to Silent Valley Estate and Rose Garden.You need to get the trekking permit from the Forest department office. There are three trekking package tour options available. Third option is exclusive to honeymooners.

Option 1 – Overnight stay at Base Camp Tent

The first option is to avail the service of the forest department jeep and go to the  Base Camp at around 6000 feet above sea level. You have to pay separately for the jeep in this package.

You will be taken to any one of the 20 tents here. A total of 40 people can stay in 20 tents.  The cost of stay at each tent is INR  4000 for  two persons.  (Rates may change. Please confirm the rates with KFDC.) This option is the most economical package available.

Electric fencing is there to avoid wild animals from entering the tent area. Electricity is generated for camp site is generated using a micro turbine, situated near the tents. Water from the top of a hill is supplied to this turbine using pipe.

Food and service of a guide are  part of the forest department’s tour package.

From the base camp, trekking to Meesa pulimala is arranged in the next day morning. It is around 11 kilometers one-way. i.e. You need to trek around 22 kilometers to go to Meesapulimala and come back to the tent. This trekking route passes through Rhodo Mansion, mentioned below.

Option 2 – Overnight Stay at Rhodo Mansion

Second option is to hire a Jeep (or take your four wheel drive vehicle) to “Rhodo Mansion”, another camp site of the state forest department. It’s after the base camp. Rhodo Mansion is at a distance of around 28 kilometers from the Forest department’s office at Munnar hill station.

There are two cottages in the Rhodo Mansion. Rhodo mansion charges Rupees  7000 for a cottage, which can accommodate two persons. One extra person is allowed in a room, by paying rupees 1000 extra.  The second  cottage can accommodate 3 persons. Charges are rupees 9000 for three persons per night.

“Rhodo Mansion”is surrounded by Rhododendron Flowers.  It is located a few kilometers after the earlier mentioned base camp. You can enjoy the tasty food, participate in the campfire and stay overnight here at the cottage in Rhodo Mansion, at around 7500 feet height above sea level.

Actual trekking to the Meesa pulimala mountain peak from Rhodo Mansion accompanied by a guide, starts in the morning and it takes around two plus hours of rigorous trekking; crossing streams, misty mountains, valleys, etc, to reach Meesapulimala. Trekking distance is around  5 kilometers, one-way.

Option 3 – Overnight Stay at Sky Cottage for Honeymooners

Sky cottage is a lonely cottage on a cliff facing a beautiful waterfall. This cottage has  large glass windows and transparent ceiling. You feel at your romantic best with the  splendid view of the misty hills and lofty mountains! Next morning, you can trek to Meesapulimala, accompanied by an expert local guide. Charges per couple is Rs 7000 or 9000 (not sure). Two extra persons are allowed in the cottage, by paying rupees 1000 extra per person. Please confirm the charges before booking the cottage, as it is subject to change.

Note : Jeeps normally takes you to the camp site  and   drops you back at the forest office, on the next day. Please confirm this and the rates at the time of booking.

Which are the Nearest Railway Stations and Airports to Meesapulimala?

The nearest railway stations to Meesapuli mala are Alwaye (Aluva) and Angamali, both around 120 kilometers distance. Ernakulam South alias Ernakaulam Junction (ERS) and Ernakulam North alias Ernakulam Town (ERN) are the two Major railway stations to Meesapuli mala, at around 130 kilometers distance. Madurai Junction railway station is another major railway station, at around 136 kilometers distance.

Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport at around 110 kilometers from Meesapulimala. Madurai Airport is at around 140 kilometers distance from Meesapuli mala.

Some of the Super Hit Movies Shot at Meesapulimala

Some of the scenes in the song “Titli’ in the super-hit Hindi movie “Chennai express’, starring Shah rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone were shot here. “Roja Kadale” song in the  Tamil movie “Anegan” (Super star Dhanush and Amyra Dastur in lead roles) was also shot at Meesapulimala.

In the 2015 super hit Malayalam movie “Charlie“, with Dulquer Salmaan and Parvathy in lead roles, there was a question that Dulquer Salmaan asks Parvathy. This made thousands of movie goers, tourists and hikers pondering over as to where is Meesapulimala. The question was “Have you seen  snowfall in Meesapulimala?

Conclusion

Are you interested in trekking to Meesapulimala, the heaven on earth? Please leave your comments below.

Bekal Fort – The Largest Fort in Kerala State

Bekal Fort is the largest fort in the state of Kerala. Bekal Fort is spread over an area of around 40 acres on the Arabian Sea coast at Pallikere in Kasaragod district of Kerala state, India. Bekal Fort is close to Karnataka state border.

A stairway inside the Bekal FortA stairway inside the Bekal Fort. The steps lead to a tunnel and eventually to the outside wall of the fort facing the Arabian sea.

Ancient Bekal Fort was constructed in 1650 AD by Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore. One distinguishing feature of BekalFort is the water tank with its flight of steps. Arabian Sea coast can also be reached from inside the fort through anther stairway.

There is an observation center at a strategic point from which one can discover even the slightest enemy movements. The entrance to the fort is in a zigzag manner. The entrance and the observation center are testimony the defense strategy adopted to protect the fort from the enemies.

The Bekal fort was not the seat of any dynasty; unlike other Indian forts. There are no palace or other buildings inside the fort. The Bakal fort was used only for the defense requirements.

Some of the nearby places of tourist interest are the ancient Muslim Mosque and the Hanuman temple.

The Bakal fort was declared as a special tourism area in the early 90’s by the Central Government of India. “Bekal Tourism Development Corporation” and “Bekal Resorts Development Corporation”, now look after the promotion and tourism of the fort at Bekal. Bekal fort has special significance in Kerala tourism map.

The ace Indian film director Mani Ratnam, shot the famous Tamil film song, ‘Uyire’, at Bekal Fort. This Movie Mumbai , was considered as one among the top 20 Indian films in rankings by the British Film Institute.

How Do I Go to Bekal Fort in Kerala?

Bekal Fort in Pallikere village of Kasaragod district was well connected by rail and road. Near by railway stations are Palliker, BekalFort, Kanhangad, Kotikulam and Kasargod (the first two, being the nearest ones).

The nearest towns to Pallikere are Kanhangad at 8 kilometers and Kasargod at 18 kilometers distance respectively. There are regular bus services from these cities to Pallikere.

Mangalore International Airport is the nearest airport at around 60 kilometers from the Bakel fort.

Is There Any Good Hotels in Bekal?

Vivanta by Taj alias Taj bekal is a good hotel in Bekal. The Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal, Hotel Bekal Palace, Nirvana at Bekal, etc, are some of the other good hotels near to the Bekal fort at Pallikere.

Kerala

Gods Own Country, Kerala

Gods Own Country, Kerala, lies in the southern most part of India. It is one of the most sought-after tourist destination in India and National geographic magazine has earlier recommended Kerala as one of the ‘must see places’ in one’s life time. National Geographic’s Traveler magazine named Kerala as one of the “ten paradises of the world” and “50 must see destinations of a lifetime.

Other than its beaches, backwaters, rivers, hill stations, wild life, flora and fauna etc. Kerala tourism has much to offer to the tourist. Kerala is a good tourist place in India, for sure.

Gods Own Country, KeralaA House Boat in Allapuzha Backwaters

With its natural beauty, Kerala is ideal an a holiday destination. There are 44 rivers and large vasts of backwaters. Hill stations like Munnar and Wyanad makes Gods Own Country a tourist’s paradise.

Kerala’s beaches are known for its pristine beauty; be it Kovalam beach or Cherai beach, or for that matter any other beach in Gods Own Country.

Wildlife in Gods Own Country

Kerala’s Wildlife Sanctuaries are unique for its flora and fauna other than for its wild animals. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady offers boating facilities inside the Periyar Lake to see the beasts of the jungle. Periyar Tiger reserve is part of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. One can see hoards of Elephants playing in the lake waters. Also seen are Tigers, Sambars, Lion tailed macaques, Gaurs, etc, to name a few. The Lake Palace hotel, the summer retreat of the erstwhile Maharajas (Kings) of the princely state of Travancore, on an island inside the Periyar lake, offers the ultimate in luxury, romance and adventure for any tourist.

Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary,Silent Valley National Park, etc, are some of the other Kerala tourist places in Gods Own Country for nature and wildlife & lovers. Many an endangered species of animals including endangered species are found in Kerala’s Wildlife parks.

Bird Watching and Backwaters of Gods Own Country

Kumarakam Bird Sanctuary and surrounding areas offers the best of bird watching and backwater cruise. The backwaters of Kumarakam (The Venice of The East) are known for its beauty. Vembanad lake which lies in the Kottyam, Allapuzha and Ernakulam districts offers backwater tourism activities. One can hire a motor boat or a house boat. House boats offer night stay and food inside the boats. The cook in the boat catches fresh fish from the backwaters, and prepares an exotic fish curry or a fish fry, the taste of which will last all through your lifetime!. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, a small bird sanctuary; one of the richest in terms of bird species in India; is situated within 60 kilometers of Kumarakom bird sanctuary. Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is another famous Bird Sanctuary in god’s own country, at a distance of 19 kilometers from Kozhikode city.

Nature at its Best in the Gods Own Country, Kerala

Aathirapally falls The Niagara of India and Vazachal falls in Trissur district are among the most beautiful falls in India. Forests in and around Gavi in Pathanamthitta district offers everything for an adventurous tourist. Munnar hills and Vagamon (Asia’s Scotland) are two of the best hill stations in the country. Wayanad offers the best of hills, caves, waterfalls, wildlife, etc.

Remains of an Ancient Civilization in Gods Own Country, Kerala

Marayur is known for the Stone Age Civilization and remains of which are still found there. Unique Dolmens and rock paintings dating back to 10000 B.C. are found in Marayur.

Martial arts of Gods Own Country, Kerala

Northern Kerala, especially Malabar region, is famous for one of the oldest fighting systems of Martial arts called Kalaripayattu. Kalaripayattu was practiced in olden days to defend the country from enemies. The place where this form of Martial arts is practiced is called “Kalari”. Some Kalaris in olden days had thousands of trainees. During the British rule, Kalaripayattu lost its predominance as firearms replaced martial arts and British banned Kalaripayattu.

Culture and Heritage of Gods Own Country at its Best

Thrissur Pooram FestivalCaparisoned Elephants at Thrissur Pooram Festival

Aranmula Snake Boat race and Alleppey Nehru trophy boat race are a real treat to the eyes. These are conducted on the 5th day after Onam (in August or September) and in the second Saturday of August respectively.

Heralded by UNESCO as “The most spectacular festival event on the planet“, Thrissur Pooram Festival, conducted in the month of April / May every year, is the fusion of culture, heritage and temple rituals and of course, the mother of all Fireworks. Caparisoned elephants decorated with colorful accessories made of peacock feathers and yak tail and other accessories that go with it, and the way it is swayed rhythmically to the tune of the Kerala’s traditional instrumental music like Chendamelam, Panchavadyam and other forms of traditional music, makes Thrissur Pooram, truly the most spectacular festival event on this universe.

Religious Tourism in Gods Own Country, Kerala

Sabarimala Sree DharmaSastha Temple, Thiruvananthapuram Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, Guruvayoor Krishnan temple, Chotanikara temple, Kodungallor temple (and an array temples at Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Ochira, Attukal, Aranmula, Ambalapuzha, Pandalam, Kulathupuzha, etc.) , Malayattoor church, Jewish Synagogue at Fort Cochin, etc, makes Gods Own Country an ideal destination for your pilgrimage tour.

Health Resorts and Ayurveda Tourism in Gods Own Country

Kerala is well known for its Ayurveda institutes. Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala is the leading Ayurveda institute in Gods Own Country and in India. Kerala Ayurveda Ltd is another well known company, known for its products and treatment. There are a large number of other well known institutes also in Kerala state. Many of these institutes have their own Health resorts to treat patients.

How Do I Go to Kerala, The Gods Own Country?


The Gods Own Country, Kerala is one of the southernmost states of India. There are 3 airports at Thriruvananthapuram alias Trivandrum, Kochi alias Cochin and Kozhikode alias Calicut. Kerala is connected by roads and trains to other parts of the country.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary on the Banks of Vembanad Backwaters

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is situated on the Vembanad backwaters front in Kottayam District, Kerala state, India. This bird sanctuary is home to many species of birds, especially water birds.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea at Kumarakom Birds Sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an ornithologist’s paradise. Migratory birds comes in large numbers here. Earlier it was known as Baker’s Estate as the area was the estate of Alfred George Baker, who got 500 ares of land from the then king of Travancore and planted many trees there in a few acres on the southern bank of River Kavanar. Later on, he did not do anything on these area. Migratory as well as local birds, came to these groves in a few years time. It thus automatically became a bird Sanctuary. It is  a water bird sanctuary.

This Bird Sanctuary is spread over 14 acres of land and is the first scientifically developed bird sanctuary in India.  There are 180 species of birds found in this Bird Sanctuary.

The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is adjacent to the Vembanad backwaters, which helps in getting abundant feeds like insects to the birds. It is also called Vembanad Bird Sanctuary.

Vembanad Wetland system is the largest of the three Ramsar sites in the state of Kerala.

How Do I Go to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?

Kottayam, ‘The Press Capital of India’, which houses many of India’s leading vernacular newspapers like Malayala Manorama, Mathruboomi, Deepika, etc, at 15 kilometers away is the nearest railway station. Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport. Kumarakom is well connected by roads to nearby cities like Kottayam, Allapuzha and Cochin.

Boating from Allapuzha is a good option for any tourist, as the journey covers the backwaters of Vembanad lake; ‘The Venice of the East’.  This bird sanctuary is at one of the the extreme ends of Vembanad lake, where the 78 kilometer long Meenachil River empties itself into the Vembanad Lake. Other Kumarakom places to visit includes Pathiramanal island, an Island at around 16.5 kilometers distance from the bird sanctuary.

There are many hotels at Kumarakam and Alleppey alias Alappuzha, which caters to tourist’s accommodation requirements.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary Entrance Fee, Ideal Season

Kumarakom bird sanctuary entrance fee is Rs 50 (for Indians). June to August are the ideal months to visit this bird sanctuary. Its the breeding season for for the resident wetland birds.

Kumarakom to Pathiramanal Boat Services

Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) has started a group package boat trip to Pathiramanal island from December 2017. This boat service, accompanied by a guide, will take you to Pathiramanal island and pick you back in the same day, at the agreed time.

Minimum  charges are Indian Rupees 420 (four hundred and twenty only) for one way. The same charges apply for the return trip also. For the above mentioned amount, 42 people can go in this group tour. INR 10 (ten only) will be charged additionally for each extra person.  The rates are much lower than those charged by private boats.

For details, please contact the mobile number +91-94000-50331 .

Silent Valley National Park

Silent Valley National Park is spread across Palakkad, Malappuram Districts of Kerala State & Nilagiris District of Tamilnadu, in India. It’s a tropical moist evergreen forest.

Silent Valley National Park
Lion-tailed Macaque
, endemic to the Western Ghats.

Silent Valley is the home to the largest population of Lion-tailed Macaque, an endangered Primitive species. Public outcry over their habitat led to the establishment of the area as Silent Valley Park. In the year 1986, this National Park was declared as the core area of the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve. This has resulted in efforts to promote the Ecosystem of the Valley. This National Park is part of Western Ghats, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Kunti puzha (Kunti River) runs through the entire length of 15 kilometers of the park from north to south and then  into the Bharathapuzha. This valley receives most of the rainfall in Monsoon season, from June to September. During the North West Monsoon season months of October and November, Valley receives moderate rainfall.

Silent Valley is part of Western Ghats and is rich in flora and fauna. 16 bird species has been listed as threatened or restricted. There is an estimated 138 species of birds in this Valley.v

A minimum of 24 species of Mammals are found in the valley including many threatened species. Bats,rats,mice, etc, count to 9 species. There are 730 insects identified in Silent Valley National Park, as per last count.

How Do I Go to Silent Valley National Park?


Entry Passes are available from Mukkali Forest office, Mannarkkad P.O. You need to park your vehicles here and travel in the forest department’s vehicle.  04924-222056 is the contact number.

Permits are not issued after 1 pm. It takes around 5 hours to visit this national park. Accommodation is also available at the forest department’s Inspection Bungalow at Mukkali. You may need to book in advance.

Silent Valley National Park is well connected by road, rail and flight services to other parts of the country.

“Palakkad Junction” is nearest major railway station at around 58 kilometers distance. Kozhikode and Coimbatore airports are the nearest airports to Silent Valley National Park, at around 100 kilometers distance.