Rajakumari (Idukki): Travellers have started arriving at Kolukkumalai again with the authorities allowing entry to the hill after around eight months. It was on March 30 this year that the district administration banned treks to Kolukkumalai considering the COVID-19 situation.
No tourists had visited the hill since then. However, even though the authorities had allowed other tourist spots in Idukki to reopen on November 1, Kolukkumalai continued to remain closed.
A few days ago, the jeep drivers based at Chinnakanal staged a protest in front of the panchayat office demanding resumption of the Kolukkumalai trek. Subsequently, the Devikulam Sub-Collector intervened and issued orders to allow trekking.
Among the first visitors to enjoy the sunrise at Kolukkumalai after the reopening was actress Sandra Thomas and her family.
Strict rules in place
Visitors are being allowed to take part in the Kolukkumalai trek by following strict COVID-19 protocols. The journey includes a 12-km jeep ride from Suryanelli along some difficult paths. Over 100 jeeps conduct service in the area and charge Rs 2,000 for the Kolukkumalai trip.
A maximum of five persons would be allowed in a jeep and no passenger should share the front seat with the driver. Sanitizer is compulsory in the jeep and the tourists too should carry it. Everyone has to wear masks.