Famous for the steep and rewarding trek that leads up to the peak, and a heart-shaped lake which falls on the way, the Chembra Peak is the highest point on the Wayanad Hill Range in Kerala, a part of Western Ghats mountain range. Beautiful views of the surrounding tea estates that encroach upon the lower regions of the Wayanad ranges, can be seen along the trek.
Chembra Peak Trek
Starting Point: Trekkers to Chembra peak arrive mostly from the nearby town Meppadi. From Meppadi, several jeeps run that take visitors to the Chembra Trek starting point. Visitors arriving from Kalpetta travel to Meppadi first.
The trek provides views of the entire Wayanad district, and some hill ranges even beyond it. The trek can be divided into sections, which mark difficulty levels, and make it easier for trekkers to decide how far they can go up during the trek.
- Starting point to watch tower: It is a fairly easy trek to the watch-tower, and provides great views of the surrounding greenery. The distance to the watch-tower is 0.62 miles (1 kilometer). This easy trek lasts up to twenty minutes.
- Watch tower till the end of the forest: From the watch tower, a small forest starts that soon leads to an open grassland.
- Forest to heart-shaped lake: The walk now is moderately difficult, and leads to a beautiful heart-shaped lake. The lake is called Hridaya Saras in local language. Many lovers are know to trek up to this point just to spend sometime by the lake. On the other side of the heart-shaped lake the Chembra Peak is seen, swathed in mist. The reflections of the hill play on the waters of the lake. Before trekkers reach the Hridaya Saras lake, another lake falls in the way. The views from here are a cameraman’s delight. The Pookode Lake, the Karapuzha Dam catchment, the Ambukhti Mala Hills (famous for the Edakkal caves), the Banasura Peak, and several other hills can be seen from this vantage point.From the watch tower till the lake, it is a distance of about 1.24 miles (2 kilometers). Depending upon trekking speed, this stretch of the trek may take up to two hours. There are several water-sources on the grassland that offer clear and coo drinking water. Water from the nearby Shola forest sometimes seeps into the Chembra grassland. Hence, water-logging is seen at several places.
- Heart shaped lake to the peak: This is the really difficult part of the trek, and unless in excellent form, this part of the trek is not advised. It easily takes a couple of hours to reach the peak from this point. It is 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers) to the peak. From the high point of the Chembra peak, the surrounding peaks are clearly visible.
- Start early in the morning if you plan to trek to the top, as shaded areas are few, and the climb-up becomes arduous in the hot afternoon.
- Do not plan any camping during the trek, as camping at Chembra peak is not permitted.
- Permission for the trek can be obtained from the forest office between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. A guide can also be hired from the office.
- Clean public toilets are available near the watch tower.
- Carry some energy food and lots of drinking water. Many do not prefer drinking from the rainwater lakes, and many do.
Budget accommodation is available in the Chembra estate itself. Meppadi too offers some cheap stay-options, like double-bed rooms for a meager Rs 250-350. Accommodation options at Kalpetta and Vythiri are much more expensive and mostly comprise luxury resorts and spas.
Where is Chembra Peak?
The Chembra Hills is located near the small town called Meppadi, and at a distance of 5 miles from Kalpetta. The Wayanad Hills are bordered by the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala Hills in Kerala.
Chembr Peak Map
How to Reach
The nearest airport is Calicut International Airport. It is 65 miles from the airport to the Chembra peak via the Kozhikode-Nilambur-Gudalur Road. A car will take around two hours and forty minutes to cover the distance.
The nearest railway station is the Kozhikode Railway Station. From there it is a distance of 56 miles to Chembra Peak. A car will take two and a half hours to go to Chembra Peak from the Railway Station.
Reach from Meppadi: It will take about forty minutes via the Chooralmala Road from Meppadi.
Best Time to Visit Chembra Peak
Since the trek is the main attraction of Chembra peak, September to February would be the best months to visit the area. The weather is mild and ideal for some outdoor activity.
Chembra Peak Trekking Time
* Trekking Time: 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
* Visiting Time: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Chembra Peak Entry Fee
* Permits for the trek are available at Rs 500 for a group of ten people. The cost includes charges for a trekking guide.
* Still camera permit costs Rs 25 per camera.
* Parking: Rs 20 per vehicle.
- Chembra peak stands at a height of 6900 feet.
- Treks to the peak are organized by the District Tourism Department.
- The Chembra peak is also famous as the home of rare medicinal herbs.
- The open grassland near the heart-shaped lake (Hriday Saras) served as the golf-course for British planters a hundred years ago. They built a small rest-house and a stable for their horses. Relics of these can be seen till today.
Places to visit near Chembra Peak:
Annapara Shri Mariyammam Temple, Olivumala Church, Olivumala Temple, St Judes Church, Chundale Sreedevi Temple, Vishnumaya Temple, Vythiri Hill Station, Ananthanatha Swami Temple, Vayittiri.
Image credits : M.arunprasad
MS20151106Published On: Monday, March 9th, 2015