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Are you interested in going for the two days Agasthyarkoodam Trekking or Agasthyamalai Trekking?

Agasthyakoodam or Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthyamalai Trekking route

Agasthyarkoodam alias Agasthyamalai is considered a sacred hill. It is known as Pothigai Malai or Pothigai Hills in Tamilnadu. (Malai means hills).

Despite the remoteness of these hills, determined devotees come here. Trekking to Agasthyamalai and back takes two or three days (depending on your health condition). The entry permits are issued every year in January.

Statue of Saint Agastya alias Agasthya Muni on top of Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthyamalai

Table of Contents

Entry passes to Agasthyarkoodam Trekking or Agasthyamalai

Option 1 – individual agasthyakoodam online passes.

Online entry permits are typically issued during the first week of January for a few days. 100 passes are issued in advance, for each day. Be sure to apply on the first day itself, as permits run out very fast.

Option 2 – Agasthyakoodam Group Passes

Another option to trek Agastyamala is to form a group of 10 people and apply for entry passes at the Thiruvananthapuram district forest department office. These group permits are issued except during the Monsoon season. During Monsoon season, it is highly risky to trek to Agasthyamalai as the rivers get flooded (at times Flash floods , too).

Ladies Trekking to Agasthyarkoodam

From 2019, ladies are also allowed to trek to Agastyamala. Dhanya Sanal became the first lady to trek to Agasthyamalai , officially. Dhanya trekked to Agasthyamalai in the middle of January 2019. There were reports of female devotees and tribal ladies, who used to go to Agastyamala earlier.

Agasthiyamalai alias Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthyakoodam Trekking Iternery

There are buses from the KSRTC bus station at Thampanoor, Thiruvananthapuram. The first bus to the trekking entry gate at Bonakad starts at 5 a.m. It reaches Bonakad picket station, where the forest office is situated in around two and a half hours. The distance is about 55 kilometers. The next bus from Thampanoor is at 5.30 am.

Those coming by bus must get down at the old tea factory bus top at Bonacaud. Then walk for around three kilometers or so, to reach the Bonacaud Picket Station.

You may also take your vehicle (two or four-wheeler). Private vehicles can go to the forest department office, i.e., Bonacaud Picket Station. Parking charges of rupees 40 and 100 are applicable for two-wheelers and four-wheelers, respectively.

Bonacaud Picket Station (Bonakad forest office) is the starting point for trekking to Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthya Malai. You are required to report here at 7 a.m.

Day One – The base camp is at Athirumala , around 15 kilometers from  Bonacaud Picket Station. It is relatively easy to trek this distance. Around 10 kilometers out of the 15 kilometers or so,  is plain country roads through forests. There are five camps (small sheds with one or two guides to give local information) between Bonacaud Picket Station and Athirumala base camp, around two kilometers apart.

You need to stay at the base camp here, on day one. There are two halls where you can put your mattress on and sleep overnight. There is a  separate area for ladies.

On the second day of Agasthyakoodam trekking , you need to start early in the morning. The trekking route passes through steep mountains and streams covering a distance of around six kilometers (one way) . You must return to the base camp on the same day. i.e., on the second day.

After walking around two kilometers, you reach Lathimottai. From here, the path on the right side goes to Bonafalls, which is closed to trekkers as there are a lot of wild animals there. Also, elephants killed two people a few years back. You need to go on the left side path, to reach the Agasthyamalai peak. If you walk for around four kilometers from the base camp, you need to cross the Karamana River. Then comes the Vazhappainthi (വാഴപ്പൈന്തി in Malayalam). There are ropes tied across these two streams to cross them.

If you start early in the morning return early, and are in good spirits to trek back to the Bonacaud Picket Station, you can do so. In that case, trekking is completed on day two.

Otherwise, you can stay at the base camp on the second day night. You can trek back to the Bonacaud Picket Station on the third day.

The last bus from Bonakad towards the city is at 5.45 pm. This bus goes to Vithura. Vithura is at a distance of around 22 kilometers from Bonakad picket station. From Vithura, you need to change the bus to go to Thiruvananthapuram, which is around 34 kilometers distance from Vithura.

Trekking Permit Issue Details

2024 trekking to agasthyarkoodam hills.

2024 trekking to Agasthyarkoodam is planned from January 24th to March 2nd. The trekking fee is Rs 2500 per person, without food charges. A maximum of 70 online permits and 30 offline permits are issued each day. All trekkers need to produce a fitness certificate obtained within seven days of the actual trekking starting date . Children aged between 14 and 18 need authorization letters from their parents or trek only with any one of the parents. Those below 14 years old are not issued trekking permits. A maximum of 5 persons are allowed in one ticket.

Please contact the Wildlife Warden Thiruvananthapuram at +91-471-2360762 for further details . Terms of trekking are given here in Malayalam.

2022 Agasthyarkoodam Trekking Details

Trekking is from January 14th to February 29th, 2022.  Booking starts on January 6th, 2022. Charges are INR 1331 per person. Online booking is available through or service 100 passes are issued for each day. In previous years, permits for the season get over on the first day itself.

Anybody above 14 years of age can apply for Agasthiyamalai trekking permits. Ladies too are allowed from 2019 onwards.

You need to take two doses of the vaccine and also a negative RCPTR test result taken within 72 hours of trekking to go for the trekking. Trekkers need to take a photocopy of the entry ticket and original ID proof with a photo. Trekking starts at 7 am. You must report on or before the time mentioned above at the Bonacaud Picket Station.

Due to the fast spread of the Omicron Corona Virus, all trekking permits to Agasthyakoodam that were valid from 18th January to 26th February were canceled by the District Collector, Thiruvananthapuram. The amount collected will be refunded online.

Latest update- 2022 Agasthyarkoodam trekking permits canceled from 18th Jan to 26th Feb

There will not be any offline bookings until further notice.

2021 Agasthyakoodam Trekking Details

Agasthyakoodam Trekking 2021 Details are given as follows. Due to Covid 19, the online booking facility will not be available for 2021 trekking.

Kerala Forest Department’s office at PTP Nagar in Thiruvananthapuram issues group passes for five and ten people . i.e. A group can consist of either 5 or 10 people. You have to go there in person and apply for the group pass. The fee is Rs 16000/- for five people and Rs 32000/- for ten people. i.e. Rs 3200 per person . You must inform them a few days in advance if you need food. Food charges are separate. Three people will normally accompany you as a guide and for carrying the cooking materials. Alternatively, you can bring food for a group of five or ten people.

All group members should submit a copy of their Aadhar cards. The submitted names can not be changed. Hence, only those who are serious about trekking should apply. Otherwise, you will lose that amount of Rs. 3200 for each person who has not turned up.

Unlike previous years, this year only a maximum of 30 people are allowed to go trekking in a day. Until they return on the third day evening, nobody is allowed. i.e., After a group of a maximum of 30 people are allowed entry for trekking, the next trekking is allowed only on the fourth day .

Covid 19 special notes :

  •  You may be asked to produce a COVID-19 negative certificate (taken within 24 hours or so) when you arrive for the trekking. Please confirm this with the forest department office when you apply for the group passes.
  • Some of the information in other parts of this post may not be relevant in 2021.

Agasthyarkoodam Trekking 2020 Details

Entry permits to Agasthyakoodam are issued from January 8th, 11 a.m. onwards, for a few days. 100 passes are issued in advance, for each day. Trekking is allowed from January 14th, 2020 to February 18th, 2020. The identification document number is needed to book the entry permits. Entry permit costs Rupees 1100 per person. One ticket can have a maximum of 10 people. All the participant’s ID numbers are required for online Agasthyarkoodam booking . The minimum age should be above 14 years. A group of 10 people (either on a single ticket or individual tickets) will get the services of a separate guide. The contact number of the wildlife warden is +91-471-236-0762.

There are canteens at Bonakad (the starting point of the trekking) and Athirumalai (base camp for the night’s stay). The Eco-Development Committee runs these.

You have to report at 7 am on the trekking date with the entry pass and Identity documents in original along with a copy of the same. At least one member of each ticket needs to give a declaration that the trekking is done at their own risk. The forest department is not responsible in any manner. This is required as wild animals are on the route and safety is a concern. The guides can help you to a certain extent only by advising you when wild animals are spotted or their presence is felt.

Agasthyamalai Trekking 2019 Charges

The following were the charges for the year 2019 Agasthiyamalai trekking. It has been revised in 2020. This information is only intended for those who want to compare the rates.

Entry pass charges are rupees 1000 per person. Food is charged separately. It costs around rupees 40 for breakfast if it’s idly and rupees 90 for Puttu (a local traditional food in the state of Kerala) and Kadala curry (another local food, generally served with puttu in the state of Kerala) as breakfast. Lunch costs rupees 70  and rupees 90 for dinner (Kanji in the local language or porridge in English). Tea is charged at 10 rupees. The camera is charged at INR 100. These rates or charges are as of January 2019  and are subject to change.

You are not allowed to carry plastic items, except for water bottles and lunch boxes. Such items are checked at the Bonacaud picket station (entry point to the trekking area), and rupees 100 or so are collected, as a caution deposit. When you return to the Bonacaud picket station, you will get this money refunded, provided you bring back those items that were taken with you. You are not allowed to carry biscuits or other similarly packed food items. You need to open such packs and wrap them in paper or put it inside your bag, to take them inside.

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Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve

Unesco’s - ‘world network of biosphere reserves’.



Agasthya sage (அகத்தியர்) sanskrit: अगस्त्य’.


Plant of Eternal Health


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Agasthyakoodam Peak in Kerala

Agasthyakoodam is nature’s ode to bird watchers. One of the highest peaks in Kerala, it has long been known as a bird watcher’s paradise and many gather here to catch sight of exotic avian species.  It can be viewed from near Neyyar Dam as well as Bonacaud. Agasthyakoodam is also known for its remarkable flora and fauna, especially certain rare medicinal herbs which have been discovered here. Over 2000 species including lichens, orchids, mosses and ferns have been recorded in the area. The peak was named after the sage Agasthya and is a popular pilgrim site. A shrine dedicated to him is located here and is frequented by devotees. The air itself is said to have medicinal qualities. The peak is a 90 minute drive with Bonacaud being the last motorable spot. Trekking is restricted as only a few people are allowed to go up the peak. One must get a forest pass from the wildlife office in Thiruvananthapuram with January to April being the recommended months. Contact Details:  Wildlife Warden Forest Department PTP Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram Ph: +91 471 2362291

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram Central, around 61 km from Bonacaud.

Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, around 69 km from Bonacaud.

  Topics: Trekking   Forest   Hill   Thiruvananthapuram  

Latitude: 8.803654, Longitude: 77.197952

Geographical Information

Altitude: 1890 m Above sea level

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₹ 10,901 onwards

Time Required : 2 Days (4 - 6 hours each day)

Approx trek time : 4-6 hours (for one day)

Base Camp: Athirmala

Days required for the trek: 2 days

Difficulty level: Medium to Difficult

Height above sea level: 1868 metres

Region: Western Ghats

Starting point of trek: To start the trek, a forest pass needs to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden Forest department, P.T.P Nagar,Thiruvananthapuram.

Type: Hill fort

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Agasthyakoodam, Trivandrum Overview

Agastyakoodam, also known as Agastya Mala Peak is the second highest peak in Kerala with an extensive height of 1868 metre. Located within the premises of Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Agastyakoodam is part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve and boasts of surreal natural beauty. Nestled in Sahyadris of Western Ghats, the slopes of the peak are carpeted in purple hues of orchids. Home to diverse species of fauna and rare species of medicinal herbs, the region is a hotspot for avifauna and exotic birds. The spot is considered a haven for birdwatchers. Besides, since it is a protected zone, you can spot nature at its best, without any commercial interference. The colossal peak is also a major Hindu pilgrimage spot for the devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, on whose name the peak has been named. There is also a statue of him at the top where the Hindus can offer puja and prayers.

Must Know Before You Visit Agasthyakoodam

Permits, Cost and Pass Limits : The trek to the peak is based on strict guidelines and requires a permit from the Kerala Forest Department located at the district office in Trivandrum. The cost for the passes is INR 500 per person and only 100 passes are issued every day and these passes are given out on first cum first serve basis. The trek is usually open for 40 days starting from the day of the auspicious Makaravilakku festival in the Sabarimala temple and ends on Shivaratri.

Agasthyakoodam Highlights

1. trekking in agasthyakoodam.

Trekking in Agasthyakoodam

Read More on Agasthyakoodam

Flora and fauna, former status that prohibited women to climb agastyakoodam, best time to visit, how to reach, how to reach agasthyakoodam.

Rail: Thampanur Railway Station in Thiruvananthapuram .

Road: The road leading to Agastyarkoodam is well connected by the regular bus services from Thiruvananthapuram city. Bonacaud is the last village up to which the vehicles can reach

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Agasthyakoodam Trekking: How To Have A Successful First Trek?

I covered a total of 48 km by foot in two days under challenging terrains and weather conditions. It was a personal record, and by the end of the trek, my legs had become jellylike. The struggle was real, but it was completely worth it because the experience I had in those two days was adventurous, to say the least.

The Agasthyakoodam trek is arguably one of the most challenging treks to undertake in Kerala. Standing at the height of 1,868 metres, the Agasthyakoodam peak (or the Agasthyarkoodam peak) is one of the highest peaks in Kerala . Moreover, unlike other treks in the Western Ghats, the Agasthyakoodam trek is open for registration only for two months every year, making it all the more exclusive.

I went on a solo trek to Agasthyarkoodam. In this guide, I will walk you through the Agasthyakoodam trekking itinerary that I followed to give you a complete idea about the hike. But before that, let’s dive into some interesting facts and history about this trek which makes it different to other treks.

Tips to get your Agasthyakoodam trekking pass

How to visit agasthyakoodam, where is agasthyakoodam.

First of all, it is essential to distinguish between Agasthyamalai and Agasthyakoodam because many people tend to use these terms interchangeably. 

Agasthyamalai (or the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve) is a protected forest area in the Western Ghats between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It comprises three wildlife sanctuaries – Shendurney, Peppara and Neyyar. 

Recognised by UNESCO, the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve is a biological hotspot. It is home to many rare and diverse flora and fauna, including more than 2,000 species of medicinal plants.

agasthyakoodam biological park

The Kani tribe (or Kanikkaran) are one of the oldest surviving tribes in the world that live in the Agasthyamalai hills indigenously. They depend on the forests here for their livelihood and are found both in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Some of the tribals have recently been working closely with the Kerala Forest Development Corporation (KFDC), including trek guides to benefit the trekkers.

Agasthyakoodam is one of the many mountains located within the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary (one of the wildlife sanctuaries in the Agasthyamalai hills) in Trivandrum, Kerala. It is the most well-known mountain as it has the highest peak in this region.  

Apart from the pure water and air present here, the forests around this peak have medicinal plants and herbs. The Agasthyarkoodam trek is one of the most diverse treks in the Western Ghats as it takes you through lush green forests, open grasslands and rocky terrains.

History of Agasthyakoodam

agasthyarkoodam trekking

Agasthyakoodam derives its name from a famous Hindu sage called Agasthya, mentioned in Ramayana and Mahabharata and found in ancient scriptures in the Hindu temples of South Asia. Agasthya was said to have meditated in Agasthyakoodam, making this mountain an important pilgrimage destination for Hindu devotees. 

The Kani tribe are ancient worshippers of Agasthya. Additionally, every year, thousands of Hindu devotees trek to the top of this mountain to offer prayers to Agasthya, who has a small shrine at the peak.

Until recently, females were strictly not allowed to trek to Agasthyarkoodam as Agasthya was considered celibate. However, in a significant judgement in 2019 , the Kerala High Court ruled trekkers cannot be discriminated against based on gender, and hence, the first woman successfully trekked the mountain in 2019.

How to get your Agasthyakoodam trekking pass?

Due to its ecological and religious importance, the Agasthyakoodam trek is open every year from the second week of January till March for close to 45 days. However, only 100 passes are issued by KFDC every day during this season. 

The link for booking the ticket during this season is made available on the  Kerala Forest Department  portal. In addition, a week before the trekking season begins, all the details about the trek are published in major newspapers across Kerala.

Note:  You have the option of doing the trek during the rest of the year along with a trekking guide, but the rates are significantly higher.

Cost of Agasthyakoodam trekking pass

As of 2019, the cost per head in a trekking pass was INR 1,000, and you can book up to 10 people in one pass. This cost involves the forest permit and accommodation. Meals are exclusive of the price, and you need to buy them separately. 

It is usual for Agasthyakoodam trekking passes to get sold out within minutes of the online portal going live. Hence, make sure you do the following to increase your chances of a successful booking:

  • Get ready with the following details before booking your pass: Name, age, contact number, type of ID proof, ID proof number and address.
  • Be ready with your debit/credit card details if you are booking with your card.
  • Fix a date that you would like to do the trek. Have a couple of backup dates as well, just in case.
  • Try to book from different devices at the same time.
  • Due to the heavy traffic, the website may get stuck sometimes. In such a case, refresh the website and proceed.

These tips will not guarantee a trekking pass but will increase your chances of getting one. I was lucky enough to get the trekking pass on my first attempt itself. Unfortunately, many people wait for 2-3 years to gain access to the ticket.

However, if you get the trekking pass, take its printout along with the affidavit you receive with it.

Note:  There is an option to book the ticket offline from PTP Nagar Forest Office, Trivandrum, but the process is tiring and cumbersome as people stand in the queue even before the booking begins. Hence, I recommend you do it in the comfort of your home.

Agasthyakoodam Route

agasthyakoodam route

The Old Tea Factory in Bonacaud is your landmark. It is an abandoned tea factory that also goes by the name of Bonaccord Estate. Once you reach Bonacaud, you can ask anyone about this place.

If you are coming by bus, you will be dropped at Bonacaud Post Office which is close to the Old Tea Factory.

From the Old Tea Factory, you have to walk 2 km further to the Forest Checkpost in Bonacaud. Also, know as Bonacaud Picket Station, this is the starting point of the trek where you complete your trek registration. If you are coming by your own vehicle, you can park your vehicle at the entrance here.

On Day 1, you have to trek to the Athirumala Base Camp. From the Forest Checkpost, the Athirumala Base Camp is about 16 km.

On Day 2, you ascend to the Agasthyakoodam peak, a further 6 km from the Athirumala Base Camp.

Agasthyakoodam Trekking Itinerary (2 days/1 night)

You can complete the Agasthyakoodam trek in 2 days/1 night as per your wish. But, if you can, try to do it in 3 days/2 nights to have a more relaxing experience. I completed the trek on a weekend as I didn’t want to take any extra leave from work. In any case, the itinerary given below remains the same:

You have to report to the Forest Checkpost in Bonacaud (Bonacaud Picket Station) by 7 am on the trek day. The Forest Checkpost is 2 km from the abandoned Bonacaud Tea Estate, which is your landmark.

You have to present your trekking pass, an affidavit and the original photo ID used while booking the trekking pass at the reception. Then, the forest officers will verify the same. This process takes close to an hour or so because there will be other trekkers along with you. 

agasthyakoodam peak

In the meantime, you can buy some snacks and have a vegetarian South Indian breakfast from the small shop present there. Also, don’t forget to collect your packed lunch from here because you will be reaching Athirumala base camp by late afternoon/evening only.

You can purchase bamboo sticks that will be useful while trekking if you don’t have a trekking pole. They are available at a nominal cost.

Once the formalities are completed, a forest officer will arrange all the trekkers present together. Then, he will give you a briefing about Agasthyarkoodam and the dos and don’ts during the trek.

After this, your bags will be checked thoroughly for plastic as Agasthyarkoodam is a plastic-free zone. Even packets of biscuits/chips are considered plastic. So if you plan to carry them, you will have to pay INR 100 for each plastic item, which will be refundable upon their return after the trek.

agasthyakoodam trekking booking

Hereafter, you will start the trek along with other trekkers in a group of 20. The first batch usually begins at 9 am. Then, your trek officially begins, and your final stop for the day is the Athirumala Base Camp. It is 16km from the starting point and takes 6-7 hours, depending upon your speed.

Every group of 20 trekkers is assigned a trekking guide. The trek guide is a tribal from the Kani community, so you may want to ask him questions about his life to understanding how this community thrives in the jungle. I was able to get a lot of insights about their lives and their economy by talking to one such guide.

The best thing about the trek is that you can do it at your own pace. Of course, there will be trekking guides at every stage of the hike. But there is no compulsion to maintain your speed with your group or the trekking guide. This is ideal as you get to take in the beautiful sceneries you encounter on the trek.

The first few kilometres of the trek is a straightforward walk through a thick forest with many water streams along the way. You can drink water or fill your water bottles from these streams. 

agasthyamalai biosphere reserve

After every few kilometres, you will see a campsite. Every campsite has a small house made of bamboo where a Kani trekking guide resides.  

Inside the forest, you will come across three rivers – Karamanayar, Vazapaithiyar and Attayar. Vazapaithiyar is a great place to take a bath and refresh if you’re in the mood. A few trekkers break here for the same. Attayar river is where trekkers usually halt to have their packed lunch.

From the Attayar river onwards, the trekking trail becomes narrow, and the climb becomes slightly uphill for the next 4 km. As the forest starts opening up, you will eventually get a first glimpse of the Agasthyarkoodam peak in the backdrop of a few mountains towering from behind.

agasthyarkoodam peak

You will be entering the open grasslands soon. But now, it will be hard to find water sources. However, the landscape of this open scenery offers some great views. Mountain views in no time will surround you.

The last stretch of this trek to the Athirumala base camp is an uphill trek of close to 6 km through an evergreen forest. By the end of it, you reach Athirumala base camp.

You will see 2-3 different dorms covered with aluminium sheets with a cemented floor. Your first job will be to show your trekking pass to the forest officer present at the base camp entrance to collect your sleeping mat. Then, occupy one of the spaces inside these dorms quickly to avoid being inconvenienced later. Keep your bag(s) on top of your sleeping mat to confirm your place.

Note:  You have to return the sleeping mat before leaving Athirumala base camp for Bonacaud.

You will get the first real glimpse of the Agasthyarkoodam peak in all its glory in front of the campsite. It is surrounded by other mountains on its flanks and covered with forest in the foreground.

trivandrum to agasthyakoodam distance

You can have tea/snacks from the canteen, and you need to collect the dinner token now as the forest officials prepare food based on demand. 

There are toilets/bathrooms for you to freshen up. However, if you plan to take a bath, I recommend you dip inside a small natural water stream present right behind the campsite. The water is cold, but it will be the most refreshing experience for your body after a tiring day of trekking.

You can explore many different areas around the campsite as it surrounds itself with a thick forest with water streams, huge rocks, and various types of plants and trees.

Once it becomes dark, dinner is served, and during this time, you can collect the token for breakfast the next day. In terms of food, don’t expect anything fancy because the supplies are limited. You will probably get some rice and curry for lunch/dinner.

Retire for the night in your dorm. As it becomes colder, cover yourself with a blanket. Be prepared for an inconveniencing night as there will be many people sharing space with you in your dorm. Keep an alarm for 5-6 am next morning. The climb to the Agasthyarkoodam peak starts early the following day.

Wake up by 5-6 am, freshen up and have black tea from the canteen. Collect your packed breakfast from the canteen and the token for lunch which you will be having after coming back. You can take your own pace but make sure you start trekking by 7-8 am. I’ll tell you why this is important later.

agasthyamalai hills

Take a small backpack to carry only the essentials (snacks, water bottles, etc.) you need for the climb. You can leave behind your main bag. Although it is risky, the idea is to make it easier for you to ascend to the Agasthyarkoodam peak. 

Note:  Don’t leave behind any valuables that you can’t afford to lose.

The distance from the Athirumala base camp to the Agathyakoodam peak is 6 km long. Although it may seem minor, it is one of the most challenging 6 km you will experience because the entire climb is uphill. Therefore, please do not underestimate this hike and take it slowly.

The trail takes you through a dense forest with water streams in between. As you ascend, you will get many mountain and valley views from the gaping holes of the forest, including different perspectives of the Agasthyarkoodam peak. Be sure to keep your camera shutters on.

Note:  You can spot elephants and other animals in these regions. Although a trekking guide will always be there throughout the trail, don’t walk alone to ensure your safety.


As you keep progressing, the forest cover ends and you will be hiking on a rocky mountain. Halfway through the trek, you will reach a deserted area with a small pond lying in the middle. This is where you have breakfast. 

Continue walking after that and follow the rocky path that takes you through a forest. The temperatures start dropping as you trek uphill. 

The final 2kms to the top is one of the most adventurous climbs you will be experiencing in a trek in the Western Ghats. 

Although you can ascend with your feet, you have to use the rope kept there to navigate through a narrow path of rocks inside a forest entirely uphill. This is just a trailer of what is to come.


After that, you walk through a small patch of forest before the forest opens up to a rocky mountain. Again, you have to climb a rocky cliff, but this time, your body tilts to 90 degrees approximately from the rocky surface beneath you. This climb is neither for the faint-hearted nor for people with a fear of heights. 

Once you cross this, you have reached the top finally!

After a climb of almost 2-3 hours, you have reached the best part of the trek. If you had started your trek early by 7-8 am, you would be getting to the peak by 10 am. The weather is ideal at this time, and you have enough buffer to trek back slowly. This is why it is crucial to start from Athirumala base camp by 7-8 am.

The views from the top are unbeatable. You get a bird’s eye of different mountains and valleys with the clouds floating in the middle. Additionally, you will also experience solid and cold winds at the top, due to which it becomes difficult to stay at the top for a long time. 

agasthyakoodam trekking pass

Enjoy this moment. After all the effort you took to reach here, you deserve it. So spend some time soaking in the atmosphere, take some photos and relax. There is no cover/shade here, but you won’t have to worry due to the cold winds.

Fun fact:  You can see the Athirumala base camp from the top. Once you spot it, you will appreciate how much distance you covered to reach here.

There is a shrine at the top that belongs to Agasthya Muni. Pilgrims do this trek to offer their prayers to the Agasthya Muni statue present here.

Note:  If you plan to trek back to Bonacaud the next day, you can take some more time at the top. In any case, don’t make it late beyond 12-1 pm as the forest becomes dark soon and there are wild animals there. Once you are back at the Athirumala campsite, have your lunch, relax and repeat the same routine you had the previous day before leaving for Bonacaud at least by 7-8 am the following day.

However, if you plan to go back to Bonacaud the same day, the following advice is for you:

  • Spend 1-1.5 hours at the top before heading back. Try to leave by 11 pm so that you reach Athirumala campsite by 1 pm.
  • While hiking back, descent slowly because the descent is riskier than the ascent. 
  • If you had planned to take a bath, you might have to reach the Athirumala campsite much before 1 pm so take that into account.
  • After coming back to the campsite, have your lunch and get ready within an hour. Try to leave by 2 pm. Don’t forget to return your sleeping mat to the forest officials before leaving.
  • It is possible to reach the starting point in Bonacaud within 4-5 hours. However, you have to walk fast.
  • Do take water/snack breaks in between but don’t waste too much time.
  • Once you reach the Forest Checkpost in Bonacaud, you must mark your attendance with the forest officer. This is mandatory as it ensures that no one is left behind. Also, get a refund for the plastics that you carried, if you had any.
  • There will be other trekkers who will trek back with the aim of finishing the trek in two days. If you don’t have a vehicle, you can ask one of these people for a lift. That is what I did. Public transport may be hard to find by the time you come back. 

Essential things to carry for the Agasthyakoodam trek

The following are the things that you need to carry to enjoy the trek:

  • Two pairs of quick-dry tees
  • One or two pairs of trekking pants/quick dry pants
  • Two pairs of socks
  • Breathable briefs/underwears
  • A waterproof jacket just in case it rains.
  • A lightweight jacket, to be worn at night. A windproof/waterproof jacket will also be fine.
  • A lightweight hat for sun protection
  • Sunglass (optional)
  • Lightweight and quick-dry bathing towel
  • Trekking shoes, preferably with ankle support. You can use a sports shoe as well but ensure it has a good grip on rough terrains.
  • Flip flops/sandals that you can use at the campsite.
  • A lightweight blanket to cover yourself while sleeping at night. The forest officials provide a mattress only.
  • A hiking backpack/rucksack to be used for the trek
  • A small foldable, collapsible bag that you can use for the hike to the Agasthyakoodam peak.
  • 2 bottles of water
  • Headlamp (optional)
  • Powerbank (useful especially if you plan for a 3-day trek)
  • Snacks – peanuts, dry fruits, energy bars, fruits, etc. Remove all the plastic, put them in a container, or cover them with paper as plastic is strictly banned.
  • Entry pass, affidavit and photo id
  • Spare cash to pay for your meals on the trek
  • Camera with spare batteries (in case you have one)
  • Salt (for leeches)
  • Trekking pole or bamboo stick from the Bonacaud Forest Checkpost

How to reach Trivandrum?

You have to reach Trivandrum first before making way for Agasthyarkoodam.

You can get inter-state buses from Chennai, Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Within Kerala, it is easy to get buses to Trivandrum from almost any location.

By train 

The train is the most economical and convenient option if you are coming from a nearby state. You will find plenty of trains from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore to Trivandrum.

If you have less time or are flying from a faraway state, a flight to Trivandrum is your best bet. Trivandrum is well-connected to all the major cities of India via direct/indirect flights.

How to reach Bonacaud?

Bonacaud is 50 km from Trivandrum, and it takes close to 2 hours to reach there. There are three ways you can get to Bonacaud:

  • Hire a cab/auto a day in advance. This is the most convenient option, but it is also the most expensive one.
  • A KSRTC bus starts at 5 am from the KSRTC bus stand (Thampanoor) in Trivandrum and departs for Bonacaud (drops you at Bonacaud Post Office). You can enquire about the bus at the bus stand counter. It is the most economical option of the lot.
  • If you have a car, you can drive to the Forest Checkpost in Bonacaud and park your vehicle there. The road trip is pretty scenic, and this also solves your problem of going back home once your trek is over.

Where to stay in Bonacaud?


Unfortunately, being a tiny village, Bonacaud doesn’t have an option for staying. 

You may choose to stay at Vithura or Nedumangad, which are two nearby localities. However, don’t expect much in terms of the quality of accommodation.

It is preferable to stay at Trivandrum as you have more options for food, accommodation, and public transport. You can leave early to Bonacaud on the day of your trek.

Best time to visit Agasthyarkoodam

It is preferable to book your trek during January or February as the weather is ideal for trekking. The summer season begins from March onwards (and lasts till May). Having said that, summers aren’t very harsh in Kerala.

Tips for the Agasthyakoodam trek

  • Your stamina is vital for this trek. Indulge in some physical activity daily for a month or two to train your body.
  • Do not throw any waste/garbage during the trek. As mentioned previously, this is a well-preserved region of the Western Ghats so ensure it remains the same.
  • If you don’t have your vehicle, you can request fellow trekkers (with cars) to drop you back after the trek.
  • Carry fruits and healthy snacks. They will come in handy during the trek. Don’t rely on the canteens.
  • It is advisable to be in a group to ensure you don’t lose your way or encounter animals during the trek , especially on Day 2.
  • Follow strict timings to ensure that your overall trekking experience goes smoothly. One slight delay can cause a chain of delays, thereby hampering your trek.
  • On the day of your climb to the peak, don’t leave behind any valuables that you can’t afford to lose.
  • Purchase your meal coupons in advance from the canteen instead of waiting till the last moment. For example, ask for the dinner coupon when you have lunch, breakfast coupon when you’re having dinner and so on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is agasthyamalai biosphere reserve located.

Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve is located along the borders of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is spread across the districts of Trivandrum and Kollam in Kerala and Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

How to book the Agasthyakoodam trek?

The booking for the Agasthyakoodam trek starts from the second week of January every year. The link for the online booking becomes available then on the Kerala Forest Department website. All the details regarding the booking details are also published in major newspapers across Kerala a few days before the booking begins.

After booking your trek online, you have to report to Bonacaud which is 50 km away from Trivandrum. There is a government bus that starts from Trivandrum for Bonacaud at 5 am daily. At Bonacaud, you have to report to the Bonacaud Picket Station (Forest Checkpost). From here, you start your trek in a group along with a guide to the Agashyakoodam peak. The entire trek is 48 km long and can be completed in 2 or 3 days at your convenience.

agasthyakoodam trekking

This trek was one of the most physically and mentally challenging treks I ever did in the Western Ghats. When things got more demanding, I had to push myself to take the next step. You will probably face such moments during the trek.

But it is all worth it in the end. You will learn a lot about yourself in this process. Additionally, the views that you get from the Agasthyarkoodam peak and the sights you see during the trek itself will linger with you for a long time. So if you are an avid trekker or want to experience the Western Ghats in all its glory, this trek should be on your wishlist.

Have you done this mighty trek in Kerala? If not, do you plan to do it someday but still have some queries? Let me know in the comments, and I will be happy to help.

agathiyar malai trip

Jerry quit his 9-5 job to become a digital nomad and travel the world. Through Framedventures, he helps people have experiential and immersive travel adventures across India. He has travelled to 15+ states/UTs in India so far. Besides travelling, he's also passionate about landscape photography. Connect with him on his social media channels to get his latest travel updates!

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agathiyar malai trip

Awesome blogs Jerry. Very well documented and so much in details. Appreciate it. Am planning to do the agastyakoodam trek sometime, thanks again.

agathiyar malai trip

Thank you Shreyas! Hope you have an awesome trek at Agasthyakoodam. 🤗

agathiyar malai trip

Damn brother🙏 you took me through a visual adventure at the comfort of my house. Very well documented journey details. Am planning to scale this mighty peak this year. Waiting for the online registration to start. I wanted to know two things: if female trekkers are allowed currently. What would be the cost of food tokens at the forest department canteens. Awaiting response Jerry.

agathiyar malai trip

Thank you, Sharath! 😀

As mentioned in my blog post, female trekkers are allowed since 2019.

I don’t remember the exact cost of the food tokens but it was cheap. You’ll be good to go if you can carry INR 1,500-2,000. It’ll comfortably take care of all your food expenses during the trek.

All the best with your online registration! ✌️

agathiyar malai trip

durga Manikandan

hi jerry wondeful message about the agasthiyar trek , my self a yoga instructor with few of my students climbing the agasthiyar peak on sep , your details are really useful , we are bunch of women , my question is if we cant climb the peak of the last 2 km is that ok or will it be missed badly , these rocks look scary ,guide us ,

Hi Durga! I sent you an email with the reply. Hope you received it and read through it.

I’m answering your question again for the benefit of others who may have the same doubt.

The last 2 km does look scary but it’s not very difficult. There are ropes to guide you and people around you will help you out.

I recommend you climb the peak because the views there are unbeatable. You won’t get that kind of view anywhere else on the trek (or even in Trivandrum) and you’ll be thankful to yourself for climbing the peak.

At the top, I recommend spending 30 minutes to an hour taking in the views, meditating or relaxing.

Hope this helps!

agathiyar malai trip

Thanks for this amazing writeup. I am climbing on Jan 2023 and your infos will be highly useful for me. You just kept my sprint one level up for the climb. Thanks

Thanks Sandeep!🙂

Congratulations on getting the entry pass for the trek. Not everyone is as lucky as you.😅

All the very best for the trek!

agathiyar malai trip

Hi Jerry, thanks for the elaborate write up. We are trekking in February 2023. Can you throw some light on the trekking option outside the booking window? How to book, cost, special permit requirements etc.. Thank you again !!!

I don’t have much idea about the booking outside the trekking window.

You can visit this website for more details. Check the ‘Agastyarvanam Biological Park’ section specifically for the Agasthyakoodam trek.

agathiyar malai trip

Srinivasan Thyagarajan

Dear Mr. Jerry, Greetings. Read your blog and it triggered my intrinsic inner heart to plan and perform this trek. Nicely written by you with full details. I am 62 years old and would like to do this trekking soon. I live in Chennai with my family and now retired from the service. Recently, I had been to Parvatha malai and before that Kedarnath dham. Should you have more tips to guide me, kindly share the same. Take care. GOD Bless you. regards srinivasan

Hi Srinivasan!

Thank you for this lovely message.

You can follow all the details I’ve mentioned in the article for a successful trek.

If you’ve any specific concerns, do let me know! I’ll be happy to help.✌️

agathiyar malai trip

If I plan to hike 2nd week of January 2024, when would the reservation open up online?

Hey Arun! Sorry for the late reply!

It usually opens during the 2nd week of January every year but there is no fixed date as such. You can also hike in the 2nd week of January provided you’re able to book the pass online when they open the bookings.

agathiyar malai trip

Nice blog Jerry. I can see why you quit your 9-5 job. Please can you tell me about the afidavit for the trek, how to obtain it. And I heard someone say we should have some Life Insurance for going for this trek, how true it is?

I am planning for the trek in 2024. Please do let me know if any other documents are needed, I can’t find any source pointing at this. Please help. Thank you.

Hi Ganesh! Sorry for the late reply.

The affidavit will be sent to you when you successfully book the trek online. If not, you can also get it at the Forest Checkpost in Bonacaud. And life insurance is not needed.

The two important documents you need to have for sure are the trekking pass and an original photo id.

agathiyar malai trip

Srinivasan S

This is the most detailed and informative inputs that i could get about this place. Am fortunate to get a slot in Feb’24. Looking forward to enjoying this in person. Will update after i complete my trekking. Thanks for all the inputs.

Thanks Srinivasan! Hope you enjoy the trek.:)

agathiyar malai trip

Hello Jerry, super detailed blog, thank you! My husband, two cousins and I have got a slot olfor the trek Feb 6-8 (we decided to not to squash everything into 2 days).

Couple questions: 1. On the Day 1 trek, I understand there are streams and other such in the way. Are they deep? Will we get fully wet?

2. On Day 2, when we climb to Agasthyaarkoodam, is there an option to leave the trekking backpack at the basecamp? Or do we have to carry everything to the top?

3. Did you have any fellow female trekkers during yours, and anything they may have mentioned which would be good to know?

4. Since plastic is not allowed, do they allow plastic water bottle? And what about the plastic parts of the first aid kit, etc?

Please find my replies:

1. No, they aren’t deep at all.

2. Yes, you can leave your main backpack in your dorm. It’s preferable to carry a small backpack with water, snacks and the packed lunch on day 2 though as the ascent will be tiring.

3. No, I didn’t. But it is now open for females also so you don’t have to worry. They have separate washrooms for females and if I’m not wrong, they have a different dorm for females. I’m not sure what the policy is regarding couples.

4. Yes, you can carry plastic water bottles but ensure you’re not carrying the disposable ones. Similarly, I recommend you remove the plastic covers of packaged snacks, first aid, etc. and carry them in boxes to avoid inconvenience. The forest officials are a bit strict with plastics as it’s a reserved forest.

agathiyar malai trip

Hi Jerry is it advisable to Trek during the 2 week of April. I just came to know about this place last week. I really want to go this spritual journey and i this is my first time going for a adventure like this. Waiting forward for ur reply. And I gave a message to your insta id. Pls reply

The summer season in Kerala starts in April. Hence, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s better to go in January or February.

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Agasthyamala A Trek to no Ordinary Mountain!

Cost on request, 5 days & 4 nights, 6129 ft max altitude, moderate level, cost on request.

Western Ghats is known to be the most bewitchingly beautiful region in the province of South India. There are many mountain peaks that have been explored by thousands of tourists in the past years. Holiday makers seek to fulfil every deep urge of tourists and provide with an adventure tour that not only is comfortable and affordable but also is an experience of a lifetime. Western Ghats is a home to rich and deep green grasslands, gorgeous mountain peaks, rare species of flora and fauna along with a special collection of medicinal herbs. Tourists from every age group can unravel the mystic aura of the beautiful Western Ghats. One such location in the Western Ghats is Agastya Mala near Trivandrum in Kerala.

Situated at an altitude of 6,129 feet above sea level, it is a famous destination for pilgrims and a paradise for adventure tourists. It is one of the highest peaks in Kerala and is extremely popular for medicinal plants and herbs. About 2,000 different varieties of Ayurvedic medicinal treatment ingredients are found in the area. Tea gardens commissioned by British during their rule in India are commonly found at the base stations of the mountain at Bonacaud, Brimore and Ponmudi. The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is a home to the rarest collection of flora and fauna. The Reserve is mostly open for tourists in the month of January and February and prior permission from the forest department is required to visit this region.

Agastya Mala offers its visitors the best combination of beautiful dense forests, calming grasslands, spectacular scenic beauty and an opportunity of coming face to face with wild animals. Major attractions around the area are the soothing Neyyar Dam (located at a distance of 23 kilometres from Bonacaud), the beautiful Karamana River, Neyyar River, shimmering Meenmutty Waterfalls, huge estates of Bonacaud and Ponmudi. You can add few more days to your trip and visit these nearby areas to get the true feel of Agastya Mala region and the marvellous Western Ghats.

Agastya Mala is also known as Agasthyarkoodam and is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya. According to Hindu Puranas, there are seven sages (Saptarishi) and Sage Agastya is one among the Saptarishis. There is a statue of Sage Agastya at the peak of Agastya Mala and devotees are free to offer puja to the statue. It is believed that Tamil language originated as a boon from Sage Agastya.

This amazing trekking experience will start once you reach the capital of Kerala, Trivandrum. You will be driven to Bonacaud, a small village located at an altitude of 570 metres. This is the starting point of your trek. Agastya Mala peak is about 23 kilometres from Bonacaud but the trekking trail is about 35 kilometres. There are stunningly beautiful hills in this region including the Pandipathu and a few others. The fort like formation close to Bonacaud is another delight for trekkers and travellers. You will pass through Athirumala which is located at an altitude of 1041 metres above the sea level. The calming waterfalls, densely populated forests, mind-numbing grasslands, narrow pathways, remarkable streams and rocky trails during this tour will entice your mind and relax your body. One visit to this place and you will forget the need for spas and salons. You will also pass through Pongalapara, situated at an altitude of 1,460 metres above sea level. Seetha Kulicha Kulam and Muttidippara are also famous stops along your way. The elevation of this trail is so steep that a trekker can feel his knees hitting his nose with every step he takes especially in the Muttidippara region.

The summit of Agastya Mala is located at a majestic altitude of 1,868 metres. The glory of standing at this great heights while being surrounded by the most spectacular creation of nature is truly a once in a lifetime moment. The peaks that surround Agastya Mala welcome you with open arms. Anjila Pothi is a notable group of mountains standing close to Agastya Mala peak. These five breathe-taking mountains located at an altitude of 1,800 metres never miss to captivate the by-standers.

Campsites of this region are well maintained by the government. There are a few small forts with rooms and restrooms which can be used for resting at night. Few campsites might not have markings on them but the camps near Vazapathiyar stream and Karamanayar extremely helpful during your trip. Trekkers require food which will give them instant energy during this trip. There might be times when trekkers might feel loss of energy especially during steep climbs. Our representatives usually carry emergency food for such instances. A trip among the deepest mysteries of nature that will awaken your every sense organ is exactly what you are signing on for with us.

Trip Highlights

  • Agasthyarkoodam Biosphere reserve is UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Agasthyamala or Agasthyamalai is 2nd Highest peak in kerala.
  • Sage Agasthya is one of Saptharishis, revered as father of Siddha medicine.
  • Agasthyamala is located at altitude of 6129 feet, popularly known as Kailash of South India.
  • Best time to visit: Post Monsoon - December to March: The skies can be covered with mist with play of passing clouds and can be clear with bright sunlight. It will be windy & Nights getting cold.
  • Trek Distance: Trekking Distance is 45 km
  • Grade of Trek : Moderate. Previous trek experience will be helpful and an added advantage. Difficulty of trek is subjective.
  • Overall distance : Approximately 1540 Kilometres (60 Kilometres by trekking).

Trip Cost Includes

  • Food : During Stay and Snacks during Evening Refreshments only
  • Travel : Tempo Traveler/SUV Similar Non/Ac/Bus
  • Accommodation : Basic Multiple sharing or dormitory/Tent.
  • Group Size : Group size 12 and Above.

Trip Cost Excludes

  • Food : During journey
  • Toll Charges : Nice Road
  • Any Charges : Waterfalls etc,

agathiyar malai trip

Important Information:

  • 1 pair of Shoes : Carry well broken/used Shoes with good Sole & ankle protection and that will sustain usage during the trek. Avoid wearing new shoes to avoid bite and blisters.
  • 1 Backpack : Light Weighted & approx 30 litres in volume with multiple pouches,good zip & straps.
  • Clothing & Toiletries : For your daily usage
  • 1 Jacket : Early mornings and nights can get really cold.
  • 1 Cap/hat : help in protecting your head and face from direct sunlight during treks.
  • 1 Water bottle : carry some reusable water bottles along.
  • 1 Towel : quick dry light towel.
  • 1 Head lamp / Torch : Keep it handy and use it only required.
  • 1 Personal Medical Kit : Carry few tablets such as crocin, Paracetamol, Band aid, cotton. ORS satchets. Glucose, Volini spray and crape bandage.
  • 1 Medic Kit : always pack a first-aid kit in case things go the other way.
  • 2 Batteries: Carry recharged spare batteries.
  • Gloves : Gloves that will keep your palms warm during extreme cold.
  • 1 Whistle : Whistle for signalling and use in times of distress only.
  • 1 Sun glasses : Carry tested and right one to protect from harsh Sunlight only.
  • Sleeping Bag : At times, there might be extreme cold and the camp beds might not be good enough to give you a good night’s sleep. It is better if you have your own warm sleeping bag.
  • Mobile : Use if for communication only. Check with trek coordinator of network availibility carry BSNL SIM if required.
  • 1 Poly Bags : To carry trash and wet clothes.
  • 1 ID Proof : Carry Photo ID proof DL / Voter Id/ similar.
  • Overnight Journey to Trivandrum.
  • Transfers to Bonacaud and Return by Private vehicle
  • Network : Weak & available intermittently.

Pickup points :

Team members are requested to select and book tickets. Reach respective points or places enroute. However, make use of Namma Metro for hassle free travel.Our event leaders will assist you all times for any assistance.

At 14.30, Madiwala, Bangalore

Summiters trek

View of Ashambhu Hill

Summiters trek

View of 5 Pothigai Hills

Summiters trek

View of Peppara Backwater

Summiters trek

flower in the place

Summiters trek

Anjila pothi and Tree

What our clients say?

Before booking the slots, check our Cancellation Terms and Terms & Conditions .

Divya Darisanam

Unravelling the beauty of Ancient Temples, and dedicated to pure Divinity, I hope that my pages would serve as an alternative to quench the thirst (or form a base) for visiting these temples and other historical places in India. Hoping to bring blissfulness to the mind and the soul to all my readers. You as an important critic, I would really appreciate your valuable comments that will improve the quality of my write-ups on Temples and their Sthala puranams. Thank you for visiting my pages.

28 July 2011

Pothigai malai [ hills] a spiritual journey up the agasthiyar malai.

  • Avoid heavy weight in your trekking bag.
  • No need more than one cloth. Even no cloth is required. Take one towel.
  • Two problems when trekking in the pothigai hills is the Elephants and species. Prepare to manage the species.
  • Wear shorts and T-Shirts and / or comfortable clothing to make your trekking smooth.
  • Agasthiyar Malai [Hill]
  • Karaiyar Dam [ Thamiraparani Dam]
  • Agasthiyar Falls
  • Papavinasweshwara Temple
  • PanaTheertham Falls[ Baanatheertham Falls]

A Brief write-up on Papanasam Temple

Temple structure.

  • Agasthiyar Hill
  • Karaiyar Dam [Thairaparani Dam]
  • Papavinaswehwara Temple
  • Panatheertham Falls [ Baanatheertham Falls]
  • Athri Nath- Hills of Athri Maharishi


Hello!!!! GREAT effort:-)) Very scenic collection of pics too! trekking is not an easy job...takes a lot of effort & determination! excellent:-) Thanks! LUEN

agathiyar malai trip

I went there last week and stayed at Dalovoi Hotel for 3 days. We had a Holy bath in all the falls and worshipped God. Thanks

We visited Pothigas Hills and stayed at Courtallam for three days. We had a Holy bath in all the Falls and worshipped God. Very nice trip.

agathiyar malai trip

Excellent blog.. the striking similarity between the kailash and the pothigai is a great news

agathiyar malai trip

we are visit pothigaimalai,it tooks 3 days to complete the trekking.. it was excellent.

Greetings. It’s really a wonderful narration about your holy trip. I really appreciate and pray the almighty to provide you all that you have wished for. I noticed from your blog that we need to get permission from the forest department for the trekking. Please guide me where we need to apply whom we need to contact can you able to provide the contact info. Thanks. Regards Prabhu.T

agathiyar malai trip

very useful information for the seekers. Thank u

agathiyar malai trip

Hi it is very informative,give me the contact details to get permission to carry out the holy trek.

agathiyar malai trip

Wonderful writeup.It clearly depicts the places around..excellent pics.Plz mail your contact details as we plan to visit next week

agathiyar malai trip

I am intrested in joining such trips. please let me know if i can join you in such pilgrimage

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Friday 24 january 2020, agasthyakoodam trekking / agasthyamalai / pothigai malai.

agathiyar malai trip


You had a great trip.. Especially the way you enjoyed throughout despite all the risk.. Photographs are awesome and went out of your way to make this trip a great adventure. Actually I was really thinking there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Thanks for the wonderful experience

A detailed report of trekking,but very intersting for not everyone,who had visited and propose to are well.The narration of myths are fine.Wish you all the best.

Thank you :)

Well written with detailed info..hope to go there once.

Hey Raj tnx ..yes you should try once :;)

Hats off for the detail write up. Ningalu manushyane kothippichu kollum.

Lovely Trek log, Anish ! Very detailed. We are planning to do this in 2021 (if there is no covid bans). This should greatly help us. Thanks A small suggestion, Please consider blurring your personal info from the first image :)

Thanks Anish. One of the best narrations, which clarifies many questions. Nothing wrong if you add & detai up how to register and what to pack for a comfortable trekking; which will make it complete and we need not refer to any other blogs/videos. Thanks a lot. God bless you. Guru Agathiyar bless you .

I have written very detailed about the registration process. Pls read the first paragraph once more. Thanks again for visiting the Blog.

No nicely written, i hope i could make this trek.

That's very very detailed information about the trek, me and friends were planning to visit there. my friends and brothers usually plan for trek once a year in vellingiri hills. but never know about the pothigaimalai, Earlier i Thought the vellingiri is difficult trek in south but after one person told that he visited pothigai malai during the vellingiri trek & explained about the difficulties of climbing there. so the conversation made me that, one day i will go there to experience. Again thanks for the information brother. valga valamudan....

agathiyar malai trip

First Woman In History Starts Trek To Male-Only Agasthyakoodam peak In Kerala

Photo of Adete Dahiya

Photo by Varkey Parakkal

Photo of First Woman In History Starts Trek To Male-Only Agasthyakoodam peak In Kerala by Adete Dahiya

Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala (6129 feet) and is considered one of the most coveted trekking trails in the country. However, up until now, women were not allowed to go on this trek, for no other reason than that they were women!

On Monday, January 14, 2019, K Dhanya Sanal, a spokesperson for the defence ministry in Thiruvananthapuram, became the first ever woman to start trekking to the Agasthyakoodam summit. More women are expected to attempt the trek in the coming days as the state forest department has received 4,700 registrations – 100 of which are women, according to PTI reports.

This was the first time the trek was opened after the landmark judgement by the Kerala High Court on November 30, 2018 removing the ban on women from trekking the peak. Justice Anu Sivaraman ruled that restrictions cannot be imposed on the basis of gender of a participant while granting permission to visitors to trek the peak.

Why women were not allowed to trek the peak?

According to the forest department, women were not allowed to trek up the peak because it was considered too difficult for them. However, there is another theory as well.

The forests surrounding the peak are home to the Kani tribe, who have been ancient worshippers of Agastya Muni (after whom the peak is named. According to them, Agastya was a "brahmchari" or celibate, and hence women were not allowed to go to the peak, which was the spot where he meditated. They said that letting women beyond Athiramala, a base station in Agasthyakoodam, would interfere with their rights of worship. They had initially challenged the guidelines of the forest department extending permission to women for the trek, however after the HC judgement they did not contest the decision.

About the peak

Located within the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram and surrounded by forests which are believed to be amongst the richest clusters of biodiversity in the Western Ghats, the Agasthyakoodam Peak holds great importance for Keralites. The forests are well known for their abundance of rare medicinal plants. People even believe that the air here has medicinal properties and can heal several diseases.

The beauty of the Agasthyakoodam trek lies in its rapidly changing terrain—you will pass through deciduous as well as evergreen forests, grasslands and finally rock formations, as you reach the peak.

Everything you need to know about the trek

The official trek begins from a village called Bonacaud, located at a distance of about 60km from Thiruvananthapuram city (Trivandrum), which is the closest place to have hotel and night-stay options. You can either drive from Trivandrum or take the bus, which is the more feasible option given the condition of the roads. It usually takes about 2 hours to reach the village from the city, but since only a limited number of tickets are issued for the trek each day, it is advised to reach by 7 in the morning. To do this, you need to take the first bus out of Trivandrum or start latest by 5 am, if you plan on driving.

Photo of First Woman In History Starts Trek To Male-Only Agasthyakoodam peak In Kerala 1/2 by Adete Dahiya

When's the best time?

The trek is only open from January to March every year, usually for a period of about 40 days. The forest department allows a controlled pilgrimage/trek during these months. It starts on the day of the auspicious Makaravilakku festival in the Sabarimala temple and ends on Shivaratri. Only 100 entry passes are issued every day and they are given on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Who can apply for the trek?

The Forest Department has stated that only physically and mentally fit people should apply for the 25.5-km trek, which takes two to three days. The department’s guidelines state that only women above the age of 14 should apply.

Difficulty level and duration

Agasthyakoodam is a moderately difficult trek that requires you to cover a one-way distance of about 28km from the starting point at Bonacaud to the peak. That makes it a total of 56km. It usually takes between two to three days to complete the trek depending on your stamina.

Women and children are not allowed on the trek.

Photo of First Woman In History Starts Trek To Male-Only Agasthyakoodam peak In Kerala 2/2 by Adete Dahiya

DIY or not?

Agasthyakoodam peak and surrounding areas are protected and maintained by the state forest department of Kerala. While it is most-definitely a do-it-yourself trek, there are forest officers walking along the trail for random surveillance. Since only a limited number of passes are issued each day, you can expect almost the entire group (60-80) people starting and finishing the trek together.

The passes for the trek cost is Rs 500 per person. Since 2014, the Kerala Tourism Board has started issuing passes online, and like the ones available offline at Bonacaud, they're sold on a first-come-first-serve basis. For the past few years, all passes for the entire duration of the trekking season have been getting sold out within a few hours.

This two/three-day trek begins from the Bonacaud forest office, located about 60km from Thiruvananthapuram. The base camp at Athirumala is located about 15 km from here. Depending on how fast you trek, you can complete this leg of the journey within a few hours or take the whole day. The second leg of the journey from Athirumala to the peak is more difficult and requires you to scale about a 1000 metres.

Itinerary (for a three-day trek)

Bonacaud to Athirumala (6 hours)

- Arrive at Bonacaud by 7 am. Get your passes verified and collect food coupons from the forest office

- Begin trek to the base camp at Athirumala by 8 am

- Reach Athirumala base camp by 2 pm

- Rest, get lunch at the base camp with your food coupons. It has a canteen that starts at 6:30 in the morning and closes at 8:30 pm

- Explore the flora and fauna around the area. Go for a walk

- Stay the night at the base camp. You will be offered a mattress on a twin sharing basis.

- Dinner is served at the base camp and you can use your food coupons to get it.

Athirumala to Agasthyakoodam peak and back (10 hours)

- Start at 6 in the morning to head to the peak.

- Reach the peak by 12 noon

- Explore and take in the view. Make sure you're carrying a packed lunch or snacks to keep your energy levels up.

- Head back to Athirumala and try and reach back before the sun sets.

- Dinner and night stay at the base camp

Athirumala to Bonacaud (4-5 hours)

- Get something to eat at the basecamp and head to Bonacaud by 8 am

- Reach Bonacaud by 1 pm and take the next bus back to Thiruvananthapuram

View of the peak from Athirumala base camp (photo by Ajay Kuyiloor)

Photo of First Woman In History Starts Trek To Male-Only Agasthyakoodam peak In Kerala by Adete Dahiya

What to pack?

Since Kerala has a tropical climate, you don't really need to be carrying warm or heavy clothing. The checklist for items to take on this trek are fairly routine. Make sure you have a flashlight, hat, snacks and water, a change of clothing, one lightweight blanket, your ID proof and entry pass, trekking shoes, and a rain-proof backpack. I personally carry a camera, spare set of footwear and a rope on all my treks.

Around 4,100 visitors would be given entry during the 41-day annual season of the trek this year. However the number of women applicants will only be known after all registrations are processed. While we wait for that, you can read about how this woman conquered the highest peak in Antarctica!

Share your favourite trekking experiences with the community or write a travelogue on it to inspire fellow travellers.

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Agastya Mala

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Agastya Mala also known in various names like Agasthyakoodam, Agastyarkoodam or Agathiyar Malai is a 1,868 meters (6,129 ft) peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. Agasthyakoodam is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas.

The shrine was installed under the auspices of the Chenkottukonam Madathipathi Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi Thiruvadikal who entered the forests with Hindu Aikya Vedi activists and his followers especially from the Kani Tribe demolished the cross erected by Christians.The Tamil language is considered to be a boon from Agasthya. There is a full-sized statue of Agathiyar at the top of the peak and the devotees can offer pujas themselves.

The mountain lies on the border between the States of Kerala (in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram District) and Tamil Nadu (in Kanyakumari district, Tirunelveli District). The perennial Thamirabarani River originates from the eastern side of this hill and flows into the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. Other major rivers which originate from the mountain are the Karamana River, which flows through the Thiruvananthapuram District and is the major source of drinking water to the city, and the Neyyar River (also in the Thiruvananthapuram District).

The peak of Agathiyarmalai can be reached only by trekking up to it. While The Tamil Nadu government allows certain number of applications even though they have strict rules within the wildlife sanctuary. The Kerala government has been favorable to the pilgrims wanting to visit the peak. Every year in the month of May, Sundarampillai (late) from Papanasam used to organize a big group of pilgrims to go on a devotional trek.

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Agastya-Mala, Kerala, Trivandrum

Agastya-Mala, Kerala

November To March

The name ‘Agastya Mala’ actually refers to a 2000 meters tall peak located within the state of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Agastya Mala is located in the Western Ghats mountain range and is also a part of the Agastya Mala Biosphere Reserve and the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary.Agasthyakoodam (commonly known  as Agastya Mala / Agasthyamalai / Agathiyar Malai  and Agastyarkoodam) is also a  famous pilgrimage center know after the sage Agasthya. The pilgrimage involves a trek of 56km (28km one side) from  Bonacaud/Bonaccord  making it a  trekker’s paradise. 

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  • Wildlife Warden , Forest Department , PTP Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram

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  • Seasonal - 2024
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All the tickets for the Agastyarkoodam Trekking event 2024 have been sold out. Due to the limited capacity and high demand, we are unable to accommodate any more participants for this year event. See you next year

Department of Forests and Wildlife - Agasthyarkoodam Seasonal Trekking 2024 - issues order granting permission to visitors.

class="project-title">In respect of Agasthyarkootam Seasonal Trekking 2024, the Government issues an order allowing the admission of visitors, subject to the conditions appended below.

  • 1. Dates for Agasthyarkutam Seasonal Trek 2024 are from 24th January to 2nd March
  • 2. Trekking online registration for the year 2024 can be started from January 10, 2024, at the rate of 70 people per day.
  • 3. Thiruvananthapuram Wildlife Warden may allow offline booking not exceeding 30 persons per day subject to maximum seat availability including booking cancellation. Offline booking should be done only one day before the trekking date.
  • 4. Trekking fee will be 2500/- (Rupees Two Thousand Five Hundred) including Eco Development Charge without food.
  • 5. Maximum booking for Agasthyarkootam trek in one day should not be more than 100 people including cancellation seats.
  • 6. Children between the ages of 14 and under 18 years are not permitted to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Registration with or without permit
  • 7. Medical fitness taken within seven days by the participants of the trek.The certificate should be produced before starting the trekking
  • 8. For Online Registration, Participant's photograph and Government approved ID copy must be uploaded at the time of online
  • 9. First aid kit and personal accident insurance should be ensured.
  • 10 The department reserves the right to suspend the trek at any time in case of inclement weather, risk of wildlife attack etc.



  • Please silence while walking in the forest
  • Strictly observe instructions of the guide
  • Avoid getting separated from the group
  • Avoid bathing in the streams
  • Take photos only with the permission of the guides
  • Avoid consumption of liquor, smoking etc
  • Start return journey from the Agasthaymala before 01.30 PM
  • Accommodation is restricted in sheds only

Who all can trek?

As the trekking is arduous and extends through dangerous paths, only persons with considerable physical strength can trek to Agasthyarkoodam. Children below 14 years will not be allowed. Both men and women can apply.

The trekkers have to reach the forest picket station of Vithura-Bonacaud at 7 am of the trek with the original photo ID card and the printout of the ticket. The visitors have to submit a self-declaration with signatures. Each group with ten members will be provided with a guide by the Eco-Development committee.

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  1. All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

    There is a small stone statue of Agathiyar at the top of the peak and the devotees can offer pujas themselves. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is among 20 new sites added by UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves in March 2016. The International Co-ordinating Council added the new sites during a two-day meeting on March 19, 2016 in ...

  2. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve| Trekking Booking

    Cost of Agasthyakoodam trekking pass As of 2023, the cost per head in a trekking pass was INR 1,800, and you can book up to 5 people in one pass. This cost involves the forest permit and accommodation. Meals are exclusive of the price, and you need to buy them separately. It is usual for Agasthyakoodam trekking passes to get sold out within ...

  3. Agasthyakoodam or Agasthyarkoodam or Agasthyamalai Trekking

    2022 Agasthyarkoodam Trekking Details. Trekking is from January 14th to February 29th, 2022. Booking starts on January 6th, 2022. Charges are INR 1331 per person. Online booking is available through or service 100 passes are issued for each day.

  4. Agastyaarkoodam

    Agasthya Sage (அகத்தியர்) Sanskrit: अगस्त्य'. Agastyaarkoodam is also a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Purana. It is believed that Agastyamuni (saint) who is immortal still leave there in the mountain.

  5. Agastya Mala

    Trekking: The entire trekking is 18.5km to the top of Agastya Mala from Bonacad. You cover 13km on first day when you reach Athirumala base camp. If you can finish 5+km and come back to Athirumala base camp before 2PM, you are allowed to travel back the 13km on the second day itself.

  6. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve| About Agasthyamalai

    And for more information on planning your trip, be sure to visit our website and discover all the hidden gems of this incredible destination. Biosphere Reserve Agasthyamala UNESCO's - 'World Network of Biosphere Reserves' Agasthyamala is a natural habitat of rare medicinal herbs and place was added to UNESCO's list of 'World Network ...

  7. Agastya Mala

    Agastya Mala or Agastyarkoodam is one of the peaks in the Western Ghats of Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala, near to the border of Tamilnadu, India. This peak is a part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve which lies on the border between the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Tirunelveli district and Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram district.The perennial Thamirabarani River originates from the ...

  8. Agasthyakoodam and the trekking

    Agasthyakoodam is also known for its remarkable flora and fauna, especially certain rare medicinal herbs which have been discovered here. Over 2000 species including lichens, orchids, mosses and ferns have been recorded in the area. The peak was named after the sage Agasthya and is a popular pilgrim site. A shrine dedicated to him is located ...

  9. Agasthyakoodam, Trivandrum (2024)

    Agastya Mala Peak can only be reached through trekking and trekking routes are only open from January to mid-March. The 28 km (one way) long trek is considered especially strenuous and is recommended (Read More) only to people with a fit and healthy body. There are two trekking routes to reach the peak- one from Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is not open to the public.

  10. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve| Seasonal Trekking

    Season Trekking 2023 will be conducted from 16th January to 15th February 2023 as per Govt. Those who have Internet connection and Net Card facility can register and book tickets online by visiting the forest department's website at or From year 2014, Online Booking is thorough https://www ...

  11. Agasthyakoodam Trekking: How To Have A Successful First Trek?

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  12. 5 Days Trip to Agasthyamala

    Day one - Journey from Bangalore to Trivandrum (12 hours, 740 kilometres) Day two - From the beautiful Trivandrum to Bonacaud (2 hour, 50 kilometres - 570 metres), campsite & towards your base camp. Day three - Trekking towards the mind-numbing Agastya Mala (4 hours, 6 kilometres - 1868 metres), Orchid Trail and back to the base camp (3 hours ...

  13. Agasthyarkoodam (Agasthyamalai / பொதிகை மலை) Trekking 2020

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  15. Agasthyakoodam Trekking / Agasthyamalai / Pothigai malai

    Agasthyakoodam Trekking / Agasthyamalai / Pothigai malai ... You had a great trip.. Especially the way you enjoyed throughout despite all the risk.. ... Guru Agathiyar bless you . Reply Delete. Replies. Anish 18 January 2022 at 10:02. I have written very detailed about the registration process. Pls read the first paragraph once more. Thanks ...

  16. Agasthyakoodam: Agasthyakoodam Trekking Itinerary Guide

    Athirumala to Agasthyakoodam peak and back (10 hours) - Start at 6 in the morning to head to the peak. - Reach the peak by 12 noon. - Explore and take in the view. Make sure you're carrying a packed lunch or snacks to keep your energy levels up. - Head back to Athirumala and try and reach back before the sun sets.

  17. Agastya Mala Trivandrum Kerala

    Agastya Mala. Agastya Mala also known in various names like Agasthyakoodam, Agastyarkoodam or Agathiyar Malai is a 1,868 meters (6,129 ft) peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. Agasthyakoodam is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas.

  18. Agastya-Mala, Kerala

    The name 'Agastya Mala' actually refers to a 2000 meters tall peak located within the state of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Agastya Mala is located in the Western Ghats mountain range and is also a part of the Agastya Mala Biosphere Reserve and the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary.Agasthyakoodam (commonly known as Agastya Mala / Agasthyamalai / Agathiyar Malai and Agastyarkoodam) is also a famous ...

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  21. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve| Agasthyarkoodam Seasonal Trekking 2024

    Dates for Agasthyarkutam Seasonal Trek 2024 are from 24th January to 2nd March. 2. Trekking online registration for the year 2024 can be started from January 10, 2024, at the rate of 70 people per day. 3. Thiruvananthapuram Wildlife Warden may allow offline booking not exceeding 30 persons per day subject to maximum seat availability including ...


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