Travelogue: Myself and my cousin Georgekutty had done a trip to Idukki on the month of July in 2018. It was a one day trip and we thought of exploring some of the top visited tourist places in Idukki on a bike.We wish to call this trip as Dam Circuit as this trip covers the catchement areas of the Idukki Dam.
This is a good article about covering the main Idukki tourist places in a day. Before we jump into the travelogue, here is an overview on the trip:
|Trip Type:||One Day Trip|
|Started at:||Kakkanad, Ernakulam|
|Places Covered:||Idukki Dam and other tourists spots like in Idukki such as Calvary Mount, Anchuruli, and Ayyappankovil Hanging Bridge|
|Distance Covered:||300-320 kms|
|Route:||Kakkanad -> Perumbvoor -> Kothamangalam -> Lower Periyar -> Idukki Township -> Cheruthony Dam -> Vaishali Caves -> Idukki Dam -> Hill View Park -> Calvary Mount -> Anchuruli -> Ayyappankovil Hanging Bridge -> Vagamon -> Erattupetta -> Thodupuzha -> Muvattupuzha -> Kakkanad.|
We started at around 7 am in the morning from Kakkanad (Ernakulam Dist.). The road was less crowded and without much delay, we crossed Kothamangalam. Our plan was to take the route via the Lower Periyar dam, which is about 53km from Kothamangalam.
Right before Neriyamangalam, we turn towards the road to Lower Periyar(Neriyamangalam -Painavu road). There was a tea shop at the junction and we stopped there for a tea and also brought some snacks.
After the tea break, we shortly rejoined the idukki journey. As my cousin drives the bike, myself on the pillion seat was busy capturing the beautiful moments. We stopped “N” number of times, to take photos and videos of numerous waterfalls that came across.
The climate was breezing and small signs of rainfall were introduced from time to time. The road is quite small and is covered with potholes in some areas. Also keep in mind that KSRTC buses ply through this road, and do necessary cautions when taking the steep curves.
Read more: Munnar the Hill Station of Kerala in Idukki
The Lower Periyar Dam:
The Periyar river flows adjacent to the road in few areas and there were a number of viewpoints on the way. We stopped at each one of them to fill our eyes with the wonders of nature. I also thought of naming few of the waterfalls found on the way, but eventually dropped the plan.
Without much wait we reached Lower Periyar Dam, and as we see the Dam was almost full. The water was totally muddy. We took a couple of photos of the dam and without much delay headed towards our main destinations.
The Cheruthoni Dam:
We reached Idukki Township in a short time and then had our breakfast. Our next destination was Cheruthony Dam.
Entry to Cheruthony Dam and thereby Idukki dam is restricted bypass which cost Rs. 20 each. Buggy cars are also available for Rs.80 from the counter. Camera/ Mobiles or any other electronic devices are not allowed inside the dam site. And each person needs to cross the security scanner before entering the dam.
Idukki dam is about 1.2 km from Cheruthony dam and we opted to walk this distance. There were many visitors young and old, walking over the dam – enjoying the serenity of nature.
|Entry Time:||6.00 am to 6.00 pm|
|Camera Fees:||Camera/Mobile Phones are not allowed inside the dam premises|
Cheurthony Dam being a gravity dam is one among the hundred tallest gravity dam in the world.
Vaishali caves are one of the key attractions in Idukki dam(ie, between Cheruthony Dam & Idukki Dam). Wondering how it got this name? Well, here comes the story:
Vaishali cave was a location for the famous Malayalam movie named “Vaishali”, which was directed by legendary director Bharathan and produced by Atlas Ramachandran. The cave was awarded by the name Vaisali caves soon after the movie Vaishali was released in the year 1988.
This cave is man-made and the rocks blasted from here were used for building the Idukki dam. Although we see signboard stating “entry to the caves is restricted”, there were no guards present and people were entering the caves freely.
The other end of the cave is towards the catchment area of the dam and the view from there is splendid. There are barriers at the end of the caves, but as we see there are in distorted form.
As cameras are strictly prohibited inside Idukki dam, we missed some wonderful shots there. But we fill this gap with our own eyes and record those beautiful moments in 576 million pixels resolution(reference: http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/eye-resolution.html).
Vaishali cave is just a few minutes walk from Cheruthony Dam and rain started to shower as we reach Vaishali caves.
My cousin was wearing a jacket but “fortunately” I kept my raincoat at the cloakroom(reception). My cousin cursed me for doing this, but I would say “I was immersed in the warmness of rain and nature” than simply saying “I enjoyed the walk in the rain”.
Anyway, let’s continue the trail (in rain)…
The Idukki Dam:
We then left the caves and started to walk in the rain. After a few minutes, we reached the legendary Idukki dam. One of the top man-made wonders in India and Asia(i guess).
Idukki dam was constructed with the purpose of holding Periyar River that ran between Kuruvan and Kurathi hills. The maximum capacity of the Idukki Dam is 2403ft and the water was up till 2398ft when we were there.
Idukki dam has no shutters and when the water exceeds the limit, its spilled out through the spillway of Cheruthony Dam. Keep in mind that it’s actually the Cheruthony Dam which ‘opens’ when news channels or newspaper reports say “Idukki dam opens”.
People were out here and there enjoying the day with the marvelous beauty of Idukki dam. We enjoyed the beauty of the dam and stayed there for some time.
The Hill View Park:
Rain stopped showering, as we reached back at the cloakroom. We then collected our bags and proceed to Hill View Park, which is a viewpoint just ahead of Cheruthony Dam. Entry fee for adults is Rs 20 and camera fees is Rs 50 at Hill View Park.
From Hill View Park, you can enjoy the spectacular view of Idukki and Cheruthoni dam. The park is equipped with a children’s park and play area. A watchtower and an artificial lake with boating facility are also present there.
As there is no camera ban, we were able to capture the beauty of Idukki Dam from Hill View Park.
|Entry Time:||6.00 am to 6.00 pm|
The nature filled with vibrant colors of green, the blowing wind, the 360-degree view of Idukki dam, the view from the watchtower etc were simply spectacular. We spent some time roaming around the Hill view park, taking photos and shooting videos.
Later after some time, we step head to our next destination.
The Kalvari Mount (Calvary Mount):
Kalvari Mount is a promising viewpoint about 8kms from Idukki dam. The booming up of Calvary Mount, as a prominent tourist spot happened a few years back. The forest department is also providing budget stay option for Rs.2500 per day.
The view of Idukki dam catchment area from here is simply gorgeous. The hills covered with the mist, the view, and the chilling climate, makes it one of my favorite spot in Idukki. Entry Fees for Calvary Mount is Rs.10 and there are no fees for the camera.
|Entry Time:||6.00 am to 6.00 pm|
We spent almost an hour there and then ascend the mount for our next destination
Anchuruli is a tunnel that is used to bring water to the Idukki dam. The climax scene of the Malayalam movie “Iyobinte Pusthakam” was shot at Anchuruli Tunnel. Though entry to the tunnel is prohibited, people used to enter here neglecting the hidden danger.
The water level at Anchuruli is far more than that you imagine, and if fell down, there is not even a single chance of saving your life. Many people have lost there lives at Anchuruli, which is sad to hear. So as always, please be careful when going near water bodies like Anchuruli.
Anchuruli was crowded when we reach there. The water level was at its top level and Police officers were also present, keeping an eye on everyone. Water was flowing from Anchuruli tunnel at its full potential.
We roam there, took some photos and videos and then head towards over the next destination.
The Ayyappan Kovil Hanging Bridge:
Ayyappankovil Hanging Bridge is about 14km km from Anchuruli. My previous visit here was during the mid of summer. And at that time, there was only a stream flowing down the bridge. But as I see now, the whole area is covered up with water.
People where present at the Bridge enjoying the scene. Police officers were also patrolling there.
After some time, we left the places in thought to return. Though there was no plan on which road to take, as we pass, we saw a board saying Vagamon.
The Vagamon Meadows:
Vagamon is a hotspot for me and we usually roam with family and friends here. We reached Vagamon after 7.30 pm and this is the first time I’m here after its dark. There was no vehicle or not even a single person on the way to Vagamon.
As its dark, there is no way more to explore the places, the only thing is that we can enjoy the ride.
The road was covered with mist and we weren’t able to see what is beneath a foot after our bike. Oh man, that was the most precious moment of the trip which pumped the “happiness hormones” (endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin) to the extreme level.
Travelling in a Car Is Like Watching a Film Riding a Bike Is Like Starring in It.
From Vagamon we have two routes to plan our return journey. One is the Vagamon – Moolamattom Road or otherwise the Vagamon – Erattupetta route.
Initially, we thought of taking the Vagamon – Mulamattom road to reach Thodupuzha. But as we inquire, we were advised not to take this road at midnight. So we then head towards Erattupetta.
Vagamon – Erattupetta road is not that good these days, covered with potholes here and there. From Erattupetta we head towards Thodupuzha and at Muttom we had a stop for having our dinner.
We also stopped at regular intervals for cool off time and finally reached our flat by not later than 12 in the night.
The whole journey was so exciting and we have covered almost 300-320 kilometers start-to-end. My cousin was the pilot of the journey, and we were heading on his bike.