Are you Interested in Going for the Two Day Agasthyarkoodam Trekking or Agasthyamalai Trekking

Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthyamalai Trekking routeAgasthyarkoodam  alias Agasthyakoodam or Agasthyamalai Trekking route

Agasthyarkoodam alias Agasthyamalai is considered as a sacred hill. In spite of the remoteness of these hills, determined devotees comes here. Trekking to Agasthyamalai and back takes two or three days (depending on your health condition) and the entry permits are issued every year in January.

Entry passes to Agasthyarkoodam Trekking or Agasthyamalai

Entry permits  are  normally issued during the first week of January for a few days. 100 passes are issued in advance, for each day.

Another option to trek Agastyamala is to form a group of 10 people and apply for the entry passes at the Thiruvanathapuram district forest department office. This group permits are issued except during Monsoon season. During Monsoon season, it is is highly risky to trek to Agasthyamalai as the rivers gets flooded (at times Flash floods too).

2019 Update on Agasthyarkoodam Trekking and Ladies Trekking to Agasthyarkoodam

From 2019, ladies are also allowed trekking to Agastyamala. Dhanya Sanal became the first lady to trek to Agasthyamalai, officially. Dhanya trekked to Agasthyamalai in the middle of January 2019. There were reports of female devotees and tribal ladies, who used to go to Agastyamala earlier.

Charges for Agasthyamalai or Agasthyakoodam Trekking 2019

Entry pass charges are rupees 1000 per person. Food is charged separately. It costs around 40 for the breakfast and 70 each for the lunch and dinner (Kanji in local language or porridge in English). Tea is charged at rupees 10. Camera is charged at INR 100. These rates or charges are as of January 2019  and is  subject change. Please verify the rates by yourself.

You are not allowed to carry plastic items, except for water bottles and  lunch  boxes. Such items are checked at the Bonacaud picket station (entry point to the trekking area) and rupees 100 or so  is collected, as caution deposit. When you return to the Bonacaud picket station, you will get this money refunded, provided you bring back those items which were taken with you. You are not allowed to carry biscuits or other similarly packed food items. You need to open such packs and wrap it in a paper or put it inside your bag, to take them inside.

How Do I Go to Agasthyamalai alias Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthyakoodam Trekking Base Camp?

There are buses from KSRTC bus station at Thampanoor, Thiruvanthapuaram. First bus to the trekking entry gate at Bonakad, starts at 5 am. It reaches Bonakad picket station, where the forest office is situated in around two and a half hours time. The distance is around 55 kilometers. Next bus from Thampanoor is at 5.30 am.

You may also take your vehicle (two or  four wheeler) and park it at the premises of forest department office at Bonakad. Parking charges of rupees 40 and 100 are applicable for two wheeler and four wheeler, respectively.

Bonacaud Picket Station (Bonakad forest office) is the starting point for trekking to Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthya malai.

Day One – The base camp is at a distance of around 15 kilometers from  Bonacaud Picket Station.  It is relatively easy to trek this distance. You need to stay at the base camp here, on the day one.

On the second day, you need to start early in the morning. Trekking route passes through  steep mountains and streams covering a distance of around six kilometers (one way). You must return to the base camp on the same day. i.e. on second day.

If you start early and return early, and is in good spirits to trek back to the Bonacaud Picket Station, you can do so. In that case, trekking is completed on day two.

Otherwise, you can stay at the base camp on the second day night. You can trek back to the Bonacaud Picket Station on the third day.

Last bus from Bonakad towards the city is at 5.45 pm. This bus goes to Vithura. Vithura is at a distance of around 22 kilometers from Bonakad picket station. From Vithura, you need to change the bus to go to Thiruvanthapuaram, which is at around 34 kilometers distance from Vithura.

Anamudi Shola National Park near Munnar Hill Station

Anamudi Shola National Park is situated near to Munnar Hill station, in Idukki District, Kerala state. Anamudi park is one of the smallest national parks in India.

Anamudi Shola National Park Entrance
Anamudi Shola National Park Entrance

Anamudi Shola National Park is at an altitude of 2,152 meters (7,060 feet) to 2,305 meters (7,562 feet). It is located along the Western Ghats. Anamudi Wildlife Park is a protected area, spread over 7.5 square kilometers. It covers Idivara shola, Mannavan shola and Pullardi shola.

This national park is rich in flora and fauna. Tigers are seen in the protected area.

Mathikettan Shola National Park, Eravikulam National Park, Pambadum Shola National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kurinjimala Sanctuary are the surrounding national parks to Anamudi Shola National Park.

Anamudi National Park is at around 130 kilometers from Periyar National Park. Periyar National park  is the  most famous national park and wildlife sanctuary in the state of Kerala.

How Do I Go to Anamudi Shola National Park?

Anamudi Shola National Park can be accessed from Kanthalloor-Perumala Road. Kanthalloor is the nearest village at around 4.5 kilometers away from the entry gate of the Anamudi Shola park.

It is situated at around 36 kilometers from Munnar Town.

Nature at its Best at Nilambur & the Teak Museum

Nilambur is a sleepy town in Malapuram district in Kerala, known for the abundant beauty of nature.

Hanging Bridge across Chaliyar at NilamburHanging Bridge across Chaliyar at Nilambur

Nilambur Teak Museum

Teak Museum at Nilambur is another tourist place in Malapuram district. It is closed on Mondays. This museum was established in 1995, with the assistance of  the Kerala Forest Department.

Nilambur museum gives insights into Teak tree’s  habitat, management, socioeconomic aspects, cultivation, history and it’s uses. Nilambur teak is famous for its quality.

Teak Museum in Nilambur offers Nature Trail at its Bio-resource Nature Park, spread over 40 hectors of land. Propagules of more than 1200 plant species  have been introduced in the nature park trail route.

Nature park was established by the sub-center of Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), situated at Nilambur.  (Main Campus of KFRI is situated at Peechi in Thrissur district, Kerala.)

Other Attractions Inside Kerala Forest Research Institute sub-center at Nilambur

There is a Wildlife Museum inside the Kerala Forest Research Institute. There is also a Xylarium inside the institute, which has specimens of 600 tree species. The research institute has also established an Arboretum and a Botanic Garden. Bambusetum is another attraction inside the institute campus, with 70 species of bamboos.

Conolly’s Plot – A Must See Place in Nilambur

Conolly’s Plot or Canoli Plot alias Canoly’s Plot is situated at Vadapuram. It is at around 2 kilometers from Nilambur town. Canoli Plot alias Canoly’s Plot is considered as one of the world’s oldest teak plantations. The oldest teak here is known as Kannimari.

Canoly’s Plot Teak plantation was planted in 1846 by Mr. Chathu Menon.  Mr. H.V Conolly,  then Collector of Malabar, ordered this work and he himself supervised the work.

Chaliyar and Kurinjipuzh rivers flows through two sides of the Canoli Plot. Dense forests surround the other two sides.

A hanging bride (suspension bridge) connects Conolly’s Plot with the town.

How Do I Go to Nilambur?

Nilambur is connected by roads to other parts of Kerala.

Nilambur Road Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Nilambur. This railway route is one of the best scenic railway routes in south India. It is on the Shoranur – Nilambur section of southern railway.

Nilambur Teak museum is at around 4 kilometers from Nilambur Road Railway Station.

Conclusion

Are you interested going to Nilambur? Please leave your comments below.

Mathikettan Shola National Park

Mathikettan Shola National Park or Mathikettan  National Park is one of the smallest national parks, with an area of just 12.82 square kilometers. This national park is at Poopara village in  Udumbanchola taluk, Idukki district, Kerala state.
An Elephant inside Mathikettan Shola National ParkAn Elephant inside Mathikettan Shola National Park

The area under the national park is a reserved forest. It is rich in flora and fauna. It became a  national park in 2003.

The word Mathikettan means ‘mind confuser’ in Tamil Language, an Indian language spoken in the area. One forgets the path once he or she enters the park. Hence, the name Mathikettan National park. For this reason, seek the help of a guide when going inside the park.

There are different trekking packages available, accompanied by  Forest department approved guides. There is a bird watching trekking route in the evening around 4’o clock. There is a morning trekking tour available, which starts at 6.30 am.

Pampadum Shola national park is another national park situated close to Mathikettan Shola park.

How Do I Go to Mathikettan Shola National Park?

Mathikettan Shola National Park is accessible form Poopara. Poopara is on the Munnar – Kumily road. Munnar is at around 34 kilometers distance. Similarly, Kothamangalam town is at around 90 kilometers distance from this national park.

Cochin International Airport  and Madurai International Airport are the nearest airports to the National park at around 123 and 141 kilometers distance, respectively.

Kottayam railway station is the nearest railway station to the National park, at around 155 kilometers distance.

Toll free number of  Kerala forest and wildlife department is  1 800 425 4733.

Conclusion

To sum up, Even though Mathikettan Shola National Park is one of the smallest national parks, it is rich in flora and fauna.

Are you going to the park? Please leave your comments below.

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Thiruvanthapuram district, Kerala state, India. The office of the wildlife sanctuary is at around one kilometer distance from Neyyar Dam. It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1958.

Mugger crocodiles in the crocodile farm in Neyyar Wildlife SanctuaryMugger crocodiles in the crocodile farm in Neyyar Wild life Sanctuary

Neyyar River and its tributaries, Mullayar and Kallar, flows through Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Agasthyarkoodam,  the highest peak in Agasthyamalai with a height of 1,868 meters  or 6,129 feet, is situated within Neyyar wild life sanctuary.  A portion of the  Neyyar sanctuary is included in Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve,  which was declared as a World Network of Biosphere Reserves and also a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

Agasthyamala is a famous pilgrimage destination for devotees of the Hindu sage, Agastya. Selected number of passes are issued each year, during the first week of January. Full size statue of Agathiyar is there at the top of Agasthyamala.

Neyyar Wild life Sanctuary is rich in flora with thick vegetation cover. Fauna includes  barking deer, bonnet macaque, elephant, tiger, leopard, sambar, sloth bear, Nilgiri langur and Nilgiri tahr. 39 species of mammals are there in this wildlife park.  176 bird species, 30 reptile species, 17 amphibian species and 40 fish species are reportedly seen in this wildlife sanctuary.

What is there to See inside Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary?

Neyyar Elephant Rehabilitation Center inside the wildlife sanctuary is home to many an elephants; from calves to aged ones. Neyyar Wild life Sanctuary also offers Elephant ride.

Boating facilities are available inside the sanctuary.

There is a deer rehabilitation center inside the wildlife sanctuary at Neyyar.

There is a crocodile farm or crocodile park in the sanctuary.  20 mugger crocodiles are there in this farm.

There is a lion park, with 2 lions, if my memory is correct.  Entry fee to Lion safari is  rupees 395 per person.

There is an aquarium and the entry fee is rupees 25.

Entry Fee to Neyyar Dam is rupees 10 and car parking costs rupees 25.

There is a guided single day trekking package to Meenmuty falls. Two day trekking is also available here, with overnight stay inside the wildlife sanctuary.

You will get good food with fish fry, at the nearby canteen, on one side of the dam.

How Do I Go to  Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary?

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary entry is from the administrative complex of Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, near Neyyar Dam.

Neyyattinkara Railway Station is the nearest railway station at around 20 kilometers distance from the wildlife park entry gate. The nearest airport is at Thiruvvananthapuram, at around 40 kilometers away.