Hiking - Destination

Pakshipathalam Trek: Trekkers and Bird Paradise in Wayanad!

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Picture this: You are walking through the lush dense forest of the God’s own Country - Kerala and you reach a place which is surrounded with vibrant birds, welcoming you with their awakening chirping melody. Sounds soothing experience right? Well, that’s what you would feel when you reach the fascinating Pakshipathalam. 

This stunning place is a perfect weekend getaway that will soothe your mind and rejuvenate your body and soul! Let’s take you through the terrific ride to the home of birds!

Know More Here:

Pakshipathalam: An Overview 

Pakshipathalam trek
Pakshipathalam- An Abode to Birds (source)
  • Where is it located - Kerala 
  • Trail type - Jungle Trails
  • Trek Duration - 1 Day (4-5 hours)
  • Livingit Rank - Beginner-Enthusiast
  • Max Altitude - 1,740 meters 
  • Trekking distance - 8 km
  • Best Season to Visit - August to May 

Why is it called Pakshipathalam

Pakshipathalam is located in the Southern part of India. It is one of the major tourist attractions located in the Wayanad district of Kerala. The name of the place suggests its nature. In Malayalam language, Pakshi means "bird", and the word Pathalam stands for the "demons’ dwelling place". The side of Pakshipathalam that is accessible from the state of Karnataka is also known as Brahmagiri Hills. Irupu waterfall is the location in Karnataka, from where one can start to reach to the very place following an easy route. 

Trek to Pakshipathalam
Green Paradise- Pakshipathalam

Pakshipathalam can easily be called a natural aviary. Here you can see a rich diversity of birds. Apart from rare birds, bats also stay here at this location. The very location is also celebrated among the touring enthusiasts as an ideal trekking site. The distance of Pakshipathalam from the north-eastern side of Thirunelli town is 7 kilometres. And from Kalpetta district, the distance of the location is 32 kilometres. The hilly area is beautiful and its altitude is 1740 m high above the sea level.

Brahmagiri Hills is the genesis of the River Papanasini. There are many myths about the place that the local people believe in.

In Malayalam language, Papa means "sin", and Nasini means the "one who destroys".  According to the myths, the River Papanasini is a sacred one and one who takes a bath in it wipes all his sins away. An ancient cave that is located here is said to be a place where saints use to reside a long time back. 

On reaching the destination check out for ‘Edible Nest Swift’ bird. Their specialty is that they build their nest with solidified saliva!

pakshipathalam bird sanctuary
Nest of Saliva

Who can do this Trek 

The entire trek is about 8 kilometres of sheer bliss. And it takes almost 4-5 hours to cover the whole. As it takes a major part of the day time, starting early for the very journey is always good for the tourists. For both beginners and pros, this trekking route is ideal because the route is neither too difficult nor too easy.

Livingit Tip
Hiring a professional guide is always recommended especially for a trek to this sightful destination. 

Seasons to Travel 

You can plan your trek to the serene location of Pakshipathalam in two phases of a year. You are guaranteed to get a pleasant atmosphere, once you plan your trek here between the months of August to May. You can even plan to trek between the months of October to December. However, the period of monsoon is not a good phase to visit the place; hence you can skip it to avoid hassles during your trip.  

Permits for the Trek  

The forest station of Thirunelly and the DFO, North Wayanad are the two authorized places from where you can get the required permits to plan your trek to Pakshipathalam. 

Both Indian tourists and tourists from the other countries have to take official permits to enjoy trekking here. Rs.1000 is the basic permit charge for an international group of tourists consisting of 5 members. For a group of 5 Indian tourists, the permit charge is Rs. 800. For every extra member, a group has to pay an amount of Rs. 100. 

How to Reach

You can visit this gorgeous destination by air, rail or road. It would be ideal to reach Kerala and then start your journey to Pakshipathalam. Check out the details below:

By Road

If you try to reach by road then you have to reach at Thirunelly first. To reach Thirunelly temple, you have to start by bus from Manathavady. Manathavady is the location from where you would get a lot of buses in regular intervals. From early morning, to be specific 5.50 am, you will be able to board buses from here. 

By Rail

If you have planned to go to by rail, then Kozhikode will be the nearest railway station for you to reach. From here you can hire a car to reach to your actual destination. 

By Air

Calicut International Airport, which is located in Kozhikode, is the nearest airport where you can reach to start for Pakshipathalam. The airport is not in the main town of Kozhikode but you can reach the town from here by car easily. 

Trek to Pakshipathalam: Detailed Itinerary You'll Need

Those who like to travel to taste adventure in every step, they can always opt a trek to Pakshipathalam. No matter which mode of transport you select to each to the prominent locations of the place, you have to trek for quite a long time. The trekking starts from Thirunelly temple to Pancharathodu. 

As you begin your trek you would enter into a paradise of lush green hills, vibrant birds and pleasant weather that will offer you a wonderful experience of a lifetime. Once you reach to Thirunelly, you would have to start hiking to reach your touring destination from the behind of the very beautiful Thirunelly temple. Following the trail, a walk of one and half hours would make you reach to a watch tower. You can view a plethora of birds and animals from the watch tower and give a treat to your eyes! 

thirunelli temple accommodation
Watch Vibrant Birds from Watch Tower (source)

Dinesh Nair from Hikes and Treks shares “From the Watchtower, we had to reach Garudapara our destination (4.6kms). We descended the tower, took a path going to the right and crossed the Karimala hill into the small forest. There is a lovely small waterfall in the forest. We did not waste time there as we had to cover a huge distance in forest terrain. At many places we could see no clear path / route but the forest guard was well versed with the route and after walking continuously, crossing 4-5 dense forest patches and several shola grasslands we reached Garudapara!”

From here you would have to walk for two kilometres to reach the border of Kerala and Karnataka. From this border, you have to hike towards Pancharathodu which is the prominent landmark to the trekking enthusiasts. Pakshipathalam is located in 500m of distance from Pancharathodu.

To reach your destination it is ideal to try the Karnataka zone. The rocky and green way will surely astonish you. You can start from the Irupu waterfall area. The right wing of the waterfall is the way that goes in the direction of the absolute destination of yours. Straight two kilometres of forest area would be accompanying you during this road journey. Bamboos, shrubs and many other trees create the lush forest area here. The grassland of the forest makes the whole journey look mystical. During this journey, you will find multiple small streams and waterbeds that can be the water resources to you and your tour companions. 

After two hours of walking through the dense greenery, you will reach to a river which is nothing but the Papanasini River. The forest area of the Karimala hill is steep. Once you cross the river, you will get a straight and flat walk of one hour. A walk of 1 ½  kilometre will make you reach a guest house called Narimel. Here you can rest a bit and cook a meal. A fresh journey of three kilometres from this place will let you reach to Munakel caves. The Munakel caves are also known as Munikkal Caves. Once you reach this location, you reach the vibrant Pakshipathalam. 

mananthavady tourist places
Energetic Walk to Pakshipathalam (source)

Sandeep, the blogger of Sandeep’s World suggests- “Climbing up this granite (presumably monolithic) rock was a good exercise too, but well worth the panoramic view at the top. A few rounds of snaps and we were heading towards the caves! The caves were nothing short of confusing, with areas almost pitch dark and small openings to take us in and out of the boulders. It did live up to the later half of the name Pakshipathalam (pathalam ~ hell or underworld) but not so much for the first half (pakshi ~ bird). In fact, I didn't even spot a single bird there ... not even a crow! Narayanan (his guide) claimed that birds may have flown away and one should come early morning to spot them. I would surely remember it next time.So do start your jungle trek quite early in the morning!

Enjoy the Significant Tourist Places near Pakshipathalam

Pakshipathalam itself is a major tourist attraction to travellers and trekking lovers. However, there are many other tourist attractions near to the very place that you can enjoy during the very tour. 

Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary

Pakshipathalam, the location is also known as the Pakshipathalam bird sanctuary. The place is a home to a plethora of birds. Birds that are rare are the habitats of this place. Those who love photography, get to click the beautiful and uncommon birds here. 

Pakshipathalam bird sanctuary
Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary (source)

Thirunelli Temple

Thirunelli temple is the starting point of the trek. And it is also a tourist attraction in Kerala. Surrounded by the thriving greenery of the Brahmagiri hills, this Vishnu temple is very important to both devotees and tourists. You must be aware of the Thirunelli Temple timings before visiting it. The temple gate opens at 5.30 am and gets closed at 12.00 pm. Again the gate opens at 5.30 pm and gets closed for the day at 8.00 pm. 

You can also avail the relaxing Thirunelli Temple accommodation at very reasonable, rather cheap rates. You and your companions can stay at the AC, Non-AC rooms here. Large groups can avail the dormitory facility offered by the temple authority as well. 

thirunelli temple timings
Pious Thirunelli Temple

Pookot Lake

It is a fresh water lake that is located in the forest area. It is not only a wonderful waterbed but a major source of water to trekking enthusiasts as well. 

wayanad forest
A Lake of Serenity

Chembra Peak

With an altitude of 2100 m above the sea level, the Chembra Peak is the highest peak in the whole of Wayanad and a must visit!

mananthavady tourist places
 Chembra Peak with Heart Shaped Lake


Kuruvadweep is also known as Kuruva Island is a delta on the Kabini River and is a popular Mananthavady tourist places The very delta is also a shelter for many birds. It is rich with a large presence of flora and fauna. Many kinds of herbs and orchids grow at this protected delta. 

Major Attractions Birding
Island that takes you closer to Nature

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

The Wayanad wildlife sanctuary is a must visit to the nature lovers. This forest area is dense and to animals like elephants, tiger, Bisons, deer, jungle cats, wild dogs, bears, panthers, monkeys, civet cats, snakes of many types, and lizards and many other endangered species, it is a protected place to reside. Birds like owls, babblers, woodpeckers, and peacocks can be seen here too. Rosewood, Maruthi, Vengal, bamboos, Venteak and many other types of trees make these areas dense and ideal for the wild animals to live. 

Heaven for Nature Lovers (source)

Apart from these major tourist spots, there are other charming places that you can pay a visit. Some of these places are the Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary, Garudapara, Meenmutty waterfall; Sentinel rocks fall, Seetha Lava Kusha Temple, Soochipara falls, Edakkal caves and Valliyoorkkavu. 

List of Essentials to Carry for the Trek

To obtain a hassle free journey to Pakshipathalam, you must carry a set of things that would be completely useful for your trek. 

Camera: The way to Pakshipathalam is full of natural wonders. Hence, carrying your camera is a must.

Batteries for Camera: Keep your fully charged camera batteries handy to avoid unwanted interruptions while getting the natural wonders framed. 

First Aid Kit: Small cuts and slits are expected on a trek. Thus keep your first aid kit handy and don’t forget to keep the medications that you may need if you fall sick during the trek.   

Boots: Don’t rely on mere shoes. It is the special jungle boots that are always suggested to be used. Find out the different ways to tie your hiking boots and avoid accidents on the hills!

Insect Repellent Cream: You would find a lot of bugs and insects while continuing the journey in the jungle area. You can keep Insect Repellent cream to avoid the insect attacks. 

Sunscreen Lotion: Use sunscreen lotion to guard yourself against sunburn. 

Energy Bars: Keep some energy bard with you so that hunger cannot slow down your pace. 

Suitable Trekking Clothes: To continue the trek in a smooth way, you can wear comfortable outfits. Full sleeve attires can protect you from grass cuts and insect bites basically. 

Tips to Know Before the Trek 

People, who go for trek journeys that are lengthy and known to be difficult at the same time, go through some training that is suitable. A trek to Pakshipathalam is not that difficult in nature but it is not so simple as well. 

  • You and your trek buddies can practice yoga before setting off for the trek. Sometimes people come across breathing troubles because of long walks in the steep areas. The yoga sessions would make your breathing strong.
  • During the trek when you come across animals and birds, never disturb them. Keep calm and let them be the way they want to be. 
  • Do not smoke during the trek and stay away from the consumption of alcohol.  
  • On your way to Pakshipathalam, you will come across the ATM of Kerala Grameen Bank located at Thirunelli. This is the nearest ATM of all other ATM for those who go to the Pakshipathalam trek. You can also use the Canara Bank ATM at Manathavady and HDFC Bank ATM at Wayanad location. 
  • To keep your tour medically assured, you can rely on the two hospitals that are the nearest to Pakshipathalam. Vinayaka Hospital in Wayanad, Assumption Hospital in Wayanad is the two hospitals that can offer you the required medical help during your trek.  
  • In the Wayanand district, there are two police stations. If you come across any emergency situation you can reach to Kalpetta police station and Meenanggady police station. The nearest petrol pumps to the destination are the Vellikulangara petrol pump and Thamarashery petrol pump. 

Summing Up

Touring is always great. But a tour becomes more interesting when adventure gets added to the whole as spice. A trekking trip to Pakshipathalam would be magical when you go for it with your touring companions. If you have already planned a trip to this place or have an experience of trekking here, then you can share your memories with us anytime. We would love to know more of your loving trek experience. 

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