Tourist spots in Idukki spruced up to welcome visitors during Onam holidays

An area noted for steady breeze, Ramakkalmedu offers stunning views of hills. Photo: Manorama

The monsoon is keeping away, but that has not dampened the spirits of the tourism sector in Idukki, which is expecting a flood of tourists during the Onam holidays. In fact, all tourism destinations in the district are ready to welcome visitors and some of these spots have arranged new attractions this year.

Even though the rains have been deficient, Munnar has retained its charm with mist and cool weather. A new facility being set up this year is a fern garden at Rajamala, the abode of the Nilgiri tahr.

Moreover, 14 new rides for children as well as adults are being installed at the Hydel Park in Old Munnar as part of the Onam celebrations under hydel tourism. Colourful illumination in the town also will be yet another attraction.

Similarly, three more boats have been bought for tourist rides in the reservoir of the Mattupetty Dam. An old boat which can seat 70 persons has also been repaired and is now conducting services at Mattupetty.

Moreover, KFDC’s flower garden on Mattupetty Road and DTPC’s botanical garden also has been spruced up for Onam holidays. Around 700 varieties of plants, including foreign species, have bloomed in the flower garden.

The authorities have completed all arrangements for Onam at Thekkady also, where the main attraction is the boating on the lake. Other engagements at Thekkady include forest treks and jeep safaris to nearby places such as Gavi, Parunthumpara, Chellarkovil and the vineyards in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Tourists can also enjoy elephant rides, visit spice plantations, attend Kathakali and Kalaripayattu performances and take a stroll around the rose park.

Idukki Dam
During the Onam holidays, Idukki and Cheruthoni dams will be open for visitors on all days except Wednesday from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Entry is through the gate of Cheruthoni Dam, from where visitors can head to Idukki Arch Dam and Vyshali Cave. A buggy car will be available for people having difficulty walking on the dam. The buggy fare is Rs 600 for eight persons. The entry fee to the dam is Rs 40 for adults and Rs 20 for children.

Apple orchards
Onam is harvest time for apple farmers in Marayur and Kanthallur. This activity attracts tourists too and they can pluck apples from the trees. These areas are also noted for several picturesque waterfalls; farming of winter vegetables; sandalwood forest, burial urns and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

The chief attraction at Sreenaryanapuram is a series of waterfalls on the Muthirapuzha river. Even though rains have been scanty this year and the water level is low in the river, the authorities have made all arrangements for tourists. There are viewpoints to enjoy the sights of waterfalls from close quarters safely, zip line across the river and a fish spa.

The poor rainfall would be a blessing in disguise for visitors to Anchuruly with the flow of water into the tunnel negligible. As the amount of water in the Irattayar River is less, visitors can enjoy the sight better. The low water level also enables a good view of the hills around the Idukki reservoir.

The reservoir of the Chengulam Dam was dried up for around a year till June 1 to carry out maintenance at the dam and penstock pipes. However, the area has now come alive with tourism activities and the lake is filled with water. Currently, speed boats, family boats, kayaks and coracles conduct trips for tourists. Recently, two pedal boats also have been delivered. Authorities said that the dam receives 600-800 visitors every day now.

Anticipating huge crowds during Onam, security measures will be enhanced at Vagamon, which is renowned for mist and cool weather, said the local panchayat authorities. Cooperation of the police will be sought to avoid traffic congestion and more panchayat employees will be appointed. Meanwhile, sanitation work has been initiated at the tourist spots.

An area noted for the steady breeze, Ramakkalmedu offers stunning views of hills. Currently, off-road jeep rides are available for adventure seekers from Ramakkalmedu to Amappara. An attraction of Amappara is the windmill farm of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). As many as 85 jeeps are conducting services between Ramakkalmedu and Amappara and the fare, including the entry fee, is Rs 1600. The authorities are also setting up a watch tower and washrooms at Amappara.

Most popular spot
As per the latest data, the area of Vagamon meadows is the most popular tourism destination in the Idukki district. While 41,617 visitors arrived at the tourism centres under the DTPC on the four recent holidays from August 12 to 15, the highest number was at Vagamon with 14,878. In addition, numerous travellers reached the tourist spots under the Forest Department and at Hydel Tourism centres in Idukki.

“As the rains are infrequent this year and schools closing soon for the Onam holidays, the flow of tourists will go up significantly,” said Jitheesh Jose, secretary of the DTPC. Several people have already booked rooms in hotels and resorts, he added.

Visitor count
According to DTPC's figures, the number of visitors to major tourism centres in Idukki from August 12 to 15 was as follows:
Mattupetty: 1680
Ramkkalmedu: 3024
Aruvikkuzhi: 527
Sreenarayanapuram: 5796
Vagamon meadows: 14,878
Vagamon adventure park: 6375
Panchalimedu: 3366
Idukki Hill View Park: 1210
Munnar Botanical Garden: 4761
Total: 41,617.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.