Vellagavi Village – A hike from Kumbakarai to Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal is one place I wish to travel to. Every visit of mine to this place was different and I had a unique experience. So, this time, I’ll be climbing uphill from Kumbakarai to Kodaikanal via the Vellagavi village, a trail that was formerly used to move goods during the British rule, passing through lush forests, passing by a waterfall, and passing through a secluded community. Moreover, nobody wears shoes in this community in the hills. Vellagavi, near Kodaika, is known for this.

Enjoying the Vellagavi Forest view
Enjoying the Vellagavi Forest view. Photo Copyright: Ravindra Joisa

Reaching Vallagavi village

The route follows the Kumali-Dindigul highway, with a turnoff to Kumbakkara at Periyakulam. The hike begins in Kumbakkara. The entire hike is in the rain forest and takes about 6 hours to reach the Vellagavi village. Firstly, a temple will greet you as you enter Vellagavi village. Secondly, Vellagavi village is in the heart of the jungle, a settlement of barefoot inhabitants. The locals here consider this place to be holy and the village is super clean.

Temples at Vallagavi Village
Temples at Vellagavi Village, Photo Copyright: Ravindra Joisa

A place full of temples, Vallagavi Village

This small isolated village perched on the mountains of Kodaikanal has a primary school and a playground in front. Because there is no road connecting the town to the outside world, residents rely on centuries-old routes to get around. There are more temples than houses, people consider the village sacred and don’t use footwear within the village. Also, people here sleep by 7 PM immediately after sunset. There is a place at the entrance where tourists and hikers stay and also a shop. We pitched our tent at this place enjoying the evening next to the campfire.

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Overnight tent stay at Vallagavi Village
Overnight tent stay at Vellagavi Village. Photo Copyright: Ravindra Joisa

The uphill hike after Vellagavi village

The major part of the hiking trail goes through the forest. The forests of the Western Ghats are truly magical. Unfortunately, at the time of my visit, the place just before the dolphin nose area was under forest fire and the hiking trail was all under ash. We finally managed to reach the all-uphill hike to Dolphine nose. Dolphine Nose is a popular tourist attraction that is often busy.

Vallagavi Village to Dolphin Nose, Kodai
Vellagavi Village to Dolphin Nose, Kodai. Photo Copyright: Ravindra Joisa

The tragic forest fire above Vellagavi Village

Note that sometime back in this area of the hike just below the Dolphin nose area, there was a massive forest fire. We were told that a group of all-women hikers had become stranded in the midst of the forest and had become lost in the forest fire. Many lives had been lost. You can see in the video below where you will still find the remains and even during my hike, the last one kilometer was under forest fire but was not intense.

The place that was once under forest fire near Dolphin Nose, Foggy day.
The place that was once under forest fire near Dolphin Nose, Foggy day. Photo Copyright: Ravindra Joisa

Read more on Ravindra’s Trekking stories

To conclude, this is a perfect weekend hike with a stay at a remote village in the middle of the forest. Watch the video below and I hope this video is enjoyable and perhaps even inspires some ideas, should you decide to plan a hike to old Kodai. For more on travel videos, head over to my YouTube channel. Thanks for watching and be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell for more travel videos. By the way, the ideal time to visit this place would be post-monsoon from Oct to Feb. Avoid hiking during the monsoon season because you’ll be in the heart of a rain forest with lots of rain.