Meghamalai is an absolute heaven with western ghat hills touching the sky, dense forests, and path covered with snow; it looks like where heaven and earth unite; this is what I heard about Meghamalai which made it important for me to see the place. When I enquired about the way to Meghamalai, I got the information that it is on the Kambam-Theni route. Therefore, I decided to visit Theni as well. Although I have travelled via Theni several times, I have not seen it properly.
Theni is an agricultural district in Tamilnadu, renowned for cotton, chilly and textiles. I travelled via Vandiperiyar and Kumily to Theni. The journey from Kumily down the steep hills and through serpentine roads is thrilling. Surrounding are small forests of weeds. On each bent, beauty of vast Tamil farmlands can be seen. This narrow mountain pass is around 13 km long. On reaching plain land, what we see is vast areas of farmlands made bright especially by tamarind, corn and vegetables.
Theni is a place surrounded by western ghat hills. There are numerous tourist spots in Theni District, including Surulipatti Waterfalls. Rivers like Mullaperiyar, Suruli, Varaga River, Vaigai River, etc. flow through Theni. Suruli Waterfalls can be reached by travelling a small distance on Kambam-Kumily route and then 10 km to the left. Journey through the peaceful and serene Tamil villages refreshes body and mind. There are vast vineyards on the sides of the way. Here, we can eat as well as bargain and buy ripe grapes.
Vaigai Dam is located at Andipatti in Theni District. Vaigai Dam is an attractive tourist spot with gardens and parks. The district of Theni also has wildlife sanctuaries like Vellimala and Meghamalai. Bodimettu is a beautiful hill station that is 18 km from Theni.
Theertha Thotti Thirukovil is a famous temple on the side of Theni-Bodimettu Road. In the pond of this temple, there is a spring that never runs dry. It is believed that taking bath in this spring enables satisfaction of desires. Since it was late, I stayed at Theni. The next day early in the morning, I started my journery for Meghamalai.
It is 60 km from Theni to Meghamalai. Taking a turn and travelling for a short distance on Kumily-Kambam route takes you to Chinnamanur. Meghamalai can be reached by going up from there. The natural beauty in the early morning is inexplicable.
On the sides of the ways, there are farmlands that make one jealous. After the farmlands come the ghat which is entirely off road. There are 10 to 12 hairpin bends on this road. Dense forests also start at the place where ghat starts. There was lot of elephant poop on the road. The journey was quite interesting with all the giant squirrels, lion-tailed macaque, spotted deer, unknown birds and the deafening music of crickets.
After travelling a little longer, I came across sign board of Meghamalai. The natural environment started changing to one of peacefulness. Other than the natural rhythm, there was no other sound to be heard. I have never visited a place so silent. Meghamali has a small church and a temple, a small hotel and a 10-room building belonging to the panchayat, which is the only five-star here. This is a beautiful place cuddled up between tea estates and shola forests.
The view of the blue spotless sky is amazing. The clouds, forest, hill ranges, wild animals, waterfalls, fog, all of them are a feast for the eyes. The vast tea estates look like open green umbrellas. The fog in the plantations and the shadow of clouds display a show of color to us. At a distance of 7 km through the estate road, there is Maharajamedu View Point which is near to Venniyar Dam.
The scenery as viewed from here is captivating. Far away, we can see towns, like dots. The serpentine roads and the beauty of white clouds at a distance are images that you can never unsee. Then comes Vattapara Hill which is at a height of 400 feet from Manalaar. The beauty of this place can be enjoyed to its full only in the early morning. Since I was late, I missed it.
I spent around 3 to 4 hours seeing the place. There are still places to be seen in Meghamalai. Varayadinmedu, the origin of Suruli waterfalls, is yet another site to be seen. I started my journey back home thinking about coming back some time later to see those sites.