Sunday, January 9, 2011

More on the Anakulam Expedition

   This post is in continuation to my earlier one, on the Aanakulam experience. Those who had gone through the earlier post may kindly recall the morning session at Anakkulam and premises, to have an idea on where the paradise on earth , we are, and others click here

          What I found was that the tiny village of Aanakkulam was very much blessed with water sources and all along the experience we had that mild roar of flow, in our ears. Though we were keen on raiding on the delicacies which awaited us at our dwelling, the description by Unni, our 4WD chauffeur, on 'Valiya Para Kutti', was capable to impose a rethought. Thus we cruised along another bumpy track, along the bank of Eetacholayar, for this dream destination.

        As I had mentioned earlier, rivulets are aplenty in this region. The confluence of these rivulets results in three major flows namely Eetacholayar - which may be familiar to you by now - Karinthiriyaar, originating from the hillocks of Eravikulam National Park and Mankulam river of local origin. Mankulam flow suffers a heavy plunge, close to Mankulam, by name 'Peruman Kuthu' - intended for a late evening visit - and soon joins Karinthiriyaar. And 'Valiya Para Kutti' is the beautiful location where this flux meet Eetacholayaar. The togetherness is here after named Pooyamkutti River. Those who love wikimapia, can have a satellite description on the geography, by clicking this link.  Markings by none other than me.

         At places we got out of the vehicle, as it would be cruel to ask it, to carry all of us, along such a terrain. Thus, we gents, opted to walk along with the vehicle.

Few minutes' walk took us to our destination - the confluence. We found the 'Big Rock' - 'Valiya Para' in Malayalam - centrally placed in the flow. Just dreamed, how nice it would be, sitting on that island rock, enjoying the flow all around, for the flow itself was an island in the thick jungle, surrounding it.

             Folks, dreams occasionally come true, and I saw Unni crossing the flow, aiming the rock, inviting us to follow his track. What more; we were on it. Its just another rock, but the sight not to be missed.

             Eetacholayaar approached us from North east

         The confluence of Mankulam River and Karinthiriyaar approached us from South east
Mankulam + Karinthiri
                      Pooyamkutti River left us to the west

Pooyamkutti River

                           We had the woods of Kuttampuzha Range to our north and the thickets of Adimali Range to the south.

              None thought of food until Unni reminded us of the same. Left the place reluctantly and reached back Aanakkulam by around 2 PM.

A crude equipment to fear away elephants from dwelling premises
            Our good old friends at Aanakulam, were by then ready with meals, with many dishes that included the catch of the late night fishing, we had the previous day. We had to hurry with the lunch session, as Babuvettan, our native friend, had announced another fishing session, in which his newly invented electrical gadget, will be put to use. Not being just to our taste buds, we were out again into the waters.

                                  The gadget was two conducting rods, fixed at the ends of a fork shaped PVC pipe, sourced by an inverter battery. The first sight of the gadget wasn't that appealing and we were doubtful on the out come. But it went amazing once it commenced performing. 

              Just in a quarter hour, we had enough for another meals. 

         Then, it was time to leave the place. This tiny jungle hamlet and its humble folk had mesmerized us, in just two days, and we found it difficult to convince us, that we were to leave. Thanked Dinesh, the forest official in charge of the place, for all the support and total involvement, and boarded Unni's 4WD.

  Reached Mankulam by around 4 in the evening and proceeded along the abandoned Old Aluva - Munnar road, for Peruman Kuthu falls, on Mankulam River.

               The Old Aluva - Munnar road was the loan means of conveyance between Munnar and the Cochin sector, till 1924, which went along the woods of Thattekkad, Pooyamkutti and Mankulam. This road was built by British, in the very beginning of 20th century, following the ruins of a historic track. Floods and consequent landslide, during 1924, rendered the track unfavorable and it was abandoned and partly left to nature.

            Drive ended at a narrow bridge on the Old Aluva - Munnar road, and Unni parked the vehicle by the way side. 

Old Alwaye - Munnar Road
                A small trek along the slippery track, by the side of Mankulam river took us to our next destination. 

          Slipped out of the foliage to be presented with a small descent, just about 5 meters high.

             Unni read the disappointment, but was still smiling. He walked along the rocky surface beside the flow, jumped off a ridge and disappeared. Carefully followed, slide down the small ridge, and found Unni at the farther edge of a sloped surface. Forced by Unni, decided to have an extra careful walk on bear foot, up to the edge. 

          Once you are there, the sight is unforgettable. The depth to which the flow plunges is sure to send a chill up your spine. 

Cameras weren't capable of capturing the depth
        No fencing, no security measures, the place is absolutely dangerous, if you aren't that cautious.

            By then Sinesh joined us and we discussed whether to bring the ladies and kids there. And finally we agreed to Unni's view, that it was just another sight, not to be missed. Observing utmost caution, moving inch by inch, we took them there. Many of them urged an immediate return, not withstanding fear. 

                 Took some quick snaps and crawled back to safety. Only on the return trek, Unni revealed the news of a recent incident there, claiming three lives.

            It was 5 PM by then and our night stay was arranged at Bison valley, near Munnar, which was more than 35 kms drive from Mankulam, but Unni was not ready to leave us that easy. Though a bit anxious on time ticking on, we conceded to him and had another neck breaking drive, in the opposite direction to reach the narrow hanging bridge across Karinthiriyaar.

      Reaching there we couldn't help appreciating Unni for his enthusiasm. The bridge was that long, across the entire width of the river and that narrow to pass a single person.

           It swung and cried, as we walked along and we seldom dared to have a look at the flow beneath. 

                           Unni took our kids, along the entire stretch, to the wooded bank of Karinthiriyaar, opposite to the jeep track.

View from the hanging bridge

          Back at Mankulam, transferred the baggage from Unni's jeep to own vehicles and inquired on the Jeep fare. We were stunned at his demand of Rs.1500, for two days along this terrain, without a good sleep even. Forced Rs.2000 into his pockets and drove off from the tiny pocket of wonders - natural and humane.

          Reached our night stay 'Oak Fields', near Bison Valley, by around 8 PM. 

         Went for a morning walk along the cardamom plantations and packed up after break fast. Our friend, an Engineer with KSEB, who was presently engaged with the Pallivasal Extension Scheme (PES), joined us at Pallivasal. On his aid, we explored the tunnels being drilled through the gigantic rocky structure, to carry water from the Head Works Dam, near Munnar, to the newly constructed power house, in the valley.

                 Exited the tunnel and drove along its side, up to the surge well, from where we could catch a glimpse of the pen stocks, being laid to the power plant.

Discussion on the technical details

           Paid a visit to the power plant and drove to Adimali for lunch. 

                       Sinesh and family left for Ernakulam and we had a peaceful drive to reach our world, by around 10 PM

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  1. Hi shinu

    Another exciting travel

    good pictures and text

    thanks for sharing

  2. hai, iam Danesh mankulam padipurakkal 9048268276

  3. Hai Danesh. Hows life at Mankulam?

  4. hi shinu,

    i would like to visit this place. do i need forest dept. permission for going to these places? if it is how can i obtain?

  5. Prasanth : No permissions are required to visit Aanakkulam. You may reach up to Mankulam and then hire a jeep from there, preferably with a driver familiar with the locations.

  6. this is called some fantastic trail in absolute wilderness..

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. haiagain welcome to anakulam . praveen anakulam 09496945512/ 07418244250

  9. I was appaled by the present look of Mankulam, When I used to go for trekking and fishing in Mankulam from
    Letchimi Estate, what we could see was thick forest habitated elephants, panthers, panthers and such wild
    animals. While going throgh the forest we could see skeletons of elephants, tigers etc and but for come
    Adivasis and a few people who have taken contract from Government for forest resources, no human being were in sight.One had to live in shelters surrounded by trenches or on the machans built on top of trees. The river there was full of huge fishes. Now thew entire forest cover was removed and in its place over 5000 families are
    settled engaged in agricultural activities.

    Preveen, what can you show to visitors in Mankulam now ?


    Lt Jacob


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