Trip to Illikkal Kallu
Followed by a marriage I have to stay back at Kottayam with my parents in law for a week end. I was sure that it would be a boring week end as there is nothing much to do there. Somehow I managed to drag the Friday evening and Saturday first half. Then it was difficult to hang around. I got out with my bike. I had nothing in mind. Started from house with a closed route drive plan. But suddenly Illikkal kallu came to my mind. I have been seeing lot of articles about Illikkal kallu in FB groups nowadays. Illikkal kallu has been developed as a tourist location recently and lot of travellers come to this place. I have been to Illikkal kallu once in 2011 March with the help of an old friend Sumod who was a resident of Teekoy Village. But sorry to realize that I have lost contact of him somewhere in between. I first saw Illikkal Kallu In a Bike trip to Vagamon Via Kanjar in 2011. It was a long distant view and the peculiar structure of the stone seemed interesting to me. But I didn’t knew that it is really accessible. Later on I got introduced to Sumod in another journey and he was the one who introduced me to the scary world of Illikkal kallu . Illikkal kallu is Locally also known as kolliyaan para and Satan Kallu. (Kolliyaan means Lightning and Satan means Evil) There was no road access to this place then. It was all wild and we had to move inside some plantations first and then into some forest and finally we reach the base of Illikkal kallu from the eastern slopes of the mountain. It was worth trekking for a day then. Now it is easily accessible by road.
I started from Kuravilangadu by 2 pm and drove to Illikkal Kallu via Pala > Erattupetta > Teekoy > Adukkam > Meladukkam > and Illikkal Kallu finally. The ride was pleasant in the beginning and become troublesome when I reached Erattupetta as it started raining. From Erattupetta we need to take a deviation to the Vagamon road and the deviation to Illikkal kallu had to be taken from Teekoy. On the way from Erattupetta to Teekoy It started raining and I had to stop near a shop so as not to get drenched completely. The shop man asked where I am going and when I said Illikkal Kallu he said it is not wise to go there when it is raining. This place is notorious for lightning accidents. I become confused and a bit worried. I was in a dilemma whether to continue or to go back. It was still drizzling and to make things worse I didn’t took my rain coat either. Against all odds I decided to pay a visit to Illikkal Kallu. In sometime the rain subsided and I started again.
Adukkam and Meladukkam are very small villages. Road condition from Teekoy to Meladukkam is not that good. From Meladukkam there is a clear road to the very top of Illikkal Kallu. The view of Illikkal Kallu from Meladukkam is a different experience. We would even wonder whether we could actually get there. The new road is in good condition and is adventurous. There was no one on the road and I even thought that I would be the only person up there. In 15 minutes we can reach the base of the mountain just to see a bunch of cars and bikes parked and people and plastic scattered all around. I mourned for the wild beauty of the place before 4 years. The tarred road actually ends there. From this point we need to park the vehicle and climb up the hill to reach on top. Then we have to climb down and cross the notorious ridge called “Narakapalam”, “Devil’s bridge” when translated. The devils bridge is actually a small ridge connecting the hill top and Illikkal kallu. Both the sides are comparatively deep gorges. The “Devils Bridge” is hardly one and a half feet wide with a small trail in the middle and grass foliage at both sides. I remember when I visited 4 years back there was heavy wind when I was crossing the ridge and it was too scary a thing to do at that time.
I reached the base of Illikkal kallu and visited the cave inside. As it was raining the climate was chill mist was there. I couldn’t get good pictures due to the mist and as the weather was cloudy I didn’t venture to get on top of the rock for safety issues (lighting). Spent some time at the base of the rock and started returning back. There were many visitors coming down the hill by this time and Illikkal kallu was completely getting immersed in the fog. Some adrenalin rushed guys even tried to get on top of the rock to take pictures and were doing crazy things ignoring the safety part. I gently warned them and left the place. It is advisable not to try to get on top of the rock on cloudy/rainy days. Those adventure junkies who want to get on top may visit in the first half of the day as it would be clearer then. Please keep in mind @ 6000 feet wind may cause trouble to you and the space on top of the rock is surprisingly small (came to know from a former visitor who went on top) that we would trouble to keep our grip over the rock.
The return trip was really horrible. As soon as I started from Illikkal kallu it started raining. First it was just a drizzling. But the entire place was completely covered in mist in a few minutes. The road was not visible for atleast 10 mtrs. Somehow managed to reach Meladukkam. But by then the rain has come to optimum pressure and I could hardly see anything. Meladukkam to Erattupetta there is no street lights. Though it is there it would serve the least in such heavy rain. Somehow managed to reach Erattupetta and rode back to home. I was completely drenched by the time I reached home and people were mocking at me and I entertained them acting funny. Deep inside I was completely satisfied with a 120 km ride. A small trek and added one more beautiful place to my kitty.