“Shivagange is a hill top which is about 1400 m above sea level. Clean air, good roads and beautiful rural scenery. The steps are carved out of the rocks to make the climb easy. There are metal railings along the steps to prevent a fall (should you feel the need to!). The 360 degree view of the landscape is breathtaking!“
Thus read the call for a trek to Shivagange in BTC (Bangalore Trekking Club).
On a chilly morning, we found ourselves awaiting the train to Dabaspet in the company of a dozen other enthusiastic people at the Majestic Railway station. The train picked us up at 7:45AM and deposited us in the quiet town of Dabaspet in a little over an hour. From there, we took an auto to the base of Shivagange Hill.
As any other mountain with a temple attached, Shivagange is also infested with monkeys and it is advised to keep the edibles inside the backpack you are carrying. Few moments after I entered the temple that leads up to the mountain, I felt a heavy load hitting my back pack. Instinctively I turned and threw my hands at whatever that was clutching the bag. Unknown to me there was a bottle of Maaza kept on the outer pockets of my backpack. My hands landed on the monkey’s face who was trying to snatch that bottle. He let go immediately and jumped to the ground. I was facing the monkey and waited for him to make the next move. But he kept staring at me. I think he was as shocked as I was by the turn of events. I kept the bottle inside the bag and continued on my way.
For most of the trek, the vegetation is just shrubs and the sun was hitting on us hard. Refreshments are offered on the way up by local vendors. You have to be faster than the monkeys to gulp them down the throat.
KSRTC buses start from Thodupuzha at 7:15AM and 11:40AM from private stand. Take ticket to Uppukunnu Church. The bus journey uphill is eventful – mostly because of the struggle the driver has to do to get the gigantic vehicle up the hill.
Once you get down at the stop, ask for the way to the temple and people will help you out. This is the part where I feel about not having a GPS device with me. Because I am sure even if I go there again, I will loose my way in the forest. And that is one more danger added to the constant leech infested place up the hill and down the hill.
Get a guide.
Get leech protection (salt / mosquito repellents will do)
Get good chappal with firm grip.
Since we had none, we endured on the walk. I must say, this is the first trek I have been where all through out the way I was covered by foliage. Tall trees line the less trodden mountain path that leads up to the temple. Needless to say it is scary, slippery and exciting.
Initial part is easy. But later the path becomes narrow, steep and slippery with cliff on one side. Exciting!
Stat walking from Uppukunnu. Reach the temple. Walk to Chelad. Then to Malayinchi. Then board bus to Thodupuzha.
This time we carried along nothing except an umbrella. No bag. No camera. No food. No water. Just us – two souls on an unending quest for restlessness.
Thodupuzha -> Thattakkuzha -> Cheppukulam
After an hour of journey from thodupuzha, we reached Cheppukulam. To start the trek to Irukallummudi, walk past the CSI church after the last bus stop.
Make sure you have some one with you who knows the way. Because the place is so thinly populated that you can walk hours and find no human being. the safe route is towards the left see of the church. But if you are adventurous, take the road to the right of the church.
Once you reach the top road, the view that awaits you is stunning. One side you a view encompassing poomala, kalayanthaani, keezharkuthu. The other side has the stunning view of muttom dam reservoir and ilaveezha poonchira among many other nameless peaks.
It came as a shocker to me! There is no “poonchira” now. Local people say that now the poonchira is lost to plantation. Even most of the people who live there don’t know if there ever was a poonchira. We always confuse the Police Wireless Station on top of the mountain to be the famed spot.
So this is a tour report of our hike to the Wireless station on top.
There exist two routes to reach the peak. One starts from Kanjar and the other from Kanjiramkavala. We chose the route that starts from Kanjiramkavala as it provided an opportunity to hike. The route we took is like this:
Meenuliyanpara is mountain peak from where we can see Cochin Port and parts of Trichur district.An enchanting atmosphere and natural beauty, this mountain offers a short trek that is enjoyable in any weather.
Route to Meenuliyanpara
Kerala -> Idukki -> Thodupuzha -> Vannappuram -> Pattayakkudi
Note: From Vannappuram, KSRTC bus is available. First service is at 08:15AM from Vannappuram. Be sure to get the first bus itself because there are only 4 services a day and one bus for all those services. Plus there are no replacement bus in case it breaks down.
Recently ( to be exact – last week ) I made a solo trip to Thommankuthu ( Wiki ). One fine sunday afternoon, I gunned my activa to life and hit the road towards Thommankuthu.
Thommankuthu is about 20kms from Thodupuzha. From Thodupuzha, take the road that goes to Karimannoor. In the karimannor juntion, you will have to take a left turn towards Thommankuthu. There is a small board that gives the direction which is very easy to miss. So makes sure you take the turn.