It has emerged as a favourite destination of adventure tourists taking up trekking during the rainy season
Chembra Peak in Wayanad district is emerging as a favourite destination of adventure tourists for monsoon trekking.
The peak stands 2,100 m above sea level and it will take a one-hour trek to reach its pinnacle. Forest Range Officer B. Ranjith said the inflow of monsoon tourists, especially foreigners, had increased considerably in the past two years after a ban was imposed on trekking on the Ambukuthy hills at Ambalavayal, the site of the Edakkal caves famous for its prehistoric rock engravings. Hundreds were reaching the Chembra peak for monsoon trekking every month, he added.
A 20-minute drive from Meppadi through the lush greenery of tea estates will lead the travellers to a three-storeyed forest watch-tower built on the foothills of the peak.
From here, it is a three-km trek to the top.
A heart-shaped perennial lake, nearly 1,100 m above sea-level, is a major attraction of the peak where drinking water is available from the nearby springs throughout the year. It is believed that British planters met here to play golf on the banks of the lake in the pre-Independence era. The planters laid out a golf course and built a rest house and a stable.
The relics of the rest house and the road they used to ride their horse-carts are visible even now.
From the peak, one can see the picturesque virgin Shola forests in all their beauty below.
The mist-covered hills of the Nilgiri mountain ranges, the small towns and villages, and the forests in Malappuram and Wayanad, all appeal to the senses and satiate the thirst for adventure.
One has to obtain permission from the Vana Samrakshana Samiti (VSS) office at Erumakkolly near Meppadi for trekking.
The Samiti charges Rs.500 for a group of 10 tourists.
The fee includes charges for services of a guide. Camping facility with food is also provided by the VSS with prior permission from the Department of Forests at the watch-tower at a cost of Rs.3,500 for a group of three per day.
The department has spent a sum of Rs.4.8 lakh for activities such as landscaping, construction of a hut, solar power supply, purchase of camping equipment, and renovation of the toilet block at the watch-tower, Mr. Ranjith said.
“Though the Tourism Department had sanctioned a project in 2008 for the comprehensive development of the destination at a cost of Rs.30 lakh, it could not be implemented as the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, will not permit us to carry out any development activities inside a forest,” he added.