Ilaveezhapoonchira, A Hidden Destination Accessible from Kumarakom Backwaters

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Ever thought the world's renowned destination for backwaters can also host some of the breathtaking peaks of India? One of the most sought after hill stations in south India, Munnar, is usually loaded with tourists and often considered as an overexploited destination. The second best option known among the tourists to this sound Indian state is probably Waynad, which is quite far from the gem of Kerala, Kumarakom backwaters. While Kuttikkanam is one of the best options available for tourists, a hidden destination closer to Kumarakom Backwaters is Ilaveezhapoonchira.

Having your next holiday plans set on Kerala? Shuffle your feet and loosen up your muscles. There are a lot more to discover about this coastal land than just the beaches and backwaters. Ilaveezhapoonchira is one among the least explored hilltop destinations of Kerala. A view that spread over thousands of acres beneath the peaks of Ilaveezhapoonchira and Illikkalkallu can arrest any traveler’s mind. I was captured by the very first sight of the snaps taken by a friend at Ilaveezhapoonchira and his irresistible narrations about the lush green valley.

A Ride to Ilaveezhapoonchira

After almost 6 months of his visit, on a Friday, we clench our desire to conquer the vertices. Our journey did not include Kumarakom Backwaters but started off from Kochi, on my Royal Enfield classic 350, through the curvy roads of Kerala. A suspension bridge wrapped under the grip of fog attracted us on the way. Daily commuters and a few tourists were already swinging on the hanging bridge over the running waters of Moovattupuzha River. With Kay, I joined the others on the wobbling bridge that revealed an exotic view of the village. The freshness of air and the chirping birds did not stop the golden rays from the rising sun.

Kay during our ride through the rough roads of Ilaveezhapoonchira

Photo of Kochi, Kerala, India by E Jey

Our trip ahead was through the rubber plantations and unexploited villages of Kerala. After almost an hour or slightly above, we heard the instructions from Google Maps and took a sharp turn to start ascending. We were starting to experience the adventure ride through the rough mud roads. Though rough our journey was, calm and joyful our minds were. Red soil, green pastures and blue sky accompanied us all through the trip.

The view of a check dam on our way

Photo of Muvattupuzha, Kerala, India by E Jey

Last nights heavy pour dug spouts on the dirt road and that sponsored extra bumpiness to our ride. At one juncture the bounciness was so troubling that we even thought of discontinuing our trip and return to Kochi. A few local villagers inspired us to continue our ride and explore the beauty of nature hidden on the top of those hills. A few more minutes and we were on a plateau where a small stream was blocked and water was reserved for facing the summers. Playing in water is entertaining, but a signboard strictly prohibited swimming or entering in the water. Understanding the possible dangers of trying our swimming skills in the reservoir, we continued our bumpy ride.

A valley at Illaveezhapoonchira

Photo of Ilaveezhapoonchira, Kottayam, Kerala, India by E Jey

After the plateau we continued ascending until we reached on the top of a hill which was the highest in that region. The view was spectacular and the weather was charming. Though a light drizzling worried us, the Gods of clouds did not lash it on us. I clicked a few pictures but Kay was excited that she had no words to express. The sight of a river that made its path through the valleys of hill ravished our senses. A waterbody that we spotted from the hilltop has its stories rooted from the ages of Mahabharata. A local woman who grazed her goats narrated the story.

A river running through the valley of Ilaveezhapoonchira

Photo of Ilaveezhapoonchira, Kottayam, Kerala, India by E Jey

Stories attached to Ilaveezhapoonchira

Long ago, during the time of Pandavas’ exile, they happened to visit this place. Draupati, the beautiful wife of Pandavas, fell in love with the nature and she enjoyed bathing in the lake. The beauty of Draupati could even trick the Devas (the Gods). Learning their insane act of enjoying her beauty during her bath in the lake, Lord Indra (the King of Devas) was vexed. A raged Indra then built a barricade with hills around the lake to hide her beauty from the Gods.

However, I was not convinced by the name given to this place - Ilaveezhapoonchira - which means ‘the Valley where leaves don’t fall’. She had explanation for that too. Many centuries back, probably during the time of Pandavas, the valley was dry and barren. The absence of trees and leaves in the valley offered it the name Ilaveezhapoonchira.

Expect mud roads

Photo of Ilaveezhapoonchira, Kottayam, Kerala, India by E Jey

Riders’ Tips

Distance from major tourist attractions

- Kochi to Ilaveezhapoonchira: 81km

- Kottayam to Ilaveezhapoonchira: 58km

- Kumarakom to Ilaveezhapoonchira: 73km

The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport at a distance of 72 kilometers while the nearest railway station is Kottayam. There are roads connecting major cities and towns to this exotic destination. You can hire a cab to travel or even take public transport facilities including buses to reach nearby places.

Trekking is one of the most loved things to do here. You can contact some of the local hotels to get more details on this.

Points of interest

- Ilaveezhapoonchira view point

- Illikkal Kallu view point (another picturesque hilltop at a distance of 13 kilometers from Ilaveezhapoonchira)

- Mechal waterfalls at 5 kilometers

- Wagamon hills at 30 kilometers. Wagamon is a beautiful hillstation in Kerala which can compete with Waynad and Munnar. Pine forests, tea gardens, and lush green valleys of Wagamon hills are popular among the local travelers.

Best time to ride

Ilaveezhapoonchira is an all-year destination for tourists. Riding to Ilaveezhapoonchira during monsoon can be a troublesome affair, if you are not intended to have an adventure trip. A lux travel may note that the peak summer in Kerala is extreme with humidity and precipitation. If you are not comfortable with these conditions, you may avoid summer too. Kerala has monsoon from June until August while summer from March until April.

Where to Stay

Tourism Development Corporation runs a guesthouse at Ilaveezhapoonchira and there are several good hotels and resorts in and around Illikkal Kallu. You may enjoy riding through Ilaveezhapoonchira, mechal waterfalls, and Illikkal Kallu while taking an accommodation at some of the comfy hotels or resorts at Wagamon. Wagamon has hotels of all budgets for tourists.

This article is written by E. Jey, a travel blogger from India. He is the founder of Jaunt Monkey blog and Jaunt Monkey YouTube channel.

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