When lyricist Rafeeq Ahammed likened the beauty of Idukki district to a smiling 'midumidukki' (smart) girl wearing Periyar river as the anklet and going up the hill to light a lamp, in the hit Fahadh Faasil film 'Maheshinte Prathikaram,' those who have experienced the pristine beauty of the place were hardly surprised. For, like he said, 'ividuthe kaattaanu kaattu' and 'malamoodum manjaanu manju' (The winds and the mist here are the best).
With the sun beating down on the plains with fiery intensity, many are heading to Idukki's destinations where the nights are comfortably cold and the mornings are shrouded in thick mist. Here’s a ringside view of a few of the amazingly cool places in Idukki district that can give you respite from the hot and muggy weather.
The windy Thekkady
If hot and humid conditions are getting on your nerves, then Thekkady is the right destination to calm you down. Boating in the lake and trekking through verdant forest can pep you up. Imagine walking through the forest and a gentle cool breeze rustling your hair, irresistible, isn’t it? Trekking in Thekkady can only provide you with a bagful of memories.
The trekking activities in Thekkady include nature walk, green walk, border hiking, bamboo rafting, pugmark trail and tiger trail, among others. If you are a night bird then jungle scout trekking is tailor-made for you as you can walk through the forest after dusk. Reservations for trekking can be made through the website of Periyar Tiger Reserve or travel agencies. The foreign tourists are more into bamboo rafting and tiger trail.
Rates per person
Nature walk – Rs 400
Green walk – Rs 400
Border hiking – Rs 2,000
Bamboo rafting – Rs 2,900
Pugmark trail – Rs 120
Tiger trail – Rs 7,200 for one day and Rs 10,000 for two days
Jungle scout – Rs 1,500
While the plains are experiencing searing heat, Munnar has a pleasant cool climate. The night temperature was hovering around 16 degree Celsius to 18 degree Celsius and the maximum temperature during day time was 26 degree Celsius to 28 degree Celsius in the past one week. Many travellers are flocking to Munnar to beat the heat.
The cool Kolukkumalai
Kolukkumalai is one of the highest peaks in the iconic Western Ghats. The peak, which is 8,000ft above sea level, is replete with breathtaking views. The mountain houses the world’s highest tea plantations and a tea factory that is close to 80 years old.
Kolukkumalai, which is 35km away from Munnar, is in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district but a portion of the mountain is in Kerala. You can reach Kolukkumalai by road only from Kerala. You have to walk from Kurangini in Tamil Nadu to this awesome mountain range. It is worth noting that the steep hills are ideal for trekking.
You can step onto Kolukkumalai after travelling for 12km on an unpaved stretch from Suryanelli, which could be reached by driving on the Devikulam Gap Road from Munnar. Jeep vehicles run services in the region for Rs 2,500.