Idukki Experience: Idukki is a beautiful place with amazing scenery, great climate, great food and friendly people.
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Food here is just like anywhere else in mid-travancore. I usually eat with my family that lives there but, on trips I like eat from 'thattukadas' small tea shops. They have great home-made style food which I can never get enough of. Sight-seeing wise, everywhere you go is an attraction. Pull off on almost any road and your eyes will be properly treated. Shopping wise, all major towns have reputable shops. You still have to bargain for everything though.
Activities & things to do: I'm a driving fanatic and a hiking junkie, so anywhere I go, i find something to do. If there is space for my car, I'll go there, if not, I'll walk. Most memorable drives/visits were to/through Elappara, Peermade, Thopramkudy, Thekkady, and Wagamon.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: I travel mostly by car or bus. Any bus will do as long as it goes to your destination. Transfers aren't the easiest things and you can get lost if you aren't familiar with the place or have a language barrier.
Idukki Experience: We had a trip to Gavi on 25th December 2008. If you want to be away from the madding crowd and unwind yourself under the canopy of tropical wet ever green forests, we strongly recommend Gavi in Idukki District in Kerala
In Gavi you can fill your lungs with fresh air which is saturated with the aroma of cardomom, can cool-off in the pristine chilly waters,or simply relax under the forest canopy watching 'Nilgiri langurs' performing acrobatics.Unlike other tourist destinations in India here nobody will stare at you except wild animals and birds. Your cell phone will not wake you up from your trance( there is no mobile coverage). Definitely 'Gavi' will rejuvenate your body and mind
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: 'Green Mansions' run by the Kerala Forest Development Corporation Ltd with three rooms is the only lodge available.Food and accomodation is good as we cannot expect' star' facilities in a tiger reserve. Also there is no scope for shopping in a tiger reserve
Activities & things to do: Gavi is a part of Periyar Tiger Reserve and different types of packages are offered by the Kerala Forest Development Corporation.
1. Over night package.
Stay at Green Mansion, the forest lodge,trekking, boating, jungle safari..etc.
Tariff: Rs-1750/ person / day. Children below 10 years are exempeted.
2.Over night stay.' jungle camps'
Stay in class-tents deep inside the forest,boating, trekking....etc
Service of trained forest guides are available. We stongly recommend Mr. Vijay Kumar(Vijay) who knows the every nook and cranny of the place.
Animals your expected to see:
Elephants,Gaur, sambar deer, Nilgiri langur, lion tailed macaque, reptiles..etc .Tiger sightings are reported during jungle camping
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Entry to Gavi is highly restricted as it is a part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. Any unauthorised traveller will be turned away at 'Vallakadavu', the first forest check post. Prior permission from the forest department is requied to enter Gavi
Gavi is in Idukki district in Kerala . It is 28kms south- west of Vandiperiyar a town on N.H 220, the highway connecting Kollam and Madurai. Vandiperiyar is around 100kms away from Kotayam Town and is 14kms from Kumali. A one month advance booking is recommended as the rooms are always in great demand.
Tourist Facilitation Centre,
Holiday Home Complex
Kumily, Idukki District Kerala
Tele phone-04869 223270
Mobile phone - 94461 12034( Officer in charge)
The Divisional Manager,
Range officer in charge,
Mobile-9947 492399(between 4pm and 5pm only) .
Always obey forest rules and regulations and the instructions of the trained guides. Here we are the intruders in to the animal world.
Idukki Experience: Idukki district is much more than Munnar and Thekkady. The entire district is full of lush green, dense jungles and plantations, high mountains, grasslands, rivers, lakes and water bodies. From Cochin airport the nearest entry point to Idukki distt. is at Neriamangalam from where the tall rainforests begin. A 2 day halt at Kothamangalam, just 35min drive from the airport will enable you to visit the under rated, excellent Thattekadu Bird Sanctuary whose entrance is in Ernakulam but forest in Idukki district, and it is possible to trek through to the forests of Neriamangalam with a guide for those who are interested. From Neriamangalam to Munnar, the route is entirely forested upto Adimaly at the foothills of Munnar. Munnar is well written about so I wont add more here. From N'mangalam you can also take the road along the Lower Periyar catchment along the river with dense jungles on both sides interspersed with plantations and very little traffic. Seasonal waterfalls add to the scene. Pretty birds and huge butterflies flit about the entire route. This road goes to Cheruthoni where you can enjoy a tasty Kerala meal at any small restaurant. You can also see the Cheruthoni dam and proceed to Idukky passing the famous Idukki Arch Dam, open to the public only at Onam time. The road goes on to the picturesque spice plantations of Kattapana, Vandanmedu, Puliyanmala, Annakara and then to Kumily [Periyar Tiger Reserve]. Chellarkovil near Annakara is also a picturesque place to spend some time with its spectacular views of the plains and mountains of neighbouring Tamil Nadu. The Maraiyoor Chinnar area, closer to Munnar is also an excellent but under rated place to explore.
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Excellent tasty veg and non veg Kerala cuisine is available at every small restaurant at exceedingly low prices, fresh, hot, and much better than what is offered at resort hotels. Shopping: Spices and masala, aromatic soaps - try unusual vanilla fragrance soap, good quality leaf tea - Kolukkumalai BOP is the best, strawberry jam, beautiful thick coir baskets or different rubber baskets made from old truck tyres, Kerala mixture etc. Sightseeing: Periyar Sanctuary activities, Prehistoric Dolmens [Muniyaras] at Kovilkadavu nr Marayoor, Spice plantations - Valley View at Chellarkovil was the best, Chinnar WLS with guided trek to Thoovanam falls, Munnar and all its famous falls and sights, Tea estates, Pambadum Shola reserve forest at Top Station etc. Avoid the over rated boring Tea Museum.
Activities & things to do: Great for light trekking with guide [compulsory] in lesser known places such as the Pambadum Shola rainforest, entry point at Top Station. Also at Chinnar WLS. The Muniyaras at Marayoor are also worth a visit. The Annakara region near Kumily is very picturesque and charming, Valley View spice plantations at the edge of the cliff offers spectacular views at a very cheap cost. Just walking along the plantations at Vandanmedu and Puliyanmala is also most rewarding. Apart from the usual Munnar area sights.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Hire a private taxi with driver for the entire trip, it is worth it as you will always have transport when you require. Convenient airports are Nedumbassery at Cochin, Coimbatore and Madurai. Angamaly or Aluva nearest rail heads from the Cochin side. Very safe area so just the usual precautions required. Everyone in Kerala is aware of the benefits of tourism so they are all very courteous and friendly to visitors.
Idukki Experience: As the title says, never complain if you are out of range and not reachable - coz that I believe is the best way to get closely in touch with mother nature. A typical hill station thats quite easy to get to, with loads of options of varying tourist groups, activities to keep you engaged for almost a week - thats just a little that Vaagamon can offer for you. If you've decided to get here with your friends or family, you could just go on enjoying their company for ever with nothing else to disturb... probably a good place for honeymooners with a low budget too!
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: The place has a lot of options for sight seeing - Pine Forests, Suicide Points (an attraction at almost all destinations that are probably higher than a 3 storey apartment!), Bald Hills (a place for you to have a go at your adrenaline rush with your cars or bikes) and loads of private lakes where you could do rowing, boating etc...
Activities & things to do: The best way to go about this would be to hire a guide who can drive... Most of these people have their own Mahindra jeeps and is a great vehicle to do some cool sight seeing. We did some very cool drives on the hills around here, and had absolute fun, especially with the kids in the family.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Vaagamon is in Kerala... So get to Cochin by flight, bus or train and hire a cab to take you to Vaagamon via kottayam.
In case you are driving yourself, the best vehicle to take you there is a Scorpio, Tavera or one of the 4X4s... I went in with my Baleno (a car well known for low ground clearance) and actually did not face too much of troubles...
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