The misty hills, the soft gentle breeze and the light drizzle are perfect settings for one to blend with nature. If you are planning a one-day trip with your children, then don’t look beyond Illickal Kallu in Kottayam district. Illickal Kallu, which is a huge boulder atop a hill, literally stands tall and looks like a clenched fist challenging the forces of nature. The unique rock formation is a marvel of nature and the sight of Illickal Kallu blanketed by mist is a treat for the eyes.
Great vibe indeed
Illickal Kallu is situated nearly 4,000ft above sea level. You will have to trek for a while after parking your vehicle at the parking slot in the valley to enjoy the mystical beauty of the ‘kallu’. Lush green vegetation on both sides of the tarred road is simply eye-catching. If you have difficulty in walking, you can hail a jeep to reach the hilltop and the jeep rent is Rs 380 for a six-member group. No matter how you reach the hilltop, the vibe of Illickal Kallu is great.
If you want to see the ‘kallu’ up-close, then you have to trek through a steep narrow path strewn with round stones. As the path has steel barricades on both sides, you can take every step forward with confidence and without any worries. Though the trek is bit taxing, the view of mist-covered Illickal Kallu and valley down below is awe-inspiring. The towns down below would be nothing but small dots in an ocean of green from the hilltop. One could also see the minor tributaries of the Meenacahal River flowing like winding nerves at a distance. But with thick mist all round, the bird’s eye view from the top would be a bit hazy.
A thick white veil of mist and a gentle breeze are omnipresent in the region. But when the sun shines bright and nature lifts the misty veil for a while, one could behold the magical charm of Illickal Kallu, which could be described only as a piece of art by nature.
Many stories doing the rounds
There are many stories, mytha and beliefs related to Illickal Kallu doing the rounds. One story is that the region houses the ‘neelakodiveli’ plant, which is a medicinal plant mentioned in the puranas, and there is a belief that whoever lays hands on that crop would become rich. Another tale is related to the forest exile of the Pandavas. Legend has it that the Pandavas lived in the region and one day Bhima, one of the five Pandava brothers, asked Panchali to serve food. But Panchali was tad late in serving food and Bhima got very angry. In a fit of rage, Bhima threw an ‘ulakka’ (a long pestle used for pounding rice and other grains) and the spot where the ‘ulakka’ fell became a stream which is known as ‘Ulakkapara thodu’.
Always be alert
While enjoying the picturesque vistas, be careful at every step as there are deep gorges on both sides of the narrow path leading to Illickal Kallu. Don’t try to be adventurous by moving away from the beaten path as it is against the law and do keep in mind the warnings. As the region is prone to lightning, it is better to avoid travelling to Illickal Kallu during thunderstorm and adverse weather conditions.
How to reach
You can reach Illickal via Kottayam, Pala, Erattupetta and Teekoy. You can also reach this beautiful place from Vagamon touching Teekoy, and from Ernakulam via Melukavu and Moonnilavu.