A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty.


Ooty seems to be the flavor of the season and this was a trek through the Mukurthi national park which is very close to Ooty. This was done over the weekend of 28th & 29th Nov 09.

The park is named after the distinctive looking Mukurthi peak, which at 8,379ft is the fourth highest peak in the Nilgiri range. This 1852 water color painting by a British artist captures the unusual shape of this peak… resembling a pointed nose!


(Pic courtesy – British Library)

Mukurthi National Park is sandwiched between the Mudumalai National Park and the Silent Valley National park.

Wikipedia says: The Mukurthi National Park is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India’s first International Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ km²), including all of Mukurthi National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.

The park is characterized by Montane grasslands and shrub lands interspersed with sholas in a high altitude area of high rainfall, subfreezing temperatures and high winds. It is home to an array of endangered wildlife, including the Tiger and Asian Elephant, but its main mammal attraction is the Nilgiri Tahr. The park was previously known as Nilgiri Tahr National Park.

A trek to Mukurthi was on our to-do list for quite a while and our old friend Mr.Chandrashekar coordinated for the permits, logistics and took care of all the ground work. The dates were confirmed and we were quite excited and looking forward to the trip… but it turned out that Sangeetha had to go to New York on an official trip and she had to drop out 🙁

The group planned to meet up near Majestic Bus stand at around 9pm on Friday evening. I rushed home from office, Sangeetha had already kept my bag packed… a quick dinner and I caught an auto.

Having had a tiring day, I slept through out the journey, waking up only when we were close to Ooty. After getting delayed due to some blocked roads / traffic jams on the ghat sections, we reached Ooty only by around 6.30am on Saturday morning.

We stopped at the Ooty youth hostel for freshening up and a light breakfast.

James, the caretaker of the Mukurthi fishing hut, would join us only at around 9.00am, so we had some time to kill.

The guys exercising their SLRs with the customary macro pix!

After James joined us, we went into Ooty town to buy some provisions. Ooty town is quite commercialized, crowded, noisy & polluted. Here is a typical scene, complete with a garbage truck, the milling crowds, haphazardly parked vehicles… and a cop screaming at the top of his voice!

But there are quite a few areas in around the town which are quite picturesque…

Shopping completed, we headed off towards the Porthimund dam from where our trek would begin. On the outskirts of Ooty, we found mountains alright… mountains of garbage that is.

Bad roads… really bad roads!

After about an hour, we reached the Porthimund dam.

A Nilgiri Langur…

We distributed the provisions between a couple of us to prepare for the long walk ahead…

Public transport! 5 men on a bike.

After a chai in the village shop, we started off into the jungle…

The scenic backwaters of the dam…

Progress was sometimes slowed down by the fallen trees…

And the narrow path through the undergrowth…

Our first glimpse of the Mukurthi peak – The sharp pointed peak at the distance, right in the middle of the pic…

Most of the path was through a jeep trail…

Found lots of signs that elephants too use this route frequently…

More flora and fauna…

A small waterfall alongside the track; close to the fishing hut…

The Mukurthi fishing hut. Trust the British to find the most picturesque locations to build a house!

Contd…




4 comments to...
“A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty.”
Avatar
archana

nice shot …


Avatar
Vivek

Hi,

It is a nice blog that you have written and more than that, the Pics are really awesome.

Well, I was actually looking out for a trek at Mukurthi and came across your blog. Would you please help me out in giving me contact details for the permissions. May be your friend Mr. Chandrashekar who took the permissions can provide us the contact nos.

Thanks for your help

Regards
Vivek


Avatar
Sharan

Awesome info!! thank you so much


Avatar
Souvik Mukherjee

One of the finest travelogues I have viewed in a long log time! Could you please provide information as to how to go about arranging for this trek? Like the concerned people or any particular government department that needs to be approached in order to undertake this trek?




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