Velliangiri Hills Trekking & night in a cave @1800 MASL, Coimbatore


Vellingiri trek is one of the best treks in the Western Ghats near Coimbatore, through pristine forests to reach a Siva Temple@ 1800 meters above sea level. We stayed in a cave under a huge 25 meter high rock at the peak of the mountain during the night.


TREKKING AT VELLINGIRI HILLS IN COIMBATORE AND STAY INSIDE A CAVE FOR THE NIGHT AT THE PEAK OF THE HILL. VELLINGIRI HILLS IS THE BEST TREKS IN WESTERN GHATS WITH A SEVEN KILOMETER TRACK.

Vellingiri trek is one of the best treks in the Western Ghats near Coimbatore, through pristine forests to reach a Siva Temple@ 1800 meters above sea level. We stayed in a cave under a huge 25 meter high rock at the peak of the mountain during the night.


Velliangiri Hills Trekking & night in a cave @1800 MASL, Coimbatore

Vellingiri hills (Velliangiri Hills), a part of the Western Ghats 40 kilometers west of Coimbatore is one of the four hills surrounding Attapady plateau. Seen predominantly from Attappady and Coimbatore as a hill with a pinnacle on top, at an altitude of 1778 meters above sea level, it is considered holy and worshiped by the people of Attappady.

IMG_4763llingiri hill / Vellaingi Hills seen from Attappady, Kerala. Vellingiri is considered by the people of Attappady and can be seen from most of Attappady

There is a Siva temple at the top, and a large cave which can accommodate a dozen of people under the pinnacle rock. Pooja is performed during the festive season. Views from the top is amazing: the vast span of the plateau of Tamil Nadu, the lovely barren hills of Attappady to Ooty and the Survani Dam backwater can be seen from the peak. During night, the city lights of Coimbatore and Tiripur can be seen scattered down the valley.

VellingiriGeorgeThengummoottilView of Western Ghats and Vellingiri hills from Peelamedu, Coimbatore. The hill with a pinnacle seen on the extreme right is Vellingiri Hill. Beyond these hills is Attappady in Kerala.

 

Our Trip To Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Hills

122sA devotee performers his morning rituals at the first temple on the way to Velliangiri (Vellingiri).

It was Friday afternoon, a weekend and we,  Zachariah Mathews my classmate and I was looking for some new place for a week end getaway. While talking about this, my eyes got stuck at the tall pinnacle over a big hill seen to the west to our Hostel near airport. “What about his hill?”.

loking-to-attapadyView of the west facing ridge from Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Top

We had no clue about the location of the hill. We asked a few local people, who convinced us that the hill is a few hundred Kilometers away and a few others were very sure that  “It is a part of Ooty” ( A hill station in Tamilnadu 90 Kms North West). Thanks to the NASA`s World Winds through which I could track it and feed it into my Garmin Geko which said it was only 17 kilometers away from us.

steps-to-topThe rock cut stairs en way to Vellingiri.

Next day morning we packed up and started heading West by 7 AM heading north west on our bike along Perur Road. By, half past 9 AM, traveling about 30 Kms, we reached Perur, a small village near a temple, surrounded by hills.  The pinnacle hill was clearly visible to our west.

the-trenchView of a Hill facing Attappady(North) during Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Trail

We continued further along the same road called Siruvani Main Road crossing Alandurai and reached Iruttupalayam. We took a right from the junction and continued along the main road called Pondy road, crossing Semmedu and a few towns,  ignoring the intersection of small roads heading the hill seen to the front.

rocksA pile of stones seen on Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Trail

Finally we reached a temple called Pondy, at the foot of Velliangiri (Vellingiri) after traveling for an hour form Perur. About 50 meter before Pondy, an elephant crossed the road in front of the bike, and all the people at the temple were looking at us with astonishment :to our astonishment until we knew, it was a wild elephant and not a temple elephant. The elephant was followed by a muster of peacocks dancing across the road.

Trekking the Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Hills

That was the end of motor-able road and now we had to trek up along the trail. We parked our bikes near the temple and took a break and had a few doshas at one of the tea shop in front of Pondy temple.

nila-kurinji-flowerNilakurinji Flower bloom in Velliangiri (Vellingiri)

That was the beginning of the trek. We walked along the road behind / north the temple. There was an entrance and we must cross it barefooted. Tradition calls to do the entire Velliangiri (Vellingiri) trek barefooted. The track was wide enough and the climb was made easy by the steps. Thanks to thick canopy of the tall trees balancing with very few roots holding over the huge rocked wrapped with weeds and creepers, for saving our thin skulls from the infrared radiations from the sun.The weeds ran across branches to branches sometimes killing the huge and the old frees and hiding the sun light from reaching the fresh streams of water flowing over the cool rocks fissures.

treesThe dense evergreen forests en Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Trail below an altitude of 1200 Meters above sea level.

A few macaques were following us encouraging our trek with claps and cries. At times they ask food.. by which we were not happy. There were steps laid using stones until a height of 1200 MASL. At some places, the rocks were cut to form stairs.  There were streams giving out fresh water near the small temples. Many old religious devotees were trekking the hill barefooted.

cave-o-hill-topSurvani Dam, source of fresh water to Coimbatore city is located at this valley, hidden under mist.

The environment completely changed as we reached an altitude of 1200 MASL.The track was pretty much flat and the forest changed to grassland-sholas. There were no big trees and the hills in front of us was wrapped with Neela Kurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) plants spotted with its small beautiful blue blowers. The hill was open and the winds was strong. we could see the places around and down the hill clearly : occasionally hidden by mist.

sunsetMorning sunrise from Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Top View: feeling blessed

Neela Kurinji is a plant endemic to Western Ghats and most of it blooms only once in 12 years (next bloom in 2018). There a few species which blooms once in a year or sometimes once in three years. Nilakurinji is found along the high altitude slopes of Munnar in Kerala (Eravikulam National Park)  and Palany Hills in Tamilnadu.

125sThe grasslands on the hill above an altitude of 1200 meters above seal level.

 

Reaching Sitamala

After trekking for another two hours we reached Sitamala: We could see the Coimbatore City to our east, down the hill. We were also able to get a birds eye view of Survani Dam to our South West, half way down the hill. Survani Dam, is the source of fresh water to Coimbatore City.

the-highest-peakThe pinnacle on top of Velliangiri (Vellingiri) hill (the final ascent) seen from Sitamala,

We had our lunch and slept for some time enjoying the cool breeze and the nature`s music.  We were refreshed by the fresh cool mountain water from the stream nearby. We could see the pinnacle a few hundred meters away but it another hour to reach at the top trekking along the very steep track.

www.geoshrad.comView of Survani Dam backwater from Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Top during Evening

 

Sights At The Top

By 4 PM we reached the food of the pinnacle: a hug rock which is about 20 meter high and 10 meters in diameter. It was a huge rock, with two other rocks, almost half the size of ir. One of the rocks resembled the head of a king with crown and there was another resembled the head of a dog which was separated by a big cave of about 20 meters in diameter.

cave-o-hill-topZachariah Mathews, well known to anybody in Adoor, Kerala,  inside the cave. He was a 100 times better in adjusting to live inside the cave

We kept our bags inside the cave and explored the area around. The view of the Attapady plateau and the Nilgiri hills were spectacular, wrapped with thick forests, rolled up with floral patterns of green, red and yellow.

good-morningThe cloud line below us: seen from Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Top.

It was getting late and chill; the beauty of the hill forced us to stay at the hill top, inside the cave very much interested in staying in the cave for the night. We collected a bunch of firewood to keep ourselves warm during the night. By 8 PM, we had our frozen food sitting near the fireplace and slowly crawled into our sleeping bags. During nigh, we could see the city lights of Coimbatore and Tiripur down hill and the street light of the roads connecting the cities.

the-coimbatore-townView of night lights of Coimbatore city from Velliangiri (Vellingiri).

Our early morning wake up was blessed with the view the spectacular sunrise. It seemed to me like looking down from heaven, with cloud base below us (Inversion) and the sun crawling up like a big orange thrown out from a huge ocean of milk. The scene lasted for about half an hour until the heat of the sun accelerated the clouds to ascent to the atmosphere.

we-at-night-in-the-caveThe night was very cold, and we had only National Geographic magazines to burn to keep us warm.

Then we had a good chat with the Adivasis from Attappady, working in at the temple, learning several things about Attapady  and returned back by noon reaching Coimbatore by evening 6.

124sThe trail to Velliangiri in 2010, when i trekked with my friends Sambath and Surendar. The width of the trail has increase three folds than what it was in 2007

PN: Women below 45 are not allowed to climb Velliangiri (Vellingiri) Hill as per religious rules. Please keep the ghats clean and carry back home all the trash. Feb to May is ideal to visit and try trekking at night, to escape from hot sun. Ascent is steep and take sufficient breaks..  Carry torch and warm clothing and sufficient food. Fresh water springs are there at the end of 2nd (Paambaati) hill, end of 3rd (Kaithatti) hill and end of 6th (Haandi). Never harm or feed wild animals and feed on plants on way.

swamya-at-topMe, George Thengummoottil with the swamys of Velliangiri (Vellingiri). They live in one of the caves under the pinnacle rock.

How to Reach : You can take a taxi or public bus (Number 14D) from Gandhipuram, Coimbatore to Isha Foundation (1 hour / 38 kms). Poodi/ Vellingiri foot is just 2 km by walk before Isha Foundation(direct Coimbatore-Poodi buses is available every two hours usually during festive seasons).

the-3big-rocksView of Pinnacle of Velliangiri (Vellingiri) from West (The other side of the trail) in the morning.

 

32 thoughts on “Velliangiri Hills Trekking & night in a cave @1800 MASL, Coimbatore

      • Shankar R

        I would like to climb the hill by this weekend(Sunday, May 22, 2016).
        Please let me know if this is open? Are they allowing people ? Is there a contact to whom I can get in touch with to get these details ? You help in this is appreciated. Thank you

        Reply
  1. Darshan Devendrappa

    Hi, how is the night stay?? Is it allowed to stay top of the hill. Are there Any dangers to go alone on the trek?

    Reply
    • admin Post author

      It was just great, When i visited for the first time, we stayed inside the cave.. Next time, we took tents… but it was rained very badly…and we were all drenched… There can be wild elephants on the way… They will be pretty dangerous, if u act dangerously…

      Reply
    • admin Post author

      Now there are a lot of restrictions.. When I went in 2007, it was just easy and u could just walk up.

      Reply
  2. Niranjan

    Hi,

    May i know if i can climb the hill in this month (august). Is climbing allowed only during certain period?.
    I am planning to cilmb the hill the coming week.

    Reply
  3. Binndiya

    I was at the temple at the foothill of velliangiri in Jan 2016 ..while the sadhus living there seemed otherwise kind..the temple priest nearly got in to a fight with my male companion who was questioning him as to why women cannot go up the velluangiri
    I don’t know whether it’s the supreme court decision..but I did go up the velliangiri hill last month , July 2016..(by rule this wasn’t allowed earlier this year as I am a lady. .but this time no one stopped me)..we left at 5.00 am and returned by 4 in the evening…en route we encountered fallen trees , jackal cries and a green spotted snake just about brushed past my toes in full speed..it was beautiful and exhausting. .the climb is pretty steep but the streams and temples an route really cheer you up..I can imagine why they kept the women folk away. Its impossible in a sari. And 5 hours of climbing on a steep ascent over knee high steps and wild boulders you want Shiva to show up a bit before the peak and just carry you up..
    Regardless it’s been one of the most peacful treks I’ve been on ..I loved it ! And to other women with muscular calves. .you will love it

    Reply
    • Keshika

      Hi Binndiya…I am planning to trek up Velliangiri. Could you email me your email id pls, i would like to get some details on the above. Mine is (keshikamk at gmail.com). Tq.

      Anyone else who are able to share some details on the above, do email me too. Tq

      Reply
  4. Mustansir Lokhandwala

    I’m planning to go for this trek in April end 2017. Want to know about the climate and what to take along with us if we want to stay on the top overnight. Please mail me.

    Reply
  5. arun

    I have a planned for veliangiri trekking on march 11 and 12th. Trekking start at saturday evening..any one join with us.. we are 9 guys from chennai..we don’t have experience in veliangiri..some one have to guide us for night trek.

    Reply
  6. Aravazhi

    I went there two nights before 2017 Maha Shivarathri with my friend. It was very steep and difficult for us I am 57 years sold. My Suggestion: You need to have strong legs, willpower, 4 bottles of water, energy snacks, walking sticks, knee caps and back pack. Chanting while climbing will help. There were steps on first and second hill after that mostly pathway but mostly uphill. There was beautiful scenery on the way and at the top. The seventh hill was very steep. Getting was harder and dangerous for us. It was easy to fall with out stick. No one was selling drinking water. some were selling lemon water with salt BUT Do Not Drink. Salty water will make your mouth so dry . It took us good 6 hours to climb. While climbing down my knee got pain very much which slowed me a lot so it took us 7 hour.
    I would suggest start as early as possible but go in a group. Wear light color cloths, hat, sun glass. We saw groups of people start climbing at 9 PM.

    Seasoned serious climbers supposedly can do 3 .5 hours each way. Obviously we are not.

    I hope this helps.

    Reply
  7. Sandeep

    3 of us are leaving today (March 18th 2017)from coimbatore to trek up the Velliangiti hills. We plan to start the trek at around 11 PM and reach the top in time for the sunrise.Does anyone have any useful tips regarding night time trekking?

    Reply
  8. Rajendran

    We are team of 4-5 members planning to vising this Vellingiri temple on 7th or 8 th Apr 2017.

    What is the good time to start from down?

    How was the climate/safety if we planned to start on night time?

    If anyone planned pls share your comments to mail.rajendranv@gmail.com / 9965064260

    Reply
  9. VINOTH

    hi guys we were went to this hills Saturday (22.042017 it was the wonderful trekking and dharsan of lord shiva known as suyambu lingam we are 8 members climb the hills it was very hard for us compare to others we are working in system based company thats why we face some hard. before you climb you should prepare your body well physical and dont drinkk and smoke at least one month.it will helps climb easily this is our experience

    Thanks

    Reply
  10. V.BALASUBRAMANIYAN

    your information are very useful for us.we have decided to go to velliangiri onmay third week.tanq

    Reply
  11. vijay

    Hi, me and my friend have planned to visit velliangiri on June 4th 2017. Will we be allowed to visit during that time ?
    Is there any special permission we need to get before proceeding ?

    Reply

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