Agasthyakoodam | Trekking in Kerala
Agasthyakoodam is the second largest peak in Kerala. In order to trek to the top of this mountain, one needs a great deal of stamina and endurance.
Pilgrims can undertake this nerve-wracking and bone-wrenching trek for only a couple of weeks in January and February. Trekking to Agasthyakoodam is only permitted during the days between Makar Sankranthi (January 14/15) to Shivaratri (typically falls in the latter half of February). Only 100 persons are allowed to undertake the trek per day. You have to cover a distance of 48 kilometers on foot in just 3 days, but the journey is rewarding. For many, it is escape from the maddening concrete jungles to the spiritually enriching rain forests. The trekking begins at a height of 583 meters and ends at a height of 1,890 meters above sea level. The view from the top is simply enchanting. Clouds of mist float in the air even as you marvel at the beauty of the greenish hills. It is cold here even at noon.
Before you can undertake this trek, you have to obtain permission from forest department. Trekking to Agasthyakoodam is only permitted during the months of January and February. You can book tickets online.
A little bit of history
Agasthyakoodam is named after Sage Agasthya. He was one of the seven great rishis (sages) mentioned in Hindu mythology. In addition to being an important pilgrim center for Malayalis and Tamilians, Agasthyakoodam is a great trekking destination. The rivers Neyyar, Thamarabharani and Karamanayar originate from here.
How to get there
Agasthyakoodam is located about 60 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram. Nedumangad, Vithura and Bonacaud are the major stops enroute. There is a bus service to Bonacaud from Thampanoor bus station in Thiruvananthapuram at 5 am and 5.30 am. The bus will only go up to the Bonacaud bus stand and from there you have to walk kilometers to reach the forest office. If you are lucky you should be able to get a jeep from Vithura. It will go up to the forest office. Those who have their own vehicle can also go as far as Bonacaud forest office. Trivandrum Central is the nearest railway station. It is about 61 kilometers from Agasthyakoodam. Once you reach the forest office, write your name in the register and the forest department will send a guide to accompany you on the trek.
Other attractions: Neyyar Lion Safari park, Neyyar Dam and Peppara dam are nearby.
Contact information: 0471 – 2360762 (domestic) / International (91471 2360762)