Escape - Top Station Trek

6:51 AM

Top Station is a hill in the Kanan Devan Hills of Tamilnadu. Top station was the uppermost railway station in this region which was used to transport tea from Munnar. From Top station there was a ropeway to transport tea to Kottagudi.

We had booked return ticket from Munnar and hoping to book a tatkal ticket to Dindigal. But the tatkal tickets got booked in a flash. So, as a quick reroute, we booked KSRTC bus tickets to Theni. We gathered as much information as possible from Pavan who had been there before. He told us that he will join us at the top station in the evening.


The Rajahamsa bus left one hour late from Shantinagar but reached Theni on time by 7:30 am. From Theni to Kurangani(Trek starting point), the distance is about 30 kms. Vadya spoke to a rick in his broken Tamil and the rick guy agreed to take us to Kurangani for 500 Rs. He also agreed to stop for breakfast at point. After breakfast and the diesel rick which was climbing the hills at 10kmph, we reached Kurangani by 10 am. 




Top Station starting point

We got the information from the people at Kurangani and they showed us the starting point. They also told us that if you dont wander off the trail, its hard to get lost.

We started following the trail to be welcomed by much graciously by colorful butterflies  on the way.


A well defined trail


The Common Fivering (Ypthima baldus ) mating


Blue tiger
View on the left side

After 2 kms of trek you find a waterfall on your right side.  From here a neatly laid rocky path starts. 






The lemon pansy.


Common jay

Stone Gods at the waterfall

The zigzag path to Kolukkumalai
Trek path to middle station


Few beauties I found in between..


Common tailorbird


Red whiskered bulbul

The Common Sailer
Nilgiri laughing thrush




We met many villagers who on the way were coming down from the middle station. When asked how far is the middle station their answers were just 2 more turns. But those two more turns turned out to be more than 2 kms and after a while when we had given up hope we saw a temple. The temple had water tap. Finally we had water to refill in bottles.  Soon after the temple is the middle station where there are around 10-15 houses and a shop where he sells only some local drink(sharbat) and nothing else.

After the middle station you will find a big water tank which is used to supply water to the village. You need go around this water tank to climb a pretty steep hill before you see the first glimpse of Top station.



On the way to Top station from middle station. You can see dam in the background.


Spotted dove


After 1km of walk from middle station you can see the top station and get excited that its just half an hour away but its not. It takes about one and half hours atleast before it drains out all the energy you have until you start to listen to vehicle noise. That means you are nearing the top station.






We had food at a hotel at the top station. It started raining. We had to find a place to pitch the tent, so we quickly moved out in search of tea estate  which Pavan had recommended.  After walking a mile in the tea trail we found a place which was cement floored. That was it, it was a perfect camping spot. We pitched tents quickly before one more round of shower poured in.






That's all of us. Pretty still for a long shutter

We put out a campfire cooked food and went to sleeeeeeeeep...




Day 2:

Woke up at 6 am but the sun was already up. Moreover, we couldnt see the sunrise as we had camped in the valley. I climbed a nearest tea hill and took some pictures none the less. 



Thats the cloud covering the whole mountain the background

We packed our tents and put off the fire and walked to the Top station. Had bread omelet and tea there. We enquired about a jeep there to Munnar. One guy agreed to take us for 700Rs. Sounded like a good deal. We hopped into it and drove to Munnar. On the way we had elephant sightings as well.






We reached Munnar by 10 am. Searched a hotel and crashed for the day. Our bus to Bangalore was at 5 pm. The bus was on time and so were we back to Bangalore by 5 am...



Trekking details:
Base camp: Kurangani

Connectivity from Bangalore: KSRTC goes to Theni. IRCTC goes till Dindigal. 
Bangalore - 370Kms -> Dindigal - 74Kms -> Theni - 15Kms -> Bodi - 16Kms ->Kurangini
From Theni you can go to Bodi in Bus or hire a auto directly to Kurangini
Trekking distance:
Kurangani --- Middle station - 6kms
Middle Station ---- Top station - 6kms
Trekking time -- 6 hours
water availability - Available at waterfall, middle station and inbetween middle and top station.
Food availability - There are restaurants and lodges as well on Top station. One can book lodge if don't want to camp.
Camping - Camping is allowed at top station but there is a camping fees around 1000 Rs per tent which is provided by them. You can camp in a tea estate as we did for free :)



Trekking season:
August- March

Difficulty level:
Difficult for amateur trekkers.
Moderate for frequent trekkers.

Must carry:

  • Tent, sleeping bag and mat.
  • Good trekking shoes.
  • Water(1lts). You can fill it up at waterfall or the middle station
  • Leech repellent if you are going before november( Iodex spray, salt). Leech socks are the best options.
  • Flashlight, First aid kit, Knife, rope, energy drinks and food items.
 Important guidelines:
  • Reserve your tickets in advance.
  • Start trekking early in the morning, sooner the better. Try to reach the summit by eod.
  • Stay with the crowd always. 
  • Keep your backpack as light as possible. Dont carry too much of food. 

  Total trekking time:

  • If you are a frequent trekker, you can reach the summit  in 3 hours.

Tips for photographers:

  • Dont forget to capture the macro beauties of the jungle.
  • View from the mountain gives a perfect landscape.
  • Get up early to capture the beautiful sunrise.
Trekking rules:
  • Do not carry alcohol. Do not smoke in the jungle
  • Do not throw anything during the trek. Dustbins are seen at many places. Keep the trekking place clean for the following trekkers.

Ramnath Kamat's Happiness Index for the trek: 7/10

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2 comments

  1. Hi Ramnath

    Such a nice writeup, it made me start planning for this trek. Pics are awesome and mesmerizing.

    Can you give me some more details of where you pitched the tents.

    Thanks in advance
    Raj Meruva

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      Thank you very much for the kind words.
      We pitched tents in the Tata estate next to the peak. This might be illegal but one of the caretakers of the estate just warned us of wandering elephants. You can also pitch tents at the peak.

      Delete

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