Monday, July 16, 2012

Palkulamedu – Muyalpaara

  Heavenly Hillock Duo

    Though Paalkulamedu was in the hit list for long, couldn’t reach up to it in earlier ventures to Cheruthoni. This time I was determined, despite deterrents, as Arun, a native of Chelachuvadu, the base of the hillock, offered necessary support. Left Govt. Guest House at Cheruthoni, early morning, and drove along Cheruthoni Ernakulam route. On reaching Chelachuvadu, met Subin, an experienced driver in the terrain, who later amazed us – read it as frightened – with his unmatched driving skill.

            It was just eight in a misty morning, as we boarded Subin’s 4WD vehicle. Deviated from Cheruthoni – Ernakulam road at Churuli and the initial stretch went through plantations. Ten minutes later, the road appeared to end in front of a mud wall and only on drawing close, another narrow track at about 120 degree, got into view. Subin had to shift to the reverse gear twice, to get the vehicle on the track and this went routine, in almost all the hairpin curves ahead. The track was just a green carpet many places, indicating   the lower frequency of vehicle traffic in this sector

        This time too, we had our six month old traveler – Nandu – with us and he seemed to enjoy the 4WD experience, as he started singing in his own language. By then the greenery embraced, lifting us to a totally new world – call it heaven. As usual, opted to walk at places where Jeep was sure to trail.

          As the jeep drew atop Paalkkulamedu, we had nothing else but the green hillocks all around, with occasional patches of shola woods.

         The ambience was so majestic and magical, that it never came into our thoughts, that it was still summer in our planes. Subin guided us into a wooded patch, at the midst of which there was a spring, with ice cold water gushing out and it never exhausts – we were told.

              On the other side of the patch, we could have a better view of the woods and mounts, bordering the districts of Idukki and Ernakulam.

                  On spotting dung scattered around, Subin told us about a Tusker in the region, who is reported to be friendly with human. Though we could sense his presence, we weren’t lucky enough to experience his hospitality.

      It was then, another distant grass hillock attracted my attention and got to know that its 'Muyalpaara', named before the abundance of hare in that region. My doubtful gesture ‘Shall we?’ was retorted with a loud ‘Why not?’, and we were back on the jeep, cruising ahead for Muyalpaara. Two turns ahead, the track condition forced us to insist a return, but Subin was determined. We, the helpless folk, had no other choice but to obey the commander, fearfully.

     The track condition was so bad that some one other than Subin wouldn't have tried it. At places the track was too narrow, with deep ravine by the side.

          By then we grew confidence on our chauffeur and people started enjoying the drive. Subin had to leave the vehicle, twice, to clear off rocks from the path, brought  along the flow from the upper hill. 

         At the last stretch, there wasn't even a track and the jeep went climbing the rocky terrain, on assumed paths. It came to a halt atop a huge flat rock, and the view around was awesome. 

            Aerial view of the village of ‘Mulakuvalli’, in the valley and never ending stretch of thick woods was what visible. 

            On directions, left the Jeep and climbed a bit down along the other side of the hillock, landed on another rocky plane and found Subin pointing south. Ran up to him and what else, the Idukki dam itself could be spotted, though too far away. 

Arrow points Idukki Dam
                       Hare droppings were found abundantly scattered enforcing the name evidently. 




                       Roamed around enjoying the views and wild berries, till noon and it was time to return to earth. Now we knew Subin – no worries – and enjoyed the heaven to earth journey, landing safely at Chelachuvadu, in another hour. Another dream destination has been conquered, with the bonus of Muyalpara, for which I am grateful to Subin.