Agasthyarkoodam, the second highest peak in Kerala is situated inside the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in the Thiruvananthapuram district, it is 1890 metres above sea level. The nearest railway station is Thiruvananthapuram and the nearest Airport is Trivandrum International Airport. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve has been added to the prestigious UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Network. Trekking is allowed here in a restricted manner as it is a protected bio reserve.
Agastyarkoodam peak which is rich in medicinal plants will refresh you. The view of the greenery, the different types of terrains and the natural springs will have a rejuvenating effect on you. The only problem is that since the programme lasts for two whole days, it can be really exhausting.
Agastyamala or Agastyakoodam is believed to be named after Sage Agastya, who lived here. The delightful wildlife, the pilgrim centre and the forests rich in medicinal plants are the specialities of this peak. The air in the mountain is presumed to have healing properties. Trekking is allowed only on those days fixed by the Kani tribals of the area. The number of trekkers/pilgrims allowed per day is limited to 100. This is done to avoid blocks in the trekking route.
Passes for trekking are issued from the Trivandrum district office of the Kerala Forest Department or booking can be done online also. Women and boys below 14 are not allowed here. A group of 10 Members gets a permit. Each group gets the guidance of a forest guard. Trekking lasts for two days.The trekkers who have obtained pass online should carry it’s printout along with a photo identity card.
The programme starts from Bonecaud forest station by 7:00 AM. The trek to the peak is 28 km long from Bonacaud. A trekker has to cover 56 kms in total. The trekking programme has 2 phases. The first phase which is 20 kms long, starts early morning at Bonecaud base and ends in the first camp. This area is home to elephants and wild bulls. Here forest division arranges eco friendly accommodation and food. After the overnight stay, the second phase of trekking begins in the next day morning. After trekking 8 kms, you reach Agastyamala peak. In between you can enjoy bathing in waterfalls. At noon the trekkers have to descend, so that they reach the first camp before sunset. Night stay is arranged here. Next day morning, trekkers are left at the Bonecaud base station.