Chembra Peak Trek - Wayanad

Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad at 2100 meters. Its located near Meppady and 8 KM south o Kalpetta. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. Permission from the forest office in Meppady is required for trekking up to Chembra Peak. A heart shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction. 
Chembra peak is undoubtedly the best trekking spot in Wayanad..It is a 7 stage trek which will take around 3 hrs to go to the top spot..If you are not taking the full trek you can go till watchtower either by road or by a short trek of 45 mns by plantation trails from Straem Garden villas wayanad. But the 5 km road to reach the spot was very bad and it took a lot of time for the car to cover that stretch. Hence Jeep Safari can be an option from Stream Garden Resort situated below Chembra Peak. However you can take your own car also.
Trek Distance and details
Total  length of trek is about 4.5 Kms (onside). Distance between trek starting point till watch tower is about 1KMS. From watch tower to Heart shape lake is about 2 KMS far. Distance between heart shaped lake and Chembra peak   is about 1.5 KMS.This is moderate trek for average trekker. Trek from starting point till watch tower is pretty easy.  From watch tower till heart shape lake trek difficulty level is easy. Actual difficulty starts from heart shape lake. From heart shape lake till peak trek is difficult. Initial trek trail from starting point to watch tower requires 15 - 20 Mins to trek. From watch tower to heart shape lake requires 1 - 2 hours to trek. It requires another 1-2 hours to trek from heart shaped lake to chembra peak.
One can reach the forest office, from where a pass has to be acquired to trek the mountain. You can also avail the services of guide which can be very useful and time saving. Services of a forest trekking guide come included in the 500 rupee for group of 10 trekking permit. Do remember not to pay anything extra to the guide, though you can tip him if you are happy with his service. The trek to the top takes 3 hours, and one can see almost the whole of Wayanad and parts of Malappuram, Kozhikkode and Nilgiri districts.
Chembra peak is best visited early in the morning. The office opens around 7:30 AM so you can start your day early 6 AM and have breakfast and make sure you reach there by 7:30. One caution if you visit in rainy season then there will be leeches all along the way, so make sure your foot is properly covered with thick socks and sport shoes. 
Once we went there we saw the VSS office to get permissions and paid  entry fee for the day trek (up to the Chembra peak and back on the same day rs.500). Guides were not there at office, but you can find one near the entry point.  We went towards the foothills, parked the car near the checkpost and walked up to the watch tower about 10 minutes from the check post. The toilet over there are clean and well maintained
Experience of the Trek. 
We took the guide and started to scale the Chembra peak around 9 AM. First 10 mins is most testing and we started panting . Ascend starts quickly and there is not much time to warm up. Go slow and keep going soon you will be in the grasslands which is an experience for some of us.  Along the trail you will find some small water falls of clear water. We found the whole setting extremly beautiful , with lush green grass covering every piece of land, blue sky, hills on the horizon and spotless white cloud hovering all around. 

As I said before there are 7 stages to Chembra. You can cover as much distance as you want , even if you dont climb all the way to the peak, any part of the trek is equally exciting and excellent. First stage is to reach the first lake. Its really breath-taking place. From there you can get a view of  Pookot lake, Banasura Dam and catchment along with all hills around. 
Around 10 am or so we reached the 2nd hill, is the famous heart shaped lake ('Hridaya Saras' in Malayalam). which is believed to have not dried ever - not even at peak summer season. Spend as much time as you want here, take pictures. You can also see the relection of  Chembra peak in the lake. You may think that its only 30 mins more from here, but the panorama is illusional. We kept going from one stage to another crossed 5th, 6th stage. Its  important to keep your energy level so make sure you carry some energy drink like gatarode or equivalent. Exactly 3 hours we reach the chembra peak at Noon. Once you reach the peak you dont feel like coming back. spead some newspaper or bedsheet and sit for some time to listen to the sound of air, the talking hills and the breath-taking view. Above all the experience and achievement of 3 hours trek. We sat there for around hour and then started decending. It took less than 2 hours to come down. Before 3 pm we reach the watch tower, and then headed back towards checkpost. 
The trek to Chembra needs preparation, you need to take water, carry 1 liter bottle each so heavy bottles dont burden you. One person may need 2-4 liter water. Make sure you take some backpack. You will need to carry some food as, on your way back you will feel hungry. We had our lunch near the heart shaped lake. 
Rainy season is not the best time to visit Chembra peak due to leeches and obviously the fact the clouds can cover up the view at the top. But if you have raincoats and are not worried about mist blocking your view you can scale during monsoon also. In rainy season decent can be slippery and hence one has to be careful . On scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the toughest , I would rate this trek as 6 out of 10. Some trekkers have seen elephants, gaur and spotted deer.
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