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Idukki

Idukki district was formed on January 26, 1972 , from parts of Kottayam and Ernakulam districts. The district is bounded by Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam districts of kerala and Coimbatore, Madurai and Tirunelveli districts of Tamilnadu. 
  
Located at about 2500 ft above sea level, Idukki has extensive reserve forests, rich flora and funa, a number of streams and valleys. Idukki is emerging as one of the popular holiday destination.The district also houses the most important hydro-electric power station in the state. The idukki arch dam connecting two huge hills across the river periyar is the first of its kind in India.
 
This district’s name, ‘Idukki’ is supposed to be derived from the Malayalam word ‘idukku’, which means a narrow gorge. That could well be true, for narrow, steep-sided valleys are not a strange phenomena in this hilly district, flanked by the Western Ghats in the east. 
  
For the people of Kerala, Idukki is always associated with power generation since about 60 per cent of the state’s power needs come from the hydroelectric power station at Moolamattom, the biggest in the state. The famous Idukki arch dam, the first of its kind in India, is built between two huge granite hills across the river Periyar. 
 
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary - Entry : 0600 to 1800 hrs.

Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geo-morphological diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world. 
  
Periyar is easily the best sanctuary in India for observing and photographing elephants at close quarters. On the boat cruise, if you’re lucky, you will spot a herd or two in search of water at the edge of the lake. But for a truly memorable jungle experience, you should stay for a couple of days, preferably in one of the Forest Department’s huts inside the sanctuary.At Thekkady there are opportunities for trekking, elephant rides and boating. This is especially popular as the boat navigates through the branched tops of trees submerged long ago by the man-made lake. Though the sanctuary is open throughout the year (the monsoons can bring a totally different experience), the best season is from September to May.
  
Mullaperyiar dam 
 
Mullaperyiar dam was built by Britsh in 1895. It stands on Peryiar river whose flow orginates from Thekkady.The dam was built mainly for watering the paddy fields of Tamil Nadu perenially drought - prone. Even though the dam is now in Kerala, most of the water in the reservoir is still released to Tamil Nadu and is cause for considerable political tensions between the two states.The dam is 175 feet tall in hight and is 5704 feet long. 
  
Pamba 
 
The river Pamba originates in the mountains of Idukki. With high ranges of altitude varying from 2500 feet to over 5000 feet above sea level, Idukki is the district where forests and wildlife abound. About 1500 sq ft of its area is reserved forest, much of which is home to a variety of flora and fauna. These forests are a source of teak wood, rose wood and sandal wood. They are also home to wildlife like tigers, deer, bisons and monkeys. Streams, valleys and hills combine to make Idukki district an ideal year-round holiday destination.
 
Munnar
 
Munnar, a beautiful, peaceful hill station covered with an unending expanse of tea plantations, is 133 km from Cochin and 148 km from Kottayam. With the altitude ranging from 1600 to 1800 metres above sea level, Munnar boasts the highest peak in South India– Anamudi, 2695 metres high.
  
Peermade
 
The best place to halt enroute is Peermade, 43 km before Thekkady, a fertile land at an altitude of 914 metres. Formerly the summer palace of the Travancore Rajas, this tiny and cool hill station is full of rubber, tea, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations, interspersed with waterfalls and open grasslands. 
 
Kumily
 
This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. It is an important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region is in Kumily. 
 
Murikkady
 
Washed in fresh spice scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations. 
 
Pandikuzhi
 
This picturesque place is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu State border is a popular picnic spot. Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight. 
 
Mangala Devi Temple
 
This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 M above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the other side of the ghats and the vast plains of Tamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden at Thekkady. 
 
Chellarkovil
 
This sleepy little village with its spectacular view of the plains (and cascading waterfalls during the monsoons) is a feast for your eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Kumbam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. 
 
Vandiperiyar 
 
The river Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Gardens have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthurium. 

Vandanmedu
 
This is one of the world's largest auction centres for Cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantaions of Vandanmedu is a pleasent experience.

Pullumedu
 
The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar river, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed from a jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Joythi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer. 
 
Kuttikanam
 
A place for adventure tourism and trekking, or even langourous, tranquil break. This picturesque plantation town washed in the fragrance of cardamom is surrounded by lush-green, gentle hills. 
 
Thrissanku Hills
 
The rolling hills the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this an ideal spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset. 
 
Peeru Hills
 
This idyllic hill station is a favourite haunt of trekkers and picnic teams. The hill is named after Peer Mohammed. the Muslim sufi saint, who spent his last days here. The mausoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the royal family and the residence of the Diwan situated nearby are all worth a visit. 

Grampi
 
Grampi is also known as Parunthupara (eagle rock) because of the panoramic view from its high peaks. Rocky plains, lush hillsides, forests trekking trails and picturesque views lend charm to this destination. The road to Grampi is flanked by unending stretches of cardamom, tea and coffee plantations. 

Pattumala
 
Lofty peaks little streams and ever expanding tea plantations are the attractions of this place. Pattumala (which literally means hill draped in silk) is home to the two most famous tea plantations in Kerala - Harrisions Malayalam and AV Thomas & Co. The Velamkanni Matha Church, built entirely of granite, at the top of the hill is a famous pilgrim centre. The flower garden nearby is a facinating riot of colours of roses, orchids and anthurium. 

Vagamon
 
Grass covered hills, velvet lawns and the cool mountain air make Vagamon a perfect holiday retreat. A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hillside village is haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala is a mark of religious harmony. The dairy farm managed by the Kurisumala monks in worth a visit. 

Eravikulam National Park
 
While at Munnar, a not-to-be missed excursion is the the Eravikulam National Park, at the crest of the Anamala range. It can be reached only by trekking from Rajamalai, 17 km from Munnar. In its 97 sq km area can be found the Nilgiri tahr, and endangered species.
 
Mattupetty
 
At Mattupetty, beyond the dam, is the Indo-Swiss Dairy Farm, worth visiting not just to see prized cows and bulls but to savour the rolling green valleys.
 
Devikulam
 
Another hill station woth visiting, 16 km south-west of Munnar, is Devikulam, which literally means ‘the lake of the Goddess’. According to legend, Sita, the consort of Lord Rama, once had a bath in this lake. 
 
A game reserve comparable, though smaller, to Periyar is the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, just above the Idukki arch dam. This comprises 70 sq km of forest land between the rivers Periyar and Cheruthoni, situated 40 km from Thodupuzha. There is a scenic lake around the sanctuary. The wildlife here is similar to that at Thekkady.
 
Cheruthoni 
 
Cheruthoni is the area around the Idukki and Cherithoni dams, near Painavu, the headquartaers of Idukki district, Situated 3917 feet above sea level, on a clear day one can see certain parts of faraway Cochin. You can reach Cheruthoni only by jeep. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which looks after the dams, rents out boats for the two-hour cruise between Cheruthoni and Kulamavu.
 
Moolamattom
 
If you are interested in seeing the workings of a power house, visit Moolamattam, 40 km from Idukki. The Idukki Hydroelectric Project’s underground power house is located here. You can get permission from the KSEB office to enter the power station.

Idukki Arch Dam
 
This is the world's second and Asia's first arch dam constructed across the Kuravan and Kurathi hills. 550 ft. high and 650 ft. wide, the dam lies close to the Cheruthoni barrage. To its west is the Kulamavu Dam. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located close by.

The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
 
This sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district, spreading over 77 sq. km and is about 450 - 748 m above sea level. The Idukki Reservoir formed by three dams - Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extends to 33 sq km. 
 
Animals:- Elephant, bison, sambar deer, wild dog, jungle cat, tiger, wild boar etc.
 
Snakes:- Cobra, viper, krait and a number of non poisonous snakes
 
Birds:- Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, kingfisher.