Chembra, Kerala 673586
Explore the beauty of Western Ghats, and Hridayathadakam (Heart Lake) by hiking the tallest peak of Wayanad.
Location of Chembra Peak
More about Chembra Peak
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad district of Kerala State in Southern India. Situated at 2,100 meters above the sea level, the peak is a part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats and it adjoins Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala Hills in Kozhikode district. This is one of the most popular hiking destination in entire Kerala with an incredible trail through evergreen forest at lower altitudes and grasslands at the higher altitude. The peak is visible from almost all parts of Wayanad district.
To explore Chembra Peak, one has to reach Meppadi Town located 10 km from the district capital Kalpetta. The starting point of the trek is another 10 km from Meppadi, at the foot of the Chembra Peak where a forest office is situated. The areas near the forest office are covered in tea, coffee and spice plantations. Public transportation is not available after Meppadi, you have to either hire a taxi or come in your own vehicle.
The forest office should give you permission to trek. On the spot permissions are provided in exchange of a fee, no other prior permissions are required to hike the peak. Once the permission has been granted, a guide will direct you through the trekking trails.
The long trekking trail to the top of the peak
The total distance of the trek is around 4.5 km. There are four points during the trek- starting point at the forest office followed by the watch tower at a distance of 1 km, then Hdriyathadakam (heart shaped lake) at 2 km from the watch tower, followed by the peak at 1.5 km from Hridayathadakam. The hike was up to the the mountain peak until few years back but this has changed recently restricting the entry only up to Hridayathadakam. One should clarify this with the authorities before the starting the hike.
The hike till the watchtower
The hiking trail is of moderate difficulty unless you are a complete beginner. The hike from the starting point till the watch tower through green scenery and a tea estate is pretty easy, taking 20 minutes to cover this first kilometre.
The hike to Hridayathadakam
From the watch tower, the hike towards Hridayathadakam starts. This stretch goes through forests and later through open space filled with tall grasses. This portion is of moderate difficulty. The 2 km hike will take around an hour and a half to complete. Hridayathdakam, in the shape of the heart is one of the most fascinating attractions in Wayanad. Seen halfway through the hike, this small lake is a waterhole for wild animals.
The difficult hike after Hridayathadakam
The difficult portion of the trek starts after Hridayathadakam. The hike to the peak is through steep slopes and takes roughly an hour and a half to reach the top covering 1.5 km. During heavy rains, it is not advisable to trek through this part.
At the top of the peak
From the top of the peak, one can see the whole of Wayanad. You can also see the neighbouring district Kozhikode and Malappuram of Kerala state and Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu state. The beauty of the top is thrilling, with numerous other peaks in the vicinity. Due to thick forest cover, its difficult to hike to those peaks.
In addition to the abundance of beauty from the vegetation, some wild animals also inhibit the area. Some of the visitors have seen elephants, gaur (Indian Bison) and spotted dears. Some of the guides have also mentioned that they have seen black panthers and tigers.
If you are planning to do camping at the peak, please note that its not permitted. The forest department does not allow camping on the peak owing to the sensitive ecology and to prevent any trouble from wildlife.
Best time to visit Chembra Peak
Best time to explore the peak will be from September to March just after the rainy season. There will be more greenery during the months of November to January, and in February and March the grass will turn yellowish due to the warm climate. Please keep in mind that any accidental wildfire during this time can cause serious damages to the bio diversity of the place.
It is recommended to avoid the place during rainy months (June to August) as it will be more slippery and a heaven for leeches. In fact the authorities closes the place during these months, do contact them to check at +91 9947896008 or +91 8547602689.
Getting to Chembra Peak
To reach Chembra peak, you have to come to Meppadi town and from there hire a taxi to Chembra Peak. Meppadi town is located 10 km away from Kalpetta, from where there are frequent buses. Banglore and Kozhikode are connected through Kalpetta so it will not be difficult to reach Chembra. The nearest railway station is in Kozhikode, 90 km away and it is connected well to Kalpetta by buses.