Big rush of visitors to Kolukkumala as panel seeks ban on trekking

Kolukkumalai is a village in Idukki district. Photo: Shutterstock/DivyaN

Rajakumari: More and more visitors are heading to enjoy the stunning sights at Kolukkumala in the Idukki district of Kerala even as an expert committee has submitted a report before the High Court recommending a ban on trekking in the area.

The number of visitors on recent holidays is as follows: August 13 – 1433; August 14 – 1647 and August 15 – 1329. With the news of the likely ban on trekking spreading, people from even far-off places are rushing to Kolukkulama, said local residents.

The report seeking the trekking ban was submitted before the Kerala High Court by the convenor of a panel of experts appointed by the court to study the issue of the rogue tusker Arikomban, which was translocated from the area.

The report said that 143 jeeps were conducting off-road trips to Kolukkumala from Sooryanelli every day, which was adversely affecting the local environment. Moreover, the area was vulnerable to landslips, making trekking risky, added the panel report. In yet another finding, the panel said that trekking activities were harming the natural habitat of the wildlife in the region.

Even though the High Court has received the report, no order has been issued so far. According to official sources, the case is likely to be considered by the court after the Onam festival. The officials also pointed out that the court is yet to seek the version of the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) on the matter.

DTPC welcomes tourists
Meanwhile, the DTPC has invited travellers to enjoy the sights of both sunrise and sunset from Kollukkumala during the Onam holidays. Located at an altitude of 8,000 feet above sea level, Kolukkumala is an area immersed in clouds and surrounded by picturesque hills.

It can be reached only by off-road jeeps from Sooryanelli, which is situated 15 km away. Jeeps are available from 4.30 am to 5 pm and the fare is Rs 2,500. All off-road vehicles conducting services to Kolukkumala have been approved by the Kerala Motor Vehicles Department after an inspection.

Routes to the destination
Travellers from Kottayam can take the road along Pala, Thodupuzha, Adimali, Munnar and Chinnakanal to reach Sooryanelli. From Ernakulam, the route touches Kothamangalam, Adimali, Munnar and Chinnakanal. Moreover, visitors can also travel from Kumali to Nedumkandam, Udumbanchola and Pooppara to reach Chinnakanal and Sooryanelli.

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