Exploring Kunkichira: Kerala's Talakaveri

Exploring Kunkichira: Kerala's Talakaveri
Kunkichira | Photos: Manorama

What if you want to see the starting point of Mayyazhipuzha? Or do you want to go trekking for it? Don’t you want to enter the forest? The answer is no. If you cross a village and reach a village called Kadoram, you can reach the pool where the Mayyazhipuzha originates. And that's Malayalis Talakaveri. Not only sight but also the history is all around Kunkichira.

Where is Kunkichira?
Kunkichira is located close to the forest at the edge of Kunjom village in Wayanad. After passing Vythiri, you can reach Kunkichira via Korom after the local market. It is much easier to reach Kunjom from Kozhikode by crossing the Kuttiyadi Pass. This is what makes Kunkichira so historic. Kunkichira is a silent witness to King Pazhassi’s legendary military preparations. That is why every Malayali should know this Chira. The government should give due importance and protect it.

Talakaveri or Talacauvery is the place that is generally considered to be the source of the river Kaveri and a holy place for many Hindus. It is located on Brahmagiri hills near Bhagamandala in Coorg and close to the border with Kasaragod. Talakaveri stands at a height of 1,276 meters above sea level. However, there is not a permanent visible flow from this place to the main river course except during the Monsoon. The temple here is dedicated to Goddess Kaveramma. Other deities worshipped here are Lord Agasthiswara, which denotes the link between Kaveri and Sage Agastya. Similarly, Kunkichira is Kerala’s Thalakaveri which needs to be world-famous.

Kunjom is quite significant

According to legends, Pazhassi Raja, a native of Kottayam, Kannur, was staying near Kunkichira in Kunjom when he came to fight for Wayanad. Kunjom is the hometown of a brave warrior named Thalakkal Chandu who helped Pazhassi Raja in the battle against the British.

From Wayanad, you can quickly descend to Kozhikode and then to the beach via Kunjom. In the old days, soldiers used to reach Wayanad via Kunkichira. Today there is a Kuttiyadi Pass to reach Kunjom. The Kunjom forest area can be understood only from the choice of this place for the preparations for the guerrilla war of Pazhassiraja, the Kottayam dynasty of Kannur.

It is said that there is a place called Otta Kallu which was planned to betray Pazhassiraja. On the other side of the Kunkichira is a vast grassland called Chettiyandamkolli. Pazhassi and Kuriyar were preparing for battle there. According to locals, the temple of Weaving Bhagwati is also nearby. Foresters testify that there are remnants of an old building.

You can walk around Kunkichira
Kunkichira is in the middle of a paddy field and a thicket. There is a concrete wall around the wing. One can barely walk. The wall has begun to crumble. The forest on the west side. There are some ditches going from the pond to the forest. Together, they form a large stream that flows into the Arabian Sea like a river. Of course, if you want to go down to the green grass, you are in danger of getting bitten by centipedes.

Another canal is coming out of Kunjom. But only to the east. Another stream joins the spring Kabani as a stream. Thus it can be said that this village is the beginning of two rivers.

"Elephants are coming close to the wings," said a local hunter. During the conversation, the fog began to cover. You can walk slowly to the road from the dark forest where you cannot differentiate between an elephant and a tree. What if the elephant comes to Kunkichira.

The story of Kunkichira
According to North Kerala folklore, Kunki was a local chief. The pool was built for her by her brothers in a week. Thacholi Chanthu and Chappan, the heroes of the North, came to see Bappan who was ruling Vadakara. They saw a beautiful woman there. The beauty was none other than Kodumala Kunki, the ruler of the seven hills. Etachena Kunkan, the commander of King Pazhassi was Kunki's brother. He was the commander of the Thousand and One Army. Kunki also liked Chandu. She accompanied Chandu to Manikoth's house. On hearing the news Kunkan and Kunki's husband Kannan got ready to fight Chandu. Kunki is celebrated in 'Vadakkan Pattu' (Northern Ballads) as Kottamala Kunki.

The story goes that Kunki fought in male guise and defeated them. Whatever the authenticity of these tales, the story of Kodumala Kunki shows the status and decision-making power of women of that time. There is another rumour that Kunki helped Pazhassi. These stories are fun to listen to, albeit out of date.

There is a heritage museum in Wayanad at Cherukunnu on top of Kunkichira. The work is nearing completion. On the next trip, you can drive to the shores of Kunkichira to get a closer look at the tribal culture and the history as well as experience the snow in Kunjom. If the government takes the initiative, tourists will reach Kunkichira responsibly. One can return from Wayanad Plateau via Kuttiyadi Pass. Pakranthalam is another name for this pass. You can reach the pass by a leap from Kunjom. Kunjom is a small village situated in Thondernadu Panchayath. It has a diverse cultural heritage. Kunjom is a hub for domestic and international tourists. The village has a distinct identity in tourist destinations of Wayanad due to its historical and cultural heritage.

The distance between Kunjom and Kuttiyadi is just 26 km. The game of weather is at the curve of the Pakranthalam in the mountain pass which is relatively safer. You can ascend from Wayanad as shown in the letter R and descend from the Pakranthalam bend. Downhill you will realise that the weather has got warmer. But as you climb upwards it gets colder.

This is going to be a Wayanad trip with a difference. So make sure you include Kunkichira in your next trip to Wayanad.

You can take this route- Kozhikode-Perambra- Kuttiyadi-Kunjom-Kunkichira. 79 km
Nearest police station, hospital, ATM counter- 15 km
For accommodation, call Misty Haven Resort, Vellamunda 9895963483.  

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