Being There: Vagamon

The first time I went to Vagamon was during my school days, and during that time, I didn’t know that this place was a hill station. I used to think about it as another scenic place because it was very close to my place, and it might the one hill station which I can go for a one day trip from my location. It is also the only hill station to which I have driven the car all by myself. It is not located not that high as compared to the other popular hill stations like Munnar, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud and Valparai, and the roads don’t have that much of complicated turns. There is also more than one path to reach there even if you are coming from the same direction.

You can combine the journey to Vagamon with Ilaveezhapoonchira which is another destination on a hill on the way, and is a place of amazing scenic beauty. The first time I was at Vagamon, it was not that much of a big tourist destination, but things have become different now. But still, it doesn’t bring many people from outside Kerala for visit. It is located about a hundred kilometres from the city of Cochin, and the nearest big towns Palai and Thodupuzha are about thirty five and forty five kilometres from Vagamon. Sixty five kilometres away, Kottayam is the nearest railway station. The Cochin Airport is close to a hundred kilometres from Vagamon. Here are ten photos which I had taken during the journey to this particular place, on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310. Even though I have only limited captures of the beauty of the place, I am hoping that this serves as inspiration for your future visit 😀

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TeNy

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Into the Soul of Nature

Less than twenty kilometres from the town of Thodupuzha lies Thommankuthu, the eco-tourism centre which has a number of waterfalls, including one very scenic fall which is a nice place for a photo-shoot. You have to walk some distance to reach this one, and the walking process, even though through uneven terrain, won’t be that difficult because the scenery is wonderful around. On your left, there will be elevation and on the right, there is the way down through rocks and water flowing through.

So, when Thommankuthu calls you, will you be there? :D

So, when Thommankuthu finally calls you aloud, will you be there? 😀

If you have watched the song “Kattum Mazhayum” from the 2012 movie Chattakkari featuring Shamna Kasim and Hemanth Menon, you will know that it was shot here; it is a beautiful song with the environment also well utilized – you can look for it on Youtube some time to enjoy the music as well as to see the place nicely shot. Getting to the waterfalls is rather easy. With Cochin Airport as the closest airport, the nearest railway stations should be Ernakulam, Kottayam, Aluva and Angamaly with Aluva being the best choice. I last traveled to the place about an year ago, and the roads were very good at that time.

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is part of nature :D

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is just a small part of nature 😀

About reaching Thommankuthu, coming from the North, you can go through Chalakudy, Angamaly and Perumbavoor to reach Muvattupuzha and then Thodupuzha; Perumbavoor route is to be taken when arriving from the Cochin Airport too. From the South, you can come through Palai getting to Thodupuzha from there or through Koothattukulam and Muvattpuzha. You can travel through Pattimattom or Kolenchery when coming from the city of Cochin. The accomodation is best at a town of your choice from those mentioned before. You can stop for food at any of the towns mentioned as there are some nice restaurants around.

The presence of a tree-house makes things special all the time.

The presence of a tree-house makes things special all the time; not just here.

But in the case of tea, if you need it, you can have some great tea from one of those shops around before entering the eco-tourism destination. You can have some tea and start the journey by taking some photos from the side of those shops as there is something like a nice viewpoint there. A visit in the morning will be better as there will be less rush. Thommankuthu is still a destination which has less crowd than those places with lesser potential manage to have. The evenings will have more people around.

Walking on the rocks, towards that final destination.

Walking on the rocks, towards that final destination which gets closer.

The journey from the last big town Thodupuzha to Thommankuthu will begin to get scenic very early if you look out through the windows of the vehicle. On the way, there will be places where you might wish to stop and take pictures. There is one particular bridge which you might really want to have a look at. There will be a lot of greenery around and this will surely make sure that your immortal desire for wandering away from modernity can get the early thumbs up.

Trees like this one brings a nice feeling of being close to nature's soul.

Trees like this one brings a nice feeling of being close to nature’s soul.

After you pass the gates, it the long, but interesting walk. The trees and the atmosphere makes sure that you won’t get tired that easily. The restrooms are there in the beginning, and there are also benches at some areas, even though you can sit on a rock or a giant root of a huge tree. It is after you go past the danger area that you should greet your temptation to get to the rocks and the water. You will still need to look for the slippery areas though. There is the necessity to look for the sign boards to make sure.

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

There will be tree-houses on the top of some trees which will provide nice viewpoints. Some trees will also inspire you to take some photos. After a certain point is reached, you will need a local guide to go further. The journey after that will be more difficult. In the case of a family trip or when you are beginning to get tired, stopping here will be appropriate. If you are in an adventurous mood and there is the need to see more waterfalls, caves and viewpoints, you can go ahead.

And then the waterfalls which proves to be nice background for everything!

And then the waterfalls which proves to be nice background for everything!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and Samsung Galaxy Duos. I wonder if Amal Neerad will shoot a movie like Iyobinte Pushtakam here, capturing all its glory! 🙂

TeNy

A Special Destination

There is one special destination which I have already mentioned on my travel blog – Travel Diaries: Of this world and beyond (http://theviator.wordpress.com), but has traveled to the same location in more detail again. I had also shared only one photo at that time, and so I would take this occasion to talk about that place again, this time related to our second journey. All the photos shared in this blog post are from the two big journeys to the place, taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

Such water-bodies are common on the way to our place.

Such water-bodies are common on the way to our place; take some time to look.

The destination is Ilaveezhapoonjira, the beautiful place with a name which people from outside Kerala will struggle to pronounce. It is a tourist destination which hasn’t been that explored and therefore stays beyond the boundaries of modernity. There will be not much crowd in this area, which mostly only has the youth among the visitors, as there is a good amount of journey on foot or by the juggling jeep to the top.

We are going among the hills this time.

We are going among the hills this time, away from the modern barbarians.

We had started our journey quite early on that day, and it is a perfect road until Thodupuzha from where the Vagamon route was also quite good. But from that moment you take the turn to the road going for this place, you are introduced to the smaller road which goes up, having enough potholes and curves to make you mad, especially if another vehicle comes from the other side. In the case of an early morning visit, there is not going to be anything coming down from Ilaveezhapoonjira though.

When the dark clouds arrive, trees are ready with silhouette.

When the dark clouds arrive and show their strength, trees are ready with silhouettes.

Once you reach the first part of the top, there is a small tea stall kind of setup which was not open when we went there. But it surely deserves a mention as this is “the tea cerebrations” blog. May be it will be there again on another day when we go there. There is also something which looks like a resort, but is seemingly abandoned; looks good enough to nicely blend with nature. The wind is usually strong there, making the tall grass bow down, as the sphere of air takes control here.

The fog takes over and makes a big impact at times.

The fog takes over and makes a big impact at times, improving the view even more.

There is also that fog that comes through and makes a big impact, as the vision is minimal when it makes its presence felt. On that day, there was rain too, but by the time we reached the top, it had a more clear version of the site, even as not that good enough to make a great impression on our ordinary cameras. Yes, you will get some awesome photos if you take someone with a big camera, or you can persuade a rich guy to buy an awesome camera and take him with you. By the time we returned, it had felt so good with the wonderful climate.

When you reach the top-most point, you find this.

When you reach the top-most point, you find this place and then you take out the camera.

Ilaveezhapoonjira is one of our favourite destinations, followed only by Thommankuthu and Bhoothathankettu, both being far behind in popularity in our circle. As it is not stormed by the visitors and never does it lack in being a thing of dazzling beauty, we would choose Ilaveezhapoonjira any day for just another random trip away from the modern barbarian world which tries to devour us like spiders of the movie Enemy (http://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/enemy/).

What you see when you have a look down from there.

What you see when you have a look down from there. I needed a better camera here.

This place might not find a place in your list of tourist attractions as it is not a popular desination suggested for people from outside Kerala. The rest should be aware of this place, especially those from the Central Travancore area as well as Ernakulam and Trichur districts. It is located around twenty kilometres from the town of Thodupuzha and about double the distance from Muvattupuzha – a distance of around twenty more will take you to Perumbavoor. Do add this to your list.

TeNy