Idukki - A tete a tete with the city
Location : Southern India, Kerala
Founded in : 1972, by the Government of India
Best time to visit : October to March
Local Transport : Auto rickshaws, private cars, buses
Places to see : Kumarakkom Bird Sanctuary, Vaikom
Souvenirs : Neelakurinji flower, local articles
Idukki - The Tale of the city
Idukki gets its name from the word “Idukku” which means a narrow gap in Malayalam. This means a gorge here. The district was formed in the year 1972, on January 26th by the Government of India. The district headquarters shifted from Kottayam to Painavu later. Idukki’s history goes back to the Stone Age as there is lot of evidence of life during the Stone Age here. The structures and constructions in the city bear evidence to such constructions being in the 13th century. Historical proofs also endorse the presence of export of teak, rosewood, sandalwood etc to foreign countries. It is believed that Vennimala, one of the Thekkumkoor capitals existed from 800 AD in the Idukki district. The Poonjar Raja ruled Idukki then.
The kingdom was established by Manavikrama Kulasekhara Perumal. Manavikraman brought Meenachil taluka and the High Range under his rule from the Thekkumkoor Raja. Thus major portions of Idukki district came under the rule of the Poonjar Raja. History has it that that his region was a part of the kingdom of the Cheras. In 1877, Kerala Varma was the raja of Poonjar. He gave 227 square miles of Kannan DevanHills to a British Planter Danial Manroe. From that time to the 19th century, there was a lot of deforestation and the area was dug into and roads and projects undertaken. Scottish planters came in the 19th century and built many bungalows in Munnar. Rail tracks were laid out in Munnar which were destroyed in the rain and storm of 1924.
Idukki - Down the Ages
With its stupendous bungalows and magnificent constructions of the past, Idukki has gained prominence from ancient times. It may have been recognized as an individual district later but its existence dates back to ages. Today down the ages, it has developed well and has the largest arch dam in India. This has been constructed for the Idukki Hydro Electric Power Project in 1969 with the help of the Canadian Government. This project has the capacity of giving power to almost half the State of Kerala and also the neighbouring areas. Down the ages has seen the city with the Idukki Dam and the Mattupetty Dam.
Idukki - A Rendezvous
Idukki, Nature’s gift is a gift of Nature ensconced in the southern part of Kerala. This district is landlocked and is a place with the best of Mother Nature around. With hill stations, sanctuaries, spice plantations and mountain treks this is the best way a tourist could unwind himself. A rendezvous with the city is possible with enjoying Nature at its best.
Idukki - Travel kitty
Periyar is one of the largest rivers of Kerala and flows through the Idukki gorge that has been formed between the two massive rocks. These rocks are known by the name of “Kuravan” and “Kurathi”. One can enjoy the beauty of nature and take it as the travel kitty. The ambience, the enthralling atmosphere and the amazing beauty of the surroundings is the ideal travel kitty. A tourist would be but obviously be reluctant to leave the place and also has the local articles to collect as travel kitty.
Idukki - Joie de vivre in the city
Any tourist visiting Idukki, the Neelakrurinji city would be enthralled to see the stupendous constructions and the magnificent buildings that are the main feature of Idukki. The joie de vivre here would be the sheer beauty and the serene, calm and the tranquility of the surroundings. One can see the following here:
Hill Stations :
Munnar : Historically, Munnar has an existence which dates back to the Stone Age. This is paradise on earth and thus is renamed as “The Virgin Munnar”: This very loved location of the tourism industry is located at the junction of three streams from the mountains – The Mudrapuzha, Nallathani and the Kundala. Situated at a high altitude of 1600m, this summer resort of the British Government is nature’s gift to earth with its extensive tea plantations, winding lanes, and tourist spots. Munnar is famous for its exotic flower the Neelakurinji which is a flower that blooms once in 12 years. The Anamudi peak is here at a height of 2695m. This is a good spot for trekking. Thus Munnar is an ideal tourist spot.
Marayoor : Situated 40 kms from Munnar, this is the only spot in Kerala which has sandal wood trees growing naturally. There are the remains of the Stone Age Civilization found here. There are caves here with murals and relics and there is a magnificent canopy of a banyan tree. This is a famous tourist attraction. There are waterfalls and also the Rajiv Gandhi National Park here.
Mattupetti : This is around 13kms from Munnar at an altitude of 1700m above the sea level. This has a dairy farm and has the Indo-Swiss Project. There are more than 100 varieties of cattle which yield well. Tourists can visit three out of the eleven sheds found here. The Mattupetty Dam and Lake are also beautiful tourist spots. There are tea plantations here which provide enough scenic beauty. Tourists can avail of the speed motor boats available here.
Devikulam : This is located around 16 kms from Munnar. This lovely hill station has nature at its best. The fragrance of the wild flowers and rare herbs entices the tourists. We have the Sita Devi Lake with its mineral water. The extravagant tea plantations, the spice gardens, the virgin flora and fauna and the cool mountain air, is an exotic experience to the tourists. Legend has it that once Sita Devi, came to this lake and so it came to be known as the Devikulam or the Lake of the Goddess.
Top Station : This is a hill station situated around 32 kms from Munnar. This is the highest point on the Munnar Kodaikanal Road. This is the region of the Neelakurinji or the Strobilanthus flower which blooms once in 12 years. The entire area turns blue with the blooms of these flowers.
Mollamatton : This is found 40 kms from Idukki. The IdukkiHydroelectric Project is found here. This gives an opportunity to see how a hydro electric station works.
Wildlife Sanctuary :
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary : Spreading over two districts, the Idukki Reservoir is formed with the help of three dams Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu. There is a beautiful lake here, a magnificent dam and an enthralling visual of greenery around. The fauna has the choicest of animals with langur, leopard and wild boar besides, the elephants, bison, sambhar and wild dogs. Reptiles like the cobra, viper is also found. There are birds like the jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush. black bulbul.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary :This place has the unique feature of having the scrub forest with the xerophytes species. This is the habitat of the Giant Grizzled Squirrel of India. It is found in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats. This has only 48 rainy days in one year. The Flora and fauna found here include the chinnar Elephants, spotted deer, sambhar, hanuman monkey, peacocks and was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1984.
Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary : This has been created for preserving the Nilgir Tahr, the endangered animal. This is purely famous for its grasslands and the sholas. The highest peak south of the Himalayas is found here. The Atlas Moth the largest moth is found here. Declared as a National Park in 1978, this breathtaking beauty of this place is mesmerizing. The sanctuary also has the Sambhars; Lion tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur etc.
Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary : This is located 15 kms from Munnar. The Nilgiri Tahr has this as the natural habitat. The mountain rare goat is found here. This extinct animal is the main feature of the place.
Thatekkad Bird Sanctuary : This is located in the dense tropical evergreen and deciduous surroundings. This has the best of India’s bird population and has been designed by DR.Salim Ali, who is a renowned ornithologist. The Crimson Throated Barbet, Bee Eater, Sunbird, Shrike, is some of the rare birds. This is in fact a nature lover’s paradise.
Trekked : This is at an altitude of 900 - 1800 m above sea level. This lies in the Periyar forest and is considered as one of the most beautiful wildlife Indian reserves. This popular hill station is an amazing combination of great natural beauty, important images of animals like the elephants and an enthralling visual of spice plantations and beautiful hills. Trekked also has the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary which is the natural habitat for the Indian Tiger.
Idukki Arch Dam : This dam is constructed across the Kuravan and the Kurathi hills. This is the world’s second arch dam and Asia’s first. The Dam is 550 ft high and 650 ft wide. It is a dam for the water of the three rivers Cheruthoni, Idukki and the Kulamavu.
Cheruthoni : This is a dam that has been constructed across the River Periyar. It has been constructed between two granite hills.
Observatory Hills : This is a magnificent hill situated near Nedumkandam. This is a perfect place for the people who are interested to see the heavenly bodies. The sky here is totally free of pollution.
Kuthumkal Waterfalls : The picturesque beauty of the Waterfall falling is a remarkable sight and the sheer height of the waterfalls sets the tourist pulse racing. Tourists throng to see this very beautiful form of nature.
Thus Idukki. the dam land, with all its natural beauty and splendor of a princess, is the place to visit if one wants to experience the exotic extravaganza of a tourist spot.
As we leave the place we think, “Yes, virgin lands exist - as in Idukki.”