Kerala is a gift of the Arabian Sea. The state is abundantly blessed with natural resources. It is also called as ‘God’s own country’ and no wonder why the state has been bejewelled with the title. The marvellous beauty of the state lures travellers from various parts of the world. Words are insufficient to express the beauty of the state. The meandering rivers bubbling over rocks, sparkling waterfalls flowing through the thickly populated woodlands, undisturbed backwaters, avalanching movement of sand in pristine beaches, emerald forest ornamented with wilderness and tweaks of birds, magnificent bowl-shaped valleys and awe-inspiring mountains blanketed with the lush green carpets of tea and coffee plantations and many more. One whole essay would not be enough to beautify the charm of the state. The state is adorned with many historic monuments and herbal rejuvenation centers. Most of the foreigner avails of tour packages for participating in various kinds of Ayurveda treatments. The climate of Kerala is favourable not only to Indians but also to people from other nations. It is being a decade that the state started to give prominence to the tourism sector. And as part of enhancing tourism sectors, many disquieting hill stations and historic streets were being unveiled. Thousands of travellers visit the state by purchasing the packages for a cheap price to explore the magnificent gem hidden in unexplored parts of Kerala. Kerala is a haven for adventure lovers. The breathtaking hill stations and offers immense chances to improve their skills in trekking and rock climbing. It is not possible to describe each and every sparkling destination of the state with its peculiarities. I would like to dedicate this essay to explain the salient features of the famous hill called Agasthyarkoodam.
Agastyarkoodam hill is the second tallest peaks in Kerala. It is situated in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. It is one of the utterly bare and precipitous hill stations in Kerala. It is situated in the premises of Neyyar Wildlife sanctuary with a height of 1868 m. The hill is known as Pothigai Malai hill in Tamil Nadu. The slopes of the hills are blanketed with purple orchids. The hill shelters to various types of birds. Famously the hill is known for trekking but most of the Hindu believers consider the hill as a pilgrimage. On the top of the hill one could find a statue of Agasthya sage withholding a stone crusher on one hand and a bowl of medicines on other hands. Worshipers climb to the top and offer prayers to him. He belongs to one of the seven sages (Saptarishis) of Hindu ideology. He is considered the father of Indian traditional medicines and Tamil literature. The surroundings of the hill are occupied with a tribal community called ‘Kanis’. They are engaged in various activities conducted by the forest department.
The Story Behind the Agasthyarkoodam Hill
For long years women were not allowed to climb to the top of the hill as the Agasthya muni was celibate i.e. Bhramachary and intervention of women will affect the purity of the mountain. But 2 years ago the ban on women climbing the hill was removed and in January 2019 the first lady to conquer the mountain was Dhanya Sanal. Followed to her 100 women registered their names for trekking to the Agasthyarkoodam hill. There is also a story revolving around the hill is when all the sages (munis or maharishis) went to Himalaya for attending the wedding of Lord Shiva and Lord Parvathi the tilt to one side. Then Lord Shiva insisted Agasthya Muni to go the southern portion and balance the earth. He obeyed the commands. Gradually he liked the place and decided to reside there.
Trekking to Agasthyarkoodam Hills
Unlike other hills in Kerala, you can plan out trekking to Agasthyarkoodam hill when you wished to do. As aforementioned the hill is dedicated to Agasthya sage and hence trekking on it is possible only in the month of January i.e. the trekking routes will be opened on Makaravilaku till Shivarathri. Actually there are two routes that lead to the hill. First is through the Neyyar wildlife sanctuary and that is closed and the second route is Bonacaud village. The village is situated 69 km from the Trivandrum International Airport. So travellers coming from Delhi, Punjab, and Bangalore can either travel in local transport or can purchase the tour packages from Dream Holidays and the tour guides will guide you to the village. Trekking the hill will require three days. Before reaching the Bonacaud village trekkers have to avail of an entry pass of INR 500. Per day 100 pass will be issued. The issuing of passes will be started a couple of days before the Makaravilaku. Trekkers can purchase online also.
Itinerary for Trekking
- 1st-day Bonacaud – Athiramula Base Camp
Travellers will have to reach the Bonacaud base by 7 am. It will take around for registration and verification. Do not forget to carry the necessary identity cards. Collect the food coupons and purchase the water bottles. You can start your trekking by 8 am. It will take 6 hrs to reach the Athiramula base camp. Over there you can rest and encash your coupon and satiate your hunger. After refreshing, you can stroll through the jungle. Do not make a loud noise as it will disturb the animals. You can build a camp and can spend your night in it. The canteen in the base camp works from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm, therefore, collect the food coupons for the next day before you sleep.
- 2nd-day Athiramula Base Camp- Agasthayrkoodam Hill
After having light breakfast you can continue your trekking to the hill. It will take approximately 5 hrs to reach the top of the hill. On reaching the top of the hill you can capture the pictures of serene nature and soak yourself in nature’s bliss. Don’t forget to pack your lunch. Spend a few hours on the hill and return your journey before the sunsets. You can rest in the tent in the Athriamulla base camp.
- 3rd-day Athiramulla Base Camp – Bonacaud
Followed to the breakfast travellers can descend to the village. It will take 6 hrs to reach the slope. From there you can return to your hometown. If you are new to Thiruvananthapuram you can visit the historic places of the district before concluding the trip.
Dream Holidays are one such travel operator in Kerala that curates special packages for adventure enthusiasts. If you have any concerns regarding the same without any hesitation you can contact their customer representatives.