If you are looking for a quick weekend getaway near Kochi, this is the perfect spot. The tranquil, serene atmosphere of Kochareekkal Caves Sanctuary in Ernakulam is the perfect remedy to get rid of a week's worth of weariness.
There is a cave, a fountain, and a pond inside a forest that makes it a magical experience for you. Not only is this a quick getaway but also ideal for a family trip and offers some adventure as well.
From Ernakulam, it will take an hour and a half drive to reach Kochareekkal caves which are located at Piramadam. That means it is just 12 km from Piravam. It's also a great place to spend some quality time with your family in the evenings. Since the area hasn't yet caught the fancy of tourists, there won't be much of a crowd. You can see those cave sanctuaries if you walk a short distance from the parking area. The place is famous for its ancient caves hidden in the roots of the giant ancient trees. And the whole place is richly green, untouched by modernity, with giant ancient trees looming over.
As you climb down, you can see giant ancient trees slumped all around. In fact, that's one of the prime attractions of this sanctuary – these intimidatingly giant trees! As if they are hiding some dark secrets within. There is a mystery, a sort of haunted feel, that almost transports you back in time. You can find two caves here. A fountain springs up from the first cave and the water from that spring will flow downstream and fill the adjacent pond.
The source of the spring is pure freshwater. The spring is the source of drinking water for the locals. Therefore, water bodies should be kept clean. Be careful not to dump waste even if you carry food. Visitors have to be careful not to pollute the water.
According to locals, the first cave is about 3 km long. But there is no evidence for that. This is a narrow cave. The second cave is nearby. Unlike the first one, this cave is essentially large. Vehicles are parked on top of this. The cave is about one person high and wide enough to accommodate up to 40 people. The roots of the grandmother tree are spread out like owl hands inside the cave. The entrance to the cave is by stepping on these roots.
You almost get the feeling that the roots of this large tree are the walls of the cave. The locals have many stories around the cave. One story goes that one could walk inside the cave for up to three kilometres. Another story is that these caves were once a hideout for war soldiers.
All said and done, when we stand here, we get the feeling of being part of a sorcerer's cave, where they are brewing magic potions. There is a pond here to accentuate that feeling. We can bravely go down to the shallow pool but be careful as there are rocks. The water from the upper stream flows here. During the monsoons, the stream reaches the pond like a small waterfall.
The journey to this place would not be complete without knowing more about the huge trees that surround the cave. It is a Chinese tree up to 40 metres tall. This Chinese tree which also falls in the category of deciduous trees can be found in evergreen forests. These trees add a mystery to this place. One can comfortably hide among the roots of the trees that stand by the pond.
In the evening, this place gives out a fantastical feel. Like we are in the middle of an ancient Kavu, pond, and witchcraft. No one can be blamed if one hears chants and clinging of bells while standing amidst the pool, quietly enjoying the ambiance of the forest. That's the best experience Kochareekkal can give us.
How to reach?
It is located at a distance of 40 km from Ernakulam. Piramadam can be reached from Piravom town via Ramamangalam. That's where the Kocharikkal caves are. What makes Kochareekkal caves different is that it takes half a day to see the place.
There are no shops or other establishments near Kochareekkal caves. There is only a small tea shop here. You can buy food and other necessities for children at Ramamangalam. ATMs and hospitals are also located at Ramamangalam.