Elappara is a picturesque small hamlet tucked away in the valley of the Annan Thambi hills, which are replete with flavourful cardamom plants. Elappara literally means 'cardamom rock' and the region got its name from thousands of cardamoms that are dotting the rocks of the Annan Thambi hills.
The lush tea plantations, green-topped hill sides, the gushing brooks and invaluable medicinal plants give a different twist to the charm of Elappara in Idukki district. Spices such as cardamom, pepper, cloves and cinnamon, and coffee are mainly cultivated in this village. Everyone will be in awe of the nature-triggered transitions that happen during the Malayalam months of ‘Vrichikam’ (November-December) and ‘Dhanu’ (December-January) in Elappara. One could get an ethereal feeling that the sky has descended on earth during these months. The nip in the air and the soothing sight of misty hills and rays of sunlight seeping through thin ground clouds are purely amazing.
It would also be equally interesting to take a peek into the history to acknowledge the hard work put in by Indians and foreigners in finding and shaping the wonderful Elappara village.
The history of Elappara is intertwined with the past of Peerumedu and Kuttikanam. The present-day Kumily was the capital of the second Chera dynasty. The region, which was part of the Thekkumkur royal family, was taken over by the Poonjar Kingdom. But later when the Travancore kingdom conquered Thekkumkur and Vadakkumkur, both came under its administration in 1756.
People belonging to the Mannan and Urali tribes were the first inhabitants of the eastern hill ranges. Cardamom and pepper were also cultivated in this region and the Arabs and Portuguese took these sought-after spices to the world market. Rev. Henry Baker, who came to Kerala as part of Britain’s missionary work, and his relatives first started coffee cultivation in the state at Elappara. And thereafter this small village started to grow slowly and steadily.
Elappara, which is nearly 1,000m or 3,000ft above sea level, has a pleasant cool climate and expansive tea plantations, and people love to camp at this breathtaking place. The Annan Thambi hill, the jewel of Elappara, is the second highest hill in Kerala. The hills are also symbols of communal harmony as the Annan hill houses a Hindu temple and the Thambi hill a Christian pilgrimage centre.
Many resorts in Elappara provide superlative facilities for Ayurveda and other authentic traditional treatments for domestic and foreign tourists. Travellers who are into mountaineering, trekking, off-road drive and tent pitching would fancy visiting Elappara.