At the outset, I would like to tell you that we never got to summit the Chembra peak because when we visited in January 2016, the summit was closed to the public. But I have read a lot about the peak and it is one of the most beautiful treks in Wayanad. We did half the trek upto the Chembra lake (more popularly known as the heart lake because of its shape) which is just about 4 kms from the base. The distance is not too much, and the trek is moderately steep.
You can get all the information such as trek details and how to get there through these blogs, but there are some things that no one will tell you about the peak:
Actual amount of time required: The ascent is 1-1.5 hours to the lake and then another hour to the summit, but it takes far longer than that. First off, reaching this place from Wayanad itself is 45 minutes to an hour. Then you have to wait at the ticket counter to get the tickets, which takes another half an hour. Then there is a jeep that takes you to the starting point of the trek (which takes another half an hour to 45 minutes). Then you walk about 15 minutes to reach the starting point of the trek. All in all, take 6 hours from the time to you reach here until you reach the ticket station back.
- Fee for the jeep: Taking the jeep is not mandatory. If you are not taking it, you’ll walk an extra 5 kms, through a village. If you do decide to take it, it costs some 500-700 bucks for a round trip.
- Terrain: There are some big rocks that may require some flexibility and at some places it is good to have basic hiking gloves (but not a must)
- Leeches: The peak is in the western ghats, so expect leeches in the monsoon
- Prohibited: Plastic bottles, smoking or any kind of non-biodegradable trash is prohibited on the trek. There is a 8000 Rs fine for anyone who is found smoking or disposing off garbage near the lake or on the slopes. You will have to pay a deposit for any plastic bottles that you take with you to the trek, which is refunded when you show the same bottle when you have descended. I think this is a great way to ensure that people are careful with garbage
- There is an amazing chai-wala just where you end the trek (after descending), and he makes amazing omlets for just 15 bucks!! yum!!
We had a great time at the trek, but we did find a few people that were complaining about the steepness. Why? just that they were wearing flip flops or even fancy shoes for a steep trek. I am pretty sure none of you will ever do that, so you’ll be fine! Make sure you spend some time at the lake and refresh yourself. The views are amazing from the top – just remember to walk about 100 m past the lake and you l reach the viewpoint. Enjoy some photos from the trek: