Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kizhukaanam – The Hamlet in Harmony

         It was Sajeevan, a native of Kattappana in Idukki, who proposed Kizhukaanam to us, while we were desperately searching for yet another less crowded destination. A brief description from him, who used to drive a service bus to this destination earlier, was sufficient to incline us with out a second thought. As usual two families – Sunils & mine – set out in my Verito, in the heavily raining morning of 30th April 2012.

         Apart from regular travelers, we had a new member for this exploration – Nandu – who had just turned six months, on his debut adventure. Reached Peerumedu Govt. Guest house by noon, and settled there, deciding to continue with the expedition, next morning. Chose Parunthumpara to spent the evening, but mist stole the show.

      Next morning, drove along Kuttikkaanam - Kattappana road, picked Sajeevan near Kattappana, returned through the same track, took a right deviation at Parappu and another steep climb of about 8 kms, through Upputhara, to reach up to the small junction of Valakode. The track to Kizhukaanam, there after, may not favor a car and thus we got introduced to Babu of Kizhukanam, who is a jeep driver there. After a tasty lunch from ‘Hotel Akshay’ , the small eatery of the junction, boarded the jeep and headed for Kizhukanam 
The tiny town of 'Valakodu'
        The hamlet of Kizhukaanam is surrounded by the woods of Idukki Wild life sanctuary and water storage of Idukki reservoir. The connection to the outer world is through private bus services, from Kattappana, though not that frequent. The earlier inhabitants of the place belong to Oorali and Ulladan tribes, who were relocated while the Idukki dam was constructed. Later, migrants from other parts joined them and now the population is a mixture. Livelihood being agriculture, inhabitants are not that happy on the visit of wild folk – mainly elephants and boars – to their farms. Still, all these years of co existence had taught them how to be in harmony and thus casualties from conflicts are seldom reported.

       The track to Kizhukanam, after the initial stretch, is just a mud road, which proved right, our decision to opt the jeep.  Buses from Kattappana ply four times a day, which is the normal mode of connectivity between Kizhukaanam and the outer world.

           A left deviation, from the main track connecting Valakode and Kizhukaanam, and a steep climb, that only a 4WD can do, for about two kms , through Kollathikaavu, ended at ‘Chokkan’. Though strangely named, the beauty of elevated grass lands, which gently flows down to the dead end of the water storage of the reservoir, may not let one return that soon.

           Left the kids wandering with Sajeevan, and chose a flat rock, to settle down and capture the scenery. Geographically Chockan is southern end of the peninsula, formed in the midst of the reservoir. Babu knew that we may not return, if not reminded and he offered a drive through the inhabited sector.

   Thus we went past Kizhukanam junction, which hosts a ration shop and a small store, and drove up to the tribal school at Kannampadi.

                 The building, beautifully tucked in the valley of towering grass hillocks, would never deter a blooming mind and I would have loved learning, in such premises.

    Continued the drive, along the border lines, separating the hamlet and the woods and I called a break at the grazing fields.

                 The grazing fields of Kizhukaanam, being at the fag end of the reservoir, mesmerize with its thick green cover and kids may hesitate to return, if you let them free. And elders may not be exceptions.

      And after all these, it may not be fair if there isn’t a clean water source for a wash up, or even for a dip. And Kizhukaanam offers that too – Kallattupaara falls.

           Rightly located, just about 100 metres, from the return track, the beauty may go unnoticed, as thick foliage hides it away, from an unaware visitor. After the plunge, the gentle flow crosses the track, and joins the green fields – a view, no camera shall miss.

               The last bus to Kizhukanam, then passed through the woods, and it was time to return, for we had to reach Cheruthoni, before it’s too dark.

      A bus waiting shelter by the way side wore an adorable look and thought of having it here for you

         Had tea at ‘Akshay’, along with a strange snack by name ‘Vadi’, and boarded our vehicle, for the onward journey.

            Being the debut adventure, our young travel mate, Nandu, may not recall these events while he grows up. But I’m sure that he would admire his parents – Sunil & Renchi – for filling his cute little eyes with such amazing wonders of nature, before the filth of our world reflect on it.

    And it wasn't that far. Though light was fading, the ‘kill’ by the wayside, didn't go missed, veiling all the good feelings, so far accrued. 

            Parting Shot........In all sense...

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