After all how much honey can the bees gather from a sea of blue flowers!?
Want to see spirituality, myths and beliefs in communion with nature? Visit Iringole kavu, a 50-acre sacred grove devoted to Goddess Durga near Perumbavoor on the Aluva - Munnar road. After all that drive through roads heavy with traffic your eyes need a much-needed relief. Iringole is the perfect place where they get recharged with a suffusion of green. Where trees are seen as Gods themselves, thanks to the century-old myths that pervade the greenery here, not even a twig fallen off could be removed without hurting the spirits or the devotees of the sacred grove. Home to rich wildlife, birds, insects and a few mammals, you feel you are standing inside a cathedral of nature dwarfed by tall trees and silence.
Take a walk through the woods with one of the local priests entrusted with maintaining the sacred grove and listen to all those myths that shroud the birth of this temple of nature. Or sit on the banks of the temple pond on the shades of trees for a while and forget the scorching summer you have left behind only a few minutes ago.
A few miles away from Perumbavoor is the Kodanad Elephant Training Centre, one of the largest elephant training centres in Kerala, Set near the banks of Periyar lake Kodanad is a picturesque village far from the hustle and bustle of cities. Since 1895, elephants, which had been captured from different parts of the state, were brought to the centre until a ban on capturing came to effect.
You can while away a whole day in this elephant lover’s paradise to see the giant mammals up close. You would stand gaping at the gigantic kraals where they used to tame the wild elephants brought in from the jungles with the help of kunki elephants. Don’t miss the royal bath when mahouts in a procession lead elephants to the banks of the river, which is about half a kilometer away. The centre is run by Kerala Forest Department.
The place Kothamangalam is popular among nature lovers all around the world for being the entrance to one of the most prominent bird sanctuaries in India. Round the year, hundreds visit the Salim Ali bird sanctuary at Thattekkad to watch avian life in all its glory. You can spend a couple of days in the park satiating your ears with the ethereal music of birdsongs that follow you right from the moment you wake up. The mellifluous morning chorus could wash away all the worries you carry on from your burdened lives.
Barely 25 kilometers of wooded land discovered by the legendary birdman of India Dr. Salim Ali for its biodiversity after whom the park is rightly named, is one of the richest places in the world for its avian life. It is home to many rare birds you might have never seen in your life. The lowland forest on the banks of Periyar has to be explored on foot or by a boat. Tribal guides will help you chase and identify exotic birds either by their plumage or by their cries. After all the mindless rush through a fast-paced life, you learn how to slow down and even be still for long hours, to catch the beauty of a bird in close quarters without alarming it with your presence.
You can also visit the butterfly park or Nakshathravanam in Thattekkad. The place offers to stay at different points in the Park to help you dunk in avian joy. Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is situated 12 kilometers from Kothamangalam.
Steeped in myths and tucked away from the busy line that leads to Eravikulam there is a beautiful place only ten kilometers from Kothamangalam town. Situated at Pindimana, a picturesque village on the banks of Periyar, Bhoothathankettu is not only a damsite, but it is also a trekker’s paradise.
The name Bhoothathankettu carries a will-o’-the-wisp eeriness deep to its core (Bhootham in Malayalam means demon), luring the curious traveler in. A walk along the banks of Periyar beyond the dam would take you deeper into the foliage and time. History tells you that the waters of Periyar that meander by innocently was once turned into a water bomb by a few patriotic men who wanted to check Tipu Sultan as he plundered in from the North. They set off a few boulders uphill and flooded the river. Tipu’s army could not cross the deluge.
The long walk would take you into an ethereal place where myths and reality vie for your attention. Devotees believe that it was at Old Bhoothathankettu, that demons worked day and night to build another dam, this time with the purpose of flooding the Trikkariyoor temple further down. Lord Siva who was their target, unsettled them with a clever move. Before the last boulder could be put on place to dam the river causing the flood, the demons had to flee, hearing the cry of a cock. They’d lose their strength in daylight. It was a divine trick by Lord Siva. Today you can see the river gushing forth through a little gap in a bed of rocks that stand atop the waters.
Take a bath in the wilderness before you return to the road that leads to Eravikulam. Bhoothathankettu is home to many animals like tiger, leopard, deer, gaur, bear etc.
From Kothamangalam it takes only an hour to reach Adimaly, from where Munnar is only 27 kilometers away.
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