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Kerala Tourist Places - IDUKKI

Area 5019 sq. km
Population 1,079,369 (2001 census)
Altitude 2200 m above sea level

A landlocked district, Idukki is one of the most nature rich areas of Kerala. High ranges and wooded valleys are girded by three main rivers Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzhayar - and their tributaries. The River Pamba also has its origin here. As a tourist destination, Idukki offers diverse attractions like wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, spice plantation tours, mountain treks, elephant rides etc. Idukki has a large population of tribals, the main tribes being Muthuvan, Malayarayan, Mannan, Paliyan, Urali, Ulladan, Malavedan and Malampandaram. The tribes of Kerala have unique customs and beliefs and maintain an ethos which is distinctly different from that of the mainstream culture.

Accessing Idukki
Telephone access code: Thekkady, Kumily, Peermede: +91-4869 Munnar: +91-4865 Chinnakanal: +91-4868

Air : Nearest Airport : Madurai (Tamil Nadu) : 140 km, Thiruvananthapuram : 265 km, Kochi : 190 km, Kozhikode : 315 km, Chennai (Tamil Nadu) : 570 km

Rail : Kottayam : 114 km (4 hrs), Madurai : 136 km (3½ hrs), Changanacherry : 93 km (4 hrs), Theni : 60 km (1½ hrs).

Road : Kottayam - Kumily 110 km (4 hrs), Munnar - Kumily 110 km (4 hrs), Madurai - Kumily 136 km (3 hrs), Thiruvananthapuram - Kumily 265 km (8 hrs), Thekkady - Kumily 4 km (10 min), Kodaikanal - Kumily 149 km (5 hrs), Idukki - Kumily 65 km (2½ hrs), Alleppey - Kumily 160 km (5½ hrs), Ooty - Kumily 390 km (11 hrs).
Places to Visit

Idukki Arch Dam

This is the world’s second and Asia’s first arch dam, constructed across the Kuravan and Kurathi hills. 550 ft. high and 650 ft. wide, the dam lies close to the Cheruthoni barrage. To its west is the Kulamavu Dam. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located closeby.

The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

This sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district, spreading over 77 sq. km and is about 450 - 748 m above sea level. The Idukki Reservoir formed by three dams - Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extends to 33 sq. km.
Animals  : Elephant, bison, sambar deer, wild dog, jungle cat, tiger, wild boar etc.
Snakes   : Cobra, viper, krait and a number of non poisonous snakes.
Birds       : Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, kingfisher etc.

Nadukani

Nadukani is an ideal place for one-day picnickers. True to its title it offers a panoramic view of a large area than one can experience from any high mountain park. A two-storyed pavilion makes an ideal place for enjoying the landscape and beauty of nature.
Thumpachi Calveri Samuchayam : (35 km from Thodupuzha)
This is a picnic spot also ideal for meditation, relaxation and watching sunset.

Kulamav : (20 km)

Damsight-trekking trail-view point Painav: Scenic beauty-trekking point-evergreen forest Cheruthoni: Idukki Arch Dam sight-aerial view of the reservoir, panoramic view-hill view park.
In and Around Thekkady

The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Open : 0900 - 1230 hrs; 1400 - 1630 hrs. closed on Mondays
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In and Around Ernakulam

The Hill Palace Museum , Thripunithura

Entry: 0600 to 1800 hrs
Altitude : 900 m to 2000 meters, Temperature: (deg C) Summer- Max 29, Min 18. Winter- Max 21, Min 15.5., Rainfall: 203 cms (June to October), Best Season: September to May.

Places of Interest : Indian Wild Elephants, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Tigers, Panthers, Wild Dogs, Bison, Spotted deer, Leopard, Musk deer. Wildlife can be seen in its natural habitat by cruising on the lake in motorboats.

Laying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world.
The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however, are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.

Population

Flora : Over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species, 143 species of orchids, the only South Indian conifer Podocarpus Wallichianus.
Mammals :
Thirty five species including the wild elephant, gaur, sambar deer and wild boar which can be sighted from the boast, the Nilgiri Tahr in the higher rocky areas, the endangered lion-tailed macaque confined to the evergreen interiors, the bonnet macaque, Malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tiger, jungle cat, sloth bear etc.
Birds : 265 species including migrants. The hornbill, stork, woodpecker, kingfisher, raptor, cormorant, grackle, darter etc.
Reptiles : Cobra, viper, krait, a number of non poisonous snakes, and the monitor lizard.
Amphibians : Frogs, toads and limbless caecilians include the colourful Malabar gliding frog, common Indian toad, fungoid frog and bicoloured forg.
Pisces (fish) : The Periyar lake and streams have several species of fish including the masher, the famous and endangered game fish of India. The otter, the only mammal of the lake, can be frequently spotted from the boat.
Plantations : Tea, cardamom, pepper and coffee plantations surround the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
The SanctuaryWatchTowers : There are two watch towers in the interiors of the Periyar forest. Reservations can be made at the Divisional Forest Office, Thekkady. Ph: 04869-222027.
Permitting authority : The Wildlife Preservation Officer, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady.

MangalaDeviTemple

Distance:15 km from Thekkady
This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the ghats and some hill villages of Tamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Thekkady.

Chellarkovil

Distance:15 km from Kumily
This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Vandiperiyar

Distance: 18 km from Kumily
The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.

Vandanmedu

Distance:25 km from Kumily
This is one of the world’s largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.

Pullumedu

Distance:43 km from Thekkady, 26 km from Periyar
The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed only by jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Ph: 222027 or the Range Officer, Vallakkadavu. Ph: 252515.
Inside Idukki – Peermede
Altitude : 915 - 1100 m above sea level
Peermede, the famous plantation town, takes its name from Peer Mohammed, Sufi saint and close associate of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore. Wide vistas of tea, cardamom, rubber and coffee plantations interspersed with silver cascades, sculptural rocks, meadows and mist-cloaked hilltops make Peermede an unforgettable experience. The most delightful trekking trails complement the panoramic landscape. Monuments like the summer palace and summer residence of the royal family add to the splendour of the land. The summer residence now converted into a government guest house under the Department of Tourism, offers comfortable accommodation.
In and Around Peermede

Kuttikanam

A place for adventure tourism and trekking, or even a languorous, tranquil break. This picturesque plantation town washed in the fragrance of cardamom is surrounded by lush, green hills.

Thrissanku Hills

Distance:4 km from Peermede, ½ km from Kuttikanam
The rolling hills, the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this an ideal spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset.

Peeru Hills

Distance:4 km from Peermede; 1 km from Kuttikanam
This idyllic hill station is a favourite haunt of trekkers and picnickers. The hill is named after Peer Mohammed, the Sufi saint, who spent his last days here. The Mausoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the royal family and the residence of the Diwan situated nearby are all worth a visit.

Pattumala

Distance: 17 km east of Peermede; 28 km west of Thekkady.
Lofty peaks, little streams and ever expanding tea plantations are the attractions of this place. Pattumala (which literally means hill draped in silk) is home to the two most famous tea plantations - Harrisons Malayalam and AV Thomas & Co. The Velamkanni Matha Church, built entirely of granite, at the top of the hill is a famous pilgrim centre. The flower garden nearby is a fascinating riot of colours, of roses, orchids and anthurium.

Vagamon

Distance: 25 km from Peermede
Grass covered hills, velvet lawns and the cool mountain air make Vagamon a perfect holiday retreat. A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hillside village is a haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala - is a mark of religious harmony. The dairy farm managed by the Kurisumala monks is worth a visit.
Things to do in Peermede
Peermede and surrounding areas are ideal for trekking, cycling and horse riding. Trekking sites: Peeru Hills, Kalthotti, Vagamon, Karandakapara Hills, Grampi (Parunthupara), Memala - Plantation visits: Tea, coffee, cardamom, rubber etc. Trips to Meloram, Nallathanni, Panchalimedu, Valanjamkanam Waterfalls etc. Visits to tea factories in and around Peermede.
In and Around Munnar

Pothamedu

Distance : 6 km from Munnar
Pothamedu offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and long mountain walks.

Devikulam

Distance : 7 km from Munnar
This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.

Pallivasal

Distance:8 km from Munnar
This is the venue of the first Hydro Electric Project in Kerala and a place of immense scenic beauty.

Attukal

Distance:9 km from Munnar
A panorama of waterfalls and rolling hills, Attukal, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes. The place is also ideal for long treks.

Mattupetty

Distance:13 km from Munnar
Situated at a height of 1700 m, Mattupetty is known for its highly specialized dairy farm - the Indo Swiss Livestock Project. Over a 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here: Visitors are allowed into 3 of the 11 cattle sheds at the farm. Visiting time: 0900 - 110 hrs and 1400 - 1530 hrs.
The Mattupetty lake and dam, just a short distance from the farm, is a very beautiful picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala Lake are other attractions in the vicinity. DTPC Idukki provides boating facilities on the Mattupetty Dam. Speed launch, slow speedboat and motorboats are available on hire.

Rajamala

Distance:15 km from Munnar
This is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of the rate mountain goat (Hemitragas hylocres) which is fast becoming extinct, is now found here. The Nilgiri Tahrs are today reduced to small herds found in the Eravikulam - Rajamala region. The total number of Nilgiri Tahrs in Rajamala is estimated at 1317.

Echo Point

Distance:15 km from Munnar
This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar.

EravikulamNational Park

Distance:15 km from Munnar
The 97 sq.km. park is situated in the Devikulam taluk and is home to the Niligiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak (2695 m) is located in the southern region of the park.

Kundala

Distance:20 km from Munnar
Kundala is a picturesque town on the way to Top Station. The Golf Course which belongs to Tata Tea Ltd. is located here. The Kundala artificial dam is another attraction. Aruvikkad Waterfall is also near Kundala.
Excursions from Munnar

Anayirankal

Distance: 22 km from Munnar
It’s a lush green carpet of tea plants. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience. The Anayirankal Dam is surrounded by the Tata Tea Plantation and evergreen forests. It is an ideal picnic spot.

Top Station

Distance: 32 km from Munnar
1700 m above sea level, this is the highest point on the Munnar - Kodaikanal road. The rare Neelakurunji (Strobilanthus) belongs to this region. This plant blooms once every twelve years bathing the hillsides in bright blue. Top Station also offers a panoramic view of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.

Marayoor

Distance: 40 km from Munnar
This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees. The sandalwood factory of the Forest Department, the caves (muniyaras) with murals and relics from the New Stone Age civilization and the children’s park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single Banyan tree are of great interest to tourists. Thoovanam waterfall and Rajiv Gandhi National Park are also nearby.

Thommankuthu

Distance: 17 km from Thodupuzha
The seven step waterfall here is a much loved picnic spot. At each step there is a cascade and a pool beneath. Thommankuthu is an ideal place for adventure tourism.

Keezharkuth

Distance: 25 km from Thodupuzha
The Rainbow waterfalls which cascade down a rock from a height of about 1500 mt is a wonderful attraction of this spot. It can be seen throughout the year in full swing. The forest around this spot is home to various medicinal plants. It is an ideal place for rock climbing, mountaineering and camp trekking.

Palkulamedu

Distance: 12 km from Idukki
Kochi, Alappuzha and other nearby towns can be seen from this peak which is located 3125 m above sea level.

Kalvari Mount

This is a famous pilgrim centre on the way to Kattappana.

Ramakalmedu

Distance: 16 km from Nedumkandam, Thekkady-Munnar road
Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Distance 45 km from Idukki, 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar. Bus timings: 0930 hrs Munnar, 1030 hrs Kottayam, 0930 hrs Ernakulam.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Distance: 60 km from Munnar
Situated on the Tamil Nadu border, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 90.44 sq.km.
Animals : Most of the South Indian wild animals can be found in this forest. These include the grizzled giant squirrel, champal squirrel, elephant, sambar deer, gaur etc.
Birds : Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl etc.