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Monday, June 29, 2015

Kodaikanal Munnar Winter Trekking Expedition

Manu Khandelwal

As we all know that North India is famous for trekking. Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand provides best and tough trekking routes, whereas Jammu & Kashmir is popular for some great and beautiful lake treks. But this time we chose a little different option. We went to South India for our trekking expedition. We started our trek from Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu) and ended at Munnar (Kerala). Kodaikanal is one of the famous and beautiful hill stations of India whereas Munnar is popular for its tea estates and remarkable scenes.
This time we didn't make this trip by ourselves because we didn't have much experience of far countryside destinations that's why we took a package which is provided by Youth Hostel Association of India.

Youth Hostel Association is an organization which provides various treks around India at very cheaper rates.
You can easily book your seats for any trekking program by visiting their website.
YHAI Trekking Programmes: http://www.yhaindia.org/program-participate-now.php

About Trek: 

The trek starts from Kodaikanal, one of the most beautiful hill stations of Tamil Nadu and finishes at Top Station near Munnar. While trekking, one will have an amazing experience of the highest point of South India, which is Anamudi peak. This trek is a quite good option for those who wants something different about what it feels to be trekking in India.

Trek Features:

Trek Distance:- Around 32-35 kms
Trek Duration:-
5 Days (4 Days trek + 1 Day for sightseeing in Munnar)
Highest Altitude:- 2690 m
Difficulty Level:- Easy
Best Time:- November to February

Requirements for Trek:

1. Sleeping Bag
2. Mug
3. Plate
4. Spoon
5. Neck Pillow
6. Undergarments (atleast 6)
7. Max. 1 Jeans, 1 Lower, 1 Shorts, 4/5 Tshirts
8. Extra Bag
9. Lunch Box
10. Rucksack/Trekking Bag
11. Rain sheet or Rain suit
12. Trekking shoes (not necessary, normal running shoes will work also)

Short Itinerary:

 

Day 1, 2, 3:    Reporting at Kodaikanal Base Camp
Day 4:            Trek from Kodaikanal to Vellagavi
Day 5:            Trek from Vellagavi to Kurangini
Day 6:            Trek from Kurangini to Central Station
Day 7:            Trek from Central Station to Top Station & transfer afterwards to Munnar through

                        jeeps arranged by YHAI
Day 8:            Sightseeing of Munnar and reaching Alleppey (by own expense)
Day 9, 10:      Allepey - Delhi (Excluded from YHAI package)

Long Itinerary:

 

Day 1, 2, 3: Reporting at Kodaikanal Base Camp

We again started from Delhi. There is no direct train available to reach Kodaikanal that is why we had to reach Dindigul firstly. Our train took around 42 hours to reach Dindigul. Dindigul is a small city situated near Kodaikanal. Then from Dindigul we took a bus to reach Kodaikanal. The bus took around 2 hours 30 minutes to reach Kodaikanal. One can also hire a taxi to reach Kodaikanal. After this journey we reached Kodaikanal. Our base camp, viz, Youth Hostel Association base camp was 1 km far from the bus station. So we decided to take a short walk to reach our base camp. After reaching base camp, they initiated the registration process and all other formalities and allotted us our bed numbers, as it was a dormitory. The hostel rooms and bathrooms were clean and good. Then we had our dinner, the quality of food was good.
After reaching base camp if you are left with some time, then you can explore Kodaikanal. But it is recommended to take some rest because on next day you have to trek. And for a healthy and enjoyable trek, you should remain relaxed.
(Dindigul - Kodaikanal) Fare for Bus: Rs. 80/-
                                        Fare for Taxi: Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2500/-


View from the Kodaikanal Base Camp



A Shop in Kodaikanal

View of Kodaikanal

Day 4: Trek from Kodaikanal to Vellagavi

Now, this was our first trekking day. After having a small acclimatization walk & yoga session we did off to our destination. The length of this trek was around 8-9 kms. We started our trek at 8:00 hours. The terrain was rough and sloping downwards. The weather was good, foggy and partial cloudy. We found some different types of flowers and butterflies. The trek was easy. It took approximately 7 hours to complete our trek. We trekked very slowly on this day. At around 12:00 hours we took our lunch and reached our basecamp (Vellagavi) at 15:00 hours. This basecamp was small as compared to previous base camp. After taking a welcome drink, we explored the town. Vellagavi is a small sacred town. Trekkers don't allow to wear shoes/sandals in this town, also the locals roam in the town by bare foot. After exploring the town, we had our dinner and went to sleep.

On the way to Vellagavi from Kodaikanal Base Camp

A scenic view from base camp in Kodaikanal

Trekking route of first day

Trekking route



Clouds on the way

A kid in the Vellagavi town

Day 5: Trek from Vellagavi to Kurangini

We woke up at 7:00 hours and started getting ready. We left our basecamp at 8:30 hours after having breakfast and started our trek. The length of this trek was equal to the previous day trek. At the end we have seen an old temple and a beautiful waterfall. Then we reached near the border of Tamil Nadu. At this point the trek had been ended and the rest of the part we had to continue with bus, already arranged by YHAI. So, we boarded the bus and entered into the Kerala and finally reached at the base camp of Kurangini.

A Temple near Vellagavi base camp

View from the temple


A beautiful waterfall

 









On the way to Kurangini (Kerala)

Day 6: Trek from Kurangini to Central Station

After having our breakfast, we started our trek. On this day we were excited because the guide already told us, that today's trek would be tough as compared to previous treks. But we didn't take him seriously, we assumed that the guide was only trying to scare us, but when we started moving on we found that the guide was actually right. The terrain was easier up till our launch point, but afterwards it became quite steep and full of stones. The route was hard to climb. In the midway we have seen a very beautiful lake. There we took many photographs and spend some time. Second half of the trek was the toughest part of the whole trek. After reaching at the base camp of Central Station, we took some rest and started playing. The weather was very cool and fully cloudy.


View of Kurangini town
Trees on the way to Central Station












On the way to Central Station


Day 7: Trek from Central Station to Top Station, & transfer afterwards to Munnar through jeeps arranged by YHAI

This day trek was little short and easy. It took around 4 hours to complete our trek. The route was not more difficult. It was a normal route and slightly upwards. While trekking we took some amazing shots. After all this we reached our destination which is Top Station. It was the main attraction of the trek and it was also the highest part of the trek. Top Station is basically a tourist place. One can also reach there by own vehicle. After this, we got a jeep hired by YHAI and then we reached Munnar. While on the way to Munnar we did some sightseeing of nearby places. There we visited rose garden, botanical garden, echo point and Mattupatty Dam. And finally we reached Munnar base camp where our trek has ended.
But we had our train reservation on the day after the next day. So, we decided to continue our trip to visit the "Venice of the East", viz, Alleppey.

On the way to  Top Station








A view from Mattupetty Dam








A beautiful lake at the midway


A view near the top station


On the way to Munnar


Day 8: Munnar to Alleppey and Allepey Sightseeing

On this day in the early morning, YHAI had arranged jeep service to show us Munnar tea estates. Afer all this, we boarded the bus from Munnar to reach Alleppey. There is no direct route available to reach Alleppey. Firstly we had to reach Kochi via bus and then Kochi to Allepey via bus. It took around 3-4 hours to reach Kochi from Munnar and around 2 hours to reach Alleppey from Kochi. Alleppey is 178 kms far from Munnar. Alleppey is also called as Alappuzha. It is a very popular destination in south India, known for its backwaters. We started our sightseeing by visiting Sreekrishna Swamy Temple, Karimadi Kuttan, Marari-beach, Main beach and in the end we took a houseboat ride. Then we ate some south Indian dishes and started packing our luggage. Because on next day we had to leave for Delhi. We were coming back to home(Delhi).

On the way to  Munnar tea estates

Munnar tea estates




Farmers doing Tea plantation

A green  desert, full of Tea gardens



Kerala cultural program

Backwaters in Alleppey


Houseboats in Alleppey


Day 9, 10: Allepey to Delhi

Now, we were at the end of our trip. After an amazing and beautiful sightseeing of Alleppey, we boarded our train and said bye to Kerala. 

                                                                                                                                                                     Total Expense: Approx. Rs.13000/- ( including 3-tier AC train fare + Trekking Package +                                                                           Alleppey Sightseeing + Other activities )


Note: 

  • Alleppey sightseeing was not included in the YHAI package. We did this by our own expense. 
  • Once you reach YHAI base camp, you don't have to pay for anything whether it is for food, travel or anything, unless it is excluded from their itinerary.

 Pics By: Sarthak Goel

Manu Khandelwal / Author

I call myself a traveller more than a travel blogger. Started this blog in 2013. Apart from this I am an Electrical Engineer. Love trekking and doing bike road trips. Like using technology but not addicted to it. A true foodie and love eating burgers.

15 comments:

  1. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specially the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you

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  2. Hi Manu Khandelwal,

    This is really amazing pics. you are such a great writer. i have bookmarked your blog to read your all updates

    regards
    shahid

    ReplyDelete
  3. A wonderful and detailed account of the trek.
    And stunning, breathtaking pictures :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! Elaborate and detailed. I skimmed through some parts though.
    Love the pics. Itching to pack my bag and set off.

    (Any particular reason to make such a lengthy post? You could have easily made this into 8 posts and auotoposted them on 8 different days. That way your blog will be fed everyday. Just a suggestion.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah!. Thanks for the valuable suggestion. I will apply it to my future experiences. Thank you :)

      Delete
  5. Lovely photos and quite an itinerary you have going there! But I too agree with Indrani there is a lot of matter which could be converted into multiple posts :)

    Richa

    ReplyDelete
  6. OMG.. you got heavenly photos.. lucky you

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is one such great article about tourism that I have not heared at all. Thanks for sharing this info here.

    Regards,
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