Coorg is a heavenly place that has been mesmerizing Keralites with its mist-enveloped rolling hills and valleys, expansive tea plantations and bright orange orchards. Thousands of travellers flock to Coorg every year to unwind and savour the serene beauty of this hill station in Karnataka. But Kerala too have a stunning estination that gives all the feels of Coorg. The small hamlet of Malom, which is part of the Western Ghats, in Kasaragod district definitely won’t pale before Coorg when it comes to beguiling beauty of nature. As Malom shares border with Coorg, the village has the same weather and lush green landscape of the latter.
Rolling hills all around
Malom is tucked away on the eastern side of the Vellarikundu taluk in Kasaragod district. The name Malom may sound strange but in Malayalam it means ‘the world of hills’. Possibilities are galore to develop Malom into a bio-eco tourist center as there is plethora of opportunities for trekking, mountain biking and adventurous forest safari. The waterfalls dotting the region are also a treat for the eyes.
A rich history
Malom is surrounded by peaks with the Kudagu mountain range on the east, the Kottancheri and Chattamala hills on the south, the Marutham, Maani and Ranipuram hills on the north and Elleri-Punnakunnu hills on the west.
Malom has centuries-old history to tell and interestingly there are many Malom-based adages that are very popular. Moreover, the small hamlet is an amalgam of ritual art forms, cultural heritage and a rich history in farming. Archaeologists have found rocks with Brahmi script inscriptions dating back to 300BC and rocks with geometric motifs, dating back to 500AD, engraved on them from the Marutham forest. The inscriptions are similar to the pre-historic rock cravings noticed at Thovari in Wayanad district. The findings throw light on the fact that there was human social life in Malom around 2,500 years ago.
‘Theyyam’ and communal harmony
The ‘Mukri Pokar’ theyyam, which is a ritual dance popular in north Kerala, is a unique spectacle. ‘Murkri Pokar’, a Muslim theyyam, is staged at the Koolom Bhagavathi Temple in Malom. It is believed that ‘pokar’, who came from the Ullolam desam, was an upright warrior who protected the region under the control of the Malom Kooloth. Unfortunately, he died due to some unnatural reasons and no one knows exactly how he died.
Legend has it that ‘pokar’, after his death, comes to perform theyyam on the foreground of Malom Kooloth every year during Asr namaz at the Juma Masjid in Malom. He will dance with great fervour before the Bagavathy theyyam, Vishnumoorthi theyyam and Mandalathu Chamundi theyyam. Usually theyyam is performed by people belonging to the Mavilan community.
The Chaitravahini River that originates from the lake on the Kottancheri hills and merges with the Karinagode River. The small lake on the Kottancheri hills is known as Chaitradhara and the isles on the Chaitravahini River near Vallikadavu are called ‘Malom River Islands’. Tourists flock to this picturesque place and the spot is ideal for a short vacay and for wedding-related photography.
Travellers visiting Malom can also visit Ranipuram (27km), Kottachery (12km), Thonikadavu (36km), Bekel Fort (54km) and Kanhangad (43km). Trekking at Marutham Thattu is very popular among trekkers.