Day 2 - Return Trek
Packed our belongings, settled our bills and off we go for the return trek of 5 Kms from Sannidhanam to Pampa.
The initial flat track soon appeared amidst the hills.
Seems to be cloudy day. If rain falls then, we will be drenched for sure.
We were moving along the newly concrete laid track. Could see lot of Dolis carrying pilgrims. The stamina of the Doli carriers is amazing. Wonder how they trek this hilly path almost 4 times a day, meaning 40 kms per day with this load.
The steep descent was approaching after the rather plain roads. We were thinking of going through the same route which we had come. So I was planning to keep my camera inside my baggage sinces there was nothing much to photograph except the concrete laid track and steep steps. There was a good flow of pilgrims too.
But somethng good was in stock, which I never expected. When we reached a small junction there was a road towards the left which one of the shop keepers told that is the "Swami Ayyappan" road, christened after the film "Swami Ayyappan" since this road was made by the producer of this film based on his profit from this film.
The shop keeper warned that this route is pretty rocky, slippery, has leeches and the distance is more than the normal route. Most of the people along with me decided to follow the normal route. I had no confusion on which route I will chose. This is the view I could get from this point itself.
So 6 of us proceeded via the swami Ayyappan Road.
Soon we stumbled upon a big tree fallen across
Jumped up over this
Stopped for a photo shoot here.
Jeep trails, it will be really adventurous to drive a 4 x 4 through this route.
But not permitted for civilians. This track is used to bring essentials to sannidhanam in a tractor.
The atmosphere was simply awesome. Greenery, sound of nature, cool and cloudy, what more should one ask for?
I was really enjoying this trek
At some stretches there were huge rocks, which could become quite slippery if it rains.
Huge trees were present even on the track, but their roots are visible. Soil seems to be eroding out during rains and the fate of this tree is pretty clear.
At some places the rocks laid in this track has been moved out of place due to the heavy rains and is quite difficult to walk. Still it was enjoyable
This dog was seen resting here.
The roads were paved in such a way that a vehicle could climb up. That means there were lot of hair pin bends.
At some points we could even bypass the hairpin bends by climbing down the hill. Little adventurous though
This colourful snail also seems to be climbing down from Sannidhanam.
A view of another hair pin bend on this beautiful road.
Another short cut to bypass a hair pin bend.
We were in a different world altogether. Enjoyed the flora and fauna, we had no idea of the distance covered and were not worried at the distance to cover also.
Still it was very cloudy. This is the view on our sides
Another of those big trees in parallel to the ground
Voila a stream. A stream of cool and clear water.
The roads were becoming plane again with dense greenery on both sides
Suddenly we found that we reached our destination near Pampa. We had completed a distance of 6 kms in 1 hour leisurely trekking through this beautiful route and never felt like we had spend this much time here, just the feeling which we have when we see an interesting film.
We climbed up the final round of steps and reached the Pampa junction where our vehicle was parked.
There was a heavy rush of vehicles here and finding our vehicle was a tough job.
Finally we found our vehicle and started our return journey. Still it was very cloudy. One snap taken near chalakkayam from inside the vehicle.
It was almost 2pm and we had to answer the call of our stomach. Stopped near a road side shop and enjoyed the traditional rice soup and kappa (Tapioca dish), both of them served hot and really spicy.
We were back in our bus proceeding slowly back to our homes.
Passed Nilakkal siva temple, in whose premises we had lunch while on our way up
Reached the picturesque Laha
By 3pm stopped for one more food break. Captured a road side view amongst the rubber plantations.
From there on it was steady progress and reached our homes back at Thiruvananthapuram by 7.00pm.
The trek through the swami ayyappan road brought a different dimension to this trip. The picturesque road is sure to be in our minds for a long time to come. The lack of heavy number of pilgrims in this route also added to the way we could enjoy those prestine environment.
Links to all parts of this Travelogue
Sabarimala Pilgrimage (Part 1): Preparations and Onward Journey
Sabarimala Pilgrimage (Part 2): A morning stroll through Sabarimala forests
Sabarimala Pilgrimage (Part 3): Picturesque Swami Ayyappan Road and the return journey
My travelogues on some beautiful destinations nearby. (Click on the names to view the travelogue)
1. Peruthenaruvi - An unexplored but beautiful rocky location near Erumeli where natures unleashes its water craft in full fury
2. Panchalimedu - The historical place, where Pandavas hid along with Panchali. This unexplored hill station is near Kuttikanam and the Ponnambalamedu is clearly visible from this location
3. Vagamon - Know as The Swiss of Kerala and it does complete justice to its name