Holidays in Kuttikkanam, a silent vacation destination near Thekkady


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July 12th 2017
Published: July 26th 2017
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Valanjanganam waterfalls kuttikkanamValanjanganam waterfalls kuttikkanamValanjanganam waterfalls kuttikkanam

A tea-break at Valanjanganam waterfalls, along the national highway near Kuttikkanam
Since I started travel blogging, most of my trips were backpack trips without much prior planning. However, that's not the case when I go on vacation with family. Having 3 children, unless I choose a destination which has a lot of activities for children, my vacation would probably be spoiled. So, every time I plan a trip, the first challenge I have to face is, whether this is going to be a backpacking trip or a family vacation. This travel story is all about a backpacking trip to Kuttikkanam, which is an unspoilt holiday destination in the Kottayam - Kumily road, pretty close to Thekkady, the popular tourist destination in Kerala.

A backpacking trip usually means business to me, combined with a break from the busy life in the office. That's the best part for a travel blogger - business and leisure blends very well in the holiday trips. This trip was also kind of unplanned. I got a call from Sujit Bhakthan, another travel blogger, for a trip to Kuttikkanam. I was ready and we were on road in next few hours. I started from Ernakulam and joined Sujit and Shyamlal, another friend of mine, at Kottayam. We continued the rest of the journey in Sujit's car.

Valanjanganam Waterfalls




This is a beautiful, seasonal waterfalls along the national highway near Kuttikkanam. Most of the tourists stop here for refreshing after a long drive and for a quick coffee break. The seasonal waterfalls is very beautiful during monsoon. We visited during the peak of monsoon and there was plenty of water. The waterfalls is on one side of the road and then the water flows through a tunnel under the road and forms a shallow river on the other side. To take advantage of the tourists stopping at this scenic place, a lot of coffee shops have come up there. We parked the car, took some pictures and all of us had some lemon tea. The lemon tea made by the old lady in the shop was very tasty, probably because we were very tired. We ordered some "pappadavada", a traditional snack that has almost disappeared from Kerala.

"Ammachi Kottaram"



The first place we explored is called "Ammachi Kottaram", which is a mysterious and historical building. The word "Ammachi" stands for mother and "kottaram" stands for palace. Ammachi kottaram is the old summer palace of the wife
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Ammachi kottaram - The abandoned summer Palace of Travancore King
of Travancore king who ruled the Travancore country, which is part of the modern Kerala state. Currently, the building is owned by a private real estate group and there is no proper maintenance done. Due to lack of maintenance, the building looks like a haunted place now.

This old palace is located in a calm and beautiful area surrounded by dense jungle, in Kuttikkanam. Since the building is not open to the public, there are no sign boards or directions to here. However, the locals are very much familiar with this old palace and they describe it as an abandoned palace.

Based on some tips from locals, we located the area but it was still hard to find the building hidden behind huge trees and bushes. After walking around through some unpaved paths, we located the old building. We found a few other students who were walking through the woods and they too were looking for this historical property. The building looked like an abandoned property but we decided to go and check it out. By hearing the sound of strangers, an old man popped out his head through a broken window of the building. He looked like he hadn't seen any human around for years.

We went and spoke to the old man. When we asked if we could go inside the house and see around, he corrected us saying it is not a house but is a palace. Also, he said he will open the building and show us if we really want to see. We understood that he is expecting some tips to open the doors for us. We happily agreed and suddenly he turned into a "tourist guide". He asked us to wait outside, then he went through the backside (or, a broken wall?) and opened the main door of the palace from inside. He took us through every room in the palace and explained the history of it. Probably he made up some stories himself but he had something to say about everything, including the Italian commode in the toilet used by the Queen. It was very interesting to hear the stories from the old man, who claims that he has been living there since his childhood and have seen the king Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in the palace during his childhood.

We really felt pity for that old who is living alone in that unmaintained palace with completely broken walls, a leaking roof and broken furniture. After paying some decent amount as tips to him, we left for our next destination - Thushaaram Holiday Home, which is going to be our home for next 2 days in Kuttikkanam.

Tomb Of Peer Muhammad




The tomb of Peer Muhammad, a place visited by a lot of history lovers, is also located in Kuttikkanam - Peermedu region. In fact, the place "Peermedu" is named after the Muslim saint "Peer Muhammad", who is buried at Peer Muhammad Valiyullahi Maqbara, located at 2 km from Kuttikkanam town. Since the tomb is located close to Ammachi Kottaram, we decided to pay a visit. We drove through the narrow country road towards the tomb but decided to stop where the paved road ends. A villager told us that the tomb is another 1 km walk from the end of the road but we could not go further due to time constraints. If you have a few days to spend in Kuttikkanam hill station, this tomb is a good historical place to visit.

Sahyadri Museum



A visit to Sahyadri Museum was not in the itinerary but we spotted this place on the way to Thushaaram, our home for next 2 days. This museum is setup by Peermedu Development Society to showcase the history of Ayurveda and tribal medicine systems of Kerala. The museum is in an old building, built back in 1990. The building seems to have gone through a lot of add-ons and enhancements. The whole ambience of the building took us back to the golden era of traditional medicines and Ayurveda. A lot of photographs displayed here gives a glimpse into the traditional methods of treatments used during the golden era of Ayurveda. A section of the museum is dedicated to showcasing products from the tribals, which are no longer commonly used. If you are a history lover, don't miss Sahyadri Museum.

We were in a hurry to reach our holiday home and so, quickly finished our visit. But if you want to see everything in its true sense, you should plan to spend at least 2 hours here.

Thushaaram Holiday Home



Thushaaram, our home for next 2 days, is pretty close to Ammachi Kottaram and is at walking distance from Sahyadri Museum. It took hardly a few minutes to reach
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This is where we stayed during our holidays in Kuttikkanam. A small, beautiful and eco-friendly vacation home at a very scenic place.
there from Kuttikkanam town. This small vacation cottage is located in a beautiful country side area of Kuttikkanam and offers everything we wanted in a holiday home. This is my second visit to Thushaaram and I'm sure I will come back again. Thushaaram is not a luxurious vacation property but it definitely is one of the properties I fell in love with.

We dropped our baggage in the cottage and relaxed with a coffee. Thanks to the coffee maker and the complimentary refreshments provided. There were high-speed Wi-Fi internet and a television with a lot of channels. Rest of the day we spent working on our travel blogs and watching TV.

Thushaaram has 2-bed rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining room and a bath room. The cottage is protected with security cameras all around the house, giving a very comfortable safety feeling in the lonely surroundings. There is a care taker who is living nearby and was waiting for us in front of the cottage when we arrived. He was very caring and was available on a phone call away whenever we wanted some help.

After taking rest till evening, we decided to walk around. There are plenty of fruit trees in the 1-acre property around the cottage. We picked a couple of guavas and a jackfruit, with the permission of the care taker. There is a pond with water and those who like to dip themselves in the water can do so in the pond. There is a beautiful shallow river behind the cottage, which has crystal clear water. We thought of swimming in the river but gave up the plan since the water was very cold.

We were blessed to see a lot of mist covering up the mountain behind the cottage. It was an amazing scene to watch the clouds moving through the mountains and then suddenly a lot of mist covering up everything in front of us.

We thought of cooking some food ourselves and the caretaker was ready to help us. However, we dropped the idea in the last minute and decided to drive to Kuttikkanam town to pick up some food. By the time we came back to Thushaaram after dinner, the temperature was pretty low with dense mist occasionally covering us up. It was an awesome weather ideal for a vacation.

Morning trek to Peermedu



We
Relaxing at Thushaaram HomestayRelaxing at Thushaaram HomestayRelaxing at Thushaaram Homestay

Relaxing at Thushaaram Homestay
woke up in the morning hearing the music of chirping birds. I tried to walk towards the river to watch the birds but it was too cold out there and so gave up. The bird lovers will not be disappointed here. The next thing in the itinerary was a trek through the country roads. The care taker of our vacation home had given us the instructions on where to go for trekking to enjoy the trek to its best. We put up our shoes and started through the small road in front of the cottage. We passed many country style houses and a college. After about half an hour walk, the road changed to a mud road and then to an unpaved trail through the jungles. It was complete silence all around except the melodious songs by the chirping birds. We could hear the sound of small water walls in the rocky river on one side of the path. After about an hour walk, we reached a small bridge which was under construction. According to the instruction from the care taker, this was the place we had to stop our trek and return. One of our team members slipped and
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Kuttikkanam Castle - a beautiful resort in the top of a hill. This place has an awesome view of Peermedu and Kuttikkanam region.
fell down while trying to go down a steep part of the road. He was bleeding a bit and we had to return home quickly to take care of his wound. We looked at Google maps and found out that if we continue our journey through the jungles, we would hit a residential area where we could take some help to wash his wound and then take a cab to reach home quicker, avoiding a long return trek. But the confusion was, whether there is a proper trail all the way till the end. Google map was not showing proper trails in some part of the route.

After some confusion, we decided to take the challenge and decided to move ahead through the path shown by Google instead of walking back. The route ahead was not smooth in many places. On the way, we found many small huts and houses but none of them was occupied. We tried to knock on the doors to get some water but could not find anyone. Finally, we found a house which was not occupied but had a fresh water tap outside. We decided to take some rest on their porch for some time and then continued our trek. Most of the path during our trek, we could see the shallow river on one side and it was very soothing for the mind to walk along the side of the river.

The only human we met along our 1.5-hour long trek was a person walking quickly through the jungle. We spoke to him and came to know that he is a professor in the college near Thushaaram and he walks this route every day to the college. We were surprised to hear that a person walks that long distance., which we were struggling to cover.

At the end, we spotted the main road and vehicles passing by. Once we reached the road, we found a restaurant where we refreshed ourselves and had our breakfast. It was Peermedu town, which was about 8 km distance from Kuttikkanam. Then we proceeded back from Peermedu to Thushaaram in a public transport bus.

Parunthumpara



After refreshing ourselves, we decided to proceed towards our next destination - Parunthumpara, which is a very scenic location and view point near Peermedu and Kuttikkanam. The word "Parunthu" in local language Malayalam means "Eagle" and the "para" means "rock".
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A distant view of a small seasonal waterfalls in Parunthumpara
You can get a bird's eye view of a long stretch of mountains and valleys from here. We visited Parunthumpara just after the monsoon, which made the entire region very green and rich with wild flowers. This is one of the most beautiful but still unspoilt hill stations in Kerala. It has been only a few years since tourists started coming here to explore the unseen and unexplored beauty of the forest land. In last 2 years, a few local shops have come up along the view points here, but other than that, this is not a commercially spoilt tourist place at all. There are valleys and grasslands spread across hundreds of acres of forest land. The steep hills are very tempting to go further but they pose a risk for the reckless tourists. There are narrow trails along the edges of deep terrains and the safety precautions are limited to small fencing with steel bars.

For tourists travelling from Kumarakom/Alleppey to Thekkady, Parunthumpara is an excellent place for a stopover or a short break. We were lucky to see a lot of mist slowly covering up the valleys. It was amazing to see how quickly the scene changes with mist appearing and disappearing often. Due to the monsoon, there were several small waterfalls formed at many parts of the mountains but mostly invisible due to the mist covering them up often. If you are brave enough to walk through the narrow trails and reach till the nose of the rock projecting towards a deep valley, you will get a breath taking view of the very low lying region. Those who like to take a break from hustle and bustle of city life, come to Parunthumpara and relax in the lap of mother nature.

We lied down in the grasslands for some time, took a lot of pictures and spent some time walking down the rocky grasslands.

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1st August 2017

Great Blog
You said it correctly. Most of the places like Kuttikkanam, near by Thekkady are the must visit places who spreads cool and happiness to others. Many tour operators in Kerala provides affordable packages including all these places with great rides, trucking etc.
21st September 2017

Awsome
I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written article! ...keep up the good work guys. and check this awesome site www.coffeetrailresort.com·

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