The panoramic view from the hilltop is ethereal. The sight of sun rays caressing the rather jagged rocks and the milky white clouds enveloping the valley can take your breath away. Make it a point to start trekking pretty early in the morning so that you can reach atop the hills before the break of dawn. As the sun rises, it is purely magical to see light seeping through the mist hanging heavily in the air.
From a distance, the fluttering white flags, which were planted to guide the trekkers, look like wagging fingers sticking out of the rugged terrain. One has to wade through wild grasslands and huge rock formations to reach the top of the hills.
The hill that is giving an opportunity to travellers for trekking and viewing the spectacular sunrise and sunset is the Cheengeri Hills in Wayanad district. It is noteworthy that one can scale the eye-catching Cheengeri Hills, which is on the way to Kaduvakuzhi from Ambalavayal in Sultan Battery, quite comfortably without much strain.
The state tourism department recently took the responsibility of allowing entry to tourists who want to go on a hike on the Cheengeri hills under the Cheengeri Rock Adventure Tourism project. Earlier, only local people used to scale the hills.
As there is no forest or wildlife in the region, one can start trekking well before sunrise and on the halfway mark trekkers can take a breather resting on a large area of barren land. Those who can’t walk long distance can sit on chairs near the ticket counters and enjoy the raw beauty of nature.
The tourists can scale the hills by holding to hanging ropes tied to the rocks or by taking an alternative route with less risk. Travellers are allowed entry from 6 am to 9.30 am and from 2 pm to 4.30 pm and they should start returning to the base by 6 pm. The entry fee for adults is Rs 80 and for children, Rs 50 and you will be charged more if you are carrying a still camera.
When you reach atop the hill an expansive rock with patches of wild creepers will greet you. From the peak, you can get a bird’s-eye view of the hills such as Kolagappara, Manjappara and Phantom Rock and the reservoir of the Karapuzha dam. The Chenguthaya ‘kokka’ (precipice) is on the opposite side of the Cheengeri Hills.
A winding pathway leading to a building, probably a school, and a huge tree next to it look like an exquisite oil painting with a perfect blend of colours on a huge canvas. A small cave, in which only a person can enter, adds to the virgin beauty of the hills.
It is always better to start trekking early in the morning as the sun will be beating down from 9 am and there is no escaping the heat during the daytime as there are no trees in the vicinity. And if you are planning to see the sunset, gear up for hiking from 4 pm so that you can return after dusk. The tourism department is also putting in place facilities for overnight tent camping atop the Cheengeri Hills.