On 27th I got a call from a friend asking are you ready for the trip ? Oh, I had completely forgotten about the whole thing and had a most productive day ahead with numerous calls and emails and finally packed up and reached the Cochin KSRTC bus stand by midnight. Had a packet of biscuit and cashew nuts as dinner and me and Rejish started our 5 hour bus journey to Trivandrum from where have to start by 6 AM. Surprisingly the bus managed to reach the destination in less than 5 hours and we could sleep for another 1 hour at friend’s place. Finally we managed to start at 7 AM and reached Banacaud by 9:30 AM. Completed the formalities with the forest officials, packed our lunch and yes we are ready for 3 day wanderlust.
The area is kept clean and well preserved by the forest department and the EDC – In a land where government departments functioning the way it is supposed to be is quite unheard of, this is something we must appreciate. The officials were friendly and I could drag them to a small talk about my sleeping bag which is quite small compared to the ones they use.
As per our plan the journey ends at Athirumala which is 17 kms from the base camp at Bonacud. And most of it is through dense forest and atleast 5 kms of the path is difficult terrain. And with a bag weighing too much with equipments it was not fun. From the camp at Athirumala its 6 kms to the Agastyakoodam peak. And we plan to climb the peak on the second day. I must say that splitting the journey to 3 days was an excellent idea as we got ample time to enjoy the wilderness.
This part of western ghats is called the “abode of biodiversity”. The green virgin forest filled with herbal plants gives one the impression that we are in a huge herbal garden. The Agastyakoodam is related with Buddhism and to the wise man Agastya who formulated grammar to Tamil and he is believed to be an Ayurvedic expert too.
Oh yea, we were a team of seven backpackers. see them below:
The terrain that followed Attayar was bit difficult but compensated by breath taking landscape.
The above photo is taken from an area of where the forest is thick and dark. We can find small holes in the rocks along the path which was used to grind herbs. The area also has peculiar stones which looks like remains of some ancient life forms.
The final camp at the bottom of the peak follows this dense forest area and we got the majestic view of the peak from here.
We reached the final camp around 4 PM. We were tired but not really exhausted because we were walking at an average speed. Soon after tea and a leisurely bath at the nearby stream we came back and settled at the camp. And we were all set for the climb early morning next day. And the destination was a 1886 meter, heritage mountain with its lush green herbal garden and myths.