Every journey is a journey into history. Every country and time has a lot to communicate with us, and if we listen carefully, “If there is a paradise on earth, it is Agastya Koodam.” Agasthyarkoodam Trekking is one of the toughest trekking routes in Kerala. The allotted time for trekking is from January 14 to February 18 this year. So on January 8th I will wait for my turn and publish the passes online at exactly 11am. Only 100 people a day have access to the Agasthya Temple. During the 36 day trekking period, about 3600 people can visit this place. The pass charges Rs 1100 per person. Finally after some early effort I also got the pass. Within minutes of booking on January 15, all tickets were filled. It was then that I realized how many people were trying for the Agasthyarmala trek known as the Himalayas in Kerala. Anyway I was waiting for that day. So I got up at 5 in the morning, took the car fresh and headed straight for the Bonakad forest office. I had to report to the first camp in Bonakad at 7 o’clock and this time the trip was alone, not because there was no one else, but because I was lucky enough to get a pass. As we approached the Forest Office, the snow-capped mountains and the tea factory began to cool our eyes.
The tea factory at Bonakad, which once flourished, was the lifeblood of thousands of workers. The Mahaveer Plantation, a tea factory, was permanently demolished in 2000 due to severe financial crisis. Machines that once worked day and night have now come to an end with rain and sun. And the GB-25 ghost bungalow that once went viral on social media can be seen reflecting the sun through the pine woods. And one thing no one can ask for a ghost bungalow and look that way. Even the locals who have been living there for years do not know about a ghost bungalow. It’s just a fabricated story on social media. So we reached the forest office at Bonakad where we started trekking through the tea plantations. The Forest Officer was busy verifying the passes and verified my passes as well. Then our bag is checked. Plastic bags are not allowed. If you have a plastic bottle, you have to pay Rs 100. If you bring that bottle back when you come back the money will be refunded. Returned as a guide in a group of 20 people. The Forest Officer then gave a brief class on the precautions to be taken during the trip. By 8:30, the journey to conquer Agasthyamalai had begun. After 27 km of trekking through the evergreen forests, deciduous forests, grasslands, meadows, cliffs, streams and waterfalls, you will have to trek 27 km through the dense jungles of Athirumala and Pongalappara to reach Agasthyan Girimakudam. The purpose of the visit is to preserve the sanctity, natural beauty and forest resources of Agasthyamalai.
Agasthyamala is located at an elevation of 1868 m above sea level, at an elevation of about 6129 ft. Let’s start the journey, adventurously the sidewalk is about a foot and a half wide. Large trees on both sides. The road is hilly on one side and low on the other. Wild animals such as bears and wild buffalo can be difficult to navigate through the forest. Trees have fallen and obstructed the road in many places. A variety of trees can be seen here. If you are distracted while walking on a path full of ups and downs, you are sure to fall on the gravel. Since the left side of the path is hilly, in some places you can see many small and large waterways between the rocks. The Neyyar, Karamanayar, Wamanapuram, Kuzhithurayar and Thamraparni rivers originate from these hills. Formed on November 12, 2001, the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve includes the Peppara and Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuaries in Thiruvananthapuram District, as well as forest divisions such as Sentharuni, Achankovil, Thenmala, Konni and Punalur, as well as forest areas in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts. The latter is terrible. You can breathe fresh air and travel through the jungle without the noise of cities. After a journey of about 2 hours, you can see the Attayar Falls. The name Attayar is derived from the fact that the atta harassment is severe here. With the passing of Attayar, the appearance of the forest changed. Go up to the grassy area. The area is characterized by occasional individual trees and occasional head-turning rocks. The trees that used to be seen here and there disappeared as we climbed. Just grassy area. The journey along the flat side ends and the difficult climb begins with the end of the meadow. You have to step on small rocks to climb to the top. The whole area is densely wooded. Rare trees of various types, diameters and heights can be seen here. After trekking for about 18 km, you will reach the resting place of Athirumala at the foot of Agasthyamalai, after crossing the tributaries of Lathimotta Karamanayar, Attayar and Kuttiyar. If you turn left from there, it is only 6 km to Agasthyar Koodam. If you walk straight, you can reach Athirumala Rest House.
To the resting place All travelers to Agasthyarkoodam are required to stay overnight and climb Agasthyarkoodam hill only the next morning. This is because it takes about 2 hours to reach here and then the journey to Agasthya Hill becomes difficult. Moreover, after a while, it will become a wildlife sanctuary. So after the accidents, the forest imposed strict control so that the journey could start only the next day after staying in the tent that day. There is a small forest office in front of the rest house where you have to go and report. This is to make sure everyone arrives safely. After reporting there, they will give us a mat to sleep on. Give it as a mat for two people. The buildings are made of stone and roofing sheets. Accommodation for climbers. There is a special facility for women. If you want to see the beauty of Agasthyakoodam, you have to go to the grassland at its base. Grassy but densely wooded on one side and wide hills including Agasthyakoodam on the other. While Agasthyarkoodam stands tall like an elephant’s head on a large black rock, the hills on either side of it are densely wooded. A small stream flows through the valley. He takes a bath in the evenings. After bathing, the gentle breeze that accompanies the darkness on the floor at first leads to excitement and gradually to the heights of cold. A cup of hot porridge to cure it. Let’s sleep now. As the cold is familiar to everyone, we sleep comfortably curled up on the lawn provided by the guides. The mobile phone was never disturbed as there was no range. Not until then, until the descent.
The second day
Another climb, along with the elephant scare and the second leg of the trek through the dense jungle. The coolness of the morning and the serenity of the forest will be a new awakening on the journey but this path is a little more difficult. Winding and winding road. Lots of rocks on the way to make the journey difficult. The difficulty of not knowing the way to overcome them. In the meanwhile, there were lot of Elephant poops. This journey becomes even more terrifying when you climb Eattakkad. To move forward, you have to clear the trees that are facing the road. The elephant loves Eeta very much. Fear of the elephant hiding somewhere will affect passers-by. Unfamiliar trees and flowers can be seen in this area. Its beauty is something else.
So the ascent is about to reach a plain area. Walk up the hill for another 100 meters. On one side of the coca at a depth of about 500 feet. On the other side is Mount Agasthyaar, which stands high at the head. A plain where clear water flows. The surface is rock. This is where the Karamanayar originates. From here, you can see the peak of Agasthyamalai and then travel a lot. Slowly climb up through the rock. The view from the other side is also beautiful. The surrounding hills and mountains are covered with lush greenery. After Pongalappara, it is difficult to get water. In some places, water may be flowing along the rock. If you are a bear below Pongalappara, you can see a lot of wild buffalo in the meadow on the left. Growing up more adventurous, I continued to walk again from there without stopping to be a toy for the buffaloes.
Thus crossing the forest and the mountains, Agasthyamala reaches its final stage of ascent. Now the real adventure begins. Looking up, it is a steep rock with only a slight slope. Climb up by grabbing it with your hands and feet. You have to be very careful to climb this mountain. A rope is tied with a rope to hold it in place if you climb a little higher. Further climbs are tough. Steep slopes. There are ropes down in many places to climb it. There is good lubrication in many places. Those who climb the mountain with ease in a way that makes it all seem so easy, while climbing the rope with difficulty. They did not need any ropes.
A base full of cacti and small plants in bloom as it somehow climbed to the top. The snow stuck to her hair and body. The cloud touched the cloud and climbed up the rock. On the summit of Agasthyarkoodam. I never thought I could touch the cloud with my hands. I asked myself if this was realistic. Eventually I reached the peak of that birth style. All of this is miraculously a complete statue of Augustus in one corner of the basket. The fog that fades after being made invisible to each other in the blink of an eye and the sight of infinite visions are unforgettable experiences. Agastya Muni has been banned from lighting poojas and lamps for the last two years by a court order. So the fence is made of rope so that no one can enter it. The Papara Dam looks like a wonder to us, as it stretches across the clouds in the distance. Saptarshi Hill is located close to the Agasthyamalai Hills. Spatarshimala has a specialty. It is always cold and windy. The dazzling scenery will captivate us on Agasthyamalai, but after a while, it is wise to climb the mountain. If you want to reach Bonakad before dark, you have to reach Athalirumala at least at 1 pm. Those who return will carry a stick in their hand. The descent is easier than the ascent, but every step must be taken with care. That’s all we do. Because when we return, that deep pit is right in front of our eyes. After reaching Athirumala, you have to have lunch and go back up the hill. After resting for some time, we set off for Bonakad on the same day. Traveling that day is very rare, as you can only walk 19 km to reach the bottom. So, capturing the beauty of the Agasthyaar mountain, he went back down the hill, crossed the rock, the seven folds, the meadows and the Attayar and reached Lathimotta around 5 pm. As time goes on, the mountains and trees are covered in darkness. Suddenly I saw 3 forest guards running. They said that there was a wild buffalo in between and therefore should not travel alone anymore. So after the others arrived, the journey continued as per the instructions of the Forest Guard. By then, time was running out. It was already 8 o’clock when I reached Bonakad. The bike ran towards the seat. By then, darkness was spreading everywhere. Eventually, I returned with a lot of memories in my mind. If those who have gone once are asked once again whether Agasthyaar is in the fold, the answer is no. Because this journey is one of the few moments where nature and man can come together.