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Tri-Trek Solo Expedition - Kerala

Region : Brahmagiri Hills, Thirunelly, Wayanad Dist. Kerala
Height : 1740 mtrs / 5705 ft
Trek Date : 11th Dec'07


This was my second trek, in my Tri-trek solo expedition. I had heard a lot about Pakshipatalam from my uncle who had been there many years back when he was serving with the British constabulary. It fascinated me since, therefore I decided that this time I must go there.

About Pakshipathalam : Pakshipathalam,1740m above sea level in the Brahmagiri Thirunelly Temple with Karimala in the Backgroundhills at Thirunelli, is a challenging tourist spot for any adventure seeking tourist. Thirunelli is famous for its Lord Vishnu temple. To reach Pakshipathalam sixteen kilometres (to-n-fro) has to be covered through wild forest. The deep rock caves, formed among the thick blocks of rocks at the northern top end of the Brahmagiri, are the abode of various birds and wild beasts.

After my Dhoni Hills trek (10th Dec) I rushed back from Malampuzha to Pallakad town and took the 4pm KSRTC bus to Calicut (Kozhikode). Reached there around 8pm, traveling a distance of 127km. Immediately took the 9pm Kalpetta bus and reached there around 11pm. The weather was quite chill when I reached there. I checked in, and notified Pavitram (my guide for the treks in Wayanad) and we fixed the PAKSHIPATHALAM Trek for the next day. Call time 6am.

Early next day, Pavithram picked me up and we travelled (by Jeep) to Thirunelly (65kms) via Mananthavady. We took a detour avoiding Mananthavady and reached the Thirunelly forest office at 8am. After completing the trek formalities with the DFO's office, we were assigned a forest guard for the trek. (it is not permissible nor advisable to trek in the forest without a guard in Kerala). Rajan, the forest guard brought a big hatchet alongwith him and we started our trek at around 9am.

From behind the Thirunelly temple a narrow path leads to the spot on the Pappanasini Pappanasini Riverriver where last rites are conducted. We crossed the narrow rivulet here and entered the forest, We climbed thru the steep forest straight up (avoiding the normal path). After about 50mins weForest Watch Tower reached the top of the Karimala hill where a forest tower is built. This is a huge tower built in 1995 and gives a clear vantage view of the mountains and forests around. We had our breakfast here (bananas, appams & curry), spending about ½ hour here discussing and gaining information about the Brahmagiri forests and animals that lived in it. We were quite amazed to know that several species of animals & reptiles prevailed in this forest, right from the Tiger, panther, leopard, wolf, hyena, bear, to some of the most poisonous snakes including the much feared King Cobra. After hearing a couple of stories of how several King Cobras were caught in nearby human settlements and releasing them in the forest, we were very perturbed to encounter one during the trek. (temple to Forest Watchtower – 3.4kms).

The trek to Pakshipathalam is quite unique as it lies in the Brahmagiri hills on the border Brahmagiri Peak & Shola Grasslandsof Kerala & Karnataka. Pakshipatalam & Brahmagiri Peak both lie in the Brahmagiri hills range. Part of the hills in Kerala lies in the Begur range of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the Karnataka part is in the Srimangala range. On the Karnataka side Pakshipathalam is alsoBorder Demarkation known by the name of Munekal caves. We trek through the Kerala border, cross into Karnataka border for about 2kms and then cross back into the Kerala border. For miles together there are no border posts but there are regular border patrolling teams from both states. One can clearly see 2 lines (clear path) running parallel to each other all over the grassland area & hillocks clearly demarcating the border.

From the Watchtower, we had to reach Garudapara our destination (4.6kms). We descended the tower, took a path going to the right and crossed the Karimala hill into the small forest. There is a lovely small waterfall in the forest. We did not waste time there as we had to cover a huge distance in forest terrain. At many places we could see no clear path / route but the forest guard was well versed with the route and after walking continuously, crossing 4-5 dense forest patches and several shola grasslands we reached Garudapara at around 12.30pm.

is a huge rock (about 30ft high) on the edge of the hill there. We carefully climbed the rock and took a ½ hr snooze on top of it, though it was a bit irritating with the noon sun directly hitting on our faces, but the cool winds blowing across region saved the day.

We descended Garudapara, took a small path near an adjacent rock and then Caves belowstraightaway started descending amidst the rocks. There were huge Rocks / Boulders all around, various sizes, but definitely very big ones. They were all above one another as if someone mightCaves below have collected them and randomly placed them one above the other. Our Journey was to get through the rocks and reach deep down below. The guard took us through several crevices, jumping from one rock to another reaching way below where it was so dark (no chance of sunlight reaching there). Most of the dark spots, deep below are a Bird nest deep in the caves belowhaven for birds and reptiles. We found many bird nests around but luckily did not encounter a reptile there. After checking on most of the caves, we settled in a much brighter area with a small water source for our lunch (packed lunch) at round 3pm.

Thirunelly Temple

After about 45mins we started our journey back. Enroute Pavithram and myself, we had a refreshing bath at the waterfall. We reached Thirunelly Temple back at around 5.15pm covering a distance of about 16kms (to-n-fro). After taking the evening darshan at 5.30pm, we left Thirunelly and reached Kalpetta at around 8pm.

Thus ended the wonderful trek to Pakshipathalam…Had a quick dinner and settled down for the night early as had another amazing and awesome overnight trek to Chembra slated for the next day.

For pictures of the trek follow this link : Pakshipathalam Trek Pics
Alternatively you may visit the photos section to reach Pakshipathalam trek photos

Dinesh Nair
'Lone Dravidian' Keeps Trekking...

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