It is not something new to see a trekking spot without any religious backing. I trekked Velliangiri Hills, a spiritual place revered on par with Kailash. It is situated in the Western Ghats bordering Coimbatore and Palakkad District.
As a group of 5 Members, We started our journey from Gandhipuram, Coimbatore. We hired a cab and reached Poondi. We began our trek at the foothill temple which is 4 Kms from Isha Yoga Foundation. The pilgrimage is allowed from February to May, and the whole route is closed during the off-season, and also Women from the age of 5 to 50 were not allowed to visit this land. It is unlikely to see irreligious folks. I will restrain from using any religious words.
We took our footwear in hand and entered the temple, forest rangers checked our bags for plastics. We started our ascent at 2005 Hours. The first two hills tested my limits. I struggled a lot with breathing, and it was evident that I should have done some physical activity in the past week to improve my stamina. The heavy backpack was an additional PITA. It was pitch dark, and with little light pollution we could see Constellations up in the Sky. We realized our mistake of not buying a Torchlight and used the flashlight from our phone. We paced slowly and shared lots of random stories from our personal lives. With a little push as a group, we covered the first four hills by Mid-night. It was beautiful to see the City from a high altitude. We relied on the locals to exactly know where we were, and the distance traversed. The Info was often dubious.
The fifth and sixth hill was somewhat easy to scale, and the temperature dropped pretty low at the end of the sixth hill. We were utterly exhausted and needed some rest. We slept on a rock near a water stream. That’s one of the stupidest decisions we took. The place was full of people, and the temperature was extreme. I didn’t bring any winter clothing and had to sleep with a track and tee. I couldn’t even close my eyes for 5 Seconds and did lots of Bear-Grylls techniques to make myself warm. After 1.5 Hours, We resumed our trek to the peak. This was also a vertical scale. Despite seeing the final point, It was physically challenging to move upward. It took around 1 Hour and 40 minutes just to scale the last peak. It was an Ahoy! Moment, when we reached the summit. The cold air was damming towards us as there was no obstruction. We visited the temple and continued our trek to the foothill. It was around 0430 Hours, and I could relate to the song “Feeling Good.”
Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by
You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good
I’m feeling good
The down hill looked beautiful. I didn’t expect such a scenic valley/plain from a pilgrimage place. The View on the South-West side was top-notch. I sat down and listened to my Favorite Song. I could relate to the flora to the ones in other Western Ghat mountains. I tried bouldering in some of the easy rocks. We were on a tight schedule to reach the city by noon. The return journey tested by endurance and We completed the trek by 1105 Hours.
I gave my walking stick to a guy who asked me where to buy it. This was the first time I came back without any souvenir. Later on, I realized that the smile on his face was the souvenir.
The following lines are not to hurt any particular group of people.
The whole trek route/pilgrimage route is filled with trash from water bottles to wrappers. It was disheartening to see another place getting affected by humans. Even after the Rangers-checks, I could see garbage everywhere. There were shops selling food and drink, I couldn’t blame them, they are providing life-line to the trek, It is the travelers who should be accountable for ruining this beautiful place. I don’t think Lord Shiva, would be happy to witness this.
Personal Takeaways form this trip:
- Travel light – Pack backpack with what’s utmost needed
- Use water sources from the place you travel instead of carrying water bottles(Of-course, use Charcoal based filters)
- Eat light, less oily food before trekking
- Check whether you have your Favorite songs in the playlist.
- cloth – based on weather
- Spiritual/Religious places are beautiful.
End Note: I strongly recommend this place to anyone who wants to confront their physical and mental strength.