Many frames of Malayalam movie ‘Kumari’, which is laced with an equal dose of fantasy and mystery, were captured at the Kochareekkal caves in Ernakulam district. In the film, vagabond boy Chokkan walks through verdant forest and wades through frothy waterfalls for a rendezvous with 'Illymala chathan’ (a supernatural being confined to the forest). Finally, Chokkan reaches a cave tightly hugged by huge roots of gigantic trees that seem to be touching the skies. When the energetic boy enters the dark cave with the help of a fire torch, its interior looks so perfect that one gets a feeling that the cave was artificially made for the movie. You can also step into the age-old Kochareekkal caves, which are a one-hour drive from Ernakulam, like Chokkan and enjoy the nip in the air.
You could find a small cave amidst the mammoth trees and can enter it by holding on to the broad roots. Children can splash themselves in a cool stream that emanates from the cave and the travellers can while away time by sitting in the soothing shade of the massive trees. If you are into swimming, then you can swim in the bracing waters of the pond near the caves. Kochareekkal is an ideal destination for a family trip. Though the caves are a bit eerie, you can enter the caves with your family members without any concern whatsoever.
How to reach
You can reach there following this route: Ernakulam-Tripunithura-Thiruvankulam-Ramamangalam-Pambakkuda-(Piramadam)-Kochareekkal.
The caves are 37km from Kochi.
Word of caution
Take a plunge in the pond only if you know swimming. Be careful while walking as the rocks are slippery. Don’t pollute the stream as it is the drinking water source of the local residents. You can carry snacks and beverages for children but don’t litter.
Other vistas of ‘Kumari’
The other countryside shots in ‘Kumari’ film were canned in Palakkad. The cameras have captured the serenity of the beautiful agro-hamlet called Kachamkurissi with great dexterity. A stroll through Kachamkurissi will help you to return to the bygone days of Kerala as the expansive paddy fields and the rhythmic coos of the pigeons will sooth your mind and body in equal measure. A trip to Kachamkurissi will help you to be far away from the madding crowd and provide the much-needed rejuvenation.