Chokramudi Trekking

Chokramudi Trekking – The lonely giant.

IMG_5877I have been travelling in Idukki district frequently for the last three years atleast. The exclamatory part of the travel in the district of Idukki is that every time when I go to Idukki  I will come back with minimum 2 or 3 new places added to my “to do list”. This time it was Rohan (Idukki trekking, Kolukkumala Trekking) who lighted the fire inside me to step on top of Chokramudi. Chokramudi stands as a unique piece of Elevated Mountain at an altitude of almost 7200 feet (not very exact as there are seldom any authentic descriptions on this peak in internet.) Unlike the other hill ranges in Idukki it stood separately and is not attached to any other hills or ranges of hills. I remember I wondered in the past trips to Idukki seeing this peak majestically standing there so many a times. But honestly speaking I never had any intentions or ascend Chokramudi.

_MG_5884Though you may not have heard of this peak earlier  it is sure that you would have seen this peak at least once if you have ever been to Munnar. When going to Munnar from Adimaly side just before reaching Munnar you can see two majestic hills standing on the right side of the road in a distance in the midst of vast tea estates. But the actual base of the peak is in the gap road and the trekking starts from gap road itself. From Munnar it is almost 16 km towards Madurai SH gap road and right from the curve from where the actual gap road begins the trekking can be started. It was in my last trek to Kolukkumala with Madhu, Rohan mentioned about this peak and from that time itself I was searching for more details. At last I found Monichan’s number after a series of phone calls to old acquaintances and non- acquaintances   of Munnar. I was told that monichan is one person who can help me ascending Chokramudi.  I managed to get Monichan’s number. But it was very dis heartening to know that he is very busy with guests for the time being as it was a busy season in Munnar. But he was very good to me and gave the contact details of Sreeraj who was his friend and together they were starting an adventure tourism venture in the name of Astoria adventures. I contacted Sreeraj and soon the relationship flourished into a friendship and I was just waiting for an opportunity to meet them.

Thus on a Saturday evening I started for Munnar with a warm invitation from Sreeraj and Astoria. I reached Munnar by 9 pm and met Sreeraj on the way. We went to their new camp site at Pothamedu. The facilities arranged by Sreeraj were commendable. Luckily there were no guests for them that week end and I could stay in their Bamboo house in the night. The climate was very chilling and the night was well spend with a camp fire in the open area of their camp site. There was a family who takes care of the food and other amenities for the guests. The food prepared was sumptuous and I enjoyed the night to the core. Monichan, Santhosh and Suni also joined the camp. It was a very nice company and they made the day splendid with lot of crackling jokes and shared experiences of their daily life. We went to bed little late as they had a lot of adventure experience to share and I got a lot of valuable information and some ideas about some new routes from them. Our plan was to ascend Chokramudi in the morning. As Monichan was having guests he couldn’t join us. Santhosh and Suni also had their work scheduled for the day and hence left early in the morning

Bamboo House at Pothamedu Camp site

Bamboo House at Pothamedu Camp site

It was a comparatively cold night but it was warm inside the Bamboo house and I could catch a good sleep. I woke up early in the morning to the chirrups of numerous varieties of birds. I could see some species which I haven’t seen since then. Thought of roaming around for some time but as we had to start for the trek we got ready and started for Chokramudi. Having breakfast from the nearest hotel we straight away entered the Gap road. It is almost 16 Km from Munnar town into the gap road from where we were supposed to start the trekking. Needless to mention that the sceneries enroute gap road was very inviting and I couldn’t stop myself stopping for some pictures in between. As Sreeraj was very familiar with the areas he pointed the best places where I could have breathtaking views of the unending tea estates and hill ranges. In 15 – 20 minutes we reached the base point of trekking. Eventually I learned from Sreeraj that from this point the actual Gap road begins.

View of the gap road from the first stage of Chokramudi

View of the gap road from the first stage of Chokramudi

Initial trail starts like this

Initial trail starts like this

Sreeraj leading...

Sreeraj leading…

Parking the bike on the road side we entered into a private property through which we can reach the base of Chokramudi and start the trekking. The initial gradient was not that steep but consisted of small rocks and mud path. But soon the gradients become tougher and it was turning out to be steeper at each step. There was a clear trail leading through the hill side covered with grass. The view were good from the beginning itself. The view to the back side was literally superb.

IMG_5508IMG_5480IMG_5460We could see a vast portion of the gap road as we attained some heights. The curling road was very beautiful to look at from the heights we were at. There were numerous varieties of flowers every were and Sreeraj was very knowledgeable about each species. He named every species with their characteristics and I wondered how he knows all this things. He was equivalent to a researcher in this part of the world and seems to know every bit of the terrain. I envied him :) . Our climb was very slow. We have dedicated the whole day for Chokramudi and hence we decided to take it really slow capturing everything on the way. There were many varieties of butterflies flying all around and I could get some pics.

Butterflies found in the second stage..

Butterflies found in the second stage..

IMG_5488IMG_5526IMG_5600Some flowers captured enroute...

Some flowers captured enroute…

The trekking to Chokramudi can be divided into four parts. The initial stretch is more than an average steep climb with rocky, muddy and grassy terrain. After that the gradient completely changes into a complete rocky terrain which is steeper and a bit dangerous also. The rocky terrain would take us to the Cross erected on the second stage of the trekking. It is till this point usually tourists come and leave. From the cross we need to enter a small shola cover which is very dense and need to be taken care of due to frequent disturbance of animals including Elephant, Guar, Snakes barking deer and so on. The rest of the terrain is the actual hard core trek wherein we will find it very difficult to show respect to out lungs and limbs. Thankfully the shola cover is very small and we could cover the same in 10 minutes if we walk without breaks. Though the cover is very small it was one of the densest shola I have covered in recent past. After the Shola forest we will emerge into a grass land which will soon turn into a cruel hard core climbing experience possessing threat to all our senses and physique.

IMG_5583IMG_5629IMG_5528IMG_5552

Rocky terrain in the second stage...

Rocky terrain in the second stage…

After reaching the second stage we had a little break. I was not feeling so tired as the climate was very pleasant and a little misty. The view to the back side was getting better at each intervals and the peak was getting covered in mist which was a wonderful view from our elevated view. We had to stop over for some time as there was thick mist covering the shola forest and rest of the stretch. It would be a bad idea to enter into the shola forest when it is misty.

Taking a break after the tiring second stage...

Taking a break after the tiring second stage…

 

View of the top covered in mist from the second stage

View of the top covered in mist from the second stage

Anything can happen over a mist covered shola cover and besides that the fact that we may end up in shaking hands with and elephant or guar made up our mind to wait for some time giving the mist little time to play its role. We dare not play hide and seek in the shola forest in that mist. The wind was strong and the mist was spreading all over the rest of the stretch. I could see the top of Chokramudi in between and the very sight drained out the energy which was left with me. I could easily establish that the last stretch of the climb is going to be a cruel one.

getting down to the shola forest

getting down to the shola forest

This way ? !!!

This way ? !!!

IMG_5680IMG_5682IMG_5686IMG_5691We waited for almost 20 minutes but there were no indications of mist getting cleared and finally we decided to do the rest of the part in the same condition. Grabbing some strength we entered into the shola forest. It was very dense and our views were blocked by the thick mist. Luckily the shola stretch was very small and we emerged out of the other side of the shola in another 10 minutes.

beating the last stretch

beating the last stretch

Beating the last stretch...

Beating the last stretch…

Finally On top of Chokramudi in the thick mist...I missed the view from the top...there is always a second time...

Finally On top of Chokramudi in the thick mist…I missed the view from the top…there is always a second time…

The very sight of the last stretch was truly discouraging. It was literally steep. Nothing else. In the last stretch we saw some variety of floras. There was some Rhododendron trees flowered. The ascend was very slow due to steepness and I was a little tired also. For some time the mist got cleared but didn’t last for long. In another 20 minutes we reached the top of the peak but were unable to have any views due to thick mist. It was really chilling and I was feeling very hungry. The breakfast we had has been completely consumed. Though the trek can be completed in two and a half hours with an average speed we took more than three hours as we explored all the nuke and corners of the peak.

IMG_5639

Getting down ...

Getting down …

IMG_5753IMG_5629 IMG_5621IMG_5634IMG_5511 IMG_5498 IMG_5500IMG_5769After half an hour we decided to get back as there was no chance for the mist to get subsided and it was becoming very cold. The decent was also difficult due to the steepness. But comparatively easier to the ascend. It was almost 2 pm by then. Both of us felt really hungry. We explored the other part of the peak while descending. Clouds floating beneath our eyes and vast area of grass land and shola covers were a feast to eyes. As Chokramudi stood alone the surrounding places were so beneath us. We completed the top stretch and the shola in 30 minutes and had a break near the cross. In another 30 minutes we could complete the whole descend. By 3.30 we reached the normal grounds and headed back to our camp site. The road was so good and scenic. Chokramudi seemed majestic from the gap road and the actual shape and size of the peak was visible only from a distance.

IMG_5779 IMG_5782Back at the camp I was so tired and so was Sreeraj. I was planning to return back on the same day but as it was already very late Sreeraj insisted to start in the early morning and so did I. We had an early dinner that night and went to sleep early. Woke up early in the morning to roam around birding. Had some good catch. I could see red headed bee eater, Bull bull, and Wood pecker.

IMG_5840 IMG_5853 IMG_5861 IMG_5863By 7 am I started for Cochin bidding good bye to Sreeraj. That would a just a beginning of a wonderful acquaintance I am very sure about it. We have already discussed and finalized some other adventures. Hoping to materialize the same sooner. Thanks to Sreeraj Monichan  and Astoria adventures for making Chokramudi possible for me and for their wonderful hosting.

You can reach my face book profile

==================================================================

 

30 Comments
  1. Thanks Rakesh for the wonderful words. It was really a good company with you in Munnar. As we said it is just a beginning of a beautiful friendship and many more expeditions. There are plenty to do. Mountains and Sholas of Munnar are always welcome us with their hands. Let’s join our hands together over many mountains. Kindly inform me whenever you are free to explore Munnar. You are always welcome…!!

    Sreeraj. P. S.

    • thanks buddy… I thoroughly enjoyed being with you…as you said there are many more to explore and we will join hands over all the giants in Munnar… if i am in Munnar u can expect my call for sure… I was also looking for such an experienced and authentic company to explore…All the best for your venture and i will keep on disturbing you :)

      • Hi Aslam

        09745112411 is my contact number. You can contact me when you can. Will be happy to help you…Thanks for visiting the site and good to know that the content was interesting and useful to you…

    • Hii Sreeraj…im Arun from Vaikom..i would like to have trip to Chokramudi so can i have your whatsapp number plz..
      8606618996 is my number kindly giv me a msg

    • thanks for the visit Sandeep…Chokramudi cannot be considered as a real trek… just a 2 hours walk … Rocky stretch was a bit tough for me… for you it would be juz a cake walk…

  2. Found this blog by chance.went through many of ur posts..hats off to you..a well wandered soul u r..me and my friends also like the off beat places where seldom u find anyone else..favourite places include agasthyarmala and marottichal in kerala….have put meesapulimala in my next to do list after reading ur article..thanks friend

    • Thanks for the visit Prasanth… Good to know that the content was interesting … do keep in touch … I will incorporate a “upcoming events” link in the site shortly… follow the site and you will come to know when i plan next trip… we can go together if you dont mind… i would love company of people like you ( though i wander alone i like being in company as well :) )

      • Sorry for the delay.i understand ur preference in traveling alone..currently am trapped between a rock n a hard place sort of situation. But still managed to make a short trip to illickal mala inbetween…looks like I have visited much of the places in ur list in the southern parts of kerala like vazvanthol,ponmudi,bonacaud,agasthyar n athirappaly… But u seem to be well traveled in idukki n wayanad too..as soon as I am free of my commitments by Dec, will try n contact.. Maybe u can give some advice or v can even embark on a new journey… Thanks

        • Sure Prasanth… Just ring me in 9745112411 or mail me in rakeshgetsmail@gmail.com. Will be happy to help you… December being the peak time i also have a lot of plans in mind… we can definitely join together for some trek if you dont mind.

  3. One more suggestion friend..looks like u live somewhere near neyyartinkara…then you should check out CHITTAR DAM II( popularly called sivalokam)… A hidden gem of a place..quiet,beautiful n solitude.. Perfect for an evening ride out

    • Hi Prasanth

      thanks for visiting the site and appreciate your valuable suggestions. Though I am not residing near Neyyattinkara I will definitely check out on chittar dam next time…

  4. I was searching for info about this peak and saw your blog. Awesome bro, reading your blog made me more anxious about that place , chokranmudi is next in my list to be conquered , can you help me out on how to get there :)

  5. Thanks to Rakesh for the wonderful insight. No doubt this page will make a vibe on every reader, a strong feeling to see the miracles of nature and feel the chilling breeze. Same feeling on my mind, I want to see the peak. There are many places in my bucket list.Now its time to go for the priority, and the first priority is Chokramudi. I have been to munnar many times, but every time i visit i could find something new. Once again I’m so glad to see your post again and again. All the very best.

    • Thank you Fardhana. Chokramudi is such a nice place with instant accessibility and superb views. It is recommended to start early so that you cover cover most of the trek and reach top before it gets too hot.

  6. Really fabulous article .. It gives a great insights of the area along with what someone should do if he is planning for this..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>