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The Complete Guide to Swamimalai Hill Trek

One of the must-do treks in Yelagiri. It offers a beautiful view of the complete valley from the summit. Situated at an altitude of 4,338 ft, it is the highest point in Yelagiri. 

On the summit, you find a Shiva temple. There is a huge rock next to the temple. It is believed that there was a Trishul on the top of this rock earlier. The priest who took care of the temple used to climb the rock and offer his prayers. But the Trishul was stolen later making the rock just a viewpoint.

Swamimalai Hill starts from Mangalam village in Yelagiri. There is a Mariamman temple at the centre of the village which is a major landmark as it is the starting point of the trek. 

The villagers visit the temple regularly and offer their prayers. People from the surrounding villages also visit the Shiva temple on the top to pay homage. 

The villagers’ unique customs, traditional tribal dwellings, summer festivals and their hospitality will definitely leave a lasting impression on everyone who visits the place. 

Table Of Contents

Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop-in comments at the end of the page if you need any help!  You will get all the information required to do the Swamimalai hill trek on your own.

To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of the Table of Contents

  • What to Watch out for
  • Trail Information
  • GPX File for the trek
  • Best Season to do the trek
  • How to Reach the base of the trek
  • Difficult Sections
  • How To Get Fit For The Trek
  • Things to Take for the trek
  • Permission, Water Sources, and other finer details about the trek
  • Nearby Places to Visit after the trek

Highlights from Swamimalai Hill Trek

Breathtaking view from the Swamimalai summit

The Swamimalai hill offers a breathtaking view from the summit. You can see the complete valley below you as well as the villages of Yelagiri. 

A cool breeze with the spectacular view makes you feel like spending an entire day just gazing at the horizon. 

View from the summit of the Swamimalai hill. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

The trail full of Mimosa Pudica flowers (Shy Plant)

The plants of these flowers are known as “touch-me-not” plants. They shrink whenever they come in contact with anything. 

The trail all the way to the summit is full of these plants and flowers. It is a reward to watch pink coloured flowers. 

Mimosa Pudica flower, seen on the way to the summit. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

The company of colourful butterflies throughout the trek

You enter a different world after you cross the man-made steps. The trail suddenly becomes narrow. You see colourful butterflies welcoming you and light pink coloured shy plant flowers all around leave you speechless.  

The butterflies follow you all the way up to the summit. It is a joy to watch them fly so happily!

Trail Information

Swamimalai Hill trek starts from Mangalam village. The entire trek can be divided into two sections.

  1. The starting point from the temple to the Forest office – 15 minutes
  2. Forest office to the summit of the hill – 1 hour 30 minutes

Trail Map of Swamimalai Hill Trek. Source: Google Earth. Picture Courtesy Nayana Jambhe

Section I: Starting point from the temple to the forest office

Trek Distance: 800 m
Trek Duration: 15 minutes
GPS coordinates of the starting point:  12°35’7.68″N, 78°39’26.88″E
GPS coordinates of the forest office:    12°35’23.70″N, 78°39’42.53″E

The trek to the summit of the Swamimalai hill starts from a cluster of houses in the Mangalam village. To be precise, Mariamman temple in the village is the exact location from where the trek begins. 

The starting point from the Mariamman temple. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Take the road that goes behind these houses you see in the picture. The initial trail passes through villagers’ paddy fields. 

If you are visiting just after the monsoon, you can also see small streams passing through these fields. 

The initial trail from the village. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

You can see the Swamimalai hill in front of you until you reach the forest office. This is the last stretch where you can spot your destination. 

Swamimalai Hill as seen on the way to the forest office. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

After 15 minutes of a gradual climb, you reach the forest office. Take permission here and proceed. 

Forest office where you need to take permission. Picture by Aniruddha Kalghatgi

Section II: Forest office to the Swamimalai hill summit

Trek Distance: 1.6 km
Trek Duration:  1 hour 30 minutes
GPS coordinates of the forest office:   12°35’23.70″N, 78°39’42.53″E
GPS coordinates of the Swamimalai hill summit:   12°35’51.64″N, 78°40’1.99″E

The initial trail from the forest office has man-made steps. If you are trekking immediately after the monsoon, you need to be very careful as they can be slippery. 

The trail gradually starts climbing up. It is very unlikely to get lost on this trek.  

The initial trail from the forest office which has man-made steps. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

After 30 minutes of a climb on these steps, the trail slowly becomes narrow. Only one person can climb from here at a time. 

You do not see the top anywhere from here. It feels like you are already at the highest point but the trail continues for another one hour. This stretch can be exhausting. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated. 

You find locals selling cucumbers, buttermilk, and water bottles on the trail. You can take some rest at any point and continue. 

| Green Note: We suggest to carry your own water bottle and snacks to avoid litter on the trail. 

The narrow trail after the steps. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

This section of the trek is full of Mimosa Pudica flowers (Shy plant) and colourful butterflies. Do not forget to click some photos.

After an hour of trekking, you reach the temple. It is a Shiva temple which is worshipped by villagers. 

The Shiva temple on the top of Swamimalai hill. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

The best view is actually hidden. There is a huge rock next to the temple. An iron ladder is kept to climb up. The ladder does not have any support so be careful while climbing up. 

The view from the top of the rock is spectacular. Sit on the rock for some time and enjoy the lush green valley in front of you. You can see the mountain ranges all the way up to the horizon. 

A cool breeze with an amazing view is all you need at the end of any trek!

View from Swamimalai Hills summit. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

The descent is the same way you climbed up. It is easier than the ascent. You need 30 to 40 minutes to reach the temple at Mangalam village.

Best Season To Do The Swamimalai Hill Trek

September to February is the best season to do this trek. The trail will be full of blooming flowers and colourful butterflies. You can see the lush green valley and the beautiful rolling hills from the temple.

Trekking in the monsoon season is difficult as the trail becomes slippery. The moss formation on the steps makes it more dangerous to climb up. 

The temperature during summer in that region can be extremely high. Hence, we do not recommend trekking in the summer to Swamimalai hill.

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Reaching the starting point by your vehicle

If you are travelling by your vehicle, you can drive up to Mangalam village, Yelagiri. Use this link to help set up navigation in google maps. 

From Bangalore, get on to the Hosur road till Krishnagiri. From there take the road towards Chennai. After an hour of drive, you get an underpass that joins the road to Thirapattur. Continue on that road until you spot a Tamila Nadu Tourism Board. If you take a left turn there, you can spot the Yelagiri signboard. The ghat road to Yelagiri is lined with Eucalyptus. It is one of the memorable road journeys.

Tip: You get one of the best sunset views on this route. Plan your journey accordingly. 

Continue on the main road until you reach Mangalam mess on your left. Take the opposite road which goes to the village. Village ends at the Murugan temple which is also the starting point of the trek. 

Park your vehicle at the village and take the trail that starts between the houses in the village. 

Reaching the starting point by Public Transport System

Yelagiri can be reached by public transport easily. There are many buses from Bangalore that go to Thirupattur. From there many local buses ply to Yelagiri. 

Another cheapest way is by train. Jolarpettai Junction is the nearest railway station to Yelagiri. There are trains from Bangalore which cost around Rs 200. From Jolarpettai you can get a local bus to Yelagiri. 

Nearest bus stop to Mangalam village is Mettu-Kaniyur bus stop. All the local buses stop there. Mangalam village is 500m from the bus stop from where the trek starts. 

Return option: You get the local buses from Mettu-Kaniyur to Tirupattur or Jolarpettai. Buses do stop anywhere on the main road of Yelagiri. However, the last bus is at 7 pm from Yelagiri. 

Stay options: There are few hotels in the Yelagiri which are located very close to each other. You can book hotels here

Nearest Railway Station

Jolerpettai Junction Railway Station: 25 km 

Nearest International and Domestic Airport

Salem Airport: 152 km

Bangalore International Airport: 191 km

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Difficult Sections On The Swamimalai Hill Trek

There are no difficult sections on this trek. However, the final ladder climb to the huge rock can be tricky. There is no proper support for this ladder. Hence, you need to be very careful while climbing this. 

If you are trekking immediately after the monsoon, there will be moss formation on the steps. It can be slippery which makes it more difficult to climb. 

Tip: Wear proper trekking shoes and carry a pair of trekking poles. These two trekking gears will definitely help you while climbing. 

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How To Get Fit For Swamimalai Hill Trek

Swamimalai Trek is classified as an Easy grade trek. Though there is not much altitude gain, the continuous ascent can be quite demanding for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Training yourself for a low-altitude Easy-grade trek:

Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.

Cardiovascular endurance

In case you’re just starting with a fitness routine, start slow and increase your pace every day in the following manner –

  • Target completing a brisk walk of 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
  • Gradually increase your pace by walking 5 km, four times a week.
  • As you become more comfortable, introduce jogging in your routine. 
  • Progressively increase the distance you jog in a workout until you can complete 5 km in 40 mins.

If you prefer cycling over running, target covering 15 km in 60 minutes when you begin.

  • Progressively increase your pace to cover 18 km in one hour.

Strength training

This is an important area you need to work on. 

Strength training is equally important to trek comfortably. Work on your glutes, calves and knees. Additionally, work on strengthening your core.

You must strengthen your core muscles. For strengthening your core muscles, holding a plank and it’s variations (elbow, side planks) are the best exercises to go about doing it.

Also, try these exercises for strength-

Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each set

– Squats (Mix it up with sumo squats)

– Lunges (Forward, backward and lateral lunges)

– Planks


Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. 

It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

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What To Pack For Swamimalai Hill Trek

  • Basic First Aid kit*
  • Identity Card
  • Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
  • Water (Minimum three litres)
  • Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
  • High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
  • Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
  • Quick Dry T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
  • A warm layer (Pullover, sweater or a jacket)
  • Poncho, only during post-monsoons
  • Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)

*First aid kit:

  • Scissor
  • Band-aids (Regular & Waterproof)
  • Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
  • Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
  • Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
  • Cotton roll & Bandage
  • Crepe Bandage
  • 1-inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
  • Micropore tape
  • Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
  • Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)

| Note: Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Swamimalai Hill Trek

Do we need permission to do Swamimalai hill trek?

Yes. You need to take permission from the forest office to do this trek. There is a forest office once you cross the paddy fields at the village. They charge you Rs 350 per person. 

Is camping allowed on Swamimalai Hill Trek?

Camping is not allowed on Swamimalai hill. There is no permission to do so. Also, on the top, you won’t find enough space to pitch your tent. 

However, there are many hotels or homestays where you can stay overnight near Mangalam village or Yelagiri. You can book hotels here

Are there any food and water sources available on Swamimalai hill trek?

There are no water sources on the way to the top. However, you find locals selling water bottles or buttermilk on the trail. You can also fill your water bottles at the village. 

Make sure you carry a minimum of 2 litres of water along with you.

| Tip: If you are not comfortable with having water from outside, carry purification tablets or life straw bottles to purify the water.

There are no hotels in the village. However, you can find a few restaurants on the way to Mangalam village from where you can get the packed food. 

Who can do the Swamimalai hill trek?

Trek to Swamimalai hill is an easy grade trek. But the continuous ascent can be a bit of a challenge. Hence only a fit beginner can attempt this trek.  

Timings on the Swamimalai hill trek

There is no particular timing on this trek. You can do this any time of the day. However, we recommend you to do this trek early in the morning so that you can complete it by noon. It is very hot in the afternoon with less shade.

Emergency contact for Swamimalai hill trek 

Hospital: Nilavoor Government Hospital is the nearest hospital to Mangalam village. It is located 4 km from the starting point of the trek.

Police Station: Yelagiri Police Station is the nearest police station to Mangalam village. It is 4.3 km from the starting point of the trek. 

ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112

ATMs and Network on the trek

ATMs: Yelagiri town is the nearest place where you can find reliable ATMs. There is one State Bank of India ATM where you can withdraw your money. 

We recommend you to carry a minimum of Rs 2,000 from your hometown itself. 

Mobile Networks: There are mobile networks on the top of the hill. Vodafone and Airtel providers catch the signal there. 

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Places To Visit After Swamimalai Hill Trek

There are few parks, lakes and waterfalls on the Yelagiri hill. If you have a couple of days, you can visit all these places and enjoy the beauty of nature. 

Yelagiri Lake:

It is a small lake 3 km from the Mangalam village. There is also boating available. But sitting on the bank of the lake and enjoying the serenity of the lake is one of the feel-good moments. 

Yelagiri Lake. Spot the Swamimalai peak behind the lake. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Jalagamparai falls:

It is 5 km from Swamimalai peak. This waterfall is from River Attaru plunging from a height of 30 m. It is best visited immediately after the monsoon. 

There is almost a km of a trek to reach the falls from Nilavoor road. The road is very narrow, and it goes downhill from the Mangalam village. 

Nature Park:

There is also a Nature park just opposite to the Yelagiri Lake. This place is best to spend some time with family and friends. There are many things to do inside the park as well. 

Things to see inside the Nature Park. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Sunset point, en route Yelagiri:

Sunset from the hairpin bends which you cross while going to Yelagiri is one of the amazing things to witness. 

Sunset from the ghat, en route Yelagiri. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Trek Contribution

Trek done and documented by Nayana Jambhe

Special thanks to Aniruddha Kalghatgi for the pictures used in the documentation
Banner Image by Nayana Jambhe

The trek was written by Nayana Jambhe