Nagalapuram is a beautiful trekking trail in the Eastern Ghats of peninsular India. The sporadic mountain ranges on the eastern coast of India form the Eastern Ghats. Spread across the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Eastern Ghats are known to be older than the Western Ghats. Compared to the popular and ample trails in South India especially the ones in the Western Ghats, the Nagalapuram trek is fairly uncommon and hence quite pristine.
Nagalapuram is a small village in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Located around 70 km south-east of a famous pilgrim place Tirupati, it is conveniently accessible by road. The distance between Chennai and Nagalapuram village is approximately 90 km. The actual trail, however, begins from the Arai village, which is about 15 km further away from the Nagalapuram village. A dirt road from the village leads to the Nagala dam, where trekkers and overnight campers usually park their vehicles.
It is advisable to get a trekking/camping permit by visiting the Nagalapuram town police. As the trail goes through dense forests, keeping the local authorities informed about your expedition will ensure your safety in case of an emergency.
Best Time To Visit
The dense tree cover, cool waterfalls and natural pools make the trekking in summer enjoyable. Winter is another popular choice of season for trekking. Monsoon, however, is best to avoid for trekking in the Nagalpuram hills as the trail gets infested with leeches. Also the trail around the gorges can get slippery and prove quite risky.
The Nagalapuram hills can be traversed from east-to-west or west-to-east, or trekking up and back the same path from the eastern/western side. It is an easy one-day trek with an approximate trekking distance of 13km. Typically, it takes about 2-3 hours to ascend with a moderate pace. Trekkers have an option to camp if they wish to stay overnight.
The trek route passes through dense stretches of trees making the hike pleasant even in the noon. The trail winds up along refreshing waterfalls, streams and clear water pools. Walk along these waterfalls and pools is enjoyable and the shutterbugs can find some great spots for photography or quick pit-stops.
Further, as the trail gains elevation, it passes along beautiful gorges with steep rocky walls. The gullies get narrow and trickier at certain points requiring you to be extra careful. Watch out for rocky and slippery stretches to avoid any fatalities.
There are three spots along the trek route where the sparkling waterfalls descend into magnificent water pools. These water pools are popularly called magic pools by the trekkers, as they do not dry up even in the summers. The first two water pools are clear and shallow and are completely safe even for the non-swimmers. But the final waterhole, which is near the summit, is about 30 ft deep and is not advisable for non-swimmers.
The third water pool also has a natural slide. Pro swimmers slide down these stone slopes smoothed by running water over a course of time. Adventurers and seasoned swimmers also cliff-jump into the waterhole from the surrounding cliffs. But for your own safety, do not engage in these activities unless you are an experienced swimmer/cliff jumper.
Things To Carry
Pack all the basic and essential things for a day (or overnight) trek in a sturdy, medium-sized day-pack. Include items of clothing (with an extra pair), food, toiletries, medicines, water bottle, cap, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
There's a provision to pitch tents on the camping grounds near dam and trekkers usually halt there. However, there are no shops or drinking water sources in the vicinity so do carry sufficient food and water. If you are planning to camp overnight, do consider carrying sleeping bags, sleeping mats, tents, and torch.
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