Saturday, 9 July 2011

Eravikulam National Park

A sanctuary for the endangered mountain goat of the South, the Nilgiri Tahr(Hemitragus hylocrious), the park stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Rajamalai hills.
Anamudi, the highest peak(2695 m) south of the Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary. The slopes abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas moth, the largest of its kind, is a unique inhabitant here. Other rare species found here are the Nilgiri Langur, the lion-tailed macaque, leopards, tigers, etc. An ideal place for trekking, facilities are provided here and tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi. A protected area, the sanctuary is divided into three regions - the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only upto the tourism area - Rajamalai.

Visitors are not allowed here during the monsoon season.

Best Season:
August to March

Visiting hours: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm

Transport Terminals:
Munnar


Location:

15 kms from Munnar.

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Stations: Kottayam, 142 kms from Munnar; Ernakulam, 130 kms away
Nearest Airports: Madurai (Tamil Nadu)142 km; Cochin International Airport, 150 kms away

Malampuzha

A little township on the foothills of the Western Ghats Malampuzha takes its name from the river of the same name. Nurtured by this tributary of the state's longest river, the Bharathappuzha, Malampuzha is a lush green town and has been a major tourist attraction. Its trekking trails and large irrigation dam are a favourite with tourists as well as film directors as ideallocation for shooting.

Around the reservoir are beautiful gardens and amusement parks. Boating facilities are available. There are other attractions like the Malampuzha garden, rock garden, an aquarium in the shape of a fish, a snake park and a ropeway which takes you on an aerial tour of the park. There is also a gigantic Yakshi (an enchantress) sculptured by Kanai Kunhiraman, the leading sculptor of Kerala.

The rock garden is made of broken pieces of bangles, tiles, used plastic cans and other waste materials by the master sculptor Padma Shree Neck Chand Saini, whose rock garden in Chandigarh is world famous.

Attractions:
Dam, amusement park, boating facilities, rock garden and ropeway.

Best Season:
September to May

Emergency Details:
District Tourism Promotion Council
Malampuzha Garden House (KTDC)
Malampuzha Information centre
Rock Gardens Malampuzha
Ropeway, Malampuzha

Transport Terminals:
Palakkad (12kms away)

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Palakkad.
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore, about 55 km from Palakkad town

Munnar

This beautiful hill station is noted for its cool climate and tea plantation. This little town boasts of many colonial bungalows, tea factories, wildlife sanctuaries and lakes. Literally meaning 3 rivers, Munnar is situated on the confluence of three rivers - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India.

Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji (Strobilantus kuntianus ) . This flower that bathes the hills in blue every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Accommodation facilities are excellent. The altitude is 4000 feet.

Best Season:
August to March

Emergency Details:
District Tourism Office, Kumily and DTPC Information Centre, Old Munnar

Transport Terminals:
Boundaries- North: Coimbatore/ South: Pallivassal / East: Vattavada /West: Kuttampuzha

Location:
133 km from Cochin


How to Reach:

Nearest Railway Station: Ernakulam Railway Station (4 Hrs from Munnar)
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport (4 hours 30 minutes from Munnar)

Nelliyampathy

From the town of Nenmara in Palakkad district, the cloud-caressed peaks of the majestic Nelliyampathy hill ranges are a sight to behold. The height of the hills ranges from 467 mts to 1572 mts. To reach Nelliyampathy, one has to take the road starting from Nenmara that proceeds to the Pothundy Dam. There are about 10 hairpin bends that have to be negotiated on the way to Nelliyampathy, which itself has plenty of interesting sights to offer.

The Pothundy Dam is a picturesque locale with facilities for boating and a nice option as a picnic place. As the Ghat road winds its way up to Nelliyampathy, at certain places there are viewpoints from where the vast stretches of Palakkad district are visible with its extensive paddy fields forming a verdant carpet. It also offers a splendid view of the Palakkad Gap, which is a geographical phenomenon in the Western Ghats formation in this region, bringing into view, parts of the adjoining State of Tamilnadu.

On the way up, those interested in bio farming can take a close look at the privately managed farms and also vast expanses of tea estates managed by different plantation companies. The hills of Nelliyampathy are also well known for its orange cultivation.

Privately owned hotels and resorts are located at various points, as one goes up the hills of Nelliyampathy. The bio-farms located here are a major landmark as one proceeds up before reaching the topmost point at Palagapandi estate. The estate has a quaint bungalow, built during the period of the British rule in India, and has now been converted into a private owned resort. At Kaikatty, a community hall is available, which is usually used as a base by those interested in trekking.

Not far away from Palagapandy is Seethakundu where one can have a fantastic valley view, and a 100m high waterfall providing an added attraction. From Palagapandy, one can trek or go by jeep to reach Mampara; another breathtaking vantage point at Nelliyampathy. The area in and around Palagapandy estate has tea, cardamom and coffee plantations with adjoining hills allowing one to catch a glimpse of the wildlife in the form of Indian gaur, elephants, leopards, giant squirrel etc. and is also a paradise for birdwatchers.

Best Season:
September to May

Transport Terminals:
Nenmara (40kms away)

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Palakkad, about 52 kms from Nelliyampathy
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore, about 55 kms from Palakkad

Bekal Fort

History sleeps here among the lonely battlements of the Bekal Fort, by the sea shore. The Bekal fort is the largest and the best preserved of its kind in Kerala. This 300 plus years old fort is located on a vast 35 acre headland that runs into the Arabian Sea.The tall observation towers of this hill-top fort built in 1502 AD by Ekkary Sivappu Nayak of Bednone, provide a panoramic view of the Lakshadweep sea.

TheBekal Fort feels like one of taken from the pages of grimms fairy tale. It has all the ingredients and the scenic richess of an abandoned fort onlooking the vast ocean.

This imposing structure of laterite rising 130 ft. above sea level has a chequered history or 300 years which adds to its interest as an excavation site. Due to its historic relevence, the fort is controlled by the Archeological Survey of India.

Bekal Fort which is the largest and the best preserved fort in Kerala is on the National Highway. According to the South Canara Mannual, Bekaln fort fell into the hands of Haider Ali of Mysore in 1763 and later into the hands of the British. The sea bastions,underground tunnels and the observation tower are impressive. An old mosque is situated very near the fort which is believed to be built by Tipu Sultan. Once huge Cannin emplacements perched on hill top.

Best Season:
Summer & Winter.

Transport Terminals:
Location: It lies 12 kms south of Kasaragod and 15 kms from Kanjangad and 3 kms from Pallikkara

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station : Pallikkara, Kanjangad and Kasaragod Railway Station

Athirapally and Vazhachal Waterfalls

The two scenic waterfalls on the edge of the Sholayar forest ranges are 5 km apart. The Athirappalli Falls joins the Chalakkudy river, plummeting to 80 feet. Vazhachal is part of Chalakkudy river. Cascading down against the backdrop of thick forest terrain, they are a scintillating sight.

Best Season:
October to March

Transport Terminals:
Sholayar

Location:
63 kms away from Thrissur

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station : Thrissur, 63 km away
Nearest Airport : Cochin International Airport, 58 km from Thrissur

Idukki Arch Dam

For Keralites, Idukki is synonimous with power generation because a lion's share of the state's power is generated by the hydroelectric power station at Moolamattom, the biggest in the state. The famous Idukki arch dam, the first of its kind in India, is built between two huge granite hills- 'Kuravanmala' (839 feets) and 'Kurathimala' (925 feets )- across the river Periyar. This is the world's second and Asia's first arch dam. This prestigeous project of the nation is situated in Idukki District and its underground Power House is at Moolamattom which is about 19 kms from Thodupuzha. Idukki Dam is 43 kms away from Moolamattom.

History

The possibility of Hydroelecric development at Idukki was first conceived in 1919. According to history Shri Karuvellayan Kolumban, the head of 'Araya' tribe, during 1922 showed the way, to the Malankara Estate Superintendent and his friend Thomas, the spot of present Arch Dam while the two were hunting in the forest. Thomas was inspired by the sight of the water flow between the mountains and his idea made the dream come true of Idukki Arch Dam. Sri. W.J.John of Malankara Estate submitted a report to the Government of Travancore in 1932 on the possibility of constructing a hydroelectric dam at Idukki.

In 1947 Sri.P.Joseph John,then Chief Electrical Engineer to the Government of Travancore made a preliminary investigation report. On the request of the Government, the Central Water and Power Commission took up detailed investigation in 1956. The project report was prepared in 1961 and the Planning Commission accorded sanction for the scheme in 1963.

The construction of this Dam commenced on 30 April 1969. Storage of water in Idukki reservoir commenced in February,1973. The inauguration of trial run of the first machine was celebrated on 4th October,1975. Commercial operation of the Power Station was Commissioned on 12 February 1976 by the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi.

Construction of this Arch Dam and two other dams at Cheruthony and Kulamavu has created an artificial lake of 60 sq. kms. and the water stored, is utilised for production of electricity at the Moolamattom Power house, which is located inside the rocky caves.

The Canadian Government gave financial aid to the Project while M/s S.N.C.Inc., Canada, a well-known firm of Consulting Engineers were advising and assisting Project Engineers under the Canadian Aid.

Project in Brief

The Project harnesses a major portion of the power potential of Periyar, the largest river in Kerala, by the creation of a reservoir of 2,000 M.cum (2 Billion Tonnes) capacity, diversion of waters thus impounded through a water conductor system consisting of a power tunnel and two underground pressure shafts to an underground power house situated in Muvattupuzha Valley. The installed capacity of the Power House is 780MW consisting of 6 Units of 180 MW each.The regulated waters of Periyar falls through a drop of about 669.2 metres (2195 feet) while generating power in the underground power house.

The tail waters flowing to Kudayathurpuzha through tunnel and open channel is diverted for irrigation purposes in the Muvattupuzha Valley.
Idukki valley is 121 km away from Kottayam, and is a small hill town surrounded by a spread of beautiful, wooden valleys and meandering streams. Idukki is a well known tourist center in Kerala.

The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district, spread over 77 sq. km and is about 450 - 748 m above sea level. The Idukki Reservoir dams - Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extends to 33 sq km. One can find Elephants, bisons, sambars deers, wild dogs, jungle cats, tigers, wild boars etc. and variety of Snakes like Cobra, viper, krait and a number of non poisonous snakes in this Sanctuary. The birds of Idukki are Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, kingfisher etc


Best Season:
August to March

Transport Terminals:
Kochi-Madura, N H 49 goes through Idukki district.
Thodupuzha, the major town in the district, is well connected with other parts of the district and the state.

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Kottayam (133 kms away)
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport (132 kms away)