Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Megamalai - Traveler's Treasure

Finally the time came to execute our Megamalai trip,  we were supposed to go there for our 2010 year end.  I was on a pilgrim trip from 24th with family, 28th i've reached trichy, said good bye to the family and waited for Arun, who is leaving from bangalore to trichy to join me for Megamalai trip (Megamalai is in Theni dristict, Tamilnadu). Meghamalai is 489 kms from Bangalore and 559 kms from Chennai. Nearest town to Meghamalai is Chinnamanur 25km away,  Chinnamanur is well connect by buses from Madurai, Chennai and Bangalore.  From Chinnamanur, Meghamalai can be reached via local buses which leave in the morning at 4:30AM, 6AM and 10AM.  I met Arun at around 9PM and we had dinner at our favorite place Sangeetha's and started to Megamalai, via Madurai.   Arun's native village is on the way to Meghamalai, we stayed at his uncle's guest house at chinnamanur.  Reaching meghamalai is very difficult since there are only few buses from Chinnamanur to Megamalai.  We decided to go by uncles's pulser bike from chinnamanur.

Everyone said it will take 90mins atleast to reach megamalai, we tought it is just 25km why they are saying it will take so much time, we realized the truth later only.  First 10km on the plain road was cool, then we climbed on the hills, roads are very narrow and was in bad condition but the views and climate faded all cons. We have to drive 18 hair pin bends to reach meghamalai, the interesting thing is each hair bend is named after flowers like Alli, Malli, Kurinji etc.,  never seen hair pin bends named any were. Need to take extra measures in case self driving to meghamalai from chinnamanur,  road are very bad, some sharp turns on ridges and not advised to drive in nights.

After nearly 90mins drive we have reached a small dam, Meghamalai is rich in Flora and Fauna, Most of the places are planted with tea, meghamalai includes 6 small dams and each dam is surrounded with tea estates, near by the first dam we saw few houses, one guest house and a tea shop.  Meghamalai is still an unexplored place by tourists so there is no hotels for food or stay,  we have booked the government guest house and arranged food from a local Mr. Murugan (Mobile: +91 9442781748), prices are also moderate.  Murugan runs a tea shop next to the government guest,  he can arrange any south indian good if informed before.   We got know Murugan's shop and the guest house is on the next dam called Thoovanam Dam,  Thoovanam dam is the source for suruli falls in cumbum valley. 

At around 12PM we have reached the government guest house near Thoovanam dam.  It was recently build and neatly maintained,  more over it is build in a very beautiful place surrounded by tea estates and thoovanam Dam.  We have confirmed our stay, food and started to walk around the shores of the dam and discussed why this place is not promoted?  What will happen if tourist started coming?  will we loose these beauty and peaceful atmosphere?

Meghamali is famous for wild elephants and some other wild animals,  Elephants and beauty of the estates inspired us to go there.  While reaching meghamalai we spotted only the tracks of elephants but we could not see any elephants,  we enquired the officer in the government office where we can find the elephants and do we need to take any local/guide with us? he asked us to go one estate in the early morning to find them, if someone else find the elephants i will inform you and no need of guide.  Generally they are not harmful until we disturb them.  Next day early morning we took the way suggested by the officer,  Meghamalai is so beautiful in the morning and with lush green estates and cloud touching peaks, amazing views.  We roamed around many estates still our luck didn't favored us, we have returned to guest house with sad faces.

Meghamalai is one of it's type,  mix of wildlife, tea estates around small dams and to add more it is not polluted yet.  Ideal for leisure walking, small hiking and elephant tracking. Meghamalai surrounded by lot of other beautiful destinations like Kurangani, kazhugumalai hiking,  Periyar tiger reserve and Thekkady.  We are planning to go to track elephants in meghamalai  again and to enjoy one more relishing weekend.