Around 50 km from Munnar, Vattavada is a gorgeous extension of the hill station with fewer people and a forest in its backyard. You will have to drive 5km through Pambadam Shola forest to reach this quaint village where you can sit and gaze at the clear skies after hand-picking strawberries at one of the village farms.
How to get there
From Munnar town, drive towards Mattupetty dam and then the same distance forward. Although there are rare buses to this spot, car is the obvious mode of transport. You will have to enter you vehicle details at the forest check post (Pambadum Shola) because the last 5km road runs through a forest. The check post is open from 6 to 5PM and unless you have accommodation arranged they may not let you through late evening.
The Vattavada village itself is surrounded by hills. Farmers are more than eager to help you out with fresh vegetables like carrot and main attraction being strawberries. You can spend an evening here, strolling and walking by the streams.
We stayed in a cosy place called Shola County managed by caretaker Janardhan. It was pretty chilly the time we went - twas during Christmas. The night came to life with camp fire and some barbecuing along with some firecrackers we lit for Christmas.
An alternate option would to stay at the forest camp sites which can be booked from here. It has a good view of the grasslands a prominent spot for animal sightings
For Rs 250/ head, there is a jungle trek offered from 9 am onwards of around 2-3 hours. You can enquire about it at the check-post. It is a simple trek where you can see animals like the Giant Squirrel, Langurs, a variety of birds. You are accompanied by a forest guide in this trek. Elephant sightings are also possible here. In fact we came across a tiger paw mark as well. The forest officers were extremely friendly and helpful.
I have never encountered so many wild buffaloes at such close proximity the way I have in Vattavada. There is spot near the check-post (on the village side) where the buffaloes get together for some kind of a meeting every morning around 6:45 and evening around 5:45 and sightings are pretty awesome.
I would definitely recommend this place if you want to catch a break from your busy daily schedules.
Book your hotels for September / October'18 season when NeelaKurinji flowers are expected to bloom. It's a phenomenon that happens only once in 12 years and these hills are located close to the Vattavada village