I am not going to say about a place this time. This is about an experience once has to underto atleast once. A trek in the forest. Well, atleast I have been waiting for such chance and I have got one when we had gone on a trek through Chinnar forest between Munnar and Kodaikanal, spreading across two neighbouring states of Kerla and Tamilnadu.
Actually I've visited Kodaikanal twice and Munnar once few years ago. Travel between these two stations puts up a distance of 225 km through a non-forest range. They said in 1928 a British General by name Moir has laid a road through forest from Kodaikanal to Munnar of distance 54 miles. This road was in use until 10 years back by forest department guys. We have taken up this road for trek. Reaching Munnar from Bangalore took us about a day with a break in Coimbatore. I am not going to say general information about Munnar except that it is the most beautiful place and no other hill station in South India can beat it. For further information about Munnar see http://www.munnar.com.
On Day 3 our plan was to camp in Munnar. Two of us went in search of a place for camping. We want the place to be a bit isolated from civilization but safe from elephants attacks. We have finally chosen a place called Top Station in TamilNadu, 34 km from Munnar. Well this place is named so as there was a railway station here for transporting tea from Munnar. There are central and bottom stations too. Tea was being transported from here to central station through a ropeway which was in use until 1980. The road to this place is the highest motorable road in South India. This was owned by Kannan Devan and it was later bought over by the Tata's. We managed to get permission for camping. We have stayed there for a night in our tents. The night went off with Camp fire, cooking, singing etc.
Day 4 we have started trekking to a place named Bandar, a wireless station in Kerla inside Chinnar forest. This place is 11 km from Top Station and is located after three hills. We have taken permission from the forest police of TamilNadu. The forest has Leopard, Black Panther, King Cobra, Giant Malabar Squirrel and above all this is the corridor for elephants between Periyar and Nagarghole forests which is the reason for this place having highest elephant density in India. We have spotted Lagoor Monkeys and the Giant Malabar Squirrel (and nothing else). We have taken rest at many places and found it hard moving fast as we had problems with leaches sticking to our legs. Powdered salt is poison for leaches. We have managed to take them off with twigs. We were also carrying heavy loads of food sufficient for three days, a small gas cyliner, stove, tents and stuff. It was afternoon when we reached the wireless station, Bandar. The name is so because each wireless station inside the forest is named after an animal. After an hour's rest we have walked to a watch tower, a kilometer away from wireless station. This is exactly located at the TamilNadu/ Kerla border. We found it to be standing at about 70 ft tall and we have spent an hour tried to locate the path we have to take the next day to reach Berijam, a lake located at 25 km from Kodaikanal. We stayed in the wireless station that night.
Day 5 started with tension as it was pouring slightly until 11:00am in the morning. We have taken off at 8:00am and started our trek towards Kodaikanal. This forest is much more dense that what we walked throught the previous day. We listened to elephant roars many times. The formula in case of danger is - always run faster than the slowest person. We went across steep roads, water streams, grass areas, bridges and pine forests. We have spotted different kind of plants, flowers, mushrooms etc. There were many diversions en route and we happened to take a wrong one at some place so finally reached a village, which is 42 km from Kodaikanal. The village is so beautiful with 5 or 6 houses and a big waterfall adjacent to them. The village is 21 km from the top station. It was almost evening and we judged that we cannot take the route back and reach Kodai the same day and decided to stop the trek. So we have searched for a road from where we can reach the destinateion, took a van to reach Kodai the same evening around 6:30pm. Thatz the end our trek. We spent the night washing the mud off our legs with boils on them, some first-aid and had a wonderful dinner and comfortable sleep after 4 days.
Days 6 and 7 - Local Kodai sight seeing. It is a great place, although has become partly commercial. The place has a lake as any other hill station, some water falls - few of them good ones, some suicide points, some valley views - one of them is 'topi thakki paar' which means 'throw the cap and see' in Tamil. The wind direction in this point of the valley named 'silent valley' is such that whichever hollow object is thrown from the edge of the valley, it is thrown back to the same place - an interesting spot, we have tried it and it worked out, absolutely. Other interesting places are Kurunji Andavar Temple, named after the name of a flower called Kurunji, which comes once in every 12 years. Next blossom is in 2004. One can view Palani, a pilgrim place dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, with naked eye from this place. Coaker's walk is another place where from we can view the Vaigai dam. We have hired the bicyles to explore Kodai. Visited Berijam lake where we were supposed to end our trek. Kodai sells good Eucalyptus oil, dry fruits and spices. We have started back to Bangalore at the end of Day 7.
Courtesy : Uday Kiran M