Hiking - Destination

Meesapulimala Trek: Trek to South India's Second Highest Peak

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Happiness is when you find a beautiful unexplored place to hike and build memories. The Meesapulimala Trek is that happiness, guaranteed. Meesapulimala is a small place in gods own country – Kerala and became famous around the year 2015. It was discovered by a few trekkers and they found it extremely strange that this beauty was not yet explored amongst so many other amazing treks in Munnar.

Meesapulimala now welcomes a lot of people from all walks of life! Be it bikers, trekkers, honeymooners or just people who want to relax on a weekend in Kerala and nearby places. This is an extremely enthralling trek and with so many twists and turns on the route, it does become an exciting affair for everyone who is trying to get to the top of this gigantic mountain!

Table of Content

  • A Quick Look at the Meesapulimala Trek
  • The Meesapulimala Trek:  A Journey into the Tiger's Lair
  • Best Time for the Meesapulimala Trek
  • How to Reach the Meesapulimala Trek Base Camp
  • Discover the Itinerary of Meesapulimala Trek
  • Food and Accommodation at Meesapulimala
  • Packing Checklist for the Meesapulimala Trek
  • Fitness prep for the Trek
  • Summing Up

Surrounded by beautiful hills, tea estates and a few water streams and waterfalls, the beauty of the Meesapulimala trek doesn’t diminish at any point. The path is well crafted and you will have a great time when you plan this one-day amazing trek with your favourite ones.

A Quick Look at the Meesapulimala Trek

meesapulimala trek quick look
Meesapulimala: On the Edge (Source)
  • Where it is Located: Kerala/Tamil Nadu
  • Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day (6-8 hours)
  • Max Altitude: 8,661 ft (approx. 2,640 m)
  • Total Trekking Distance: 8 to 15 km (depending on the trail you choose)
  • Trail Type: You will encounter lots of flowery paths and grasslands spread throughout the trek
  • Trekking Grade: Moderate - Strenuous
  • Distance from Bangalore: 480 km
  • Livingit Rank: Enthusiast - Advanced

The Meesapulimala Trek:  A Journey into the Tiger's Lair

meesapulimala trek information
The Pouncing Tiger (Source)

“Meesapulimala” is a Malayali name and consists of three separate words, “Messa” that means “Moustache”, “Puli” meaning “Tiger”, and “Mala” that translates to “Mountain”. The view of this mountain looks like a pouncing tiger and the entire range of eight peaks is spread out to look like a moustache. Hence this range is named ‘Meesapulimala’ by the locals.

The trek is full of views of more than hundreds blooming Rhododendrons, lush green tea estates, and gurgling brooks. Meesapulimala is on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and you pass through eight hills in this trek.

Did You Know?

This place was mentioned in a super hit Malayalam film ‘Charlie’ in which the hero says, “It is the place to visit before you die and the descent of mist enveloping the peak is a sight worth watching.”

Best Time for the Meesapulimala Trek

best season for meesapulimala trek
The Green Heaven (Source)

The trail for this trek, although beautiful, is steep in most parts, and the climb up the seventh hill is considerably difficult. So the seasons that fall between the months of September to May are the best for the Messapulimala trek.

This trail should be avoided in the monsoons because it gets very slippery and you will find a lot of dangerous insects, especially leech, on this trail.

Average Temperatures

  • Winter: 27 ° C to 32 ° C (day); 20 ° C to 25 ° C (night)
  • Summer: 33 ° C to 38 ° C (day); 23 ° C to 28 ° C (night)
  • Monsoon: 27 ° C to 32 ° C (day); 23 ° C to 28 ° C (night)

How to Reach the Meesapulimala Trek Starting Point

There are two trails to this trek, one long and one short.

If you choose the short trail you will have to reach the Rhodovalley (It gets its name because of the abundantly present Rhododendrons here). This is an 8 km stretch. If you choose the longer route which is 15 km stretch, then you need to reach Kurangani.

How to reach Rhodovalley

rohodovallet trail meesapulimala trek
The Road from the Valley of Red (Source)

Munnar is close to 480 km from Bangalore. You can take a bus or drive down to Munnar from Bangalore. You can also take a jeep or any other taxi service from the capital to reach here.

How to reach Kurangini

kurangini route to meesapulimala trek
Longer and More Beautiful (Source)

Kurangini can be reached via Theni in Tamil Nadu via bus. Theni is close to 430 km from Bangalore.

You can take buses or local transport to Bodi and then reach Theni as well. From there you can cover the distance between Theni and Kurangini via buses and local transport.

Discover the Itinerary of Meesapulimala Trek

From Rhodovalley

Distance: 8 km

Difficulty of the trek: Moderate - Strenuous

You will have to start this trek from a jeep track which will lead you to the base of the hill. After walking on this well-defined track for about ten minutes there will be a left turn that you need to take. The trail starts to get steep from here and this leads you to the peak of the first hill out of the eight. It may look like a short climb but as it is steep it will take about 30 minutes to complete this stretch.

If you are lucky, you will see the beautiful and rare Neelakurinji flowers here which bloom just once in 12 years. When you reach the top of this hill, to your left, you will see the Meesapulimala peak and straight ahead, you will see the towns of Suryanelli and Munnar.

meesapulimala trek via rohodovalley stream
An Easy Cross (Source)

Walk down this hill to reach a gushing stream that needs to be crossed. You will reach the next hill in 20 minutes from here. It is only the first hill which is a steep climb, all others are moderate climbs and easy to manoeuvre on. They are more or less of the same height. After that, the walk is straight and in a span of 20 - 30 minutes you will cross most of the hills in this trek.

Soon, you will reach the seventh hill. This is the steepest climb of the trek. You will take a while to climb this hill. Once you reach the top of this hill you will be able to see the peak of Meesapulimala more clearly and the shared view of the 2 states – Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

meesapulimala trek via silent valley
Via Heaven on Earth (Source)

You can also start this trek from a place called ‘Silent Valley’. This starts 6 km away from the Rhodovalley. This is a prettier stretch as you need to cross waterfalls, lush green grasslands and sky cottages. This path will lead you to Rhodovalley and then take you to the Meesapulimala peak.

Descent:

This is a steep descent. As soon as you start you will reach a dense forest area called as the ‘Shola’ forests. This stretch is close to a 45-minute walk. As you cross the forest region, you will be led to the beautiful tea estates of Kollukumalai. The beauty of this is that they are located at a height of 6,675 feet!

You can take a jeep ride to see the enormous and well-maintained tea estates in Suryanelli.

From Kurangini

Distance: 15 km

Difficulty of the Trek: Moderate

Kurangini is a small village and is the starting point of the trek. As you keep walking for a while you will start walking on a steep incline which is the first mountain of the trek. This is an exhausting climb and unfortunately, doesn’t have any water bodies available for 2 - 3 hours of walking here. You must carry your own water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. After 2 - 3 hours of walking here you will see a peak which has only one pine tree standing tall with nothing around, from here starts your zig-zag and curvy trek.

meesapulimala trek kurangini hairpin turns
All the Hairpins (Source)

Known for its extremely tricky route, this path will offer you 48 hairpin bends before you start to see the Kollukumalai Tea Estates. Though being strenuous, this path has the most amazing views one can ask for! As you walk more ahead you will enter the Shola forests.

Walk further into the forests and after almost 2 km you will reach the Kollukumalai Tea Estates. This can get a little tedious as the path is mostly covered with vegetation and you have to be careful when you walk. These are famous estates which were built during the British rule.

meesapulimala trek through shola forest
Through Shola Forest (Source)

When you reach the end of the plantations the trail becomes narrow and your ascend starts. You will again enter the Shola forests and the summit can be seen very closely from here. After that, there is a kilometre of steep climb till you reach your destination.

The Highlights of this Trek

meesapulimala trek kolukumalai tea
High on Tea (Source)
  • The Kolukumalai tea estate, the world’s highest tea estate, can be seen from the Meesapulimala trek trail.
  • The Meesapulimala peak is the second highest peak in the Western Ghats.
  • The View of the Greenery of both, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • You will come across the beautiful Anayaironkal Lake on this trek.

Food and Accommodation at Meesapulimala

meesapulimala trek accommodation
A Day Among Nature (Source)

All the 3 places – Silent Valley, Rhodovalley and Kollukumalai are very good places for accommodation. As the accommodation given here is very good, there are several places which serve good food that is hygienic and tasty. You can also carry your own snacks and food that you can eat whenever you wish to.

You must carry a lot of water with you because water source is available only once on one specific path.

Packing Checklist for Meesapulimala Trek

By rule, when you trek you only carry the things you require and nothing else. No extra baggage and no extra weight. But it is necessary to carry all the essentials, be it one-day trek or a ten-day trek. You don’t want to ruin your cooking plans because you have forgotten to pack a matchbox!

You need to make a checklist of essentials that you need to carry two days before your trek! This will help you take whatever is required and will also give you the time to add and subtract things. You need to keep light when you trek and as the trend of ultralight backpacking is picking up you might as well learn about it and have a happy trek going forward.

How much your bag should weigh

The Ultralight Backpacking technique is the best way to pack for any trip, especially one-day treks. Let go of the air spaces formed in the bag. Pack your backpack tightly and make it as compact as you can. Put in the large items first – Your clothes, jackets, trek pants etc. They take the most amount of air spaces. Where ever there is a gap, squeeze in the small items. This is the best way to pack when you trek.

Backpack Essentials

Here’s a list of backpack essentials for a 1-day trek:

  • Trekking Backpack
  • Trekking Shoes
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Trekking Pole (if needed)
  • A compass and a map of the area
  • Sleeping Mat / Mat
  • Food and Snacks
  • 2 one litre water bottles
  • Mug, Plate and Spork (Spoon + Fork)
  • Toiletries
  • Cap and Sunglasses
  • Ziplock pouches
  • Jacket or Sweater (depending on the climatic conditions)

Fitness Prep for the Trek

You need to have cardiovascular endurance and flexibility on point to complete this trek. Although it is only a 1-day trek, the distance and time taken to complete the trek makes it strenuous.

  • To build your cardiovascular strength you can start jogging every day for 20 – 30 minutes to begin with. You need to complete specific distances in a set frame of time so that you can build this strength. Ideally, you need to complete 4- 5 km of run in 20 - 30 minutes.
  • You can also swim or cycle to build endurance. You need to build your core which will make you keep your stamina in place as well. Your leg muscles should be very strong if you want to become a good aggressive trekker. You can do squats and planks to build on to this.
  • As for flexibility, you need to stretch your muscles regularly to avoid any sort of injuries while you walk. You need to stretch your lower back muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps etc. so that you can yourself and the weight of your backpack with ease.
  • Do a lot of exercises which involve stretches. You can also start with yoga, aerobics or Zumba and attain this flexibility.

Summing Up

meesapulimala trek conclusion
Life Above the Hills (Source)

The Meesapulimala trek is a delight for all the people looking to fall in love with nature. This trek though being a difficult climb in most of the trail is not something that you should miss doing.

Today, this place gets a lot of crowds and is one of the most talked about attraction in the state of Kerala. As this place falls on the border of two states, accessibility to this trek is great and the route to reach here is amazing. The climate, the people and the space in which this trek present it is a must do even if you are not fond of this activity.

Bring out your trekking shoes, pick up that phone to call your friends and make a plan to say aloha to the Meesapulimala Trek!

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