The Western Ghats are a magnificent range of hills, rising up from India's Malabar Coast, offering finest trekking reaching up to 2675mts, through the magnificent grasslands, meadows with wild flowers, mixed forest of Rhododendrons, eucalyptus, pine, shoal, cotton and the splendid tea gardens. The trek offers superb views and wildlife including wild elephants, Nilgiri Tahr and finest bird watching any where in South India. The programs also offer boat ride in famous Kerala backwaters and visit to the extraordinary Meenakshi Temple at Mudurai, the expeditions ends with a lovely beach stay for one night in Kovalam.
Overall the trek is moderate with some steep ascends and descents on well marked horse tracks used by British officers, the trek offers fine views and wildlife sighting and camping place are good with commanding views of the surrounding mountains and small villages.
Route: Kochi - Munnar - Silent valley - Rhodo valley - Yellapatty -Korangani -Kolukkumalai - Mudarai - Kovalam - Travindrum.
DURATION : 11 days (including 5days trekking).
Day 1 : Arrive Kochi ( Cochin KERALA)
Best time : November to Mid March
Highest altitude : 2670mts.
Highest campsite : 2150mts
Focus : Rolling Grass lands, Fine views, Tribal Villages, Tea Gardens, Temples, culture, Rich Flora and Fauna, Golden sand beach.
Assistance on arrival and transfer to the Pre-booked hotel in Kochi, morning free, after lunch time for briefing/ money change. Evening walking tour of Fort Kochi, with Jewish Synagogue (closed on Friday /Saturday & Jewish holidays) & splendid sunset over the Chinese fishing nets and then we proceed for the Kathakali dance performance followed by dinner in Local restaurant after dinner transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 2 : Kochi
Morning visit home school of famous cooking expert (NIMMY PAUL) for a South Indian local cuisine preparation & later have lunch and interaction with her at same place (Note : this cooking demonstration has to be booked well in advance AND IS OPTIONAL)
Late afternoon we proceed for two hours boat cruise through back waters. O/n Hotel.
Day 3 : Kochi- Munnar (Drive about 5/6hrs)/ 1400mts.
After an early breakfast we drive to Munnar, the drive initially passes through the city/ small towns and villages and then through the foothills of dense forest and winding roads. We enjoy our drive through the beautiful tea gardens to our hotel. Evening time free or visit to the local market, which has nice temple and a church. Early dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 4 : Munnar- Silent valley (1600mts/ 25kms drive)- Trek to Rodho valley 5/6hrs (2150mts).
After an early breakfast we drive through the tea gardens and mixed forest to silent valley about 1 ½ hrs drive to Silent valley, with a small meadow, village and school, after a great cup of black tea we set off for our trek through the tea gardens where you will see people picking tea, after about 30min walk we come to a wide path where we turn right and follow the tea gardens on one side and the forest on the other, we pass through the small forest rest house, nice place for refreshment break, also has few toilets, we then trek on will defined path through the mixed forest, today's trek is a gradual ascend until we reach a small ridge from here we take about 20mins gradual descend to the waterfall, a perfect place for lunch. After lunch we trek on a narrow path for about 45min to our camp, which offers fine views of the surroundings hills, the campsite is surrounded by Rhododendron bushes and trees (best in February). Dinner and overnight in Tents.
Day 5 : Rodho valley - Meesapuli Peak- Yellapatty valley, 8/9hrs (2050mts).
Today is the longest and challenging day trek, we begin very early from our camp on a well marked path for about 20 min and then turn left through the rolling grass land and the steep climb for about 100mts to the meadow with several types of grass and flowers, great chances of sighting Elephants and the Nilgiri Thar. We continue with steep descend through the grass land and then steep ascent to the 2nd highest peak in South India- Messapuli (2675mts), the views are splendid on one side of Kerala and the distant hills on the other side of Tamil Nadu. After having lunch just below the park we begin out trek on a well marked path used by villagers and forest department, we make a long and tiring descent through the grass land, mixed forest and through the tea gardens to our camp offering commanding views of Tamilnadu, and our next days trek in the valley floor. Dinner and overnight camp.
Day 6 : Yellapatty valley - Korangani 6/7hrs (850mts).
After breakfast we start ascending about 30mts and then we make almost a level walk through the mixed forest and then 60/70mts steep descend to the tea plantation and we then start a gradual ascend and then descend on a well marked horse track used by British officers during the time of Raj, we also pass through two beautiful small tribal villages and through the deciduous forest. The terrain is highly undulating with a big drop in altitude; we have lunch just out side the village and then make a long descend through tea garden and mixed forest to the village of Korangani. The village has few small tea shops, a temple dedicated to the local deity and the place is birds and butterfly heaven, the area supports almost more then 100 species of bird species, endemics birds are Black and Orange flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, Nilgiri wood pigeon, white bellied short wing, Nilgiri verditer flycatcher, Kerala laughing trush and many more.
Our camp is set in terraced cotton plantation, with a small house. Overnight camp and dinner. (Temperature hear will be warmer then other camps).
Day 7 : Korangani- Kolukkumalai 7/8hrs, 2129mts.
Early start again to avoid the heat in the day, we cross the bridge over a small stream to the temple and then turn right though the tribal village and then make a steep climb for about 150mts to a well marked path with a long ascend. All the way to the camp, initially through the tea garden and then thick forest cover for about 2hrs and then grassland, giving way to the tea gardens, today's trek supports a great birdlife. We lunch in grass land and then continue our ascend to the village and from Village we make a steep ascent for about 100mst to our finest camping sport offering magnificent views of the days trek and the surrounding mountains. Camp fire and singing by staff to celebrate last night camping. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Day 8 : Koulukkumalai- Suryanelly 3/4hrs trek, (1400mts).- Madurai.
After breakfast we trek down about 100mts through the highest tea growing estate in the work, to see the process of tea in the factory and people can buy the finest quality tea in this area. After a lovely cup of tea, we trek back towards the camp, pass our campsite on right and then make a level walk for almost 20mts to a ridge offering panoramic views of the villages and the surrounding mountains, there is a small church on the ridge, we keep right and then descend on a jeep-able track through the tea gardens with fine distant views of the mountain to a small village which has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and a nice school. After visit of temple and the school we continue through the rolling tea gardens to Suryanelly, where our coach will be waiting us to drive to Mudarai. After Lunch and good-bye to the trekking crew, we board the coach and drive about 5hrs to Madurai. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 9 : Madurai sightseeing and train to Travindrum.
After breakfast we visit City of Festivals, one of the great medieval temple-cities that are a unique feature of the South. We make our first visit to the huge temple dedicated to the Mother Goddess, known in this area as Meenakshi, and her fascinating cult goes back to the very beginnings of history. The temple is famous for its cavernous interiors, fine sculptures and extraordinary atmosphere. After lunch we transfer to railway station for 1545hrs train to Travindrum, arriving at 23.10hrs, traveling in 2nd class air-con sleeper, experience of lifetime! Arrive and transfer to the beachside hotel in Kovalam for two nights stay.
Day 10 : Trivandrum (Day free).
A day free lazing on the golden sandy beach Indian ocean & Arabian sea, followed by a dinner in the evening. Overnight in hotel.
Day 11 : Departure transfer.
Early morning transfer to Trivandrum int'l airport to board flight to your onward destination.