Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Pachamalai Hills Near Attur,Salem

Pachimalai Hills are a part of the Eastern Ghats in the southern state of India,Tamil Nadu. The hills are spread over the districts of Tiruchirapalli, Salem and Perambalur. Pachai in Tamil means green and the Pachimalai hills is greener than the some of the hills located nearby. The rivers flowing through the hills are Kallar and Sweata Nadi. The Veeraramar Dam is located in the hills across the Kallar River. The waterfalls in the hills include Mangalam Aruvi, Koraiyar Falls and Mayil Uthu Falls. The most cultivated fruit in the hills is jackfruit. 



There are many native tribes inhabiting the hills. The hills are spread over the towns of Thuraiyur, Esanai, Perambalur, Gangavalli, Thammampatti, Arumbavur,Malayalappatti, Thedavur and Uppiliapuram. 


Pachai means Green and malai means mountain.Pachamalai which spread with a few ranges is a haven of the tribal of this region with unique culture and way of life.It's altitude is 500 meters to 1000 meters above msl.This mountain range has in itself different small regions like Thenpara nadu,kombainadu ,Aathi Nadu and Vannadu. It is a good hill range for trekking, to enjoy nature and the animal life .Small streams and falls add colour to these hills .



Mythulu Falls (Chinnamangalam Mayil Water Falls)


PERAMBALUR: Here is good news for nature lovers and environmentalists. The Mayil Ootru Falls at the Pachamalai Hills near Ladapuram is getting a lot of water, thanks to the monsoon showers.
Though the falls remains dry for the major part of the year, a sharp spell of rain is sufficient to rejuvenate it and attract tourists for a couple of months from late October or early November.
Although a person can drive up to a hamlet in the vicinity of the hills, he has to trek for some distance along a narrow path.

The Collector, Anil Meshram, who visited the hills on Wednesday, said that steps would be taken to develop the falls into a tourist centre.
A pathway from the village would be set up ensuring easy accessibility to the hills, he added.

      
Myluthu falls is located on the foot hills of Pachamalai, Tamil Nadu, a place of scenic beauty. Approximately 15 km away from Perambalur (district Perambalur) by road to Thuraiyur. 


    

A dense forest region, best for trekking and other adventurous activities. A natural stream, suited for swimming. There is also a waterfall, high up in the hills called Akaya Gangai.

 It is perceived to have high medicinal values as it flows across plethora of herbs with medicinal values.


Hidden Beaty
You know you've left the city when yellow and black signboards bear names like Manachanallur, Pulivalam, Pagalavadi and Thuraiyur; when tree trunks marked by the state highway number, line up like sentries on either side of the road and when the carpets of cultivated green roll out seamlessly at the periphery of your eyes. As the road narrowed like a funnel that ended at the forest checkpost, the wind lashing my face shed a few degrees of heat, while the sun squeezed through the thick canopy to dapple the road ahead. Bound towards the reserve forests of Pachaimalai near Tiruchi, I was being escorted by the forest department to the Yettu Erumaipalli falls.


I wondered sitting in the jeep what undiscovered looked like: according to M. Pichai, Assistant Conservator of Forests (who was accompanying me), the falls are unknown to even people living at the foothills of Pachaimalai. “The Malayali Gounder Tribe living here are the only ones who know about it,” he tells me. The thrill of being let in on a secret mounted as the jeep manoeuvred 15 sharp hairpin bends right at the beginning of the climb. The landscape rose beside us to stony heights before falling on the other side into the green depths we were leaving behind.

A dusty view point jutted out of the hillside to dutifully expose a facet of the rolling panorama you could capture for memory. The butterflies darted purposefully between flowering shrubs on the edges and the tapioca grown in abundance swayed lazily in conversation with the now chilly wind. Throughout the climb, the road was so narrow that I wondered if our jeep would have to retrace its path in reverse gear, to make space for an oncoming vehicle.

Encountering no vehicle from the opposite direction, we drove past men squatted on their haunches outside a stone building. Seated beneath its broken glass windows, their towel-turbaned heads turned to catch a glimpse of those within the jeep. The signboard ahead announced we had reached Top Sengattupatti, clearly the top of this 1,000 m high hill.

Our destination was about eight kilometers from the Forest Guest House in Top Sengattupatti. On the way is a dilapidated house, which Mr. Pichai says was the guest house built and used by the Britishers. The space outside the old guest house seems to be lit by sunlight that looked like it had rubbed off some green from the forest cover above, making it seem surreal. The spot has been featured in Tamil movies, I'm told.

The closest hamlets to the Yettu Erumaipalli falls are Periyamangalam and Chinnamangalam and the only signs of human occupation were the neatly cut out step field with their own nel kurudus (mud huts that store farm produce), some clothes drying on a bush and two pigs left bound by someone, probably for a feast.

We were greeted by two bikes at the end of the incline beyond which lay the falls. Somebody's already here, said the local forest ranger who had hopped on to the jeep at Top Sengattupatti. If water falling from a height fell without a sound, this spot would have evaded discovery forever, I thought to myself while I looked around. From where we stood, the sound of water gushing downwards, and the thin mist before us were the only clues.

Taking the lead, Mr. Pichai and the forest ranger disappeared through a small tunnel like opening in the outgrowth. Looking down at the path dotted by rounded boulders of all sizes, I was reminded of my adventure trip in school. I stepped on to the rocks gingerly, laughing nervously every time I went off balance. The passage led to a clearing that opened out on both sides to show where the water came from and where it began falling at a steep incline. Seated there on a large boulder were two men (probably from the neighbouring villages) who looked slightly bewildered by our crowd. They were steaming some root vegetable over a campfire for their snack.

Undisturbed moss coated the rocks making them slippery, while the water was coldly defiant of the scorching sun. A spot on the banks bore colours probably from the horns of the Pongal-painted cows that were washed there that morning and the birds chirped loudly, excited by the sudden increase in human voices. Maybe they weren't too happy about the discovery.
Hindu Article




PACHAMALAI EVOKES forested hills and verdant valleys. But, as one has learnt the hard way with RLTs, nice sounding names do not always lead to nice places.
"Why do you want to go to Pachamalai, there is hardly anything there," said a forester when I told him I was planning a visit.
However, others assured me that a trip to Pachamalai is well worth the journey. I headed from Tiruchi towards the North on the Musiri-Athur-Salem Road via Thuraiyur, an 80 km-odd drive. As I approached the Pachamalai hills, I tried to picture them in my mind's eye — they are said to resemble an inverted tumbler or horse shoe.
The 14 km drive up the ghat road began at Shobanapuram and had 11 hair-pin bends. About three km uphill, a breath-taking view of the valley unfolded. I stopped to take in the scenery at Top Sengattupatti.
True, Pachamalai is not as `green' as its name suggests but as I discover it is a wonderful refuge from the bustle of a city.
About 1,000 metres above mean sea level, the range comprises patches, which alternate in shades of brown and green. Cliffs and vales dot the landscape.
Brown, I gathered, is due to tapioca cultivation done by the tribals on patta land. This erodes the top soil exposing the bare rock.
The forest extends over 425 sq km and comprises four types of trees: deciduous, semi-moist, sub-tropical dry deciduous and dry deciduous.

Mahogany and sandalwood trees are found in plenty. Pachamalai also has a wealth of medicinal plants, tubers, flowers, birds and butterflies, besides monkeys, squirrels and bears.
The original inhabitants still live there, in relative isolation from the mainstream. I learnt from them about a trekking route, a four km stretch that leads to Ramanathapuram via Kanadapatti. The area is deafeningly silent. Trekking is not too difficult here, but one can hardly spot animals. However, an unusual sight greets one at the foothills near the Periaswamy Koil in Shobanapuram. Hanging from the branches of two huge banyan trees are hundreds of bats — the Indian flying fox. The species is unique to this area.
A sense of eeriness prevails, for even in broad daylight, it is dark under the trees, thanks to the bats. Just clap once and the bats take off and after circling about for a while, return to the branches. The view reminds you of a scene from a horror movie.
As for the Pachamalai hilltop, one can hardly find people there, as it has not been promoted as a picnic or trekking spot.
If you are looking for some peace and quiet, Pachamalai is a possible destination.
Hotel accommodation is available in Thuraiyur and Perambalur, besides the forest lodge for which permission is required.


Medical Plants


Pachamalai hill range extends into Trichy and Salem districts of Tamilnadu. The approach to the hills is from Uppiliapuram. The base station is Shobanapuram 4 Kms from uppiliapuram. The 12 km drive from foot hill to Top senkattupatti is a wonderful location for people interested in medicinal plants. As one reaches the first habitation of Thenpuranadu, hamlets on the right side belong to Trichy district, while the left side belong to Salem district. CTMR team comprising of Vd.S.Usman Ali, Dr.T.Thirunarayanan. Dr.S.Rajkumar along with Dr.T.R Siddique Ali interacted with the Village administrative officer, Tribal headmen individually and tribal men collectively at Top sengattupatty, Periyanagoor, Mayalampaddi, Nalla mathur. To the surprise of the team inspite of the rich availability of medicinal plant flora, the tribals have completely forgotton the traditional medical knowledge excepting two village elders who treat patients for poisonous bites. One of the Govt. Primary Health Centre also has a Siddha physician and only a very few patients take traditional medicine. Apart from cattle rearing and Tapioca monoculture no other economic activity is being carried out. The monoculture of tapioca has led to destruction of the native flora. Surprisingly collection of Minor Forest produce like Chebulic myrobalan is also not being taken up by the tribal as they consider that less remunerative due to the high transportation cost.

Naripadi village 7 Km from kodamalai on the other side of Pachamalai slope in the Gangavalli Taluk of salem was no better as most of the tribal have taken up other vocation. Youngsters have joined central Govt departments like railways and postal department. An eighty year old Poojari of the temple is the only person still preserving traditional knowledge and also growing medicinal plants for dispensing to his patients


Another interesting hillrange ,adjoining kollihills is Pachamalai but less in height.The people are hardworkers and selfsuffecient in food and other basic needs.

Trekking:
For trekking in Pachaimalai,

District Forest Officer
Tiruchy Division
3E, Kajamian 1 st Street
Kaja Nagar
Mannarpuram. Tiruchy20
Phone : 91-431-2422165 

For further details
Science and Adventure Club, Tiruchy1.
Thiru  Ramanan
Hill Skills- Trekking,
Wild Life and Environment Club.
Phone No: 0431-2457284

Essential informations about Trekking

Trekking
Long Hard expedition of any terrain with definite purpose.

Advantage & Purpose

World's full-fledged health oriented sport with field study,research,soil systems,future disasters,poachers activities,ecological values, food chain&webs,survival & surveying of living beings, happenings,recreation along with 'Physical and Psychological strength for sound body and sound mind

Field Kit
Trek sack / knap sack(For one day) / camouflaged dull coloured Jeans-salvar kamees / T-cap/shoes(with good grip) / socks 2 pairs/wind jacket / Bermuda/Belt pouch/pocket diary/pencil/Identity Card/whistle / pocket knife/mug/plate/water bottle(2)/toilet kit/towel/air pillow / sleeping bag or ground sheet &blanket / torchlight/candle & match box/compass / Essential medicines / Pill case/Massage cream / Sewing Kit / Binocular / Camera kit / First aid kit / Area map / Map reader / Permission letter / Packed food/Fruit juices / Glucose / Sugar / Salt / Chocolate.
Planning
Know the areas, season, people culture and climatic conditions and obtain permission letter from forest department and engage local 2 or more guides with good experience to lead and pack the trek.

Disposal
Kindly bring back all the wastes which are not decomposable by earth & wild life. Bury all decomposable garbage. Bring back tin, bottles, and plastic things etc., to the plains. Put off fire in case if you ignited it in case of emergency.

Precautions & safety

Avoid using perfumes / Don't' carry sound making devices / Trekking pack restricted to 9+3 guides / camping tenting sites should be laid on bare land / Avoid camp fire & smoking / Trees are to be treated as you / Ensure the camp site environmentally clean before you leave / If you see any fire put off / while trekking, do 'cat' walk/ If you sight any animal send message by face, hand body or leg sign or murmur / flowers meant for plant propagation & insects food / Don't pluck flowers / Don't collect flora or fauna (dead or live) from hills, its service required for earth / have sense of animal behaviour: Elephant chasing-run towards slope / Use dry clothings to keep your warmth / Always keep quarter bottle of water spare for the use of emergency dehydration / Avoid attracting animals by throwing eatables / Some times trekking will discouraging, punishing frustrating, exhilarating still worth while to have for our future

Carry native seeds, saplings, rootings etc to plant in open hills. Carry excess salt and used dresses to give it to tribals if you sight them.

RECORDS

Take notes and take photographs of peculiar things for memory, environment education for official to make decision etc.

FEEDBACK

After trekking draft your experiences and findings along with thanks letter to the concerned officials usually forest and tourism officials

LAST WORD
Trekkers must follow safety standards, environmental codes and accept the nature’s strict and impersonal rules.

Mr. Namperajan. A.S
'Hill Skills- Trekking, Wild Life and 
Environment Club"
No 21, Kauvery Street
Ayyappa Nagar, Tiruchirappalli - 620 021.
Te l: 0431-2457284 
Cell : 98940 99510
Further details contact Tel.2254175 

Route Map:


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