Nestled 4200 feet above sea level in the Western Ghats, Malamanda emerges as a mountain campground surrounded by lush grasslands and shola vegetation. This vantage point provides a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding valleys.
A journey from Kottayam, known for its tranquil outskirts, showcases numerous serene locations like Naalumanikkaattu, Kattapana, Mundakayam, etc.
Named after the gentle 4 o'clock breeze that blesses the area, Naalumanikkaattu has become an easily accessible gathering place for the town people seeking moments of tranquillity.
On the Kattappana road from Kottayam falls the Pullikal Junction, a key intersection on the journey. The road gracefully veers left and thus begins the journey through plantations.
Mundakayam is celebrated as the land of rubber, coffee, pepper, and cocoa. The rubber plantations that are spread across India trace their origins to this humble town, introduced by J J Murphy around 1910. The name 'Mundakayam' is believed to be inspired by the Mundi cranes that once frequented the Manimala River banks.
A verdant canopy of trees envelopes the road from there to the camp area, crafting an enchanting ambience reminiscent of a magical forest pathway.
The winding and climbing road passes by Kodikuthy Viewpoint, where the valley and mountain unite, and the Valanjanganam Waterfall. Its cascading beauty is enchanting during the monsoon season.
Next is the sleepy township of Kuttikkanam which is also the base camp of the Malamanda campsite. Vehicles that are not suitable for off-road drives have to be left there. Off-road vehicles of the camp operator will take visitors to the campsite.
Anticipation soars as we reach Kuttikkanam, the starting point of a true adventure. The off-road expedition lasts at least an hour, navigating challenging terrains towards our ultimate destination – Malamanda.
The initial stretch appears as an ordinary untarred path. The path changes its demeanour soon to rocky terrains making the distinction evident. This track to the campground ranks among Kerala's toughest off-road trails, promising an unparalleled adventure. The natural beauty, shrouded in mist, would transport travellers to a magical realm.
The campsite is well-designed and boasts sturdy sheds capable of sheltering tents and essential facilities in case of rain. Rows of tents await travellers, each offering a unique experience. A warm welcome, complete with hot black tea and snacks, adds to the ambience.
The camp also provides equipment for singing and fun. The food and services are delightful.
This extraordinary trip blends adventure and tranquillity, leaving an indelible mark on every traveller's heart. I sincerely encourage you to seize the opportunity to explore this remarkable destination.