Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kizhukaanam – The Hamlet in Harmony

         It was Sajeevan, a native of Kattappana in Idukki, who proposed Kizhukaanam to us, while we were desperately searching for yet another less crowded destination. A brief description from him, who used to drive a service bus to this destination earlier, was sufficient to incline us with out a second thought. As usual two families – Sunils & mine – set out in my Verito, in the heavily raining morning of 30th April 2012.

         Apart from regular travelers, we had a new member for this exploration – Nandu – who had just turned six months, on his debut adventure. Reached Peerumedu Govt. Guest house by noon, and settled there, deciding to continue with the expedition, next morning. Chose Parunthumpara to spent the evening, but mist stole the show.

      Next morning, drove along Kuttikkaanam - Kattappana road, picked Sajeevan near Kattappana, returned through the same track, took a right deviation at Parappu and another steep climb of about 8 kms, through Upputhara, to reach up to the small junction of Valakode. The track to Kizhukaanam, there after, may not favor a car and thus we got introduced to Babu of Kizhukanam, who is a jeep driver there. After a tasty lunch from ‘Hotel Akshay’ , the small eatery of the junction, boarded the jeep and headed for Kizhukanam 
The tiny town of 'Valakodu'
        The hamlet of Kizhukaanam is surrounded by the woods of Idukki Wild life sanctuary and water storage of Idukki reservoir. The connection to the outer world is through private bus services, from Kattappana, though not that frequent. The earlier inhabitants of the place belong to Oorali and Ulladan tribes, who were relocated while the Idukki dam was constructed. Later, migrants from other parts joined them and now the population is a mixture. Livelihood being agriculture, inhabitants are not that happy on the visit of wild folk – mainly elephants and boars – to their farms. Still, all these years of co existence had taught them how to be in harmony and thus casualties from conflicts are seldom reported.

       The track to Kizhukanam, after the initial stretch, is just a mud road, which proved right, our decision to opt the jeep.  Buses from Kattappana ply four times a day, which is the normal mode of connectivity between Kizhukaanam and the outer world.

           A left deviation, from the main track connecting Valakode and Kizhukaanam, and a steep climb, that only a 4WD can do, for about two kms , through Kollathikaavu, ended at ‘Chokkan’. Though strangely named, the beauty of elevated grass lands, which gently flows down to the dead end of the water storage of the reservoir, may not let one return that soon.

           Left the kids wandering with Sajeevan, and chose a flat rock, to settle down and capture the scenery. Geographically Chockan is southern end of the peninsula, formed in the midst of the reservoir. Babu knew that we may not return, if not reminded and he offered a drive through the inhabited sector.

   Thus we went past Kizhukanam junction, which hosts a ration shop and a small store, and drove up to the tribal school at Kannampadi.

                 The building, beautifully tucked in the valley of towering grass hillocks, would never deter a blooming mind and I would have loved learning, in such premises.

    Continued the drive, along the border lines, separating the hamlet and the woods and I called a break at the grazing fields.

                 The grazing fields of Kizhukaanam, being at the fag end of the reservoir, mesmerize with its thick green cover and kids may hesitate to return, if you let them free. And elders may not be exceptions.

      And after all these, it may not be fair if there isn’t a clean water source for a wash up, or even for a dip. And Kizhukaanam offers that too – Kallattupaara falls.

           Rightly located, just about 100 metres, from the return track, the beauty may go unnoticed, as thick foliage hides it away, from an unaware visitor. After the plunge, the gentle flow crosses the track, and joins the green fields – a view, no camera shall miss.

               The last bus to Kizhukanam, then passed through the woods, and it was time to return, for we had to reach Cheruthoni, before it’s too dark.

      A bus waiting shelter by the way side wore an adorable look and thought of having it here for you

         Had tea at ‘Akshay’, along with a strange snack by name ‘Vadi’, and boarded our vehicle, for the onward journey.

            Being the debut adventure, our young travel mate, Nandu, may not recall these events while he grows up. But I’m sure that he would admire his parents – Sunil & Renchi – for filling his cute little eyes with such amazing wonders of nature, before the filth of our world reflect on it.

    And it wasn't that far. Though light was fading, the ‘kill’ by the wayside, didn't go missed, veiling all the good feelings, so far accrued. 

            Parting Shot........In all sense...


  1. very good narrative, Shinu chetta.

  2. hi shinu chetta

    nice travelogue with nice narration...

    photos also good

    thanks for sharing...

  3. Thanks for another good report Shinu Chetta. It must be difficult to find a new DLC each time as you have probably set foot on every part of your green land. I agree with your opinion on the deforestation that you saw on your way back home. I saw similar bare patches of "ex-forest" near Koviloor in April. I wonder if the trees become furniture to be sold at the shops in Kothamangalam? I will try to find the Vadi snack next time I'm hungry in Kerala.
    And a big hello to Nandu! And also congratulations to his mum and dad.

    1. Welcome back Chris. 'Chettan' means elder brother, i hope you know. I'll convey your message to Sunil& Renchi. And Vadi is sure to fascinate you

  4. Very interesting....I came to this blog site as directed by Mr. Raj. Since I fly paragliders, this place seems promising indeed. Myself with some friends will certainly visit these places with flying gear in the near future....


    1. Manu

      Raj is a great friend of mine and I'm happy to befriend more people of his kind.

      Wish you the very best on adventures along these terrains

  5. Hi Shinu
    Nice post you have here
    I would like to have this Unni's number if you have.
    Planning a trek at Mankulam, and this guy seems to know all the places there and sincere.

    1. Ben
      The number I have is 9495044672
      Not sure whether he uses the same still.
      Try your self

  6. Hi Shinu nicely put together the narrative . I m a Landscape Architecture Student at CEPT Ahmedabad was at Valakod recently and stayed at the forest watch tower that comes under the Kizkkanam Range...I would like some pictures of these regions during the monsoon seasons..I visited there in January In case you could share my email Id is .Iam currently working on an academic project centred around the cheruthoni town and the Reservoir would be glad if I can communicate with you and discuss certain things.Hope you watch this page ! ;)

  7. Hi Shinu,
    Really excited.
    Its nice to hear somebody loves true nature.
    Me too, already visited some places like Meenmutty (Neyyar), Moozhiyar-Gavi, Sankhili, Achankovil
    Best wishes
    Harikrishnan, Trivandrum


Pappilai Amman - The Deity Distinct

         Raj Vridhachalam, the man behind many of my trails, was the one to brief me on Pappilai Amman, the deity of a jungle shrine, deep i...