Vellingiri Trek: A test of will, might and patience

29th Mar 2019

path from vellingiri peak

Photo of Vellingiri Trek: A test of will, might and patience by Mahesh Mohandasan

"You are not going to complete the trek. You will turn back half way through the trek". I'm pretty sure this will be the first words coming out from anyone who knows about the Vellingiri Trek. If you ask me, they are partly right; especially for person like me whos typical day starts and ends without much physical exercises. But, if you have a strong will and a great tea to support you to get there, its not impossible. So here I am sharing how I climbed 7 hills to reach atop the Kailash of the south.

I was asked once to join the trek, a year before by my team mates in office. Doing the usual research about the place before the trek/trip and asking people for suggestions, even the ones who invited me I was scared and turned down the opportunity. A year passed and the same people asked again for the same trek and this time I was determined to at least give a try to this sacred trek. Instead of reading articles and finding reasons to not do the trek, I was reading about the Vellingiri hills rising the hype for that final feel atop the 7th hill near the Vellingiri aandavar (Lord Shiva).

The Shivalinga on the top of the 7th hill is swayambhu which means its was created by its own accord. The Vellingiri hills are considered to be as sacred as the Kailash and hence it's also known by the name Thenkailaya in the local language which translates into "the Kailash of the south". The pilgrimage season starts from February and lasts till May. During the season, there you'll get enough stalls on the trail for quick bites and drinks. Also, a forest check post opens at the entrance of the trail to collect the plastic materials from the pilgrims/trekkers. Keep in mind you are in deep forest area and plastics are harmful to the wildlife. For your safety stick to the trails and stay in groups.

Photo of Vellingiri Trek: A test of will, might and patience 1/1 by Mahesh Mohandasan
Trek trail through the forest

The Trek Experience

Day 1

The trek trail, that starts from the Poondi temple at the foothills of the Vellingiri Hills, approximately 30KMs from Coimbatore town, traverses seven hills to finally reach the adobe of Lord Shiva on the top of 7th Hill. The trek can be categorised as a difficult one as you have to negotiate uphill that are steep enough to push your mind to return from the trek. The season for pilgrimage is close to collect drinkable water from; pambatti sunai on the second hill and kaithatti sunai on the third hill. Refill your bottles with some cool natural water here, take a break and enjoy the night sky above you and views of the Coimbatore city in night lights. The fourth hill takes you straight up to the top of the mountain and be ready to skip a beat as you enter the grasslands at the top with nothing over your head but the starlit sky and the forest and city down the valley.5th and 6th gives you the much wanted relaxation as you proceed as these two are almost plane and you need to climb down the 6th hill. The Vellingiri hills as legends from Mahabharata where the Pandavas are believed to have come during their exile.

The sukku coffee (ginger coffee) gives you the much wanted energy to push yourself further. During your rest breaks, especially on the 5th and 6th hills, feel the sky that now feels like a hand's distance away. I was lucky enough to see a shooting start passing by for the first time in my life up there. Be cautious also as the shola forests nearing the grasslands might have wild animals behind them so do your trek without interfering into their lives. Once you are finished with 6th hill. A small pond awaits you. Freshen up here and start your final ascend. This will be tough, you are this close to your destination yet you are not there. It'll feel like climbing forever but take enough breaks and finally reach the top to get darshan of the swayambhu Vellingiri aandavar. Get some sleep if needed, take rest and start you climb down to reach the foothill before sun gets too hard on you. You can see the sunrise on your way down also.

As it was night I couldn't get enough pics. When on the grasslands, the clouds will be below you and its a sight to be seen during day. Hopefully I will get a chance to go up there during daylight to feel the complete beauty of the trek.

Quick Look

- Carry enough energy bars/snacks with you

- Carry at least two litters of water with you. It wont be enough, but you can fill it on the way

- Carry enough source of light, torch with extra cells as with out them all you can see is darkness around you.

- Get a bamboo stick from the foothills for 30 Rupees and cut to suit you. This is your best friend especially during your climb down where you'd feel the need of extra support.

- Avoid carrying plastics. Take out your snack wraps and take them in paper wraps. The forest check post will provide the required papers to cover your snacks.

- Dont wander around and litter around, you are guest to the forest.

- Finally, help, support and motivate each other.

Om Nama Shivay!