Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kampamala – The Hillside Haven

                  Kampamala (Locate) of west Wayanadan woods was cleared to rehabilitate local tribe and later to accommodate Sri Lankan refugees, in the eighties. The 250+ acres of the tea plantation is now owned by Kerala Forest Development Corporation and it has a small, two bedroom cottage, at the north - west edge of the plantation, bordering thick woods of Begur range, which was our aim, while negotiating the steep and curvy Pakranthalam pass, connecting Kuttiyadi of Calicut and Mananthavadi sector of Wayanad district.

                 While I was busy with my lens, capturing the greenery of the Ghats, my mobile went ringing and it was Jithesh, the care taker of the cottage, informing that he had arranged a 4 wheel drive vehicle to pick us and conveying in a sad tone that it was raining for the last two days. The message – especially the last part – was welcoming on the thoughts of a fine cocktail of silver shower lines, milky mist, evergreen woods and of course the inevitable blood red leach punctures.


                Though the track to Kampamala was in a treacherous state, owing to recent rains, Hameed, an expert in the terrain, whisked it well to the top, ending the climb in less than an hour.

            Assuring the return by 5 in the evening, for the climb to Muneeswaran hill, Hameed left, as we sat for lunch. On Jithesh’s recommendation, we attempted a trek to the adjacent hillock, by 3 in the evening.

          Though the trek was mild, the track was slippery and our kids had a bad time in balancing themselves. View from the top was mesmerizing, with thick misty woods stretching all around, tiny village of Kaithakolli, in the valley and the towering Muneeswaran hill to the east.

               I left others, wandering, while Biju went on with some tutorials on hillside photography, to Smitha – his better half, kids played around, my ‘best’ half monitoring.

         Gathering clouds and thickening mist reminded us of a return and we ‘slipped’ back to the cottage, to the hospitality of Jithesh, who was ready with steaming Black tea, which was what we were longing for. Hameed was back with his Jeep in time and as we set out for the Muneeswaran hill climb, it started drizzling.

                Went past the beautiful village in the valley, crossing its life line, the Kaithakolli River and went on with the climb.

         The track thereafter was damn worse, that we got out at places, Hameed going back and returning in that pace, he flew off slippery terrains.

        Thus proceeding ‘Hop in Hop Off’, reached the sanctum, before light faded. Unfortunately mist veiled us from the World and we missed the valley view from top.

                The hill top hosts an ancient temple with idols of Siva - as the Muneeswara -  and goddess Durga. Though its just two platforms, on which idols are placed, with a tin shed by the side, came to know that it would soon be developed with permanent buildings and even a website has been hoisted to pace up the renovation.

                On return, Hameed took us to the tiny jungle side village of Makkimala, which boasted of a Lower Primary School and a ‘Super Market’ in just 100 square feet, where we went in to shop candles, as our night stay wasn’t electrified.

         There is a grass hill at an elevation of 4300ft above MSL, locally named ‘Valiyakunnu’, which can be hiked from here, if weather favors. It was dusk by then and we got back to the chill of the cottage, where Jithesh and his assistant were ready with a tasty dinner, which was highly appreciated.

                It rained all night and it was drizzling even when we woke up. Sat chatting in the drizzle and mist and it was pain, to summon Hameed, for our return. The hillside of Kampamala has enough and more to sooth tired hearts and minds and let it be so, for long – I wish.

                Let sustain, the hillocks their greenery, the valleys their serenity, the streams their purity, and the people their sanity, for our generations ahead – was what I scribbled in the guest book, as we were about to leave.


  1. പോരട്ടെ, പോരട്ടെ, ഇനിയും കഥകള്‍ പോരട്ടെ.....

  2. Beautiful place. Adore you for digging out such places. Nice post and photos.

  3. beautiful place... your narration also good
    well captured photos


  4. where is ur latest trip photos

    1. Too Busy with the construction of a house and hence not getting enough time to sit & scribble


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