Also known as the spice garden of Kerala, this hilly district derives its name from the Malayalam word “Idukku” meaning a narrow gorge. Idukki is abundantly blessed with natural beauty. Its picturesque peaks and verdant valleys, sprawling tea plantations and spice gardens make it a land frequented by tourists both domestic and international.
Idukki which lies in the Western Ghats of Kerala, is the second largest district in Kerala in terms of area but has the lowest population density. A major portion of the district is covered in reserve forest, which is a heaven of enchanting wildlife and exotic flora.
Its wild life sanctuaries, hill stations, waterfalls, spice plantation tours, trekking trails, jungle safaris are just some of the many attractions of this beautiful land. Here are some of the best places to visit in Idukki.
Talk about Idukki and not mention Munnar? Not possible!
Munnar is not an unfamiliar name to any traveller. If you love the cool and crisp air of the mountains, the winding roads amidst tea plantations, the breath-taking beauty of sunsetting against the backdrop of beautiful still lakes, Munnar is a place you cannot afford to miss. Here is an article about most popular tourist places in Munnar
Situated 1,600 meters above sea level this popular hill station was once the summer resort of the British government. Though the Munnar town is busy and clogged during the peak seasons wander a few kilometres away and you will be engulfed in sparkling emerald greens of the tea gardens spread over the undulating hills, everywhere you look.
Eravikulam national park, Chinnakanal, tea museum, top station, anamudi etc are just some of its many attractions. If there is one hill station in Kerala that you cannot miss, then it’s Munnar. There is something in the air that takes away all the stress of our busy lives and you will definitely be back for more.
Idukki Arch Dam
A double curvature arch dam constructed across the Periyar River, Idukki arch dam was opened in the year 1973. The dam is built across a narrow gorge between two granite hills called Kuravan and Kurathi hills.
This magnificent parabolic structure is the world’s second and Asia’s first arch dam. This dam was constructed along with two other dams at Cheruthoni and Kulamavu and together they form an artificial lake with of 64-kilometre square area. The stored water is used to produce electricity at the Moolamattom Power house which is a major source of energy for the state.
The Idukki wildlife sanctuary is located nearby which has a wide veriety of flora and fauna including sambar and elephants. The best time to visist the dam is during November to May.
A small hamlet in the district of Idukki, Ramakkalmedu is a hill station at an altitude of 981 meters above sea level. Located about 15 km from Nedumkandam on the Munnar-Thekkady route, Ramakkalmedu is known for its panoramic views and numerous windmills. At a height of 1,100 meters above sea level, it is unique due to the constant wind here. Wind blows at a speed of 35 kilometre per hour throughout the year. Hence Ramakkalmedu is the second place in Kerala where wind energy farm is installed. You can find around seven wind farm units here. The sight of the massive wind mills is very exciting to the visitors.
According to legends Ramakkalmedu got its name because of the belief that Lord Rama set his foot here during his search for Devi Sita. Rama- Kal- Medu literally means place where Rama set his foot.
Ramakkalmedu is also famous for the statues of Kuravan and Kurathi. The statue by C.B Jinan was erected on the top of the hill in the year 2005. The statue depicts two historical characters behind the construction of the Idukki Dam. This spot provides a panoramic view of Tamil Nadu villages and towns, including Cumbum, Theni, Kombe, Thevaram, Uthamapalayam, Bodinaykannor and Vaiga. The sunset view from here is striking and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Located at a distance of 18 kilometres from Thodupuzha, Thommankuthu is a very scenic waterfall in the district of Idukki. There are different stories to how these falls got the name “ Thommankuthu”. It is believed that it is named after a tribal leader who died at these falls. Some also believe it is named after a famous hunter Thommachan Kuruvinakunnel.
Thommankuthu waterfall is a seven – step waterfall located amidst the forest. A beautiful eco-tourism destination, it has a series of waterfalls. In addition, there are several caves and viewpoints. Tourists can trek through the forest to reach these points. It is a 12-kilometre trek and it attracts nature and adventure lovers alike.
The word Anayirankal is derived from two words “Ana” meaning elephant and “irankal” to come down. The name is in reference to the coming down of elephants from the nearby forest to the banks of the reservoir to drink water. The place also shelters some rare species of seasonal birds and so attracts a large number of bird lovers. The tea plantations surrounding the place gives it unparalleled charm which is rare to find.
Situated merely at 22 kilometres from Munnar, Anayirankal has now attained the status of a must visit destination near Munnar. Tourists can indulge in the boating activity organised here by the Kerala Hydel Tourism Centre (KHTC). If lucky, you will get a glimpse of elephant herds and other wild animals on its banks.
Thekkady is located near to Kerala-Tamilnadu border and is the location of the Periyar National Park, which is an important tourist attraction in the district. There is boating facility at Thekkady where the boat will take you around the Wildlife Sanctuary through the Periyar Lake. The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
Spread across 777 km2 these evergreen forests were declared a Tiger reserve in 1978. The greatest attractions of Periyar are the herds of wild elephants, deer and bison that come down to drink in the lake. Tourists can access the sanctuary by trekking, boating or jeep safari. Thekkady is a prominent tourist location in the district and its mesmerising natural beauty and enchanting forests attracts a large number of tourists every year.
Situated 7,900 ft above sea level, Kolukkumalai is technically part of Tamil Nadu but is approached from Suryanelli, near Munnar. It is a small village, 32 kilometres away from Munnar town. It is the highest tea plantations in the world. The altitude adds to the freshness and taste of the tea produced and processed here.
The bumpy ride up the hill is worth it. The sunrise here is breath taking and indescribable. You can watch white blankets of clouds gliding beneath your feet. One can also go on a guided tour of the ancient and still functioning tea factory built in 1930’s.