Introduction :- Idukki can be rightfully termed as the Hilly District of Kerala and has emerged, as a prominent Hill Station in India with the foci of attention being on wildlife, as a thriving Wildlife Sanctuary agog with life, is located within its confines. A tour to Kerala has all allurements of the order of sleepy backwaters, the mystical Boatmen and the picturesque tropical forests in their right order. Only that Idukki as a Hill Station in India is in a genre apart from the rest of the places will become evident to the tourist in a tour to Idukki.
Places To Visit :-
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.
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.
Thekkady :- The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. In the Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary :- 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.
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.
Mangala Devi Temple (15 km from Thekkady): The ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the ghats and some hill villages of Tamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Thekkady. Ph: 322027.
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.
Pullumedu (43 km from Thekkady, 26 km from Periyar): The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed only by jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Ph: 322027 or the Range Officer, Vallakkadavu. Ph: 352515.
Peermede :- The famous plantation town, takes its name from Peer Mohammed, Sufi saint and close associate of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore. Wide vistas of tea, cardamom, rubber and coffee plantations interspersed with silver cascades, sculptural rocks, meadows and mist-cloaked hilltops make Peermede an unforgettable experience. The most delightful trekking trails complement the panoramic landscape. Monuments like the summer palace and summer residence of the royal family add to the splendour of the land. The summer residence now converted into a government guest house under the Department of Tourism, offers comfortable accommodation.
Kuttikanam :- 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 Hill (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.
Peeru Hills (4 km from Peermede; 1 km from Kuttikanam): This idyllic hill station is a favourite haunt of trekkers and picnickers. The hill is named after Peer Mohammed, the Sufi saint, who spent his last days here. The Mausoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the royal family and the residence of the Diwan situated nearby are all worth a visit.
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.
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.
Sahyadri Ayurvedic Centre :- A well-established Ayurvedic Hospital, Sahyadri, managed by the Peermede Development Society in Pallikunnu, is well known for its curative and rejuvenating treatment packages. The centre has well-appointed treatment accommodation facilities, a unit for manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines and a well-maintained raw drugs museum where more than 200 varieties of rare and endangered herbs are preserved. More than 400 herbs used for medicines are grown in the hospital's own garden spread over 35 acres. For permission to visit the herb garden, contact the Director - Peermede Development Society, Peermede, Idukki. Phone: 332097 332247 Fax: 332096.
Ilaveezhapoonchira (55 km from Kottayam, 20 km from Thodupuzha): This is another picnic spot located in the midst of the 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.
Tribal settlements in Peermede :- The Orali, Malapandaram and Malayarayan tribes live in the hills of Peermede. The main tribal settlement here is Plakkathadam which is also known for its trekking trails.
Munnar :- Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
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 fortrekking 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.
The waters cascade down a hill froNyayamakad (10 km from Munnar): Located between Munnar and Rajamala, Nyayamakad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls.m a height of about 1600 metres. The enchanting surroundings makes 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. Visit time: 0900 - 1100 hrs and 1400 - 1530 hrs. Rate Rs. 5/- per head. Ph: 530389.
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.
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.
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.
How To Reach Idukki
Air : The nearest airport Cochin, 132 km away.
Rail : No rail line in the district. Nearest Railway station at Kottayam, 133 km away.
Road : Kochi-Madura, N H 49 goes through Idukki district. Thodupuzha, the major town in the district, is well connected with other parts of the district and the state.