Idukki - The Eco Village In The Western Ghats:- Idukki is one of the 14 districts of Kerala state, India, which lies in the Western Ghats of Kerala surrounded by mountains. With remains of Chera dynasty, Vembolinad Kingdom, and European plantations in the later years, this rugged hill resort is best known for its wildlife sanctuaries, beautiful bungalows, tea factories, rubber plantations and forests.
Idukki's speciality lies in its arch dam which is the largest in the country, and the Anamudi, which is the highest peak in India, south of the Himalayas. The arch dam built across the Kuravan Kurathi mountain is incredible and beyond description. Attached to this dam of 650 feet length and 550 feet height, two other dams are also there in Kulmavu and Cherunthony. This beautiful high range district of Kerala is geographically known for its rugged hills and dense forests.
The district headquarters of Idukki is located at Kuyilimala in Painavu. A land-locked district, Idukki is one of the most nature rich areas of Kerala. It is one of the districts in the state which has some wildlife sanctuaries and offers abundant scope for promotion of eco-tourism.
- Best Time To Visit
Rich in scenic beauty, Idukki is a year-round tourist destination. The township of Idukki has a variable climate when one travels from west to east side of the district. The western part meets with the moderate type of climatic conditions, while the eastern faces cool climate. The town receives heavy rainfall from the Southwest and Northwest monsoons respectively.
The summers in Idukkiare moderately warm and the winters are mild, pleasant to chilly. Monsoons in Idukki should be avoided because it receives very heavy rainfall from June till September.
- Summer (March-May) - Idukki experiences a mild to hot summer from March to May. Tourists can enjoy trekking trips through Kulamavu - Dam site and viewpoint, Picnic at Nadukani with friends and family during this period of Summers to enjoy the lush greenery around Idukki.
- Monsoon (June-September) - The monsoon season in Idukki starts from the month of June and lasts till September. The western area receives heavy rainfall during this time as compared to the eastern region of the Idukki Township.
- Winter (November-February) - Winters in Idukki variates from eastern to western region of the district. The west witnesses pleasant and mild winters with minimum seasonal variations, while the east meets with a temperature drop of 15 to -1 degrees Celsius. The eastern region of Idukki is hence is chillier than the western area of the township.
- How To Reach
Idukki is best reached by the excellent road network the State Board has to offer to its tourists. KSRTC, as well as Private run buses, operate on the routes of this district embarked on the western ghats of Kerela. The nearest railway station is in Kottayam tucked 114 km away from the district. The closest airport is in Cochin which is about 98 km away. Taxis and buses are easily available from Cochin to Idukki.
- How to Reach Idukki by Flight
Cochin International Airport is the nearest Airport located at a distance of around 98 km away from Idukki. The local carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spicejet, Vistara, and others have direct flights available from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai. On reaching the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Idukki, which will take you around 3 hours to reach your destination.
Nearest Airport: Kochi - 99 kms from Idukki
- How to Reach Idukki by Road
Idukki is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular buses. Alternatively, one can also drive to Idukki from nearby cities like Kottayam, Kochi, Kollam, Kattappana, Kumily, Moolamattam, Munnar, and Thodupuzha. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation operates eight units of bus services on all these routes to Idukki. The road network is excellent with the quaint lush green landscape around.
- How to Reach Idukki by Train
The nearest railway station is Theni, 83 km away from the city centre of the quaint district of Idukki. This is well connected with a rich rail network to most of the major cities in India like Kodaikanal, Palani, Chennai, Banglore, etc.
- Commuting Within Idukki
It is advisable to hire a cab or a car rental if you do not know the language. Otherwise, driving or buses are some of the best ways to cover the region.
- Top Places To Visit In Idukki
1) Hill View Park
With spectacular views of the Cheruthoni and Idukki Dams, the Hill-view Park serves as a famous tourist destination of Idukki. One can also spot diverse wildlife in its belt natural habitat.
One of the most beautiful places in India, Gavi is a small village tucked between tea estates and wide and dense forests. Gavi is situated some 14 km away from the famed Periyar Tiger Reserve and is heaven on Earth, quite literally. This ambitious eco-tourism project of the Kerala Forest Development Corporation, Gavi has caught the eye of the world for its excellent model and use of local people for conservation and tourism.
- Best time to visit Gavi
The best time to visit the village is from October till February as the weather is pleasant with temperatures in day time hovering around 28 degrees and 20 degrees during night time. Casual clothing, cotton clothes with may be a jumper should be enough to protect you.
How to Reach Gavi
- Air: Nearest Airport is at Trivandrum (250km) and Madurai (195km).
- Rail: Nearest Rail head is at Kottayam from where you can get KRTC buses till Gavi check post or hail a cab to the Gavi check post.
- Road: Vandiperiyar is 28 km and Kumily village is 14 km from Gavi. Both these places are well connected to other major destination by KRTC buses.
- Where to Stay
Gavi has its own Jungle Lodge for tourists but one needs to book in advance as they run out of rooms quickly. Other options include tree houses which provide an amazing experience as well as camping in the jungle under Swiss tents. For those with tight budgets Kumily village near Periyar Tiger Reserve would be a nice option with many accommodation options.
- Activities in Gavi
Trekking, Wildlife Watching, Camping and Night Safaris and Canoeing are the activities one can indulge in here.
- The Gavi Experience
A visit to the tea plantation to experience life in these plantation can be a fascinating and enriching experience.
Take a day trip to Gavi, from Kumily. Spend the day trekking, boating and exploring wildlife. Follow it with the Periyar Tiger Reserve the next day.
Do not litter. Carry lunch as the local canteen is pretty expensive.
- Open Time: Day time
3) Idukki Arch Dam
Built across the Kuravan and Kurathi hills at a height of about 550 feet, the Idukki Arch Dam is an architectural genius, for the rugged terrain along which it is built. The natural beauty surrounding the dam is breath-taking.
This stopover to Idukki and Cheruthoni Dam is a shopper's paradise. The place is famous for its local handicrafts, silk and beautiful local clothes.
5) Kulamavu Dam
If you are a hiking or trekking junkie, Kulamavu is a hill-station that offers the perfect terrain for an adrenaline kick. With some amazing trekking trails, the place is also adorned with equally enchanting surroundings.
6) Thommankuthu Falls
17 km off Thodupuzha lays this captivating Thommankuthu Falls, which is a seven step waterfall cascading down to form a pool. The location is best suited for trekking and rock climbing. Besides, facilities for many other activities such as boating, horse riding and fishing are also available.