June 22, 2024

Agastyarkoodam (agastyar kudam or agastya malai) is a 1,868 metres (6,129 ft) peak in the Western Ghats of South India. The mountain lies on the border between the Indian states of Kerala (in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram District) and Tamil Nadu (in Tirunelveli). The perennial river Thamiarabarni originates from this hill and flows in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

Agastya Malai is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agasthya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas. The Tamil language is considered to be a boon from Agasthya. There is a full-sized statue of Agasthya at the top of the peak and the devotees offer pujas there.

This evergreen rain forest is the dwelling place of two hundred odd different plant species. From grass to sky-kissing huge trees and innumerable animal species including elephants, lion tailed monkeys, bears, leopard etc. Tiger spider, rare frog species are also found in Agastyarkudam. Rich with many orchid species (like Druri) rare medicinal plants, it is an invaluable treasure of nature. From the pristine purity of the greenery originates Karamanayar, Thamaraparni and Kothayar, three important rivers of the Trivandrum district.

A haven of rare herbs and medicinal plants, its slopes offer a breathtaking sight when they transform into colourful glades of the ‘Neelakurinji’ a flower, which blooms only once in twelve years.

Herbs and Medicinal Plants of Agasyar Koodam

The lower elevations of this peak are also known for their abundance of rare herbs and medicinal plants. Around 2,000 medical plants used in Ayurvedic treatments are found here. Europeans, particularly those from England, were the first to establish tea gardens around the base stations of Agasthyarkoodam at Brimore, Bonacaud, and Ponmudi. The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve harbours rare flora and fauna.

Adventures of Agastyar Koodam

The agastyar koodam is a popular trekking spot. The mountain is formed like a sharp cone and the trekker can enjoy the more spirit in climbing it. The ideal time to trekking is from December to January.

The trekking path is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Meadows and streams, reed groves, `bonsai’-type trees clinging to the hillsides, the lonely walkway in the woods… The only sounds you hear during the trek are the swish of the trees, gurgle of water in the rivulets, the `sudden’ chirping of a thousand crickets in unison and the sweet warbling of birds!

How to Reach Agastyar Koodam

Agastya Malai is located 32 km from Neyyar Dam. The major city and airport nearest to Agastya Malai is Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and its Trivandrum International Airport, around 61 km away. The nearest railway station is Ambasamudram of Tirunelveli District, in Tamil Nadu.

The pass from the Kerala forest department is needed for trekking.