|Vandanmedu is one of the world’s largest auction centres for cardamom. Naturally, it has acres of cardamom plantations and the enticing aroma of the spice in the air. A walk through the plantations inhaling the aromatic air is a great experience.
Despite its bustling commerce, Vandanmedu has a tranquil rural atmosphere and a few old buildings.
Old buildings and a glimpse into history
One of the old buildings of Vandanmedu which deserves mention is the former anchal office (post office) which now acts as the staff quarters of the postal department.
Records say that the anchal office at Vandanmedu, set up in the early decades of the 20th century, was one of the first post offices set up by the British in the area. The first post office in Idukki district was set up in 1892 in Devikulam estate. These and other post offices were used mainly to deliver official communication to the British officers working at the plantations here.
A road called Anchalvazhy leading to the former post office still exists in the area . Records say that before the construction of the Kumily – Munnar State Highway, it was through the Anchalvazhy that timber was transported.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Vandanmedu was more easily accessible from the Madras Presidency and as such, Tamil workers were employed in the plantations.
The village office at Vandanmedu was the administrative office of the erstwhile kings of Travancore. The Kingdom of Travancore comprised most of modern-day southern Kerala, the district of Kanyakumari , and the southernmost parts of the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. After India's independence, Travancore merged with Cochin to form Travancore-Cochin which again, some time later, joined with Malabar district of Madras State to form Kerala.
A settlement register kept here is one of the authentic records of that time. A few other buildings here were used as the offices for administering the cardamom plantations. Trenches created to prevent wild animals, especially wild elephants, from entering the area, can still be seen around some of the offices.