Kakkayam eco-tourism centres reopen after 3-months closure

The eco and the hydel tourism centres were closed on January 20 after a wild gaur attacked tourists. Photo: iStock/SIDDHICK KANDIYIL

Kozhikode: Three-and-a-half months after it was closed due to the wild animal attacks in the area, Kakkayam Eco Tourism Centre re-opened on Saturday. Despite the high temperature and the anxiety over animal raids, nearly 200 visited the facility on Day 1, sources said. Kakkayam Forest and Urakkuzhi waterfalls are part of the Kakkayam Eco Tourism Centre, which is located on the Kakkayam Dam site in Koorachuntu panchayat. Riding through the forest road is one of the major attractions for tourists coming to enjoy nature's beauty.

The eco and the hydel tourism centres were closed on January 20 after a wild gaur attacked tourists. Though the boating at the hydel centre was reopened by March 1, another gaur attack that killed a local farmer forced authorities to postpone the re-opening. On March 5, farmer Palattiyil Abraham was fatally attacked by a gaur. This spooked even the local travellers away. Apart from farming, tourism is a major source of income for the villagers. The long closure impacted the businesses adversely and left the 19 tourist guides jobless. Considering the situation of the people dependent on the tourism centres, Balussey MLA Sachin Dev convened a meeting with the forest department, and it was decided to open the centre for visitors.

Weekend getaway
A perfect weekend getaway, Kakkayam used to be filled with tourists who came on short visits. Tourist operators, hotels, jeep and autorickshaw services in Kakkayam town depended on the influx of visitors. “The re-opening of the tourism centres gives us new hope. Earlier on weekends, around 1,000 visitors would come in a day. If it's a holiday weekend, the footfall would reach up to 2,000. We had to close the ticket counter early,” said Salomi Thomas, a tourist guide. “The closure affected our lives, as many of us depend solely on this on the job.”

The ticket prices have been increasing after the re-opening. For adults, tickets cost Rs 50 and Rs 30 for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Tourists can purchase the ticket from Kakkayam Valley, where a beautiful waterfall forms during the rainy season. The 7-km ride through the forests from the ticket counter brings tourists closer to nature. While private vehicles are allowed, tourists can also book jeeps that carry seven passengers each for Rs 250 per rise. You can also decide to travel to the dam site, but you have to take a Rs 30 ticket to see the reservoir.

Other tourist attractions
Apart from the eco-tourism centre, Kariyathumpara, Panchavadi Palam, and the bamboo forest are other attractions situated in Koorachundu panchayat, all within a few kilometres' radius. It is a 50 km ride to the panchayat from Kozhikode on the road via Balussery.

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