Kerala Travel

Meesapulimala peak of the Western Ghats, Kerala: blooming treat

Despite being steep, the trek up to Meesapulimala peak through rhododendron-covered valleys is worth every gasp and groan

With cyclone Ockhi casting a shadow over our plans to trek up the second highest peak in the Western Ghats, Meesapulimala peak, we made our way up the winding roads to Munnar in Kerala. Between two wet spells, we covered a distance of almost 16 kilometres. It was a long and strenuous day on foot, but worth every bit.

Even on the drive to Munnar, we saw numerous waterfalls along the way, thanks to the recent rains. It was tough not to hop out at every waterfall and take pictures.

After a few checkposts past Munnar, we parked our cars and trekked up a hill to reach our base camp: Silent Valley camp (not to be confused with the Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad district).

Spectacular views on the trek to Meesapulimala

Spectacular views on the trek to Meesapulimala  

The temperature dropped with the setting sun and cups of tea and a bonfire kept us warm. Friendly chatter and snippets of information from our guides made the evening interesting.

On a clear Sunday morning, we set out after breakfast. The initial part of the climb to Meesapulimala was steep, but the refreshing crisp morning air and the breathtaking views were a great distraction. We made it to the RhodoMansion camp quite easily. We crossed the picturesque Rhodo Valley dotted with rhododendron trees and criss-crossed by gushing streams. The Nilgiri rhododendron that is endemic to the Western Ghats, with its thick leathery leaves, looked gorgeous among wild grass, pine trees and fern fronds.

From the RhodoMansion camp, we started the second part of our ascent. The terrain changed soon after into high-altitude grasslands with colourful wildflowers. We were treated to a sighting of a herd of Nilgiri tahr. The shy animals quickly made their way down the steep valley as we inched closer. Numerous leopard scats along our path implied a healthy population of the predator in this region.

fact File
  • Meesapulimala peak, at an altitude of 2,640 metres, is the second highest peak in the Western Ghats. Anamudi peak is the highest.
  • The trek from the Silent Valley base camp to Meesapulimala and back covers a distance of 16 kilometres, involving a total elevation gain of around 1,000 metres.
  • The Silent Valley base camp is at an altitude of 2,000 metres.
  • If you are lucky, you can spot Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, Sambar deer, leopards and elephants.
  • For details, contact canopynatureacademy@gmail.com or call 9003099166.

We climbed a few more hills before we made it to the top of Meesapulimala peak for some spectacular views. We stretched out on the windy peak and took in the views as the clouds continued to dance around us. A couple of Nilgiri langurs put on a show on the treetops of a nearby Shola, as we munched on our hard-earned lunch.

Soon, it was time to make our descent, and head back to the base camp. Our guide took us down a different route, and we were treated to spectacular displays by the clouds along the way. The mountain ridge seemed to contain clouds on one side and appeared like a reservoir brimming over with soft and fluffy white clouds.

Wildflowers on the trek to Meesapulimala peak

Wildflowers on the trek to Meesapulimala peak  

It is hard to believe that this place could look even more beautiful. But in a few weeks, the rhododendron trees will be in full bloom. As though this spectacular show by Nature once a year is not sufficient, the Kurinji flower, which blooms once in 12 years, is expected to be in full bloom by June 2018. There has never been a better time to make the trek up to Meesapulimala peak.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 7:50:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/meesapulimala-peak-western-ghats-kerala-a-blooming-treat/article21626807.ece

Next Story