New Year at Nelliampathy

Nelli mountains beyond Pothundi dam. Jan 1, 2012

The mountain peaks of Nelliampathy scale beyond 1500 m above sea level.  It is located at the north eastern frontier of the Anamalais further north of Parambikulam.  Pathi means human settlement and Nelli is the goose berry tree found abundant even above 1000 m on the Nelli mountains.  The place names of Nelliampathy and Parambikulam goes back to the Tamil Sangham age (Valath 158).

Paddy fields of Vadakanchery on the way to Nenmara
White-necked Stork in Vadakanchery paddy field close to the town. 1-1-12

On the new morn of 2012 I rode up to the summit of the Gooseberry Mountains.  From Thrissur I crossed the hard Kuthiran pass, and through Vadakanchery and Nenmara reached the blue beckoning peaks of Nelliampathy.  It is 30 km from Nenmara and the road from Nenmara is in good condition.

Nelli mountains from Nenmara paddy fields
Grassland sholas and peaks of Nelliampathy

The minimalistic grassland sholas and evergreen forests of this beautiful highland is really recharging and cool.  It is also home to a variety of flora and fauna.  Bird life is also prominent with horn bills and high soaring raptors.  Small shrines in Pagoda shape dedicated to Dharma Sastha indicate  the Sramana antiquity of the place that is close to Anamalai an important Jain center in the past that is on the eastern slopes of the ghat towards Pollachi.

Pothundi reservoir from the ghat road to Nelliampathy
Red-vented Bulbul, Sitharkundu, Nelliampathy

Sitharkundu view point at around 1000 m, offers spectacular view of the Palghat pass and many reservoirs all around the Palakad district.  Coffee, tea and fruit orchards are plenty atop the mountain.

The Goose-berry Tree at Seetharkundu, Nelliampathy
Sitharkundu view point: Palghat pass and northern arm of western ghats visible towards horizon

Vadamala or the southern tip of the northern ranges of the western ghats on the northern side of the pass is also visible from this southern arm.  After spending the whole day in exploration in high altitude mountains and dales I returned to Thrissur after watching sunset from Ayyappan Thittu.  The NH 47 stretch between Vadakanchery and Pattikad is disgusting.  But the refreshing experience on the Nelli mountains is worth the hard ride.

Chestnut-headed Beeeater at Nelliampathy
Crested Serpent Eagle calling Kee... Kee... and gliding above an orchard in Nelliampathy


Valath, V V K.  Keralathile Sthalanama Charithrangal: Palakad Jilla.  Thrissur:  Kerala Sahitya Akademi, 2005.

Tea gardens of Nelliampathy

An Aquila Eagle at Sitarkundu, Nelliampathy
A lakeside shrine in Nelliampathy
Rose-ringed Parakeet, Nelliampathy
A valley and mountain peaks of Nelliampathy