Vivekananda Study Circle (VSC) conducted a trekking program in the Western Ghats on March 11 and 12. 38 techies hiked Agasthyarkoodam, the 1868 m peak, the second highest in Kerala, located within the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram.
The peak is a part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve, which lies on the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The techies accessed the mountain by foot from Bonacaud. The forests of Agasthyarkoodam are abundant with rare medicinal herbs, flora and fauna. River Thamirabarani originates from the eastern side of the range and flows into the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. It is believed that sage Agasthya, the mythological character lived in these mountains.
More than a pleasure trip, the team had the mission to clean Agasthyarkoodam and make it plastic-free, in line with the national cleanliness drive Swachh Bharat. They collected plastic materials weighing more than 50 kg from the forest and handed it over to the forest office at Bonacaud. Shockingly, plastic materials were also seen in the animal excreta found at the place.
Techies organised the trekking program under the strategic guidance of P Vijayan IPS. Necessary permissions were given by Wildlife Warden Sunil Sahadevan and the team was given directions on trekking by Assistant Wildlife Warden J Suresh. VSC has plans to conduct such programs in the coming years as well. VSC had earlier associated with the Kerala Police initiative of Punyam Poonkavanam by promoting the Clean Sabarimala initiative during the last pilgrim season.