Categories
Hills

Ilaveezhapoonchira

Skirting Kottayam district are the beautiful valleys of Ilaveezhapoonchira, spread over thousands of acres. This delightful picnic spot located in the midst of beautiful hillocks near Kanjar, is also ideal for trekking.

During the monsoons when the valley fills up to form a scenic lake, this place unveils yet another beautiful slice of nature. Ilaveezhapoonchira means ‘valley where leaves don’t fall’ and is named so because the place has no trees. This is also one of the best places in Kerala to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset.

A DTPC rest house nearby offers comfortable accommodation.

Contact details:
Tourist information centre,
DTPC Kottayam
Ph: +91 481 2560479

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 55 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 76 km

Categories
Hills

Hills of Munnar and the Neelakurinji

One could say this as a unique life cycle, and a phenomenon that makes the hills of Munnar a special place for biologists. The biological phenomenon of the mass blooming of the Neelakurinji (Strobilanthus) flower that takes place once in twelve years has once again arrived in the famed hill resort of Munnar. Neela means blue in Malayalam language and Kurinji the local name of the flower. For those in Munnar, the blooming of Kurinji flower is a reminder that their lives have gone past another twelve years, and for those from far off; may be it is reminder to witness a once in a life time rare sight of the Kurinji flowers covering the slopes and ravines of Munnar in a blanket of blue.

The Kurinji flower, which last bloomed en masse in the year 2006, has showed up at some places around Munnar like Mattupetty and Top Station. Shortly, the slopes of Munnar hills would be blanketed by the Kurinji flowers, which would add yet another alluring charm to the sights and sounds of Munnar. Visitors to Munnar in the coming months can enjoy this marvelous sight, which is bound to leave an everlasting memory about this fascinating hill resort.

Situated about 1600 mts above sea level, Munnar is well known for its vast expanse of tea plantations, cool weather, plantation bungalows and is blessed with a rich variety of flora and fauna. It is home to the majestic Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres), which is an endangered species. Over the year, good conservation methods helped it to thrive well in the Eravikulam National Park, located close to the town of Munnar. Close by is yet another attraction in the form of the Anamudi Peak, which is the tallest peak south of the Himalayas, and is an ideal spot for trekking. A visit to the Mattupetty reservoir and a boat ride in the adjoining lake is a delightful experience. Here, one may also visit the Indo-Swiss dairy farm, which houses some of the finest breeds of cows.

Some other attractions in and around Munnar include some vantage viewpoints like the Top Station, which is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal rout; Marayoor, famous for its naturally existing sandalwood trees, Kundala, a picturesque town with a golf course maintained by the Tata Tea Company and the Pallivasal Hydroelectric project, which is the first such project in Kerala. Other nearby places of interest includes Echo Point, Chithirapuram, Anayirankal, Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls.

If for the first time, let Kurinji be your reason to embrace the mist-clad hills of Munnar. It is a place, where you would be tempted to scale heights that you never dared to; wet your feet in gurgling streams and rivulets, and care for a tête-à-tête with some of its unique wildlife, and even take a stroll among the plantations and take in the refreshing cool, crisp air.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Angamaly about 108 km from Munnar and Kottayam, about 147 km
Nearest airport: Madurai in the neighbouring State of Tamilnadu, about 160 km.

Categories
Hills

Grampi

Grampi, situated near Peerumedu, is also known as Parunthupara (eagle rock) because of the panoramic view from its high peaks. Rocky plains, lush hillsides, forests, trekking trails and picturesque views lend charm to this destination. The road to Grampi is flanked by unending stretches of cardamom, tea and coffee plantations.Grampi is located about 5 km from Peermedu; about 10 km from Vandiperiyar.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 54 km from Peermedu
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 120 km from Peermedu

Categories
Hills

Gavi

Gavi Eco-Tourism a project of the Kerala Forest Development Corporation has caught the attention of tourists, mostly from European countries. The project is exclusive in many respects and the majority who visited was nature lovers and adventure tourists. Over a short period of time visitors to Gavi gradually increased, especially after ‘Alistair International’ the world acclaimed tourism major listed it among the leading eco-tourism centres and one of the must-see places in India.

A highlight of the Gavi eco project is the involvement of the local populace in its activities as guides, gardeners and cooks. This will provide livelihood for the locals and also will help to create awareness on conservation of nature. Gavi, located in Pathanamthitta district offers its visitors activities like trekking, wildlife watching, outdoor camping in specially built tents, and night safaris.

The road leading to the picturesque Gavi is blanketed by tea plantations, which itself is a refreshing experience. En route to Gavi are places of interest like Mundakayyam, Kuttikanam, Peermedu and Vandiperiyar from where the road deviates to Gavi.

Once you reach Gavi the serene eco-lodge ‘Green Mansion’ awaits you like a fairy to embrace you in its protective fold. From the ‘Green Mansion’, one can savour the spectacular view of the Gavi Lake and the adjoining forests. Besides the accommodation provided in ‘Green Mansion’ visitors can also try out the tree houses here and can even pitch tents amidst the wilderness. Here one can have outstanding trekking experiences, which are overseen by trained local people. Those who would love to be left alone can do so in the tranquil environs of Gavi or may even go canoeing in the placid waters of the lake or enjoy a breathtaking sunset. Visitors are usually provided vegetarian food and snacks, which further adds to the eco-friendly ambiance of the place.

The place is rich in flora and fauna. There are hills and valleys, tropical forests, sprawling grasslands, sholas, cascading waterfalls and cardamom plantations. Endangered species including the Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed macaque are often sighted at the outskirts of Gavi. With more than 260 species of birds including the great pied hornbill, woodpecker, and kingfishers, Gavi is a heaven for birdwatchers.

Some of the breathtaking viewpoints at Gavi like the Valley View offer spectacular view of a deep ravine and the forest below. From Kochu Pampa, a point near Green Mansion eco-lodge one can track the grazing Nilgiri Tahrs.

The famous pilgrim destination, Sabarimala is a short trek from Gavi. For those interested in observing the nocturnal wildlife, night safaris to Kullur, Gavi Pullumedu, Kochu Pampa, Pachakanam provide ample opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Another unique feature of Gavi is camping in the forests. One can pitch a tent in the camping site, which is a rarity in many Indian forests. As the dusk stretches into the silence of the night, one can feel the presence of wildlife in the middle of nowhere, an experience that cannot be explained in words. There are also tree top houses where one can enjoy the avian life to the fullest.

Active involvement of tribals in Gavi makes it a unique venture of its kind in the country. Traditional knowledge of the forest and its way of life helps Gavi to sustain its surroundings in its original state.

Gavi is bound to cast its magical spell on every visitor and is surely a place that should not be missed in one’s lifetime. Gavi is pristine, and it belongs to the wild, which is a reminder that visitors are responsible for their intentions and actions, which will have a bearing on the upkeep of Gavi for a long time to come.

Gavi Package offered by DTPC Pathanamthitta, click here

Contact details:
Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Eco-Tourism Project Periyar

For more details please contact:
Tourist Information Office
Department of Tourism, Thekkady
Phone: +91 4869 222620

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 114 km
Nearest airport: Madurai Airport (Tamil Nadu), about 140 km away and Cochin International Airport, about 190 km

Categories
Hills

Edakkal caves

What kind of people were our ancestors? What kind of lives did they lead? Often, the paths leading to the answers to these questions are as fascinating as the answers themselves. If you would like to walk a little way along one such wonderful path of discovery, one good place to visit would be the Edakkal caves in the Ambukuthi Hills in North Kerala, considered to be one of the earliest centres of human habitation. Inside the cave you will find ancient stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures with peculiar headdresses, the swastik form, symbols and cave drawings of human figures, wheels, bows, knives, trees and so on.

Similar cave drawings, considered to be 7000 years old, are found only in Stiriya in the European Alps and a few rocky places in Africa. The caves, which are found around 10 km from Sultan Bathery, are two natural rock formations believed to have been formed by a large split in a huge rock.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Kozhikode, about 97 km from Sultan Bathery
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport about 23 km from Kozhikode

 

Categories
Hills

Echo Point in Munnar

This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point, situated on the way to Top Station from Munnar is a stop over for tourists visiting Top Station – the highest point in Munnar and the rare Neelakurinji (Strobilanthus) blooms here.

Getting there

Nearest railway station:  Changanacherry, about 93 km and Aluva about 108 km from Munnar
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 115 km; Madurai in Tamil Nadu, about 140 km

Categories
Hills

Dhoni in Palakkad

Dhoni hills in Palakkad is popular picnic spot with a small and beautiful waterfall. It takes a three hours trek from the base of the Dhoni hills to reach this reserve forest area.

Entrance fee: Rs. 20 per head

Contact details of premitting authority:
Forest Range Officer, Olavakkode
Ph: +91 491 2555815

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Palakkad, via Olavakkode – Dhoni Rd, about 12 km
Nearest airport: Coimbatore International Airport, about 78 km and Calicut International Airport, about 101 km

 

Categories
Hills

Devikulam hills in Munnar

This idyllic hill station, situated about 8 km from Munnar, with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake, here, with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Aluva, about 112 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, via Aluva-Munnar Rd, about 111 km

Categories
Hills

Chembra peak in Wayanad

Hike up the rugged terrains of the Chembra Peak located 2,100 metres above sea level on the southern part of Wayanad. Chembra is the tallest peak in Wayanad and is an ideal area for trekking. There is a heart shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak, which is believed to have never dried up, is a major tourist attraction here. With permission from the Forest Department, one-day treks and two-day wildlife treks are possible. You can have group treks of up to ten people or hike on your own, accompanied by a guide.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Kozhikode, about 79 km
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport, about 92 km

Categories
Hills

Charalkunnu – a hill station in Pathanamthitta

Charalkunnu is a picturesque hill station near Ranni in Pathanamthitta offers a panoramic view of the nearby valleys. A camp house on the hill provides comfortable lodging.

Contact details:
Ph: +91 469 2672249

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Thiruvalla, about 17 km
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about123 km