Ranipuram Peak, Kerala 671532
About Ranipuram Peak
The peak changes its colour depending on the season. From reddish orange in the summer months to dark green in the rainy months.
Ranipuram peak, located 750 meters above sea level on the Western Ghat mountains situates in Kasaragod district of Kerala State in Southern India. It is one of the popular trekking destinations in the district. The hill is covered in evergreen stunted tropical montane forest, tropical forest, and grasslands. It takes around two hours to climb up to the top of the peak, first through the forest and then through the grasslands without shade.
Ranipuram was known as Madathumala in earlier days. The peak and the hills are part of Kerala state but the forest itself merges into those of Karnataka, the bordering state. The hill is a part of Talacauvery (or Talakaveri) wildlife sanctuary and forms an elephant corridor between the two states. Elephant herds can be seen grazing and roaming around the peak at times. You can also see many varieties of birds and butterflies in the canopies of the forest. From the highest point of the peak, you have a panoramic view of the landscapes and green valleys with the Arabian Sea at the far west.
The view is even more magnificent during sunsets but since the peak closes its operations at 5PM, you will have to get special permission from the forest officer to stay late and enjoy this breathtaking view.
The journey to Ranipuram Peak
The drive towards the hill is quite magnificent in its own. You have to navigate through small towns and then through the steep hills and forests. The routes to the hill is perfect for a small road trip but do keep in mind that vehicles with too much load won't be able to reach the top, simply because they will not have sufficient power to tackle the steep climb.
Once you are at the starting point of the hike, vehicles will not be allowed further and you have to be on foot from there on. There are forest guards and rangers posted in the entrance where you need to pay fees to enter the hiking trail. Electric fences are bordering the forest, to prevent elephants from entering human-occupied areas and vice versa.
To reach the peak itself, an hour plus long hike through the forest and then through the grassland is required. If you are going in the summer months be sure to take plenty of water as its going to be pretty hot. The lack of trees in the hiking trail makes the climb hard under the scorching sun. While temperature is the problem during summer months, during the rainy season it's leeches. They pretty much cover all the areas of the peak and the hill. Do keep some salt with you to get rid of them. In the rainy months fog can cover many portions of the hill and thereby limiting the awesome view around.
The small hut made of stones
On the hiking trail is a forest guard hut made of stones which sits in the middle of the grasslands. Its a small structure with some of the sides damaged - possibly by elephants. There is a natural pool too nearby where elephants come to drink and play in the water. The pool will be dry in peak summer. This is one of the numerous pools in the area which are used by wild animals.
On top of Ranipuram Peak
At the peak, you will find a big rock that looks like the neck of a dinosaur. You can climb up and stand on the rock but do expect strong winds - and you will even get wet from the mists. From here you will be able to view the endless chains of mountains of the western ghats, the vast green valleys, forest trails, the small towns below, and occasionally you can spot wild animals like bison, elephant, and deers.
There are some shops in the entry point of the peak where you can get drinks and snacks. Its really helpful to have some as you will be quite tired after the hike.
Getting to Ranipuram Peak by public transportation
Nearest small town is Panathady at a distance of 10 km. The nearest large town with railway station is at Kanhangad (43 km), connected to rest of the places of the country. There are buses from Kanhangad to Panathur that passes through Panathady. From Panathady, there are no other means of transportation, except of the jeeps that can be hired to reach the peak.
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