At 3,220 ft above sea level, Kurumbalakotta, the monolith hillock in Wayanad stands towering, offering tourists a panoramic view of the perennially green valley below.
Mesmerizingly beautiful, the place offers a breathtaking spectacle. While the climb up is a spiritually enriching experience, the descend will always be special for the memories of a visit well worth the while. So powerful is the pull of the hillock bang in the middle of Wayanad. Kurumbalakotta is special as it is at the confluence of the Western and the Eastern Ghats.
The mornings offer a must-see, must-feel experience. That’s when the sunrays filter through the mists and lift the veil of clouds covering the valley. It’s no small wonder that Kurumbalakotta is described as the most beautiful spot in Wayanad. The lofty hillock is as beautiful as or more so than Idukki’s scenic Meesapulimala.
There’s no other vantage point in Wayanad from where you get to see the beauty of nature spread out down below as far as the eye can see and far beyond. Perhaps, the only other place in Wayanad which offers a grand view of the sunrise is the Sunrise Valley.
Geographically speaking, Kurumbalakotta, quite like Meesapulimala, is not an easy climb. It’s no jay walk. This is also the sole reason why the spot has become every adventure tourist’s challenge.
The sights to savour
Mist-covered valleys and hills, the lofty mountain ranges of the Western Ghats and the fleeting scenes of Nature are what the place offers. One moment you see the mists rolling out and the valleys taking on a brilliant colour. The scene changes within a fraction of a second and takes on another hue and mood. The valleys become invisible under thick sheets of mist and everything is lost. This is the beauty of Kurumbalakotta. On extremely clear days, almost half of Wayanad district can be seen from atop the hill. The first rays of the sun touching Chembra hill is a sight not to be missed. Sunrise and sunsets are the highlights of the wild place.
Beauty beyond words
Kurumbalakotta, which straddles the two panchayats of Panamaram and Kottathara, appears like one single mountain at the top, though it is joined with another way down.
The Vilakkumudi hill here is the best place to watch out for the first glimpse of the sun, though it’s yet to be popular with trekkers.
People fill up Kurumbalakotta and the surrounding hills by 4 am. On week days, more than 500 tourists, including women and children, take the climb and the number goes up to more than 2,000 on holidays including the weekends. There are tiny stalls at the base to provide basic comfort to tourists.
When viewed from atop the hill, a huge naturally formed rock trench and several caves are visible. Local lore says there once was a gunpowder shelter down below. You just have to stretch out your hands to touch the skies. Banasura Dam is close by.
Lying close to the hillock are Chembra, Manikunnu, Kurichyamala and the Vellari hills.
A bit of history
Kurumbalakotta, which is 20 km from Kalpetta, has its own story. It’s believed that the “kota” or fort belonged to a certain Kurumba caretaker. It is said the local king built the fort to spy on enemy movement down below. Though it’s said that the place was once the fiefdom of the Vedara dynasty, there are no traces of any fort anywhere in the vicinity of Kurumbalakotta.
Find your way
There are no special routes by which trekkers can reach the top. At present people take the tracks made clear by the natives. Kurumbalakotta has the potential to become one of the top tourist hotspots ion Kerala, provided the authorities set up shelters and provide basic amenities for those wanting to take the climb up. A visit to Wayanad without a stopover at Kurumbalakotta is a trip incomplete, say tourists.