Coimbatore: More than 2.5 lakh devotees visited Velliangiri hills in the past three and half months, compared to more than 2 lakh in the comparable period last year.
Based on a Madras high court order, Velliangiri hills was opened for devotees on February 12 and closed on May 31.
The Velliangiri hills trek is an arduous journey of 6km, involving the ascent of seven mountains to reach its top to worship Lord Shiva in his ‘swayambhu’ (self-manifested) form at a height of 1,850 meters.
T Suseendranath, Boluvampatti forest range officer, said more young people had trekked the hills this year influenced by social media videos.
Velliangiri Hills is one of the most challenging trekking routes in Tamil Nadu. Nine people had lost their lives since the trekking season began this year.
Suseendranath said, “We had advised people with heart ailments, breathing problems, obesity and diabetes to undergo a thorough medical checkup to ensure if they could trek Velliangiri hills. Despite warnings and the extreme heat, many trekked the hills this year. For the first time, we had set up a medical camp on the fourth hills on the weekends. Two doctors were stationed at the camp.”
The forest department, meanwhile, continued its initiative to prevent the littering of disposable water bottles at the hills. Officers tagged plastic bottles and collected a deposit of ₹20 per bottle. The deposit was refunded when the visitors returned the plastic bottles. Around 2.11 lakh disposable water bottles were returned by pilgrims this time, against 1.66 lakh last year, the officer said.

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