Vagamon – “Scotland of Asia “is situated at an altitude of 1100 m above sea level, on the outskirts of the Western Ghats. Being surrounded by three main hills – Murugan, Kurisomala and Thangal each representing the principal religions in Kerala i.e. Hinduism, Christianity and Islam – depicting the absolute cultural harmony.
Initially discovered by the British; The Kerala Tourism Board has been struggling for almost a decade, to get this place a touristic recognition and it has failed time and again. The place does not have castles like Scotland but the grasslands can put a lot of places to shame. With miles and miles of grasslands stretching in all directions, this is one place you want to lie down and hear the sound of silence. The main area where people stay and eat would just be a 100 meters long patch, on one side of the road; which includes 2 grocery shops, 10 homes and maybe 2 home-stay arrangements. Where the humble owners would stay in the next room fixing everything for you, on one call or maybe with one word that I used “cheta” which means elder brother in Malayalam.
The night will not be an easy one if you have a faint heart. When the wind blows from miles away and there is no obstruction in-between. It reaches your rustic wooden door at the middle of the night with a thud, the gates creak and bang like someone is desperately trying to barge in; it sends shivers down your spine. Early morning I had a complicated yet lovely conversation with the homeowner, he somehow understood my name was Bilal and wanted to invite me for breakfast, so he repeated the words Bilal- Halaal a few good times and pointed at his mouth until I finally understood what he said.
I was then dragged to his little room on the ground floor and treated with some humble home-cooked poori and country chicken, which was a fine unexpected treat early morning. He was warm and caring with whatever limited quantity he had, we shared our meal and smiled at each other. It was already 11 and I was unwilling to waste any time so I walked to the nearby spot, where you get a clear view to Vagamon Meadows the entry is just 5 INR, thanks to no commercialization yet and this my friend is a gateway to heaven. You can lie down, run around or stretch yourself all till you want till 6 Pm. So much of lush greens are immensely soothing to one’s eyes. The area has plantations of tea, coffee, vanilla & pepper which can be bought at dirt-cheap prices and the quality, is excellent.
There is a monastery called Kurisomala in this area, which a lot of people like to visit. As it is the only large scale Syrian-Christian monastery being handled by Francis Acharya. It is the second most preferred place for people visiting the area after the meadows. If you are an early morning person, then the pine forest nearby is an excellent locale for an early morning walk with that earthen fragrance.
In my words, Kerala is a place where you might want to loosen you watch and forget the time, cause here the time slides by in its own slow pace. You feel the days are longer and nights are relaxing and you are always in the lap of nature may it be the commercial hubs or the virgin habitat. This is soup and medicine for your soul; for how long? I cant guarantee that, but yes this is just one of the numerous places you should be heading to if you are a solace hunter like me.