A bike trip to Idamalayar, Bhoothathankettu Dam and Ayyappanmudi
Though it is a non working Saturday as I have a bigger event coming on Sunday the plan to go home was postponed and that means I have a Saturday to spend at Cochin. Obviously I didn’t wanted to spend it doing nothing at the same time I didnt want to do something to stretch my legs also. I was looking back to the ‘’to do list” and after a short while I finalized to go for a drive to Idamalayar Dam route. Though I knew that the Dam site is closed for visitors now I wanted to go for a ride in that route as some recently heard comments were so tempting on the beauty of the route. A recent visit to Saji Leones (from Meesapulimala trekking) also ended up in the same discussion. He also said it is a beautiful road and indeed it is.
So without any plans and preparation I woke up to the morning of Saturday, had my rituals, took my camera and bag and started the bike. I started by 8 am. The road till Thripoonithura was terribly crowded and I could cover very short distance in the first 45 minutes. After entering the SH from Thiruvankulam it was somewhat OK. I was not even sure about the route but had a vague idea on main deviations. It was a sunny day and I rode very slow enjoying the ride thoroughly. I seldom had a list of things to do back home or a couple hundred kms to cover. So there was no point in rushing.
Reaching Moovattupuzha I thought of having breakfast but later decided against it. I remembered the auto guy at Kothamangalam High range junction directing me to an Uduppi restaurant in my last trip to Thattekad bird sanctuary. But that day I had a disappointment as I knocked the doors of the restaurant way too early. May be things we didn’t get doesn’t fades away that fast. Don’t know how it came to my mind all of a sudden that too I remembering a restaurant seemed to be strange as I visit restaurants at least thrice a day and get terribly disappointed by either food or service or something else. (Some side effects of bachelor life . Had my breakfast and started again. Two km after riding in that road to Keerampara I saw a direction broad pointing to a by road to the right side with name Ayyappanmudi. The name was very much familiar and I tried to recollect the place. Had to put my brain to search mode for some time but I could hardly recollect any. All I could gather from my unconscious was that it is a rocky hill with an Ayyappa temple on top of the hill. I thought of checking it out when I come back if I get time. For the time being project Idamalayar is running :).
From Keerampara we need to take a deviation to left to go to Idamalayar. Right one goes to Thattekad, Kuttambuzha, Urulanthanni, Pooyamkutti etc. The road goes through Boothathankettu Dam. I wanted to stop there but thought of doing so when I come back. Some 2 km after Boothathankettu dam the route was becoming greener after crossing a small check post and in no time I was moving through thick woods. I realized that the delineations heard about this road were not mere exaggerations and they were all true to a certain extend.
The road condition was not that good yet I managed to ride as there was literally no traffic. On the way I saw two people walking along the road I was covering. I just confirmed with them that I am on the right road but they reminded me that I won’t be able to go all the way to the Dam sight and I will be stopped on the was at the check post just two Km before that. I was prepared to take that loss and it fell on my deaf years and I continued. They also warned me against the presence of Elephants on the route and to be careful. I remember that the only building I have seen after stopping with them was a forest check post. Moved forward and I came to a small junction. I don’t know whether it could be called as a junction as it possessed no characteristics of one. If someone lay down with a mattress on the main road in that place also he will be safe for at least a couple of hours or a day may be. The road was such less trodden. The right deviation goes to Vadattupara and left one to Idamalayar. Apparently I had to take the left one and soon after getting into that road I came to know that I am moving deep into the jungle.
Lot of birds was propping around the trees and I rode very slow enjoying the green cover. I took and extra care in the curves expecting an elephant to block my way which in fact never happened. I could see some distant hills on one side of the road when it was clear some times. It is almost 12 kms from the deviation I took some times back to Idamalayar. So if I go as per the info passed by those people who I met it should be roughly 10 km to the check post were I am supposed to be blocked by the officials. Moving inside was becoming a scary thing as it was very evident that elephants where roaming around from their fresh dung scattered all over the place. Some of them seemed very fresh and heart started beating a little fast. At every turn I promised myself that I will turn back at the next one but continued till the end.
At last I reached the check post which was closed and there was a watchmen standing staring at me. Without me asking anything he said I am not permitted to enter. I initiated a small conversation with him to season him and it worked. He was ready to talk and he gave me info on how, When, Where to take permission for entering the Dam and all. But he was not mellowed to the level of allowing me to proceed. Somewhere down the line I had a small hope than he may allow me. Disappointed. May be some other time. Bidding bye to him I turned back I covered the whole stretch of 10 kms without much stops except for some clicks which I couldn’t deny myself stopping.
I had a stop at Boothathankettu Dam after 1 hour or so. Saw a local man trying fishing nets in the reservoir. I watched him for a while. His three tries went disappointing and he left to try at some other places. Now a days dam disappoints too many people .
It was only 12 by then and felt it was too early to call it a day. Ayyappanmudi came back to mind and decided to take a small detour to Ayyappanmudi on the way back. The direction was very much visible to Ayyappanmudi and hence I didn’t have to bother anyone on the way. Hardly 3 km after taking the deviation from main road had I reached Ayyappanmudi. Contrary to my expectation it was a very small hill which posed barely a challenge. A mere 10 minute walk through the rock took me to the top. The view from the top was somewhat decent. A small temple which was closed with minimum amenities. I could see a range of hills from the top. Roamed around for a while but couldn’t stay there for long as the sun was right on top of my head and has already started juicing me. After some quick snaps I turned back to reach down the hill. Ayyappanmudi can be taken as a good place to relax for an evening seeing the sunset not any more. But cannot deny the possibilities of exploring the unexplored until I come to this place on a late evening with a setting sun.
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