Vennimala is a well kept secret. Even people from Kottayam have not heard much about Vennimala, which is just about 15 kms away from the town. At a glance, it looks like a valley of mysteries. A place that hides both historical and mythological stories, and still stays away from the common man.
All that changed recently when it got added to the Puthuppally tourism package. The adventure lies in enjoying its beauty. The terrain that leads to the destination is not very steep; even an autorickshaw can take you there. What attracts one to Vennimala is its green vegetation, the silence and the peace it offers.
Undulating rubber plantations and pepper creepers surround the area. It is as if there is a green blanket on. The road that leads to the top is tarred and not slippery at all. A trek uphill will take you 30 minutes.
Vennimala in ancient days was a dense forest. The major attraction of the place is The Sreerama-Lakshmana Swamy temple. It is believed that Lord Rama and Lakshmana during their period of exile visited this hillside. Numerous demons were killed by them upon the request of the sages who meditated in the caves there. Thus the place came to be called “Vijayadri” and in the long run, the name changed to Vennimala.
Cheraman Perumal, the illustrated emperor of ancient Kerala consecrated this ancient temple here. Unfortunately the palace built by him doesn't stand today, but you can see the remains of a moat, which was built to protect the land during the raid by Tipu Sultan is still visible here.
The temple is the crowd puller. The temple pond, and the caves in the hills are the other attraction. The people in the region and the nearby place throng here to perform “Pithru Tharpanam” on the day of 'Amavasi' in July. A dip in the temple pond, they believe will wash away all sins.
According to the myth, there is a secret channel from the temple that opens up into the pond. The pond is also fed by a stream which never dries up.
There is a huge cave on one side of the hill located barely one kilometer from the temple. According to legends, there are sages who are observing penance in these caves even now; for over 200 years. No one enters these caves these days, but if these stories don't make you feel spiritual, nothing else might.
If you love trekking, Vennimala is a must visit. However, be a little careful about your footing if you are trekking in the rainy season; chances of you slipping are higher during this weather. There is something for everyone at Vennimala. For the religious, there is the temple, for the trekker, it is a paradise and for someone in search of peace, this place offers a lot of it.
Sreerama-Lakshmana Swamy temple The cave and temple pond
How to reach there
A bus on Kottayam-Puthuppally-Payyappadi route can drop you very near Vennimala. Get down at Payyappadi and walk for about a kilometer and you reach the temple on the hilltop.
Nearest railway station: Kottayam
Airport: Kochi International airport