They say time travel is still a myth, technically maybe. However, sometimes life allows you spaces to almost walk back in time, find places and people who seem untouched by the fast moving pace of urban civilization. You can step into the threshold of ancient tradition, wilderness and civilization as you witness and the lifestyle and habitats of the Kurumba tribe in Vallericombi.
Vallericombi is 1500 m above sea level and is less travelled destination of the southern parts of India. Filled with rich myths, ancient stories and legends, the Kurumba tribe is sure to fascinate any traveler.
You will start at 8:30 am from your pick up point by driving down to Mamaram, a village which is 1600m above sea level. On your way you will cross semi rural villages and forests at the foothills of Mettupalaym.
Once in Mamaram, you will hike up to Vellericombai, passing tea gardens, evergreen forests, Irula hamlets, all surrounding the Kurumba hamlet. You will spend time bird watching as this region homes a vast variety of avifauna in the Nilgiris. Moving further you will be able to experience traditional Kurumba culture, art while enjoying your refreshments. After the interaction with the Kurumba folk, you will gear up your strengths for the challenging climb to the sacred Elitahbare, featuring rock paintings. You’ll not only learn about the significance of the Rock paintings but also about the tribal art of honey hunting.
You will head back by the afternoon, for a delicious Kurumba vegetarian meal which you can enjoy under the shade of the 200 year old banyan tree. Before you head back you can get yourself a Kurumba artwork souvenir, to remind yourself of these simple folk and their peaceful coexistence with nature.
Similarly Bikkapathy Mund simmers with the rich culture of the tribal people. There is a strange simplicity in their ways and their lifestyle which fascinating. An amalgam of history, tradition, and distinct lifestyle and ancestry of the tribal people fills one with awe and wonder and that is what can be lived and experienced in this trek in the Nilgiris.
The single day trail to Bikkapathy Mund starts from Kotagiri at around 8:30, crossing semi rural areas patched with the vast landscapes of forest and agricultural lands you reach the Toda Hamlet.
On reaching the hamlet you will be introduced to the Toda way of life. While men are mostly cattle herders, women specialize in Toda embroidery. Their tradition is mainly centered around worshipping the wild forms of nature, reminiscent of the pagan culture. With a cup of coffee, will brew the stories, legends and folklore from the times of yore that you will most certainly enjoy learning about. You will find out about various rites and rituals they follow from the elders of the hamlet. Don’t fail to notice the beautifully embroidered Toda garments which you could perhaps purchase if you wish to.
You will be engulfed by nature while you hike via the Shola forests. Once you reach the grasslands, the Mudumalai plateau will greet from down the slope as you drink in the scenic beauty of the Mysore hills in front. After drinking the sheer beauty of the place in, you will be head back to the hamlet to enjoy a two course vegetarian traditional Toda lunch.
You can then explore the Hamlet further and hike up to an isolated temple from where you can enjoy the beautiful sunset with the Nilgiris in the foreground.
You will then head back to Kotagiri, the rife memory stirring inside akin to the hot cup of rich coffee that you will sip in the evening.