Idukki Arch Dam:
This is the world's second and Asia's first arch dam, constructed across the Kuravan and Kurathi hills. 550 ft. high and 650 ft. wide, the dam lies close to the Cheruthoni barrage. To its west is the Kulamavu Dam. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located closeby.
The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary:
This sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district, spreading over 77 sq. km and is about 450 - 748 m above sea level. The Idukki Reservoir formed by three dams - Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extends to 33 sq km.
Animals: Elephant, bison, sambar deer, wild dog, jungle cat, tiger, wild boar etc.
Snakes: Cobra, viper, krait and a number of non poisonous snakes.
Birds: Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, kingfisher etc.
Nadukani is an ideal place for one-day picnickers. True to its title it offers a panoramic view of a large area than one can experience from any high mountain park. A two-storyed pavilion makes an ideal place for enjoying the landscape and beauty of nature.
Thumpachi Calveri Samuchayam (35 km from Thodupuzha):
This is a picnic spot also ideal for meditation, relaxation and watching sunset.
Kulamav (20 km): Dam site, trekking trail, view point.
Painav: Scenic beauty, trekking point, evergreen forest.
Cheruthoni: Idukki Arch Dam sight, aerial view of the reservoir, panoramic view, hill view park.
Kalliyanathandu (10 km from Idukki): The aerial view of the Idukki reservoir, panoramic view of peaks and forests make this a splendid tourist spot. It is also an ideal place for mountain climbers and trekkers.
In and around Thekkady
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (Entry: 0600 to 1800 hrs):
Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world.
The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however, is the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
Entry to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: 0600 - 1800 hrs.
Flora: Over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species, 143 species of orchids, the only South Indian conifer Podocarpus Wallichianus.
Mammals: Thirty five species including the wild elephant, gaur, sambar deer and wild boar which can be sighted from the boats the Nilgiri Tahr in the higher rocky areas the endangered lion-tailed macaque confined to the evergreen interiors the bonnet macaque, Malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tiger, jungle cat, sloth bear etc.
265 species including migrants. The hornbill, stork, woodpecker, kingfisher, raptor, cormorant, grackle, darter etc.
Cobra, viper, krait, a number of non-poisonous snakes, and the monitor lizard.
Frogs, toads and limbless caecilians include the colourful Malabar gliding frog, common Indian toad, fungoid frog and bicoloured frog.
The Periyar lake and streams have several species of fish including the masheer, the famous and endangered game fish of India. The otter, the only mammal of the lake, can be frequently spotted from the boat.
Tea, cardamom, pepper and coffee plantations surround the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary Watch Towers
There are two watchtowers in the interiors of the Periyar forest. Reservations can be made at the Divisional Forest Office, Thekkady. Ph:04869-222027
The Wildlife Preservation Officer, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady.
Nature Walk - Guided day trek Rs. 100/-
Periyar Tiger Trail Rs. 3,000/- Bamboo Rafting R. 1,000/-
Jungle Patrol Rs. 500/- Tribal Heritage Rs. 100/-
Overnight stay in jungle inn Rs. 2,000/- per cottage
Bamboo Grove - Ecolodge & experimental learning Rs. 2,000/- per cottage
Village Tour - on bullock cart Rs. 500/- per person.
Kumily, Ph: 222620
Thekkady Ph: 224571
Kumily (4 km from Thekkady):
This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily.
Murikkady (5 km from Thekkady):
Washed in fresh spice scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi (5 km from Kumily):
This picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. A popular picnic spot, Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.
Chellarkovil (15 km from Kumily):
This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Vandiperiyar (18 km from Thekkady):
The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.
Vandanmedu (25 km from Kumily):
This is one of the world's largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.
Things to do in Thekkady
Plantation tours are arranged from the District Tourism Information Office at Thekkady Jn. in Kumily. Tours cover cardamom, pepper, coffee and tea plantations, tea factories, tribal settlements and the surrounding hill regions. Ph: 222620.
Elephant rides: The Forest Department, Thekkady offers facilities for elephant rides through the jungle. Time: 1000 to 1700 hrs. Duration of a trip: 30 minutes. Fare: Rs. 30 per person. Tickets are available from the Wildlife Information Counter. Ph: 222028.
Trekking: Main trekking areas in Thekkady: Kurisumala near Kumily Pullumedu
Ottakathalamedu: 5 km from Kumily Grampi near Vandiperiyar.
The Forest Department conducts daily treks from the boat landing station at Thekkady to the Nellikkampetty area and Manakkavala. Starting: 0700 hrs. Fare Rs. 250 +10/- entrance fee.
Bookings can be made with the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady. Ph: 222027 222028.
Boat cruises on the Periyar Lake: 0700, 0930, 1130, 1400, 1600 hrs. Fare: Lower deck: Rs. 25 + 10 (entrance fee), Upper deck: Rs. 50 + 10 (entrance fee).
The Forest Department (Ph: 222028) and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (contact 222023) conduct boating trips from Thekkady. Fare: Lower deck: Rs. 50, Upper deck: Rs. 100.
The Forest Department (Ph: 222028) and Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (Ph: 222023) conduct boating trips from Thekkady.
In and around Peermede
Things to do in Peermede
Peermede and surrounding areas are ideal for trekking, cycling and horse riding. Trekking sites: Peeru Hills, Kalthotti, Vagamon, Karandakapara Hills, Grampi (Parunthupara), Memala Plantation visits: Tea, coffee, cardamom, rubber etc. Trips to Meloram, Nallathanni, Panchalimedu, Valanjamkanam Waterfalls etc. Visits to tea factories in and around Peermede.
A place for adventure tourism and trekking, or even a langourous, tranquil break. This picturesque plantation town washed in the fragrance of cardamom is surrounded by lush, green hills.
Thrissanku Hills (4 km from Peermede, 1/2 km from Kuttikanam):
The rolling hills, the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this an ideal spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset.
Grampi (5 km from Peermede; 10 km from Vandiperiyar):
Grampi 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.
Parunthumpara (8 km from Peermede):
A hillock that gives a fascinating view of the Peermede mountain range.
Pattumala (17 km east of Peermede; 28 km west of Thekkady):
Lofty peaks, little streams and ever expanding tea plantations are the attractions of this place. Pattumala (which literally means hill draped in silk) is home to the two most famous tea plantations - Harrisons Malayalam and AV Thomas & Co. The Velamkanni Matha Church, built entirely of granite, at the top of the hill is a famous pilgrim centre. The flower garden nearby is a fascinating riot of colours, of roses, orchids and anthurium.
Vagamon (25 km from Peermede):
Grass covered hills, velvet lawns and the cool mountain air make Vagamon a perfect holiday retreat. A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hillside village is a haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala - is a mark of religious harmony. The dairy farm managed by the Kurisumala monks is worth a visit.
For permission to visit the herb garden, contact the Director - Peermede Development Society, Peermede, Idukki. Phone: 232097/232247 Fax: 232096.
Ilaveezhapoonchira (55 km from Kottayam, 20 km from Thodupuzha):
This is another picnic spot located in the midst of beautiful hillocks near Kanjar. It is easily accessible from Palai in Kottayam district. Surrounded by three enchanting hillocks - Mankunnu, Kodayathoormal and Thonippara - makes this place ideal for trekking.
In and around Munnar
Pothamedu (6 km from Munnar):
Pothamedu offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and long mountain walks.
Devikulam (7 km from Munnar):
This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.
Pallivasal (8 km from Munnar):
This is the venue of the first Hydro Electric Project in Kerala and a place of immense scenic beauty.
Attukal (9 km from Munnar):
A panorama of waterfalls and rolling hills, Attukal, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes. The place is also ideal for long treks.
Nyayamakad (10 km from Munnar):
Located between Munnar and Rajamala, Nyayamakad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls. The waters cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 metres. The enchanting surroundings make an excellent picnic spot and trekking point.
Chithirapuram (10 km from Munnar):
With its sleepy little cottages, bungalows, old playgrounds and courts, Chithirapuram still exudes an old world charm. Home of the Pallyvasal Hydel Power Project, this hill town is also famous for its picturesque tea plantations.
Mattupetty (13 km from Munnar):
Situated at a height of 1700 m, Mattupetty is known for its highly specialised dairy farm - the Indo Swiss Livestock Project. Over a 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. Visitors are allowed into 3 of the 11 cattle sheds at the farm. Visiting time: 0900 - 1100 hrs and 1400 - 1530 hrs. Rate Rs. 5 per head.
The Mattupetty lake and dam, just a short distance from the farm, is a very beautiful picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala Lake are other attractions in the vicinity. DTPC Idukki provides boating facilities on the Mattupetty Dam. Speed launch, slow speedboat and motorboats are available on hire.
Lock Heart Gap (13 km from Munnar):
This is an ideal place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit.
Rajamala (15 km from Munnar):
This is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of the rare mountain goat (Hemitragas hylocres), which is fast becoming extinct, is now found here. The Nilgiri Tahrs are today reduced to small herds found in the Eravikulam Rajamala region. The total number of Nilgiri Tahrs in Rajamala is estimated at 1317.
Echo Point (15 km from Munnar):
This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar.
Eravikulam National Park (15 km from Munnar):
The 97 sq. km. park is situated in the Devikulam taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak (2695 m) is located in the southern region of the park.
Sanctuary visit: The park is divided into three regions - the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area which is in the Rajamala region. The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here.
Visiting time: 0800 - 1700 hrs. Visitors are not allowed during the monsoon.
Entry pass: Rs. 10 for adults Rs. 2 for children below 12 years Rs. 50 for foreigners
Permitting authority: Wildlife Warden, Munnar Ph: 231587
Trekking facilities are available here. Tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi. This is also a place for adventure tourism. Trekking areas: Anamudi, Rajamala
Power House Waterfalls (18 km from Munnar):
This waterfall on the way to Thekkady from Munnar cascades down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic western mountain ranges, and is an ideal place for a break on the way to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady.
Kundala (20 km from Munnar):
Kundala is a picturesque town on the way to Top Station. The Golf Course, which belongs to Tata Tea Ltd., is located here. The Kundala artificial dam is another attraction. Aruvikkad Waterfall is also near Kundala.
Anayirankal (22 km from Munnar):
It's a lush green carpet of tea plants. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience. The Anayirankal Dam is surrounded by the Tata Tea Plantation and evergreen forests. It is an ideal picnic spot.
Top Station (32 km from Munnar):
1700 m above sea level; this is the highest point on the Munnar- Kodaikanal road. The rare Neelakurunji (Strobilanthus) belongs to this region. This plant blooms once every twelve years bathing the hillsides in bright blue. Top Station also offers a panoramic view of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi - Madurai highway. The Cheeyappara waterfalls cascade down in seven steps. It is a real feast for the eyes. This is also a great place for trekking.
Meenuli: It is noted for two acres of evergreen forests upon a huge rock. The rock is more than 500 acres in area and an ideal spot for mountaineering.
Malankara Reservoir (6 km from Thodupuzha):
Located on the Thodupuzha - Moolamattam road, this artificial lake is accessible by road. The reservoir is ideal for boating and fishing.
Thommankuthu (17 km from Thodupuzha):
The seven step waterfall here is a much loved picnic spot. At each step there is a cascade and a pool beneath. Thommankuthu is an ideal place for adventure tourism. Other attractions: Pedal boating, forest trekking, camping, bathing in the waterfall.
Keezharkuth (25 km from Thodupuzha):
The Rainbow waterfalls which cascade down a rock from a height of about 1500 mt is a wonderful attraction of this spot. It can be seen throughout the year in full swing. The forest around this spot is home to various medicinal plants. It is an ideal place for rock climbing, mountaineering and camp trekking.
Palkulamedu (12 km from Idukki):
Kochi, Alappuzha and other nearby towns can be seen from this peak which is located 3125 m above sea level.
Ramakalmedu (16 km from Nedumkandam, Thekkady-Munnar road):
Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Distance 45 km from Idukki, 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar. Bus timings: 0930 hrs Munnar, 1030 hrs Kottayam, 0930 hrs Ernakulam.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (60 km from Munnar):
Situated on the Tamil Nadu border, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 90.44 sq. km.
Animals: Most of the South Indian wild animals can be found in this forest. These include the grizzled giant squirrel, champal squirrel, elephant, sambar deer, gaur etc.
Birds: Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl etc.
Munnar - Udumalpetta Road: 60 km Coimbatore - Udumalpetta - Chinnar Road: 100 km Kochi - Chinnar: 190 km Prambikulam via Pollachi - Chinnar Pollachi - Chinnar via Udumalpetta: 60 km Kottayam - Chinnar: 208 km.
Visiting time: 0700 - 1800 hrs. Entry passes are available at the office of the ACF or the Check Post Information Counter.
Permitting authority: Wildlife Warden, Idukki Wild Division, Painav/Wildlife DFO, Munnar
High Range Club:
Charmingly colonial in style, this clubhouse built of wicker and teak still serves as a social centre for the far-flung farmers of the region around Munnar. The club houses an elegant lounge and dining room, the obligatory gentlemen's bar, a billiards room, a library etc. Entry is limited to members only.