The land of vegetation: a walk through Vattavada

With the tourism industry slowly looking up, travellers are keen on exploring places that don’t require long drives.  For most Keralites, Munnar is their top favourite weekend plan. So how about stretching that journey a bit more? Just about 45 kilometres away and you will reach this scenic splendour called Vattavada, that’s also adjacent to Tamilnadu. 

Vattavada’s chief highlight has to be its expansive vegetable gardens, all artfully arranged and inviting, like a beautiful oil painting. The place is also dubbed the vegetable market of the state and boasts of some amazing produce. You get different varieties of apples, oranges, strawberries, blackberries, plums, gooseberries, egg fruits, peaches,  passion fruits, cabbages, carrots, and potatoes. 

This relatively unknown hill station and rain shadow village are placed 6500 ft from the sea level. After registering your vehicle number at the check post leading to the Pampadum National park,  the road passes through a forest (almost 5 kilometres), surrounded by exquisite greenery.

Since trees and houses are fewer, you can see more open grasslands and spaces. Vattavada is primarily a Tamil tribal village, and the residents, who are into farming, speak a mixture of Malayalam and Tamil. Historically it is claimed that they fled from Tamilnadu to Kerala during the invasion of  Tipu Sultan.

Apparently, the Vattavada residents have their own set of law and order, with a village executive of five ministers settling local disputes. This system of panchayat is called Mantha. Caste system continues to exist. Marriage Alliances are encouraged from within the communities. 

From Munnar, you need to pass Mattupetti, Kundala Dams and Pambad National Park to reach Vattavada. The smell of Eucalyptus is hard to miss along with some rare species of butterflies. If there is one thing you should try at Vattavada then it has to be trekking, considering the routes are linked to several important destinations like Kodaikanal, Top Station, Mattupetti, Kanthalloor and Meesapulimala. Tourists swear by the hospitable locals who are always ready with directions.

There are also interesting special packages by private operators - mountain jeep safari, mountain biking and jungle camping. You can also savour some beautiful sanctuaries and protected areas (Kurinjimala Sanctuary and Munnar Reserve forest), which houses several endangered animals, birds, and plants.  It is recommended to visit the place between September and  April, though the climate is pleasant all through the year.

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