Sunday, August 3, 2008

Around Idukki in a Day!

It all started when we heard reports of a Neelakurinji bloom in Idukki, at a place called Pooppara. For the uninitiated who are also too lazy to read the Wikipedia entry, Neelakurinji blooms occur once in twelve years and are supposed to cover entire hillsides, providing a breathtaking view.

So me, David and Vizzy started from Mavelikkara on Saturday morning. We decided to take the Kuttikkanam - Kattappana route. The roads are really nice and the whole area is so beautiful the drive alone would've made the trip worth it!

The town of K Chappath. Anybody know what the "K" stands for?

The low bridge at K Chappath. Was probably a Chappath long back.

Since we didn't have any fixed plans, we decided to visit the Idukki dam too. (Being the electrical engineer I am, couldn't resist call of the Idukki!
Traveling without plans seems to be the best way... It's the unexpected that bring more joy! Due to security issues, we were not allowed to go till the dam. We had to be content with the view from the road. Even then, it felt good to see it. Providing power for the almost the entire state and providing water for irrigation too... Wow!
From the road, the reservoir is not visible at all and the dam looks like a big wall across two hills. It's pretty hard to imagine the amount of water it's holding on the other side. It is expected that the dam will be open to visitors during Onam (Permission to be taken from Vydyuthi Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram). A visit to the dam is strongly recommended.

We learned from the friendly local "karikku" vendor that there's a direct route to Pooppara from the dam and so we had the fortune of seeing the Kallarkutti dam and Ponmudi dam. We also passed by the Neriyamangalam and Sengulam power stations.

It was almost like the last year of college revisited. We'd come to many of these places for industrial visits... And of course, going to Munnar and Veegaland afterward was quite coincidental :D

We finally reached Pooppara village and asked around for the way to Neelakurinji blooms. Most of the local people were amused at the fact that we drove all the way from Thiruvanthapuram to see a bunch of flowers. We were in for a somewhat bad suprise. The rain had beaten us to the place and most flowers were gone. As a matter of fact, there was only a single bush left in the whole area. And that had lost its color in the rain (Yeah, Neelakurinji flowers become white if it rains!)

The gray-brown shrubs that you see around us are Neelakurinji shrubs after the rain!

Though we were a bit disappointed with the kurinjis, the view was great and the pure, unpolluted air was refreshing.

We spent some time there and started our journey back. On the way, we decided to go to a place called Ramakkalmedu, around 13 km off the main road. We just knew that it was one of the windiest places in Kerala, with a view of Tamilnadu. But only after we reached there, we realized the true beauty of the place. It's the border between Kerala and Tamilnadu and Theni is directly below the cliff. It's really cold and windy, so windy that we could hardly walk. The drastic geographic difference between us and our neighbor is clearly visible. All green on one side, all brown on the other.

There was an interesting sculpture on the hill. A tribal family - a man holding a hen, a woman and a child. I am not sure if there's a story behind it, but it sure gives the place a magical touch.

Legend goes that during Thretha Yuga, Lord Rama came to Ramakkalmedu in search of Sita and wailed "Sita, Sita..." There's a rock which is believed to have the foot impression of Lord Rama.

It was too windy to climb the rock, so went till where we could safely reach. I've never been to a place windier than this. It was very cold too. So before it got too dark, we started our journey back. It was easier to drive than I expected, probably because there was no traffic and it was not the tourist season. Tourism peaks at Ramakkalmedu during March - April. But it's crowded and less windy during that time. We felt that July - August would be the best time to visit, provided you are willng to face the wind! :)

Thus, we had covered most parts of Idukki (except Munnar) and reached Mavelikkara by 11 at night, leaving us no time to think about anything else but sleep! It was a great trip, mainly because we had no solid plans!


Mavelikkara - Changanashery - Ponkunnam - Peruvanthanam - Kuttikkanam - Kattappana (140 km) - Idukki dam (164 km) - Ramakkalmedu (250 km) - Thookkupalam - Nedungandam - Kattappana - Changanashery - Mavelikkara (450 km)

Our Faithful Carrier

The district website is pretty good and can provide you with information on other routes and places to stay at.

PS: This is my first blog post. Comments / suggestions welcome!


silverine said...

Google Alert let me know that I was linked here and came to check! This has to be the most pleassing template I have come across for some time. Secondly, lovely post. These places are where I spent my childood vacations. So bought back a lot of memories! The pictures are awesome too. Enjoyed reading this!

CarbonMonoxide said...

WOW ! silverine comments !!!

emmanuel said...

Lovely post with beautiful pictures. :) I envy seeing you guys at the locations :)

Expecting even better posts than the first. :)

Tony said...

@ Silverine: I'm honored! :) A big fan of yours!

@ CO: Buahahahaha... Happy? And feedback?

@ Emmanuel: Thanks! And yeah... Continuous improvement is my policy :)

renjini said...

nice pics..and while reading the blog i felt like really visiting the place..nammude it orma vannu...keep writing ...

Aditya said...

Hey Tony Uncle!
Kudos man...nice blog.
So it seems that u r enjoying every bit of ur life there.....
and u r very much on the way to become a travelog writer...specially when u r in kerala.
Keep it up
and yes dont get lost in food.
(too much of any thing is not good ;)

Jiby said...

kurian, good stuff man. i was searching for kerala travel blogs and i suddenly remembered i hadn't checked your blog yet. very good writing...and the photos make it better. please put all your older travelogues here. you know, they are all a wealth of information to people who haven't been to those places.

Ajish said...


The 'K' in K Chappathu stands for 'Karimkulam' which is a nearby estate/plantation.