Traverse through the rugged Roads of Megamalai…
As I typed the title a quick question arose within myself as to “why should I write about this trip?”, because after this trip I had a rather thrilling feel than being excited throughout the entire trip. So, the reason I decided to write about the place is, when I decided to visit this place, I did not find much articles or information about this place so here I share my experience on how I crossed the rugged roads of Megamalai.
It was I who decided that we should make a visit to Megamalai after reading an article on web. And that “we” includes kids below 15 yrs and also elders above 40-55 yrs of age, and yes, the group was my family. So for a family outing we had decided visit Megamalai.
So where is Megamalai?
It is in Theni district,Tamilnadu,India. Megamalai is a calm, picturesque village which you get to see after crossing 3 craggy mountains.
Travelling through the rugged roads….
We started from Chinnamannur(Theni,Tamilnadu) at 8:00 am and reached the foot of the hill by 8:40-9:00 approx,.we had hired a bus since my family had close to 18 members. A forest officer inspected our bus and wished us a happy journey and told us to return down before 6pm. As our bus started to move I noticed that the roads were muddy and embedded with rocks, which made it a bumpy ride, but since I was excited about the trip I did not bother much about the roads. On the way, just 15 mins from the foot of the hill we found a small shop which was owned by an elderly couple, it had only soft drinks and water bottles, apart from that small shop we weren’t able to find any other shops till we reached “Megamalai resorts”. As we moved ahead, we found that the road’s condition had worsened. We witnessed acute bends, narrow roads embedded with rocks and we were not able to witness human habitation except couple employees working here and there for laying roads, that is when we understood that the roads over there were still under construction.
Meanwhile my family in the Bus from kids to elders started to worry about the condition of the abandoned roads, which in turn worried me since I was the person who was adamant that we should visit this place. There was no one on the way to ask for the route, no shops, which made us to think for a while if we had taken the wrong route. The muddy roads went on and on there was no mark of human habitation. Later, we were able to find people going in their two wheelers and cars which gave us some relief.
I should not forget to mention, out of the hairpin bends we had crossed, 3-4 hairpin bends freaked us a bit because the side door of our bus had to literally scratch the rocks besides to ensure that all the tyres of our bus were on the ground and did not float in air. Of course!! We were not ready to witness any stunts of “the Ice road truckers “show having kids and elders aboard. And please keep a watch over the rocks because they are the ones which will notify that you have hairpin bend ahead and thanks to that good soul who had written it there. yes!! you won’t have a sign board, no side walls to protect your vehicle from falling down the hill, no sign boards of accident prone zone in spite of frequent hairpin bends.
Our driver was also tried since he had to accelerate and put a lot of effort to match the rhythm of the road. Until we saw the hoarding of Megamalai resort all of us had a slight sense of fear within us. While our driver was resting we found a forest officer passing by that way,and we enquired about the distance we had to cross to reach Megamalai. So from Megamalai resort it is 6km to reach the village called Megamalai and highways, a place with scenic beauty. And there we made up our mind to reach Megamalai which was only 6km ahead.
As we moved ahead we expected to travel through the rugged roads again, but, we were astonished to see good roads, though it was made of mud the road was even which in turn relaxed us.
Megamalai and highways:
As we entered Highways we were able to sense the cold fresh air coupled with the smell of mud and herbs. That unpolluted air made us to forget the turmoil we went through to reach that place. The muddy roads prevailed but the the landscape was even and no more acute bends. We were able to find lot of tea estates, which were made without harming nature. As to what I observed, I found that the plantations were not made up of huge acres of land rather it was made on small pieces of land here and there. Still we did not find any shop to have our morning breakfast.
Later we reached the Megamalai village. A tranquil village free from hasty city buzz down there. The people were relaxed herding their cows, children playing on the grassland, which made me to forget that it was a Monday morning. Wherever I turned it was Green! Green! and Green!!! roofed by the blue sky and cold breeze touching my cheeks. The friendly locals guided us to a nearby local shop to feed our stomach.
The shop was a small hut seemed like it was carved from the mountain, so we had to climb few stairs to reach there. It was a small shop which can accommodate only 8-10 at a time and you have no choice you need to eat what is available, so while other members of our group decided to have their breakfast few of us decided to stay out. I could sense, the ground was so chill that it pleased me to sit down and admire the serene beauty of the place. I sat down facing the tea plantations in front of me surrounded by the mighty mountains. Though it was a bit sunny we were not able to feel the heat because the place was surrounded by trees. The locals claimed the place had cheetahs but we did not witness any.
Later the young bunch in our group decided to visit a lake nearby. We decided not to take the road instead a shortcut through the steep tea estate. We walked through the tea estate helping each other to climb the rocks to reach the lake. When we reached the lake it was 12 noon, the lake was calm, quiet and huge and we were instructed by the locals not to get inside the water since it was deep and had leeches inside. On the other side of the lake we were able to find a couple of them fishing and it also had a church, whereas we had just dense forest behind us and that is when we realised we had taken the wrong way to reach the lake. After clicking few pictures, we decided to make a move.
Since we had hired a bus we were not able to visit irravakullam and vattaparai which was located on top of the hill which was accessible only through a car or a jeep. The locals advised us not to go there by bus because of the condition of road and also if it is not your lucky day you need to wait for a day or two for a mechanic to reach there and repair your vehicle.
Since we had other plans we decided to reach down before 6 PM. And again while going down through those untamed roads we had our fingers crossed!!!!
Few observations from my experience:
1.If you are going with your family good to visit the place next year – 2018. The locals had told the road construction would be completed by then.
2.If you are using your bike you might enjoy the travel, because small vehicles are easy to control on such type of roads. We also observed that many people had used only two wheelers.
3. There is also a private road way which is owned by a resort, you need find. But we had used the road advised by the forest officer i.e. the government road.
4. If you are using public transportation, there are 3 buses available in a day, out of which 2 owned by the government and one by a private operator.
5.Fill your fuel tank and stomach since there are no shops and fuel stations.
6.Do visit Irravakullam (Not Eraivikulam-idduki,kerla) and Vattaparai.
7. If you are going with a big group, you can hire cars by the foot of the hill. Because taking a bus might make your trip awful if you are going with kids and elders.