Chembra Peak, Meenmutty waterfalls, Himavad Gopalaswamy betta.

Chembra Peak, Meenmutty waterfalls, Himavad Gopalaswamy betta, Elephants, Trekking, Wayanad, Gundlupet

This is a trip from March 1st & 2nd 2008, which I dug up from the archives. Infact the main reason why I started to write these travelogues is that within a few months of a trip, the memories slowly begin to fade and the story behind each pic gets fuzzier and fuzzier.

I also had a hard-disk crash in my old laptop and lost a lot of pics from old trips, with no negatives to fall back on, many of the pics are lost forever. On the other hand, any travelogues and pics uploaded online will be recorded for posterity. Perhaps when I retire and no longer trek around, I will relive every trip via the blog archives!

Coming back to the travelogue. This was a trip with a group, in a TT. The plan was to leave Bangalore at around 10.00pm on Friday evening, reach Meppadi early next day, and trek up to Chembra peak. On the itinerary for the 2nd day was a visit to the ‘Meenmutty’ waterfalls (which turned out to be a mini-trek by itself.) Edakkal caves & Soochipara falls were an ‘optional’ add-on, depending on how much time we would take for the trek and how tired we would be.

Chembra (2100 mts above MSL) is the tallest peak in Wayanad. Since this peak is located in the Meppadi Forest Range, permission from the Forest Office at Meppadi is required prior to trekking up. The normal time required to trek up and down from Chembra peak is around 6 to 8 hours. One ‘trademark’ of the Chembra peak is the small heart-shaped perennial lake you can see on the way to the top.

Meenmutty waterfalls are at a distance of around 30 kms from Kalpetta. It is a three-tiered waterfall, adding up to around 300 mts. This is supposed to be one of the the largest (tallest ?) and most spectacular waterfalls in Kerala. Reaching Meenmutty requires a 2 kms trek though the tea estates and the jungle.

* There are atleast two waterfalls with the same name ‘Meenmutti’ in Kerala, one is in Wayanad and the other is near Trivandrum.

Accommodation in and around this area should not be a problem as there are plenty of home stays and resorts in and around this area. Since we would be out for most of the time and just needed a place to crash for the night, we were booked in a small resort with a dormitory type accommodation for the guys (we were all carrying our sleeping bags) and a couple of rooms for the ladies.

Route taken:
Bangalore > Mysore > Nanjangud > Gundlupet* > Sulthan Bathery > Meppadi.

* On the return journey, someone mentioned that we could stop over for a couple of hours at Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, so we took a deviation from near Gundlupet.

IIRC the total distance covered during the trip was around 600kms. [Including the deviation to HG Betta]

Road conditions would have changed quite a lot since then, I request any travelers who have done this route recently to post an update in this thread about the current road conditions.

Details of other attractions in this area and contact numbers are available on this site : official web site of wayanad

Route Map:

We left Bangalore as planned at around 10.30pm on Friday night and reached Wayanad by around 5.00am the next morning. There was some confusion about the route to the resort that we were booked in. Since it was still quite dark and there weren’t any people on the road to guide us, we finally had to call up the resort folks and get directions.

Since breakfast would be ready only by 7.00am and the plan was to head out at 8.00am, some of us decided to catch up on some sleep at the resort. The resort guys mentioned that since we were just a short walk away from the backwaters of the Karapuzha dam, we could catch the sunrise at the lake.


Breakfast done, lunch was packed and we were all set!

First stop was at the Meppady Forest office where the trekking permits were issued. It was a good drive through the tea gardens to the ‘Chembra estate’. The path to the Chembra peak passes though this estate and there is a Forest dept check post where we had to show the passes to proceed further…

Our first view of the Chembra peak…

The first part of the trek was through the tea estates…

Soon the going got a little tougher as we reached the base of the peak…

One third of the way up the trek, we reached the small heart-shaped lake. You have to climb up a little further to see the lake properly. See the lake in the background? This lake apparently never dries up. Many visitors who are not interested in walking all the way up to the peak prefer to end their trek here and the area around this lake can be a little littered with plastic & booze bottles etc. Also, the water from this late is not drinkable.

A close-up…

We stopped every 20 minutes for a mini break…

The climb ahead. From this point onwards, the path followed the ridge of the mountain…

There was also another group that was trekking up and was planning to camp near the top overnight…

A view from near the top…

We reached the top! We opened up and finished our packed lunch and took some pics of the scenery around us. There is nothing tastier than a simple curd-rice and pickle when you are really tired and hungry!

After spending around 30 minutes on the top, we started our descent…

One comment I often hear is that climbing down is easier than climbing up. It is not exactly so in most cases. Climbing down can be quite tricky and painful…

We reached the bottom by around 5.30pm. Too tired to even contemplate any further physical activity for the day. We went back to the resort, had a refreshing bath and generally lazed around recapping the experiences of the day…

Next day we woke up a little late, had a leisurely breakfast, checked out of the resort and started off towards the ‘Meenmutty falls’. The falls are located at a distance of around 2 kms from the main road. It requires a trek down into the valley, initially through the tea estates and then through the jungle. The path was really rough and a little scary at times!

There were a couple of other groups who were returning from the falls, they mentioned that there wasn’t much of a crowd at the falls, which was great news for us!

We could hear the roar of the water much before we reached the falls and finally we reached Meenmutty. Wikipedia mentions that "Meenmutty in Malayalam language literally means where fishes are blocked. Many waterfalls in Kerala is called as Meenmutty falls, indicating that fishes cannot swim upstream the falls."

Some of us got into the water and stayed there for quite a while…

On the way back, we stopped at a small shanty selling masala buttermilk, pineapple slices… and even sliced tomatoes?

It was post noon when we started our journey back towards Blr…

Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta…

Somewhere close to Gundlupet, the group felt that we still had ample time on our hands, so why not make a detour and check out Himavad Gopalaswamy betta? The driver confirmed that it was quite close and we headed that way…

At the base of the hill we had to stop at the check post and pay the entry fee to drive up. All formalities completed we drove up to the top. The temple was not too crowded and we finished darshan and walked over to the area behind the temple to the edge of the hill. It is a great place to watch the sunset…

The team settled down at the edge of the valley to wait for the sunset…

There is a rock formation on the hill that looks like an elephant from certain angles. See the rocks in this pic?

Since the hill is right in the middle of the reserve forest, you can see rolling hills and forests in every direction…

Elephants! Somebody shouted… Yes! There was indeed a herd of wild elephants grazing on a nearby hill. Sorry about the quality of the pics, they were taken at max zoom…

Soon it started getting darker and it was sunset time…

Soon it was time to leave. Reluctantly we started walking back towards the temple…

Turned back to take some pics…

Hmmm… So elephants come to this hill too! Elephant dung was strewn on the path to the temple.

Boarded the TT and I promptly dozed off only to wake up somewhere close to Bangalore. We reached home at around 11.00pm.

3 comments to...
“Chembra Peak, Meenmutty waterfalls, Himavad Gopalaswamy betta.”

WOw this looks like a amazing trek !!!!


very nice photos

I request you know that :
is’t possible to plan to trek chembrapeak ( within one day from mysore )
ex: we start mysore 6.00 am and reach kalpetta 9.00 am and kalpetta to base chembra peak 10.00 am and start trek chembra peak and return 5.00 and same day return mysore around
( we are regular trekkers from youth hostel members)
please reply

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