Walk the Western Ghats

11 Days in South India: Cochin | Windermere Estate |Camp Footprint | Top Station | Devikulam | Suryanelly | Kottagudi | Munnar

  • Cochin
  • Windermere Estate
  • Camp Footprint
  • Top Station
  • Devikulam
  • Suryanelly
  • Kottagudi
  • Munnar

Please contact us for a detailed itinerary and current price.   Trip Code: WV20WWG




  • Introduction

    Discover the peaks and unique ecosystem of the soaring Western Ghats of South India with this highly active private walking trip which includes vigorous day walks and overnight stays in plantation bungalows and eco lodges, with the option of a night in a base camp tent.

    This private tour of South India leads you through varying terrains and eco systems of shola forests (high montane forest interspersed with patches of grasslands), cardamom and tea plantations as well as pine and Rhododendron-covered hills, with spectacular views throughout.

    There is a balance of full day treks, some strenuous, followed by days at a more relaxed pace or at leisure if you prefer. There is time for tea tasting and engaging with locals along the way.

    The accommodation is all more than comfortable and each property has a unique personality, with a mix of eco-lodges and plantation bungalows such as Camp Footprint and Windermere Estate. This sample itinerary includes a night at a tented camp however this can be replaced with a night at a nearby lodge if you prefer not to camp.

    As our itineraries are tailor-made and all travel arrangements are private, we can easily modify routing and walks based on your preferred interests, duration and fitness levels.

    For the more adventurous traveller seeking a mix of activities, India Unbound offers a longer itinerary including kayaking and cycling with hikes.

    Please be in touch with us for a tailor made itinerary

  • Day 1 Cochin

    You will be met and welcomed upon arrival at Cochin International Airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure.

    With virtually no traffic Kochi, also known as Cochin, is the perfect place to explore by foot. The quiet streets around the Chinese fishing nets are filled with shops and restaurants, while a short auto-rickshaw ride away is Jewtown, which is full of antique shops and cafes.

  • Day 2 Windermere Estate

    This morning you will be met at your hotel to commence the drive to Munnar. The journey is around 4 hours. Upon arrival check into your accommodation at Windermere Estate.

    Located high on Observatory Hill, Windermere Estate is surrounded by a 24-hectare cardamom plantation. A throwback to the old ways of colonial life, the property’s emphasis is minimalism rather than embellishment and homely warmth over opulence. Its large rooms are set in bungalows of gabled roofs, high ceilings, red cedar beams, terracotta floors rubbed with linseed oil, hardwood floors polished with traditional wax and teak furniture. Cooled by the surrounding mist all day, there are no fans or air conditioners here, for none are ever required.

    Spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying your accommodation with its breath-taking view of the surrounding gardens, hills and valleys. You may like to take a stroll through the estate’s garden with its hundreds of flowering shrubs along with trees of coffee, guava, peach, pepper and gooseberries.

    Should you wish to go for a walk, that can be arranged. Every evening the estate’s naturalist conducts a walk through its cardamom plantation. A 4-kilometre route, it takes about 2 hours to cover, and is well worth doing. It gives you an opportunity to learn about the botanical terms and peculiar characteristics of the flora and fauna, as you spot dozens of varieties of birds and butterflies. Different varieties of plants are grown expressly to attract butterflies.

    Alternatively, you could visit the town, explore the markets and maybe visit the Tea Museum.

  • Day 3 Camp Footprint

    This morning transfer from Munnar to Yellapetti. The journey is around an hour.

    Upon arrival at Yellapetti village commence your arrival walk up the hill to Camp Footprint. Check into your accommodation.

    Camp Footprint is located half way up the slopes of Meesapulimali, the second highest peak in South India. With a view of the hills on one side and the valley on the other Camp Footprint is located in a forest reserve where the chances of spotting wildlife are good. With just 3 tastefully designed Tepee’s, with all comforts including en-suite facilities, it is truly a great glamping experience. During your stay you will have the services of a naturalist.

    The remainder of your day is at leisure to relax, take in the views and fresh air.

  • Day 4 Top Station

    This morning commence your walk to Top Station. This is a walk mainly through shoal forest and tea plantation offering some spectacular views.

    After a break for lunch at Top Station, walk on to Korangani Valley. This is a decent and you will be walking down the old labour route which was used by the planters to bring their workers from the plains to work in the tea plantations in Munnar. You will arrive Korangani village by early evening.

    You have the option of camping in an Areca plantation or should you wish to avail of slightly more comfortable accommodation you could stay at a motel in Mundal, a drive of around 30 minutes.

  • Day 5 Devikulam

    This morning transfer from your accommodation in Korangani up the mountain to the tea plantations of Harrisons at Lockhart Estate. Upon arrival check into your Tea Planters Bungalow.

    The Manale Bungalow is an original British bungalow built over 150 years ago, still retaining its original character. While most of the original furniture has been retained some refurbishments have been made to ensure a comfortable stay. The bungalow has 2 bedrooms, is fully staffed and has wonderful views from the lawns and lovely gardens. The food served is simple and wholesome with the ingredients sourced locally.  A stay at Manale Bungalow is a responsible tourist initiative by the tea company to maintain the bungalows and retain their staff from the local area.

    This afternoon enjoy a walk in the plantation and see the process of tea including the visit to a tea factory.

  • Day 6 Suryanelly

    This morning set out for a long walk from Lockhart Estate, mainly through tea plantations and grassland of the Western Ghats to the Upper Suryanelly. Upon arrival settle into your accommodation in a permanent tented camp on the upper slopes of the plantation. The remainder of your day is for relaxing and enjoy the splendid views.

  • Day 7 Kottagudi

    An early departure this morning by jeep to catch the sunrise over the Palani Hills.

    Then commence your walk up to the Meesapulimalai Peak from the Kolukkumalai Estate.

    Kolukkumalai is the world’s highest elevation tea plantation and beautifully scenic The tea grown here has a unique aroma and flavour due to the altitude in which it is grown.

    Meesapulimali is the second highest peak of the Western ghats. Its peak is 2,640 metres above sea level, located between the Anaimalai Hills and Palani Hill. The challenging trail is through a terrain of great natural beauty; valleys, shola forests, Pine plantations and Rhododendrons. The vistas from the top of this spectacular peak are indeed breath taking!

    Note “Anaimudi, the highest peak in South India is closed to general public.

    Make your decent on the other side of the peak down to base camp accommodation operated by the Government Forest department.  Overnight in a cottage at Rhodo Mansion.

  • Day 8 Camp Footprint

    This morning set out on a long walk from Rhodo Mansion base camp Meesapulimalai to Camp Footprint. This walk is mainly through pine forests, shoal vegetation, grasslands and through the tea plantation.

    The walk today has some steep descents and one needs to be reasonably fit to enjoy the walk.

    Upon arrival check into your accommodation at Camp Footprint.

    Note: Should you wish to shorten this tour you could walk down from Rhodo Mansion to Silent Valley and then drive to Munnar or an alternate destination

  • Day 9 Camp Footprint

    Enjoy a leisurely relaxing day at Camp Footprint.

    You could walk to the workers lines and enjoy a typical meal with a local family, have a tea tasting session with the camp naturalist or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

  • Day 10 Munnar

    After a leisurely breakfast walk to the village road, meet with your diver for the journey to Munnar which is around an hour. Upon arrival check into your accommodation.

    The remainder of your day is at leisure or optional activities can be arranged.

  • Day 11 Cochin

    Today you will be met at your hotel and transferred to Cochin airport. The journey is around 3 hours.

    Hotel check out time is around midday.

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