Many tourist destinations in Kerala are yet to reopen after the COVID induced lockdown. The roads to these once-crowded places are mostly deserted these days. As a result, such routes with thin traffic offer a good opportunity for a hassle-free bike ride. For instance, a trip from Ernakulam to Athirappilly is a great experience as it takes bikers along one of the most scenic bike routes in the state.
From Ernakulam, start early in the morning, take the National Highway up to Chalakudy and deviate to the Athirappilly road, which is a winding rubberised stretch offering a thrilling ride. The road passes along picturesque scenery and as a bonus, the rising sun presents a charming view between the trees. On the right side of the road flows the Chalakudy River and on both banks is an oil palm plantation.
With entry to visitors banned at Athirappilly waterfalls, bikers would have to stop at a viewpoint nearby and enjoy the scene. Then you can start the return trip taking the Ezhattumugham route.
Head to the bridge across the Chalakudy river from where the surrounding landscape would look stunning. Local people can be seen fishing from rafts, as the river flows as a wide expanse. On the banks, the oil palms would come into view. This is an ideal spot for a dip in the river; however, keep away if there are crowds as the police could intervene.
Take the path through the government-owned oil palm plantation to Ezhattumugham. The stretch is narrow and if you are lucky, some wild elephants could be sighted. Ride slowly and enjoy the cool shade offered by the oil palms. Boards warning travellers not to stop can be seen at some spots.
This road is also parallel to the Chalakudy River, which appears different at various places. While at rocky spots, the water becomes frothy, in other areas it flows smoothly around small islands.
A visit to the hanging bridge of Thumboormuzhy Dam which is situated on this route should also be avoided in view of the pandemic. This semi-forested road stretches for five km and after a check-post, there are homestays offering accommodation for travellers. You are again in an inhabited area, but the path is still narrow and there are canals nearby.
The next point on this route is Malayattoor. Spend some time on the banks of a blue pond along the path; but another attraction, the Mahogany plantation, is yet to open. This stretch also has a forest feel. Ride along Kodanad and Perumbavoor, which offers views of the Periyar River also and take the road back to Ernakulam.
Ernakulam – Chalakudy – Athirappilly – Ezahttumugham – Manjapra – Malayattoor – Kodanad – Perumbavoor. The total distance is 143 km.
Things to note
Avoid stepping into the river at all places. Also, keep off areas where crowds are noticed.
While riding, stick to the plantation road and do not venture into wooded regions.
Do not ride fast as the route is meant for people who love to enjoy the greenery and seek an escape from the urban rush.