Meesapulimala Trekking

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.

Neelakurinji at Munnar

Munnar Hill Station and Nearby Tourist Attractions

Munnar  is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. The highest peak in South India, Anamalai, is situated in these range of hills. Munnar hills are  part of Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Chinnakanal, Munnar in KeralaChinnakanal, Munnar.

This picturesque hill station is known for its rivulets, tea plantations and colonial bungalows built during the British rule in India. The word Munnar means ‘three rivers’.  River Muthirapuzha, River Nallathanni and River Kundala  confluence at this serene hill station.

Eravikulam National Park

Eravikulam National Park is a nearby wildlife Sanctuary worth visiting. Rajamala (King of Hills) is situated inside Eravikulam National Park. Rajamala is at around 15 kilometers distance from the Town, on your way to Anamudi.

Nilgiri tahr (Varayadu) in and around Anamudi Nilgiri Tahr at Munnar
Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas Hylocres) at Munnar. Image Courtesy – Aju P. John

Anamudi is the highest peak in South India. Anamudi is located inside Eravikulam National Park. Its is also home to a large number of ‘Nilgiri tahr‘ (Hemitragas Hylocres), a rare mountain goat, which is in the extinct list of animalsHalf of world’s ‘Nilgiri tahr’ is found in Rajamalai. You can see them roam around the steep hills, at a very close proximity, on the roads inside Eravikulam National Park. Approximate number of Nilgiri tahrs at this area is 1300. It is locally known as Varayadu.

Neelakurinji Flowers (Strobilanthes Kunthianus)

Neelakurinji
Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes Kunthianus).

Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes Kunthianus), a shrub which flowers once in 12 years, is found here in this national park and its surrounding areas. The flowering started in August 2018 and is coming to an end in October 2018. Neelakurinji flowering areas were declared as “Neelakurinji National Park” by the state government in 2006.

It is known as ನೀಲಕುರಂಜಿ in Kannada, குறிஞ்சி in Tamil, നീലകുറിഞ്ഞി in Malayalam.

Power House Waterfalls originates from Sita Devi Kulam’. It is believed that ‘Sita’, wife of ‘Raman’, the hero of the great Hindu epic Ramayana, used to bath here in this lake. It is situated at Chinnakanal, at around 21 kilometers from the heart of the city.

Mattupetty dam, which is a nearby dam,  offers boating (speed boat, pedal boat) inside the dam waters. There is also an adventure park here. Majority of plantation in and around Munnar consists of Tea estates, a large portion of which is owned by “Tata Tea Limited”, one of India’s leading corporate groups,

Some of the other places to visit in Munnar are listed below.

There is a flower garden maintained by Kerala Forest Development Corporation Ltd (K.F.D.C.) near Munnar town. Blossom park near old Munnar town is also a beautiful tourist destination.

Tourist places in and around Top Station

Top Station, known for the picturesque view of the hills,  is at around 30 kilometers distance from town, on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road. The village Ellapatti, en route to top station is famous for vegetables like carrot, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. You may buy these vergetables here.

Meesapulimala

Meesapulimala is just opposite to this village and the view is excellent.

Echo Point

Echo Point is another tourist destination near Munnar, on your way to Top Station.   ‘

Anayirankal
Elephants near Mattupetty dam in MunnarElephants at Munnar. Image courtesy – Sajeevan


Anayirankal
(the word means elephants comes down) is another beautiful place, where herds of wild elephants can be seen roaming around in the slopes of the mountain ranges.

Kundala Dam (The First Arch Dam in Asia) and Kundala Lake

Kundala Dam is situated at around 20 kilometers from Munnar town, on your way to Top station. Boating facilities are available in this dam. Lake Kundala is on one side of the dam. It is the the first arch dam in Asia. Aruvikkad Waterfall is situated near to this dam.

Yellapetty Tent Camp or Yellapetty Camping site

Yellapetty Tent Camp is one of the best private tent camps near Munnar. It is situated at around 6-7 kilometers from Yellapatty Post office. Yellapatty Post office is on the Munnar – Top station Road. entry fess is Rs 2500 per person, as on March 2019. They offer trekking  to nearby beautiful hills covered with mists. Sunrise and sunset can be seen from here. Overnight stay with campfire at the tents is also part of the package. They can be contacted on telephone number +91 96339 96929.

Pallivasal Hydro-Electric Power Project

Pallivasal, Kerala State’s First Hydro-Electric Power Project, is at around 10 kilometers distance form the town. “Sethuparvathy Dam“, part of ‘Pallivasal Hydro electric Project’, is another tourist destination, where boating facilities are available. Iduky dam, the largest and the oldest arch dam in India and the third largest in the World, is around 1.5 hours drive from this town. Munnar is one of the best Kerala tourism destinations.

Periyar Wild life Sanctuary

Periyar Wild life Sanctuary near Kumaly Town, is around 3 hours drive from Munnar. Periyar Wild life Sanctuary offers boating facilities inside the lake. You can see many wild animals during this boat safari. Hoards of Elephants can be seen drinking water during the summer season. Periyar wild life sanctuary is one of its kind among the wildlife sanctuaries in India,  offering boat safari inside deep forests, which allows one to have a close look at the beasts of the jungle. (Some other wildlife sanctuaries in India offers boat safari,; but only limited animals can be seen in such cases.)

How Do I Go to Munnar in Kerala?

Madurai airport is the nearest airport at around 160 kilometers from this hill station. Cochin International Airport, at Nedumbrassery near Cochin (Kochi), is another nearby airport. Munnar is around 4 hours drive from Cochin.

Theni railway station is the nearest railway station at around 75 kilometers distance. Angamaly  railway station is  at around 100 plus kilometers distance. Kottayam Railway station is at a distance of around 145 kilometers. It takes around 3 hours drive from this beautiful hill station town to reach Kottayam.

Munnar is well connected by roads to Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thekkedy in Kerala. Cities  in Tamilnadu like Kambam, Theni, Dindigul, etc, are also well connected by bus services.

Which are the Best Munnar Hotels and Munnar Resorts?

Tea County is one among the good hotels run by Government of Kerala’s tourism department, KTDC. Eastend is another one among the good hotels in the center of the town, offering 4 star facilities at affordable rates. Club Mahindra resorts is one of the best Munnar resorts having a large property at a vantage point in Munnar. Ayur County Mountain Resort is at Chinnakanal, Munnar.

Carmelia Haven is another good resort; an Eco-friendly resort in the middle of cardamon, pepper and tea estates.  It is one of its kind in the state. Carmelia Haven is at Vandanmedu, at around 68 kilometers from Munnar on Munnar- (Kumuly) road.  Kumily is at around 23 kilometers from this resort. Apart from regular rooms, Carmelia Haven has a tree top house and an underground house (cave house).

Cloud farm is a much soughtafter camp site  near the Top station.

Mar Thoma Retreat center (under Malankara Mar Thomas Syrian Church) also has rooms for rent. Contact numbers are +91 4865 208399/ 232289/ 232290/ 232285.

North Indian Restaurants at Munnar

Sree Mahaveer Jain Restaurant (Near Sterling resorts) and Purohit Restaurant  (Tea County Road, Ikka Nagar)  are two good North Indian restaurants at Munnar.