Nelliyampathy is considered to be one of the favourite spots of backpackers. The cloud-caressed peaks of the majestic Nelliyampathy hill ranges are a sight to behold. Travel bloggers, riders and photographers consider this place as heavenly. So Shamsudeen, who works as a senior manager in a telecom company at Chennai, and friends had no second thoughts before planning their school alumni group's next trip to Nelliyampathy. The travel group 'Born Wanderers' was formed by the Alumni association of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Malappuram. The aim is, just like the name says, to travel.
"Though many had already been to Nelliyampathy, they could not resist the chance of this visit as this place is heaven and every time we go there, it feels like the first time. Mother Nature has blessed this place with stunning views and wonderful weather," says Shamzudeen.
As many as 32 members of Born Wanderers signed up for the trip and gathered on January 13 at Kottakkunnu at 10 am. "As it is a group consisting of school alumni, we had travelers of different age groups. From 17-year-olds to 40-year-olds, we were all thrilled and started our ride around 10.30 am on 16 motorcycles. We had conducted bike rides before but not with so many riders. We had planned very well as we were supposed to reach the spot before 4pm. As it is a dense reserve forest, entering the forest after 4pm is not allowed. We travelled via Mannarkkad and reached our destination on time. We were well-equipped with trekking gear, which is very essential while trekking to spots like this," he says.
The height of the hills ranges from approximately 467 m to 1572 m and it has a calming effect on all who view it. To reach Nelliyampathy, one has to take the road starting from Nenmara that proceeds to the Pothundy Dam. There are about 10 hairpin bends that have to be negotiated on the way to Nelliyampathy. This place is ideal for a day trip or else one can plan it for two days. It's a beautiful hill station with limited habitants.
"We were there on a tour package and from Nelliyampathy, the tour company took us to their cottage, which is inside the forest. We were asked to leave our bikes outside the forest. And in their four-wheelers, it took almost one-and-half-hours for us to reach there. The resort was well-managed and tidy. As it is a reserved forest area, food and drinks are not available and these have to be carried with you. But going on tour packages are better as they will provide food at the resort. At night, we went for the night safari and a camp fire was arranged there in the middle of the forest, which was quite a wonderful experience. We could see some more privately owned hotels and resorts, located at various points. As it was very chilly climate, trekking was a bit hard in the early hours. There, upon the Nelliyampathy Hill, we witnessed the beautiful sun rise. It was quite astonishing to see the sun rays coming out of the clouds," he says.
He adds, "After climbing down that hill, we visited the famous Nelly Tree. Around the hill there are many private tea estates and the whole place is filled with its aroma. It was our lucky day. The adjoining hills allowed us to catch a glimpse of wildlife in the form of Indian gaur, elephants and giant squirrel. This is also a paradise for birdwatchers. By 4pm, we were done and drove back to the checkpost where we had left our bikes."
Nearest railway station: Palakkad, about 56 km; Thrissur and Shoranur, about 77 km. Also, there are many private and KSRTC bus services from Palakkad town.