Kerala being really close to our home-state Tamil-Nadu, a second road trip to get us used to road trips seemed like a good idea. So off we zoomed again on our motorbike.
The sleeping border-town of Kumily was our first stop. After an almost 530 kilometer of straight roads, hills, roads passing through lush fields the bed in our humble home-stay was the most welcoming sight. The one thing that is striking when you crossover from the Tamil Nadu to Kerala is the parched lands suddenly changing into greenery and lush green meadows and hills. Little did we know this trip was going to be a green-fest like nothing we have ever seen before. The places that we visited the second day of the trip included Parunthumpara (The Eagle rock) and then we sort of got lost trying to find Thrisangu hills and decided we could go visit Panchalimedu instead which is another group of hillocks offering some exquisite sights .
A city-bred person like me squeals even at the slightest hint greenery. I was in my most beautiful dream, my happy place altogether for those four days. The lushness that extends as far as the eye can see is surreal. Parunthumpara got its name for the hill whose shape resembles that of an eagle’s head. The blue of the sky, the purple of the mountains is beautifully offset by the green of the grass and the tree tops. After a light breakfast of some dried fruits and nuts, we lay sprawled on the silky dewy grass for a few minutes tracing the smoke trail left by a jet-plane. The way to the top snakes between tea estates and patches of wild grass and tall trees. There is a beautiful brook that runs through the trail where the locals bathing and washing their clothes in the chilly water made me feel a little. The cold mountain air dulled our senses, something we hadn’t felt in a long time. Only a cup of the renowned Kerala ‘Chaaya’ (tea) would bring our senses back. We could feel our fingers again after sipping on the piping hot tea.
Next on our list was the Thrisangu hills. We drove in circles for about an hour, kept asking locals but none could point us in the right direction. Eventually we decided to visit Panchalimedu instead, which was our back-up plan if things did not go as planned. A decision we so don’t regret. Another stunning bunch of hills with some awe-inspiring vantage points. Sometimes, I find we do not pay attention to the little details in our lives. But when you are plucked out of your mundane everyday life and thrown into nature’s lap, You simple cannot miss the teeny tiny details. That is what made this day such an eventful one for me. The wild flowers and grass swaying in the gentle breeze, the light drizzle, sunlight glinting off the mountain peaks, the fog slowly but surely unravelling the mysteries that lay in the deep dark valleys. A sight forever etched on to my memory. Also since Panchalimedu is fairly easy to get to from Kumily it is definitely among the must visit places (have to admit, it did not initially make our list).
We returned early to our room, since we wanted to get some rest before setting off on the second leg of the trip, Allepey. But before that we decided to visit the famous Vagamon pine forests and the rolling hills. Now the Vagamon hills themselves were a bit of a disappointment for us because the Admin center doesn’t have any place (something like a cloak room or lockers) to keep our belongings; we couldn’t leave our huge saddle bags on the bike itself, so we decided to leave and instead visit the pine forest. But the roads that we traversed to get to Vagamon was just ethereal. Since we started very early the tender hues of the sun cloaked vast stretches of the meadows, hills, tea estates that you encounter in between in its golden canopy . It simply looked like a scene out of one of the Lord of the Rings’ movies. The Vagamon pine forest was beautiful filled with the famed huge pine trees slathered with moss on their trunks and their roots themselves fashioned into steps. Took a few pictures and went to see a nearby group of smalls hills similar to Vagamon but only we could ride on our bikes to get to the hills. The rolling meadows with their velvet grass and wild flowers are a sight to behold. No wonder Kerala is called God’s own country’.
The journey will continue.
P.S : Currently Kerala is reeling under the massive devastation caused by the seasonal monsoon rains. All 14 districts are under water. Hoping and praying it gets on its feet again.