The Illickal Mala, located 3,400 feet above sea level, has numerous mountain streams that flow down to form the peaceful Meenachil river. You feel as if you are moving closer to the sky and can touch the clouds as you trek through a terrain filled with majestic, tall trees and rocks. The Illikkal mountain is made up of three distinct hills, one of which resembles a mushroom, hence the name ‘Kuda Kallu’ (umbrella-shaped rock).
The name ‘Koonu Kallu’ comes from a small hunch on the side of the second hill (hunchback rock). The third name is Illickal Kallu, which comes from the mountain itself. A section of the steep rock on top of the hill appears to have broken off.
There is a path that leads to Illickal Kallu after a thrilling drive through hairpin curves and an uphill hike.
This path can be walked or simply stood on to feel the power of this imposing muscular rock. The mist enveloping the towering hill will take one’s breath away. The weather is pleasant, and the Arabian Sea can be seen as a thin blue line on the horizon if the sky is clear. Sunsets on full moon days are especially lovely. The moon appears to rise like another sun as the orange sun sets.
The striking feature of Illikkal Kallu is that one cannot help but wonder what happened to the mountain’s missing half. Illikkal Kallu is an excellent destination for trekkers. This mountainous region provides breathtaking views as well as an unforgettable trekking adventure.
The bridge that connects the hills is interestingly named the Narakapalam.
Narakapalam literally translates to “hell’s bridge” in Malayalam, and is so named because of the drop on each side.
The view from the top is worth the thrilling car ride and difficult hike to the top. The natural beauty and landscape of Illikkal Kallu are comparable to those of Kodaikanal’s pillar rocks. The therapeutic herb Neela Koduveli is said to grow here.
The approach is treacherous and steep, but the panoramic views of the Western Ghats more than make up for it. Summer is the best time to visit, but the rainy season offers a completely different experience due to the thick mist that covers the mountain, enhancing the natural beauty of the area.