Vellagavi, in comparison to its extremely popular neighbour, Kodaikanal, is a relatively obscure yet gorgeous little hamlet, with a sparse population of some 150 people. Located amidst the undulating terrains of Western Ghats, the number of temples in Vellagavi far exceeds the number of residential houses.
Which is why, perhaps, the locals refuse to wear any footwear, because they feel that the gods coexist in the area with them. Vellagavi has around 50 houses in total; and wherever you go, you will find idols. Apparently, some people settled here during Tipu Sultan’s time and later formed an isolated community in the mountains. Though earlier they didn’t allow travellers to enter the village with shoes on, they’re not as strict with visitors anymore.
However, reaching this hamlet is a task; there are no roads here. To get here, one has to trek through the dense forests from Kumbakarai that easily takes between six to eight hours. The trek definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted; but a must try for seasoned trekkers.
You can even opt for camping here, in case you’d like to spend a day or two amidst the natural bounty of the village. Apart from the temples, a nature walk is sure to leave a deep impact on you; the locals here have an idyllic lifestyle, with farming and goat rearing as their primary occupation and an enriching interaction with them is highly recommended.
This 300-year-old village is quite close to both Kodaikanal and Vattakanal. There are two ways to plan your trip: You can either start from Kodaikanal, walk down to Dolphin’s Nose and make your way to Vellagavi. Incase you don’t want to spend the night there, you can walk back and stay the night at Vattakanal. Or if you stay the night at Vellagavi, trek down to Kumbakarai, via Periyakulam and Dindigul the next day. You will get buses to all major cities like Bangalore and Chennai from Dindigul.