The Highland Connection

Kerala has always had its natural beauty in its hills, as these are the more preferred destinations in comparison to the beaches during the days when temperature is higher than it used to be. Among all these options, the first choice would always be Munnar, followed by these two special places – Thekkady and Vagamon. Located forty two kilometres, and about one and half kilometres apart, these two were to be combined in our trip. Our original idea was to travel to Thekkady and return after spending some time there, but the tour was rather extended. These two have been among our most visited destinations, with Thekkady being a place visited even when we traveled to the Tamil Nadu side, even though Munnar comes first as the most traveled hill station of all time, but a journey there would have meant eighty six kilometres and three hours, and so Vagamon seemed to be the much better choice.

At Vagamon, we stayed at Chillax Vagamon this time, and it was a simple place very close to the town itself, and the main attraction was a swimming pool at the roof top. During our earlier trip, we had stayed at Fairmount Vagamon Resorts, which was located further away from the town, and had a better view of greenery. At Thekkady, we stayed in Crown Valley Resorts, which was a grand place, a four star hotel which provided some fine facilities. During an earlier trip, we had stayed at Hotel SN International, which was closer to the town. The idea about this journey was more about traveling all the way there, and staying there to enjoy the atmosphere, and sight-seeing was not part of the plan. Well, at times, you need these hill stations for just the same, and not more.

The journey towards the destination always matters.

Reached the Crown Valley Resort, and then I had to take online classes.

Ford Aspire resting at Crown Valley Resort makes a fine view.

Note the route between Thekkady and Vagamon which is one grand sight.

What lies between Thekkady and Vagamon is the treat for the eyes.

Vagamon has its cute little hills at all places for you to see and admire.

There is always the setting sun which has the hills and clouds to hide itself.

Vagamon, even though the smaller among the hill stations, has its special charm.

View of the rooftop swimming pool of Chillax provided something to cheer for.

Some greenery is always there to be seen, from different angles and spaces.

*All the above photos were taken by me during our earlier trip in March 2021.

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Vagamon Revisited

Vagamon is a destination that goes back to childhood, and it was only a developing tourist place at that time. One can say that even now, it is a lesser hill station compared to Munnar and Thekkady. The elevation is surely less, and it might not be as cold as it can be in Munnar. On these days, when the road to Munnar is not that great, we decided to go on another trip to Vagamon, and the result was an interesting one. The shooting of Pranav Mohanlal starrer Irupathionnaam Noottandu was going on at the place, and the number of tourists was low. The traffic was also low, and the roads were not that good. There are some areas where the road is in a pathetic state, thanks to the rain which was continuous and had hammered the state.

Well, the journey this time was still better than the last one, as there was not much of a crowd there, and the options were still there. We saw a new suicide point coming up as an attraction with those usual destinations, and it is certain that it could be something to look out for next time with much more being built around that area. There are not many restaurants here now either, as it used to be then. The town hasn’t really developed that much as Munnar and Thekkady did, and the Kurisumala Farm was closed at that time. But the climate was cooler than ever, and the fog added further beauty to the scenic world. It was the combination of Muharram, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi, Fourth Saturday and Sunday.

*All photos of Vagamon shown above were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max during my last visit.

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District 12: The Heights

You should have surely heard about the District 12 of Kerala – Wayanad. As one of the more popular tourist destinations, it came into existence in its present form in 1980 as the twelfth district of Kerala right out of Kannur and Kozhikode districts. The special thing about this district is that there is no place with the name of the district, and the headquarters is at Kalpetta which has developed very well. Wayanad district also has the distinction of being the only district of Kerala to share the borders with both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and it is the district with the least population around here.

Wayanad has been known for its natural beauty, and it has no railway connection anywhere in the district; the nearest airport is at Kozhikode. Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery are its major towns. When I was a child, I wished to travel here, but the destination wasn’t considered then. But I managed to be there many years later, and I am sharing a few photos from that trip here, even though I still haven’t explored the destination in detail – that is pending, and this post could have a second part. They were all taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-310. The base of operations for the visit was fixed at Kozhikode at that time with Chevrolet Beat taking that long journey from Aluva, and it extended all the way to Kannur, with three northern districts being toured, and the final one left to visit on another day.

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