Kerala “The God’s own country” shares the name with few other places across the globe, which was initially a shock to me. Although when it comes to experience it sure is surreal on an unparalleled platform; This state of India, which rolls on its own personal pace is rich in every aspect may it be heritage, culture, food, business or travel.
Kerala is distinct with its lush green self; on my initial trip when I was about to land at Kochi airport, I was sweating for a minute, as I thought the pilot had gone crazy trying to land the plane in between a jungle of coconut. The cherry on the topping was I could not see the landing strip anywhere close-by. But thankfully within minutes, I realized that we had landed and I was still breathing in a single piece and completely scratch-less. Stepping out the air was different then the usual polluted dirty air we have in metros, considering the recent PM 1 & 2.5 levels I doubt there wouldn’t even be an eyebrow against it.
In all honesty, I was seeking to spend more time with myself, this was my getaway from the world. So I did research well and headed for the places that were still away from major cities and tourist or let’s be honest and say places that where even the locals were reluctant to take me, but I was destined to reach there and hence I started my journey to the biggest tongue-twisting place of them ever; named Ilaveezha-Poonchira.
There is a story behind its unique name, their name literally means “place with no leaves”, the legend says that Draupadi used to bathe here on a regular basis and one day some devas tried to satisfy their voyeuristic itch, Lord Indra came to know about it built hills and chopped all flowers off leaving out any option for the lecherous monsters to hide and pry on Draupadi.
The place is around 50 km away from Kottayam and is accessible only by a road or on foot if you the enthusiastic kind. I reached the base village named Melukava where I had a grand breakfast of beef fry and Malabar parotta with Kattan (local black tea) and switched to a 4×4 jeep and headed up for almost an hour, the distance isn’t much but no roads and landslides don’t exactly make it a cakewalk to this foothill beauty. On reaching the place you would be completely swept off your feet as the place is lush green with shrubs and there are really no leaves or even big trees at all.
This place is trekker’s paradise and a plum spot for spotting the sunrise and sunset with the wind to blow you away. There is only one small hotel, which gives you room and food for cheap and leaves you in complete solace. The village below although is 50% tribal population yet it’s completely safe and a great spot for introspection away from the hush-hush of the world. You can run all around laze the grass, or eat all you want from the only café located inside the hotel.
This place gave me a complete rebirth in about 3 days time where I had no one to disturb. It honestly does not offer a big spread of choices when it comes to eating but with handful great selections like Malabar biryani, beef fry, tapioca curry, pachadi and kurma topped with the local black tea I was already sailing my dreamboat all day long. In a 5 km radius, there are many beautiful locations to be explored like the Malankara dam, Kazhukankulimali waterfalls and Pandavart Guha/gufa which was occupied by Pandavas during their extensive exile.
“How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else”
–R. Buckminster Fuller