Best Place to Take a Trek in Munnar: Meesapulimala
by ZOJY S N
Have you ever experienced the taste of fresh dew drops kissing your lips while you are still lost in flavors of the landscape surrounding you, far beyond the horizons? This is exactly how a trip to ‘Meesapulimala, Munnar’ feels like when December is at its infancy.
Meesapulimala is the second highest peak in the Western Ghats, which is situated nearly 2600 meters above sea level. This is one of the most explored peaks in South India. Situated in Munnar, it is one of the most beautiful places which is blessed with lush greenery.
It is heaven in the earth for explorers who are addicted to trekking. The landscape of Munnar is so wonderfully preserved that even railroads are restricted from constructing. One can imagine the diversity of wildlife and flora which exist in these valleys as soon as they enter the territories of Munnar.
Booking a Trip
To ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the stunning scenery these valleys imbibed in itself, you will be accompanied by a certified guide throughout your journey. It’s mandatory for an individual to prebook and confirm their spot among the trekking team via the KFDC website, which is managed by the tourism department. After reaching the KFDC office (which is 2 km from Munnar), you will be directed towards the basecamp, which is 23 km from the office.
You can choose the type of accommodation you prefer. Even with the cheapest package, you will be able to experience a night stay in tents below the foothills and a campfire. It’s so amazing how every explorer becomes such great companions around the campfire.
Food and Accommodation
Once you reach the base camp, you will be greeted with snacks and beverage by the tourism authorities. Food is included in the package. On the day of travel, you will be provided with enough packed food and water. You won’t be allowed to leave any plastic wastes in the way of your trip. There is abundant fresh water available during the journey from streams.
This is a seasonal flower which blooms once in every 12 years. The valley and hills will be carpeted with marvelous blue flowers. This phenomenon is nothing less than the magic of nature. There are also other varieties of rhododendron flowers which bloom once in centuries. Last time the valley was painted with blazing blue shades of neelakkurinji blossoms was in 2018.
The roads which surround the peak are decorated with disciplined step farms of tea plantations. There is a comparatively less explored place near Meesapulimala called ‘Mankulam.’
A journey through the roads of Mankulam will help you discover the heart of village culture and sheer exquisiteness of the art of cultivation. Watch the setting sun hiding between crystal dew droplets hanging on the edge of tender tea leaves. If you are lucky, you can find orange trees filled with golden brown oranges, which is as beautiful as bottled sunsets growing in branches.
There is a myriad of spectacular destinations near Meeshapulimala for you to explore. It includes Idukki wildlife sanctuary, Arch dam, Mankulam, Thommankuthu waterfalls, etc. The name ‘Meesapulimala’ derives from the hill of mustache/whiskers. It is because Meesapulimala is formed of a group of eight peaks which spreads like a mustache. Another peak adjoining Meesapulimala is called Kolukkumala, which is another tourist attraction.
You will be able to feel the beautiful traditions and culture from skilled craftsmen and artists. Utensils made from bamboos, herbal balsams, and medicines which are homemade are the specialties you will find on Munnar. You also will be able to pick from a variety of first quality tea powders. One thing you can not afford to miss is the freshly prepared homemade chocolates. They come in different flavors and colors.
From the basecamp, the explorers will be grouped into teams of two. One guide will accompany each team. Breakfast will be provided from the base before the start of the trip. One bottle of water and lunch will also be supplied. The trekking will start approximately at 8 am. The journey to uphill is challenging and equally inspiring. In between, we are allowed to pause and catch a breath to bear the breathtaking views waiting on the other side.
The guide will provide you with a small packet of salt to apply over leeches if you find yourself bitten by one. We start by exploring that side of the peak from where the whole valley can be seen. At some points, you will feel that you are staring at a splendid painting, featuring all the colors of nature.
The beauty of this expedition is that no matter how exhausted you feel, you can’t stop wanting for more. Such spirit will fill up your soul which will make you climb even the steepest ascents with ease! There are eight hills which you will bring under your feet throughout the expedition; one better than the other. On the way, you will find footprints of different animals. It is a paradise for anyone with an ambition for photography as well.
You will reach the top of the eighth hill approximately 1 pm. The whole world will shrink into a trailer once you stand on the top and breeze brushes against your face. There will be clouds drifting below your feet. The fog will embrace you like an angel. You will be able to get a 360-degree view of the location from where you stand. You will summon a million miracles of nature in your eyes.
The ascent is about 7-8 kilometers. The journey towards the foot of the hill is through another route. The latter is a bit lengthier but consumes considerably less time. Chirpy sounds of cricket fill the forests as you walk down. Streams keep murmuring in your ears till you pass them. The chills which tickle your bones will be weirdly satisfying.
You are expected to reach the basecamp by evening, most likely between 4 to 5 pm. Hot tea with snacks will be served before you bid farewell to the once in a lifetime experience. It’s truly a bliss to climb down the valley watching the setting sun. You are assured to return home with a box full of dark chocolates and a basket of memories.
Come, witness and relish.