Coming back to Maruthuva Malai, I am gonna tell you how to climb this mountain. The next time you visit, Nagercoil or Kanyakumari, plan to climb this mountain also. It is a 500 metre tall mountain (Just over half a km altitude). It takes 1 hour to reach the top (for slow climbers). The regular trekkers can reach the top in 40 minutes. I have added a few pictures taken over the last ten years of my trek to this mountain. This is still one of my favorite spots in the world. As I take you through the picture ride, you will understand why I rate this at the very top in my favorite spot list.
1) The climb
When you drive towards Kanyakumari, please keep an eye on the mountain ranges on the left side. Just 5 kms before you reach Kanyakumari, you can see the final mount. It is a small mountain and that is Maruthuva Malai for you. You can drive to the foot of the mountain and park your car. The locals might collect a parking fee of Rs 20. You can help them. They do not cheat. They are very helpful people indeed. From the foot of the hill to an altitude of 200 metres, steps are constructed to help you climb the mountain. You might think that this is the easiest aid for you. But trust me on this. The steps are the objects that make your legs weak. Once you climb the steps you might experience pain in your calf mustles and your hamstrings.
2) The first intermediate Spot.
On completion of the climb through the steps, you will reach a spot from where you can have a good picturesque view of the western coastline of India. The Arabian sea will welcome you from this location. You can catch a glimpse of the tsunami affected (26 Dec 2004) areas from this place. The Manakudi bridge can be spotted from this place. During the tsunami, the whole bridge collapsed and thousands of people lost their lives. You can have your first cup of water at this location. Do not drink more than 200 ml of water as it will make it tough for you to climb. The best drink is lime juice with salt water. This will not allow you to get dehydrated.
3) The well.
There is a well at this spot. It is a fresh water well. Ten years ago, we used to drink water from this place. But now people have polluted this place by spitting pan, and littering it with plastic bottles. The next 200 meters will take you through an adventure trip, because you have to climb rocks.
4) The Rocky part of the trek
This is the most adventurous part of the climb. Do not take rest during this trek. It is another 200 meter (altitude) climb. This is the second phase of your climb and it will sap your energy. You do not need ropes to climb this part. All you have to do is just keep climbing at a steady phase.
5 ) The tree rest
Once you cross the second phase of your climb, you will reach this place where you can take rest under a tree. The view from this place will be awesome. You can even see the southern tip of the country. But when you reach the top, the view will be magnificient.
6) The last phase : Climb to the top
The last phase of the trip will be a memorable one for all the photography lovers. This 100 metre altitude trek will take you through some rough cliffs and dangerous curves of the mountain.
7) The caves.
There are 200 caves in maruthuva malai. Lot of sithars and yogis will be meditating inside the caves. Just 3 of these caves are accessible for regular mountain climbers. If you need to go to all the caves, you need mountaineering equipments. This is a cave where a Kerala sage NarayanaGuru came and meditated. It is a holy place for the followers of Narayana Guru. The air in this cave is clean and it is a perfect setting for meditators.
8) Way to Jelly Cave
My friend Prasanna is posing in front of the jelly cave. I named it jelly cave because there is a kind of herb near this cave which when mixed with a bottle of water, makes that water into a jelly substance. Many sages who come to this mountain use this herb to convert water into the herb jelly and by eating that jelly, they can meditate for a week without drinking water. The name of the mountain is maruthuva malai because many medicinal herbs are found in this mountain. This is another reason, why an early morning climb of this mountain is very good for your health.
9) The windmills
Once you reach the top of the mountain, you can see these windmills. These wind mills are on the east coast (Bay of Bengal) . You can see a rainbow in this picture below. It rained that day when we climbed the mountain. It was a experience I will never forget.
10 ) The meditation Rock
The meditation rock will be a dream-come-true spot for yoga lovers. The picture below captures a group of fraud meditators who are acting for a photograph. If Shiva had not smiled, people might have thought that we are professionals.
11 ) The Pinnacle
This is the highest point of maruthuva malai. There is a temple at this spot.
12) The Scenic location
13) The Three Oceans
Take a closer look at this picture(click picture for enlarged view). The southern tip of India can be seen in this picture. The Vivekananda rock, Thiruvalluvar statue can also be seen in this photo. Kanyakumari is known for the sun rise and sunset spots. But have you seen the sun rise from this spot? If not, you should reach this place before sun rise. Trust me! It is hundred times better than what you see at Kanyakumari.
14) Fresh water streams
You can see fresh water streams from the top of the mountain. When you climb down, you can head to one of these spots and take bath. I will write about some of these spots sometime in future.
15) A picture from memory lane.
Pictures like this will help you to remember the conversations you had during the trek. I have climbed this place more than 20 times and I will love to climb this mountain any number of times as long as I have good company. Wanna trek with me?
Note : The climb down might look easy. Your legs might start to shiver when you are going down. Do not fret. It is a natural thing. You might experience some cramps for two or three days, if you have not phased your climb properly. It will teach you how to walk properly.