Monday, January 15, 2018

Meghamalai - Treasure of Nature

Meghamalai,(Tamil:மேகமலை) popularly called High Wavy Mountains, is a cool and misty mountain range situated in the Western Ghats in Theni district, Tamil Nadu. It is a place of natural beauty dotted with cardamom plantations and tea estates. The place is situated at an elevation of 1,500 m above sea level and it is rich in flora and fauna. This area, now mostly planted with tea, includes Cloudlands, Highwavys and Manalaar estates, the access to which is now largely restricted. It still includes large untouched remnants of evergreen forest.

There is a long-pending proposal with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to establish the Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary on 600 km2 of forest in the division. Priority tasks in the sanctuary should be the control of poaching and the use of pesticides, the elimination of ganja (Cannabis sativa) and the cultivation and scientific management of watersheds. The Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary can be an excellent buffer to the Periyar Tiger Reserve and Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary and can immensely strengthen conservation in the southern Western Ghats, the range of hills south of the Palakkad Gap.

Getting There Meghamalai can be reached from Theni via Chinnamanur which provides you with a scenic experience. Theni is about 76 kms away from Meghamalai and 120 kms from Madurai. There are buses which start from Dindigul. Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace In Madurai The nearest airport is Madurai and the railway station is as well in Madurai. The roads leading you to Meghamalai are in pretty bad shape. The distance from Bangalore to Meghamalai via Kodai road is about 501 kms and Via Thekkady is 578 kms.

You can take a tour to these estates and plantations to indulge in the cool locales of Meghamalai. A highly diverse system of flora and fauna exists in an ecosystem of Meghamalai. Various animals that are often sighted in this place include the Wild Gaur, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Lion-tailed Macaque, Sloth Bear, Grey Jungle Fowl, Smooth-coated Otter and the Flying Squirrel.

It is also home to over 100 species of birds like the Red-whiskered Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Bush Chat, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Barn Swallow, Spotted Dove, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Brahminy Kite and Long-tailed Shrike.

The fresh foggy mountains with its cool breeze and scenic views will definitely bring out the hopeless romantic in you. The entire trip to Meghamalai is straight out of a picture postcard with breathtaking views at every corner. You will definitely love this romantic adventure and will keep coming back for more!

For honeymooners, this region provides a perfect escape. This area, now mostly covered with tea plantations, is home to the Cloudlands, Highways, and Manalaar estates.

Accommodation At Meghamalai The place offers very limited options for one to stay, some of the recommendations would be Cloud Mountain Bungalow, Sand River Cottage which is located in the Manalar Estate. And a few more near the bus stand. It is highly advised to pre-book the rooms and take few camping tents along with you.

Weather And The Best Time To Visit 
The best season to visit is during the winter season, and the best months to visit start from October all the way up to May. The summers here are generally hot and it's best to avoid the summer months.

Places To Visit In Meghamalai 

1. Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary Spread across an area of 600 kms, it is one of the most important tourist attractions of the place. The tea and coffee gardens attract a large number of tourists pan-India and is a perfect destination to make your holidays memorable.

2. Meghamalai Falls Also known as 'Clouds landfall', it is very popular for the rapidly falling water from a height of 190 ft throughout the year.

3.Vellimalai It is considered as the heart of Meghamalai. Vellimalai offers a serene and pleasant environment from where one can see the scientifically planned tea gardens and wild animals. Meghamalai is one good place to wander around without much restrictions. The never ending tea hills and the callings of the various animals simply adds to the beautiful experience that awaits you. It is a place where you can relax without anything to worry about.

Sightseeing / Tourist attractions

  • Highwayvs Dam
  • Highwayvs Lake
  • Manalar Dam
  • Deep Cumbum Valley and the villages
  • Upper Manalar Estate
  • Vattaparrai
  • Venniyar Tea Estate
  • Iravagalar Dam
  • Maharaja Mettu – A bird’s eye view
  • Magarajothi hills View of Sri Iyyappan temple.
  • Thekkadi Viewpoint
  • Elephant Corridor -amazing point
  • Pothai pull medu
  • Megamalai rain forest
  • Manalar Waterfalls
  • Thoovanam
  • Game set Block no 27 – amazing point
  • Vellimalai

Meghamali is famous for wild elephants and some other wild animals,  Elephants and beauty of the estates inspired us to go there.  
While reaching meghamalai we spotted only the tracks of elephants but we could not see any elephants,  we enquired the officer in the government office where we can find the elephants and do we need to take any local/guide with us? he asked us to go one estate in the early morning to find them, if someone else find the elephants i will inform you and no need of guide.  Generally they are not harmful until we disturb them.  Next day early morning we took the way suggested by the officer,  Meghamalai is so beautiful in the morning and with lush green estates and cloud touching peaks, amazing views.  We roamed around many estates still our luck didn't favored us, we have returned to guest house with sad faces.

Meghamalai is one of it's type,  mix of wildlife, tea estates around small dams and to add more it is not polluted yet.  Ideal for leisure walking, small hiking and elephant tracking. Meghamalai surrounded by lot of other beautiful destinations like Kurangani, kazhugumalai hiking,  Periyar tiger reserve and Thekkady.  We are planning to go to track elephants in meghamalai  again and to enjoy one more relishing weekend.

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