Once you have arrived at the guesthouse that we’ve arranged for you, prep yourself for a short hike into the Longwood Shola forest. The trail into the wilderness is surrounded by a thick green vegetation of densely wooded trees interspersed with grasslands. This is also the only Shola forest left in the Nilgiris. Make sure to carry your binoculars and camera to capture some of the rare species of birds you will most likely find here. The walk should last about 2 and a half hours. Take in as much of fresh unadulterated oxygen as you can. Once you are back at the guesthouse, we will all come together for a quick introduction and familiarise ourselves for the plan over the next few days.
Not many are aware of this, but around Kotagiri is a famous site for rock art. The art depictions in Vellerikombai are made in natural colours, red ochre specifically, with stylized figures depicting various human forms. Archaeologists have maintained that the art here is prehistoric and belongs to the Neolithic period in particular. We begin the day by driving down to the base of the trek and then hiking up to Vellarikombai. The hike is through a lush forest where locals will guide us to the viewpoint and we will have enough time to spend admiring the rock art. On the way back, we stop by a village where we can enjoy the local cuisine of the tribal folks. You can help the community by purchasing the artwork they make with natural colours and have been doing so for centuries. Post this we ride back to Kotagiri, having spent around 4-5 hours in total. Back by the guest house, you are free to walk around the vicinity and enjoy the starry skies. But make sure to stay mindful as tea estates attract herds of Bison.
There are two ways to go about the day. The first involves driving to a local village called Bikkapathymund about an hour away from Kotagiri and spending the day with the tribals. This is an exciting activity by itself because you can observe the way they lead their life and sample their local delicacies. We stay overnight at the village and gear up for the trek the next day. The other option is to arrive at Bikkapathymund village early in the morning and immediately set out for the hike. The hike is up the Ebbanad slopes, which is an exciting mix of trekking through evergreen forests, open grasslands and quaint villages along the way. Once we have reached the topmost point, you can see into the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary. If you’re lucky, you will even spot a herd of elephants. The trek is an easy one that lasts about 4-5 hours. Post that, you have the choice of staying back at the village or making your way to the guest house at Kotagiri.
We’ll venture on a short drive to Koduthen Mund and hike up to Kodanadu view point, one of the most popular spots in Kotagiri to enjoy breathtaking views of the Nilgiris. The trail will take you through the native Shola forests, provide you with panoramic views of the Moyar gorge which divides the Eastern and Western ghats and tons of tiny streams that are spread across the forest. You can also get a good glimpse of the Rangaswamy peak and pillar. We will wrap up before lunch and head back to Kotagiri for another day of relaxation before making our way out. For those who want to extend their trip, Roads & Journeys will not be taking care of the accommodation. But we will gladly offer a few suggestions. And hence we part, hoping that you will embark on another adventure together.
After Breakfast Depart from Kotagiri.