We decide to complete the return journey the same day itself as most members of our group are working and would like a full day rest. So in spite of the warning of others that by the time we reach Bonacaud it might get dark we start from Athirupara at 2 PM. We also hoped to see some animals since we are told that most animals who prefer to lie in the shade during noon when it is hottest come out around sunset for one last forage for food. Though we are tired we are happy we made it to the top and the thought of the warmth of our homes help us to proceed in good speed.
At a place near a stream called Attapara we find a team on their way up waiting with their guide who inform us that right near by where we came down an elephant had been spotted and trekkers were advised to wait till the danger cleared. Of course since we were without a guide we were unaware of this and while some of us were disappointed that we didn’t spot the elephant, others were relieved that the elephant didn’t spot us!
We finally made it back to Bonacaud right as the sun was setting. It goes without saying the forest officers too were relieved to see us. Here we stopped to have tea. While we were walking we hadn’t really noticed the pain in our legs as we were busy taking in the mesmerizing sights nature had to offer. However now after having tea we found that we couldn’t even get up from a chair without help. Our legs had become stiff and our muscles were stretched to their extent. But, as everyone who has made this trip will tell you, it’s worth it.
So here’s what I finally have to say – Agasthyarkoodam is one place in Kerala, or the whole world for that matter, you definitely have got to see. The beauty and wonder will linger in your mind long after you have left the place. Let me put it this way – you may leave the place, but the place never leaves you. The trees, the flowers, the rocks, the rivers, the waterfalls, the sky, the clouds, the mist and Agasthyamuni at the peak – shall always be in my mind.