in travel, trekking

trekking to Agasthyakoodam – day one.

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.

enroute Agastyakoodam

en-route Agastyakoodam

swami thirivadikal enroute Agastyakoodam

swami ‘thirivadikal’ enroute Agastyakoodam

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.

cauliflorous tree enroute Agastyakoodam

cauliflorous tree enroute Agastyakoodam

cauliflorous tree - closeup

cauliflorous tree – closeup

strong winds are a peculiarity of the area. Here we can see the grass dancing in the wind. But this is nothing compared to the wind at the peak.

strong winds are a peculiarity of the area. Here we can see the grass dancing in the wind. But this is nothing compared to the wind at the peak.

Oh yea, we were a team of seven backpackers. see them below:

backpackers

backpackers

in harmony with nature ?

in harmony with nature ?

we had our lunch here. Under a sky that looked like this !

we had our lunch here. Under a sky that looked like this.

the camp at attayaar. The difficult terrain starts here. The board that says Athirumala was kept here and in one of the next photos we can see it being carried to the final camp.

the camp at attayaar. The difficult terrain starts here. The board that says Athirumala was kept here and in one of the next photos we can see it being carried to the final camp.

The terrain that followed Attayar was bit difficult but compensated by breath taking landscape.

the path ahead - less traveled, difficult and beautiful

the path ahead – less traveled, difficult and beautiful

the Athirumala board which traveled with us :-)

the Athirumala board which traveled with us 🙂

landscape between attayar and athirumala - one can even see the historic dust on my lens. Well, I am goving to clean every piece of equipment this time. All has years of dust on them and water. Yea, my D80 still works fine with all the water and dust. My next cameras will be Nikon too. I dont need reviews anymore on brand wars.

landscape between attayar and athirumala – one can even see the historic dust on my lens. Well, I am going to clean every piece of equipment this time. All has years of dust on them and water inside. Yea, my D80 still works fine with all the water and dust. My next cameras will be Nikon too. I don’t need reviews anymore on brand wars.

a variety of Thulasi found in the area. This is just a sample from the mysterious collection of herbs starting from Arogyapacha, Vathamparathi etc

a variety of Thulasi found in the area. This is just a sample from the mysterious collection of herbs starting from Arogyapacha, Vathamparathi etc

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.

fossil ?

fossils ?

a stone resembling bone. Passerby has left turmeric powder on it and it turned yellow now.

Passerby has left turmeric powder on it and it turned yellow now.

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.

the first glance of Agastyakoodam

the first glance of Agastyakoodam

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.

Agastyakoodam aka Agastyarkoodam - the majestic peak with its lores, herbs and wonders of mother nature which makes us understand how silly we humans are.

Agastyakoodam aka Agastyarkoodam – the majestic peak with its lores, herbs and wonders of mother nature which makes us understand how silly we humans are.

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14 Comments

  1. I have no girlfriend 🙂 . Seems I can’t find any friends to go with me immediately. One of my best friends has agreed to go after one and a half month. Please post the rest soon 🙂

  2. cauliflorous tree brings in a sweet memory … I had visited Chimmini Forest area once, and I had no Camera at that time … I still have the image of this tree captured in my mind …

    If I ever make a “30 things to do before I die” kinda list, going there and taking a picture of this flower, must be in that list !

  3. In general there is something wrong with my colour profile or so. Images are becoming over saturated or so.

    @Joe – Girl friend ?

    @Sheni – thanks man. I will post the rest tomorrow.

    @JK – thanks 🙂

    @Aplana – what about anakkampoyil ? 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing the experience. Waiting for rest of the story & images. Must have been a great time in your life. Best regards Sheni

  5. Beautiful place. Seeing those pics I just want to go there. Will get in touch in with you to know more about Agastyakoodam, as soon as I could find a friend to come with me 🙂

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  • trekking to Agasthyakoodam – day two. | freebird February 1, 2010

    […] Part1 is here: Trekking to Agasthyakoodam day one […]