Athri Hill Trek
Athri Hill Trek
Nestled in the Pothigai mountain range of the Western Ghats, near the lovely village of Alwarkurichi, lies the Athri Hill Trek – a short but captivating experience waiting to be revealed by passionate outdoor enthusiasts. This covert gem, located 25 kilometers from the Tenkasi district in Tamilnadu, remains a secret haven for those looking for a pristine trekking experience. Situated within the northeastern part of the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve Forest is the Athri Hill trail.
Discover the fantastic Athri hill trek, where you can explore the stunning Kadana Nathi Dam (Nathi describes River in Tamil), traverse through thick forest courses, endeavor into a uniquely shaped limestone cavern, and witness breathtaking vistas of the Western Ghats. But that’s not all – many more exciting surprises await unveiling. Keep reading about this extraordinary trek’s most outstanding sections and standout features.
History Of Athri Hill Trek
The Athri Hills got their name from the excellent sage Athri, who, together with his wife Anusya Devi and fans, traveled through the Pothigai mountain region in the Western Ghats roughly 2,500 years earlier. Hindu Purana recounts that Athri considered this area sacred and chose it as a location to undertake extreme meditation for Lord Shiva. Impressed by the steadfast commitment of Athri’s disciple, Lord Shiva manifested himself before the sage, causing the range of mountains referred to as the Athri Hills.
Currently, the hills hold spiritual importance for followers who carry out the tough climb to reveal their reverence for the Shiva temple built within the forest several years ago. Athri Hill is covered in thick, everlasting forests spanning from its foot to its greatest summits. In contrast, other mountains in the South are usually adorned with prickly scrub forests at lower elevations. The trek up Athri Hill is of moderate problem and can be achieved in 2 hours by experienced trekkers and 3 hours by newbies.
Best Time To Do Athri Hill Trek
The best time to do the Athri Hill Trek is June and December. This specific season witnesses the Kadana Nathi Dam at its maximum capability, with water gushing through, while the pathway is adorned with the sweet scent of progressing flowers.
Highlights of the Athri Hill Trek
Experience the Athri Hill Trek and enjoy the breathtaking sight of Kadana Nathi Dam, framed by the majestic Western Ghats. Embark on a walk across the dam, where many soaring birds and mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountain range accompany you. The dam fills with water in the monsoon and post-monsoon seasons, demanding an extra two-kilometer detour. Yet, this extra distance is well worth it, as it reveals the dam’s bewitching emerald landscapes and tranquil waters.
Embark on the Athri Hill Trek for a varied and thrilling experience, including a leisurely riverside hike, an exhilarating deep forest expedition, and a tough vertical climb. The forest trek provides a memorable adventure, with the chance to surround yourself with towering trees and immerse yourself in the magical world of mycorrhizal networks. As you journey, observe the elaborate connections between trees, with roots crisscrossing the path and joining the landscape.
Throughout your hike, you will experience ancient limestone rock caverns, one of this trek’s main attractions. These caverns were believed to be utilized by Sage Korakkar, an early supporter of Siddha medicine, for meditation and medicinal experiments. The entrance to the green limestone cave is relatively narrow, and inside, there is just enough space for a single person to sit. Nevertheless, be cautious when checking out the cavern, as its fractures have minor bugs.
The Athri Hill Trek provides a distinct experience, presenting you with breathtaking views of the Western Ghats from the moment you start. Unlike other treks that save the best views for the summit, this one enables you to take in the vastness and appeal of the mountain range right from the start. As you complete the trek, you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the captivating Alwarkurichi village and the stunning Kadana Nathi Dam from the summit, making it a memorable experience.
Athri Hill Trek Detailed Trail Information
Upon disembarking at the Alwarkurichi bus stop, you’ll experience a four-way intersection directly ahead. To your left, you’ll discover a small, sweet store where you can gather details about buses bound for the Kadana Nathi Dam. Upon reaching the dam’s base point, a forest check post office will be in front of you. To gain entry, you must offer the required information in the forest department’s logbook and present a legitimate government-issued ID card.
The Athri Hill Trek begins with a walk through a lush grassland enclosed by a verdant canopy of trees. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic peacocks strutting around the grassy trail. After a 100-meter trek, you’ll come to the Kadana Nathi Dam, where you’ll continue your journey for another 1.8 kilometers amidst a diverse range of birdlife, including white egrets, eagles, and ducks. The dam’s wetland community is home to 160 bird types, representing 93 genera and 40 families, with 77 citizens, 41 winter visitors, 30 altitudinal migrants, and two summertime visitors. Beware as you cross the dam; some areas can be muddy and slippery despite the stagnant water.
Once you have strolled 1.5 kilometers, the course will take you to the starting point of the Kadana Nathi Dam stream. To access the thick forest trail, you should cross the Kadana Nathi. This spot is perfect for taking a short break and enjoying a light meal while valuing the beautiful Kadana Nathi Dam and the sensational view of the Western Ghats.
It would assist if you crossed the sandy river bank to begin your journey on the forest trail. Straight in front of you, a big tree will catch your attention. After passing the tree, you will immediately see a change in the landscape as it transitions into a steep climb on a reddish mud path. Continuing along the mud path for about 10 minutes, you will come across a small flowing stream. This stream serves as a marker, indicating completion of the mud course and the beginning of a narrow, rugged trail surrounded by high, dense greenery. As you enter this little course filled with boulders, it is necessary to proceed carefully due to occasional sightings of insects and snakes. Although difficult, this section of the trail is also exceptionally exhilarating. You will be captivated by the noises of numerous birds, the rhythmic circulation of the river, and the thick canopy of trees that cover the course.
As you trek along a winding, rocky trail for approximately 2 kilometers, you’ll ultimately come to a unique limestone cavern distinct in shape and history. According to regional lore, the cavern’s uncommon form arises from the experiments performed by the famous therapist Sage Korakkar. Be cautious when exploring the cave’s nooks and crannies, as small animals have made the crevices and holes their home.
Once you pass through the limestone cavern, there will be a 100-meter trail to walk before you begin ascending a slightly high part of the walking. After climbing the high path, you will encounter a dargah and mosque on your left side. The peak of Athri Hill is just a five-minute walk from the Dargah. On the summit, you will discover the Athri Maharishi Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva. Expect you to continue walking a brief distance from the Athri Maharishi Temple. Because of this, you will be astounded by the stunning view of Alwarkurichi village and the incredible Kadana Nathi Dam in the foreground. The trail behind the Athri Maharishi Temple results in the Lord Karuppasamy temple, five kilometers from the peak. However, please note that this trail has been closed by the forest department due to the presence of wild animals on or near the course.
How To Reach Athri Hill Trek
The Athri Hill trek starts from the little village called Alwarkurichi, which is 25 kilometers from the Tenkasi district in Tamilnadu.
The frequency of buses from Alwarkurichi to Kadana Nathi Dam is higher on specific puja days, such as full moon days and New Moon days.
On regular days, taking the bus from Alwarkurichi to Kadana Nathi Dam at 7:15 a.m. or working with an auto to get to Kadana Nathi Dam is suggested.
Reaching Athri Hill through Public Transportation
Athri Hill is conveniently accessible by public transportation, with routine bus services connecting it to Chennai.
Take a bus to Tenkasi from Chennai and a regional bus to Alwarkurichi from the Tenkasi bus stand.
This TNSTC website can be used for bus ticket appointments if you require it.