Agasthyakoodam – Trekking and Bird watching near Trivandrum
Bird watching in Agasthyakoodam
Agasthyakoodam is nature’s poetry to bird watchers and one of the highest peaks in Kerala. It has long been known as a bird watcher’s paradise. Having a great exotic avian species, it can be viewed from near Neyyar Dam as well as Bonacaud tea estate. Agasthyakoodam is also known for its remarkable flora and fauna. Certain rare medicinal herbs which have been discovered here. The air itself is said to have medicinal qualities. Over 2000 species including lichens, orchids, mosses, and ferns have been recorded in the area.
The peak was named after the sage Agasthya who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas and a shrine dedicated to him is located here. Agasthyarkoodam is a pilgrimage center for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, In Tamil traditions, Agastya is considered as the father of the Tamil language and the compiler of the first Tamil grammar called Agattiyam or Akattiyam. and also the Malayalam language is considered to be born from Agasthya. There is a small stone statue of Agathiyar at the top of the peak and the devotees can offer pujas themselves. The peak of Agasthyarkoodam can be reached only by trekking up to it. The route “Neyyar-Agasthyakoodam” is not open to the public.
Trekking in Agasthyakoodam
The peak is a 90-minute drive with Bonacaud being the last motorable spot. Trekking is restricted by the forest department as only a few people are allowed to go up the peak. So, one must get a forest pass from the wildlife office in Thiruvananthapuram. The ideal time to visit the palace is from January to April. The trekking path, nearly 35 km, is from Bonacaud.
Vehicles reach only till Bonacaud which is around 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram because of restriction by forest Dept. The trek to the peak is 20 km long from Bonacaud and requires two days. The first part of the trek can be started from the base station Bonacaud in the early morning and is 14 km through the forest to the camp. Elephants and wild bulls are in abundance in this part especially in the evenings. The final part i.e. the 6 km long trek can be done from the camp to the top of Agathyakoodam mountain on the second day.
Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is among 20 new sites added by UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves in March 2016. Other major rivers which originate from the mountain are the Karamana River, which flows through the Thiruvananthapuram district and is the major source of drinking water to the city, and the Neyyar River (also in the Thiruvananthapuram district).
Agasthyakoodam – Trekking and Bird watching
Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram Central, around 61 km from Bonacaud.
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, around 69 km from Bonacaud.
From Neyyar Dam to Agasthyarkoodam is 32 km
From Bonacaud, near Ponmudi to Agasthyarkoodam is 23 km.
Where to Stay
Accommodation facilities are available. Please contact us for more details at 8589897575
Tour packages to Agasthyamala
Road: 43 km from Thekkady
Rail: 115 km from Kottayam Railway Station
Air: 159 Kms from Cochin International Airport