Isolated locations are my thing. Getting as far away from civilisation, with no signal coverage, only music, good company, and the tranquil.
A friend of mine from my college days, suggested that we go to this place - Kukkal. The beauty of the place left we searching for words.
How to get there
Heading west from Kodaikanal town and a drive of 30 km through the woods, would take you to Poomparai village.
A little further to the west the road forks. Straight one leads to Mannavannur & Kavunji and the right deviation is to Kukkal village. Another 8 km and just before the road ends, is the Kukkal lake. There are only 2 cottages near the Kukkal lake, and we had a contact that came through for us to get a room in one of those cottages.
It wasn't anything fancy, just a huge room big enough for all of us.
We made our way to the Kukkal lake, and it was the most beautiful place I had seen in the southern part of the country.
With the sun up, the lake will still be under mist, and sitting by the side, you will have the company of Indian Coots and Dabchicks (Little Greb) wading the waters, least bothered of you. But can't be there for long as the trek is to start soon.
We had a quick breakfast, and decided to go for a trek. This was unlike any other trek I had ever been on, we had to walk in our slippers!
There are so many leeches on the trek that you wouldn't even realise that they are in your shoe. We rubbed dettol all over our feet and started walking.
Hiking by the side of the lake and crossing a small plantation you are into it - The Kukkal Shola. The jungle is so dense - believe me - you won't see the sun for an hour and its that moist, to save your blood, you won't like to stop for a second. The hike is moderate and the air is so cool, you will never feel exhausted. Small rivulets run across the track and you will definitely love to send the flow down the throat.
You may not feel like taking breaks inside the shola, but it is beneficial to charge up on the trek.
As the shola comes to an end, there is a huge spread of green.
The climb ends at the ridge and the next part is a short walk along the ridge line. At places the mount drops vertically, presenting some frightening views of the Kukkal valley beneath. Soon you will find a small swing on rock pillars, by the edge of the ridge.
The deity is believed to be fond of swinging above the Kukkal valley and there are many such tiny swings, all over the Kukkal temple premise, symbolising this.
Just after the old swing, comes the dangerous part of the trek. Here you have to climb up a rocky terrain, atop which the temple structure is built. There are crude steps cut over the rock, to make the climb easy, but there is nothing to hold on, and just by the side of your foot step, the ridge drops vertically down.
One misstep would cause you land in Kukkal valley, some 1500 ft below. And finally you are at the shrine. Its a small structure built on polished rock stones with some recent extensions.
You are now at an elevation of 6900 ft and the whole world, within vision, is beneath you. The cold breeze and occasional mist adds to the fabulous ambience. Just roam the premises; its a treat for your eyes and camera sensors.
Came back to our room, and spent the next day chilling by the lake.
We roamed around the beautiful country land, and got exhausted from all the trekking and walking. Luckily we found some truck drivers headed in the direction of our cottage and offered us a lift.