“Have you seen snowfall in Meesapulimala?” Charlie asks Kani who is about to commit suicide. This is a dialogue from the popular Malayalam movie ‘Charlie’ released in 2015.
Ever since the release of this film, people have been thronging to Meesapulimala and made it a popular tourist attraction overnight. There was one more reason to visit Munnar now.
Meesapulimala is the second highest peak in Kerala after Anamudi located on the borders of Tamil Nadu. It is named so as one of the peaks in Meesapulimala resembles the whiskers of a tiger.
The Meesapulimala trek covers 8 hills in total on the way to the peak. The trek is through open meadows covered with grass and shrubs. The hike itself is very scenic as you are surrounded with tall mountains, green valleys and clouds at the top. In this guide, I tell you everything you need to know about the Meesapulimala trek including an itinerary that is to be followed for the trek.
Meesapulimala trek and camping packages
The Meesapulimala trek is conducted by Kerala Forest Development Corporation (KFDC), Munnar. There is no possibility to do the trek on your own.
The KFDC office is located in Munnar town. You can always visit their office to enquire about the trek and to clarify any other doubts.
There are three different types of packages provided by KFDC. Every package includes food, accommodation and a trekking guide. In terms of food, you get evening snacks with tea, dinner, breakfast with tea and packed lunch.
This is the most economical and popular option available for trekkers. You can stay in tents that can accommodate 2 people. It is situated at the base camp which is located inside a reserved forest with a small pond and a building nearby. There are common bathrooms as well in case you want to freshen up.
The cost for 2 persons is INR 4,000.
Sky Cottage is a secluded house ideal for honeymooners and located on the top of a cliff with open views. You can view valleys and waterfalls from the comfort of your room here. The sunrise and sunset views from here are not to be missed.
The cost for 3 persons is INR 9,000.
Rhodo Mansion is the costliest of the lot and is at the highest point out of all the three stay options. The actual trek to Meesapulimala starts from here and this is where the road limit ends.
Hot water is available here as this place is powered by solar energy. The main advantage of Rhodo Mansion is that you can view the sunrise and sunset from a viewpoint nearby.
The cost for 2 persons is INR 6,000.
How to book the KFDC Meesapulimala packages?
You can book the packages online from the KFDC website. If you have any doubts, you can also call them up (Ph: +91 4865 230332, Mob: +91 8289821408) and they will be more than happy to help you.
You can also book your packages offline by visiting the KFDC office in Munnar.
Meesapulimala trek itinerary (2 days)
Your journey to Meesapulimala starts only by afternoon. If you reach Munnar in the morning, you will have some time to roam around Munnar.
You can choose to visit the Mattupetty dam and Top Station that are both on the same route. These are commercial tourist places in Munnar but the drive through this route is pretty scenic. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can easily find shared jeeps in Munnar town and even buses that go through these places.
Irrespective of where you travel in Munnar, come back to Munnar town by early afternoon and have lunch. Ideally, you should start your journey towards Meesapulimala at least by 2 pm so that you reach your destination by 4 pm. This will ensure that you reach well before sunset. It becomes difficult to travel once the sun sets in the mountains so timing is important.
Before starting for Meesapulimala, visit the KFDC office in the town and collect your pass for Meesapulimala. Whether you booked your package online or offline, you would need to take your pass for Meesapulimala from the KFDC office.
If you don’t have a vehicle, you would need to hire a jeep from the KFDC office. It costs INR 3,000 to take you to and from Meesapulimala. It is better to call them up in advance and inform them to be on the safer side. If you are coming by your own vehicle, it is preferable to have an SUV because the final stretch to the Meesapulimala base camp and beyond is completely off-road and adventurous.
The drive to Meesapulimala is pretty comfortable with occasional rough terrains, especially during the last stretch. You will be surrounded with beautiful sceneries for close to two hours. There are a lot of tea estates and tall mountains to give you company. You will also see some villages along the way. Enjoy the ride!
The last 2 kms to the base camp and beyond will be completely uphill and off-road so you would need to park your vehicle if it’s not an SUV right before the ascent (you will know it when you see it) and trek 2 kms to the base camp.
The Sky Cottage is 300 metres behind on the way to the base camp whereas the Rhodo Mansion is another 4kms from the base camp.
Once you reach your respective accommodation, you will be checked in and provided with tea and snacks. If you are staying at the Rhodo Mansion, you will also be taken to a nearby place to watch the sunset if you make it on time.
By around 8 pm, dinner will be served. They have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The food is basic but healthy.
Keep yourself warm by spending some time at the bonfire. If you are at the base camp, you can socialise with other trekkers and travellers.
Retire for the night.
The next morning, tea and breakfast will be served before you start trekking. Packed lunch will also be provided to you.
A trek guide will be assigned to each group of travellers and will be with you during the entire duration of the trek.
Your trek starts by 8 am but may vary depending on where you are staying. If you are at the Rhodo Mansion, your trek will start earlier so that you get to see the sunrise as well.
If you are staying at the base camp or the Sky Cottage, you would need to take your vehicle or hire a jeep that takes you to Rhodo Mansion. The Meesapulimala trek route starts from there. It is 4km from the base camp. The drive to the Rhodo Mansion is through a thick rainforest.
Once you reach Rhodo Mansion (from the base camp or the Sky Cottage), the entire landscape changes. You will only see mountains and open grasslands around you.
From the Rhodo Mansion, the Meesapulimala peak is at a distance of 4 kms. The trekking route is pretty straightforward until the last portion of the trek where you begin to climb the peak. However, being an open area, the sunlight is a bit harsh so you would need to wear a hat, take breaks in between and hydrate yourself regularly.
There are 8 hills to cross on the way to the top. The hills are open meadows with grass growing on them and some shrubs. If you are lucky, you might get to see some rare animals like Nilgiri Tahr and Wild Gaur that reside here.
Keep an eye on the small water streams around these hills. These are constantly flowing and coming from the top of the mountains. This is the purest form of water you can have. Drink it directly from the stream and fill your bottles as well. The water from here will energize you like no other energy drink ever will!
Once you reach the top, prepare to be engulfed or surrounded by clouds. You can see other mountains from Tamil Nadu neighbouring Meesapulimala. In fact, Kolukkumalai, the popular mountain peak with the highest tea plantations in the world is located opposite to Meesapulimala. There is even a route to Kolukkumalai from Meesapulimala but trekking is strictly banned.
Spend some time at the top of Meesapulimala and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. You are bound to feel refreshed and energised in the company of the clouds. Have your packed lunch here.
Once you are done relaxing, make a move for Rhodo Mansion. The trekking route will be different this time and it takes around 3 kms in total to reach the Rhodo Mansion. You will be descending through the hills until you pass through a forest. The Rhodo Mansion is right after this forest cover ends.
If you have booked your accommodation at the base camp or Sky Cottage, you will be taken there by your jeep (or take your own vehicle). It will be evening approximately by the time you reach your accommodation.
You can ask for tea again and start your journey back to Munnar town before it becomes dark. On the way back, reminisce all the beautiful experiences and memories you had in the hills.
How to reach Munnar
You need to touch base at Munnar in order to go to Meesapulimala. There are different ways in which you can reach Munnar.
If you are coming from Kochi, the cheapest way to reach Munnar would be by taking a government bus which is available frequently. If you are coming from nearby states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, you can get inter-state government buses to Kochi as well.
The nearest railway station to Munnar is at Aluva, which is at a distance of 110 kilometres from Munnar. Ernakulam Railway station (Kochi) is the nearest railway station after that at a distance of 130 kms from Munnar.
Cochin International Airport is the closest airport to Munnar at a distance of 110 km from Munnar. If you are coming from a distant state, the most practical option would be to take a flight to Kochi and then take a bus to Munnar.
How to reach Meesapulimala
The distance from Munnar to Meesapulimala is 24 kms. You can either take your own vehicle to your accommodation in Meesapulimala or you can hire a jeep from the KFDC office in Munnar. The drive to Meesapulimala takes around 1.5 – 2 hours.
Best time to visit Meesapulimala
The best time to visit Meesapulimala would be from October onwards right after the monsoons are over. The landscape becomes a lot greener and vibrant. Till February, the climate in Meesapulimala is pleasant and suitable for trekking.
You can also trek in March and April but be prepared to face higher temperatures.
Travel tips for Meesapulimala
You need to collect your passes from KFDC Munnar even if you have booked your tickets online.
Make sure you start your journey by 2 pm from KFDC Munnar so that you reach your accommodation in Meesapulimala by 4 pm at least. It starts getting darker after that. As a bonus, you can also view the sunset if you are staying at the Rhodo Mansion.
You can take your own vehicle and drive to your accommodation at Meesapulimala but it is preferable to have an SUV that can be driven on rough terrains.
Carry warm layers as it becomes colder when you reach your destination. The temperature in Meesapulimala especially at night goes down to single digits.
You will be trekking with a forest ranger always. Try to ask as many questions as you can about Meesapulimala as they have tons of useful knowledge and wisdom to share about this place.
The water at your accommodations will be icy cold except for at Rhodo Mansion where you will get warm water as well.
Carry a hat and hydrate yourself regularly while trekking. It is also good to carry other healthy snacks like dry fruits and peanuts.
Kerala is home to a lot of beautiful treks in the Western Ghats. And Meesapulimala is one such trek that is ideal for you if you are a beginner and would like to get a glimpse of the variety of landscape Kerala has to offer.
In fact, if you are coming to Munnar, make sure you give this place a visit because as Charlie suggested in the movie, you need to visit this place at least once before you die. While it may not snow here every year, it does come close to it often as in 2019, Meesapulimala was said to be covered in frost.
Unaware to many people, the famous purple-blue flowers of Neelakurinji bloom here as well once every 12 years. Another lesser-known fact about Meesapulimala is that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I have given you enough reasons as to why you should visit Meesapulimala. What have you decided? Let me know in the comments!