Kottayam hill stations – Vagamon, Ilaveezhapoonchira and more

Until recently, Kottayam hill stations were overlooked. Vagamon was the only exception. Ilaveezhapoonchira, the land among the clouds, has finally come out of clouds and is fast becoming a well liked tourist spot.

If you are visiting Kumarakom backwaters, one of the best things to do is to combine it with a hill station visit. You could go all the way to Idukki to have a full fledged experience. Or you could cut down on the travel and opt for one or two from the best of Kottayam hill stations.

Idukki visit is great, no doubt about it. If time not permitting, no need to skip hill station visit all together since there are several not yet famous hill stations around Kottayam.

Landscape near Vagamon

Vagamon

Vagamon is one the well known hill stations of Kerala.It is also the most popular of all Kottayam hill stations.

From Kottayam town, take Kumali route to reach Vagamon, located about 60 kms on Idukki border.

Feel free to explore, Vagamon is spread across grassy hills, imposing rocks, meadows, tea gardens and pine forests.

At an altitude of 1100 metres above sea level, the climate is moderate and the air is fresh.

Vagamon is ideal for romantic holidays and sightseeing. If adventure is in the agenda, look no further than Kuttikkanam (24 kms), the regional hub of paragliding. Trekking and rock climbing are popular too.

Vagamon has a spiritual identity which attracts thousands of devotees from the three major faiths.

For Christians, Kurishumala is the place for self reflection and meditation. The Diocese of Neyyattinkara has set up sufficient facilities for year round prayers. Kurishumala Ashram has about 20 monks, who lead a Christian way of life with a blend of Hindu principles.

The place that is special for Hindus is Murugan Mala. The temple for Lord Muruga is carved out of rock.

Thangalpara, the Muslim pilgrimage centre, has the tomb of Sheikh Fariduddin Baba, a Sufi saint from Afghanistan, who settled in Kerala, about 800 years ago.

Vazhikadavu, about 5 kms from Vagamon, is a hill station in its own right. Verdant landscape is decorated by flowers, small waterfalls, brooks and tea gardens. Best time to be there is just after the rains when there is water in the brooks and cascades.

Ilaveezhapoonchira

Ilaveezhapoonchira (also Elaveezha poonchira) is a lovely location of hills and valleys, about 60kms from Kottayam.

A half day picnic is the best fit. Depending on your taste, the visit can be for a couple of hours or even for a day or two.

Tourist Bungalow at the top of the hill has a few rooms. Cut off from the world below, there is no electricity and the facilities are minimal. A candle lit night at 3200 ft height is special; the best part though is the opportunity to view sun rise and sun set from the same spot.

Panoramic view from among the clouds is as good as it should be. Except for the occasional palm on the slopes, there are no trees.

The valley has a lake – Poonchira (means flowery lake). As there are no trees on top, no leaves fall to the lake.

That is what the name Ilaveezha poonchira means. The translation goes as - flowery lake where no leaves fall.

It is the perfect place to trek, ideal if you add the goal of visiting the tribal settlement or the caves on the foot hills.

Rocky Kannadippara is a tall hill with a valley that reflects morning sun quite brilliantly.

Travel 3 kms from there to reach Pazhakakanam, a gem of a land decorated by meadows, woods and Kadapuzha River.

What not to be missed is Kazhukankulimali Waterfalls, still a secret except for locals.

Only jeeps can tackle the steep rocky path to the top of Ilaveezhpoonchira. Park your vehicles at Kanjar and hire a jeep. The distance to the hill top is about 7 kms.

Ayyampara

Do you want to see how beautiful Kerala is? Get to Ayyampara and you will not regret it. As a vantage point, it is unparalleled.

The summit is just a flat rocky hill top surrounded by tall grass. While we get to see nature as it is, there are no facilities for overnight stay.  

A flat rock forms the roof of the local Ayyappa temple. Four strong pillars support it. There is also a cave in the vicinity.

From Erattupetta, take Vagamon road for the next 7 kms. Divert near Teekoy Church to Ayyampara (5 kms).

Alternatively, you can reach Thalanadu and walk up the next 1 km to reach the top of the hill.

Illickal

Located about 52 kms from Kottayam, Illickal is an upcoming tourism destination of three hills - Illickal Mala, Illickal Kallu and Mankallu Mudikal.

Mushroom and hunchback shaped hills, the rare medicinal plant Neelakoduveli and panoramic views are the attractions. There is also the bridge to hell (Narakappalam), half ft wide passage, aptly named.

Illickal may not be for everybody since the trek up the hill is about 3 kms. If you are fit and want some workout, well go ahead. Fresh air, scenic views and total privacy are up for grabs.

Vennimala

Are you looking for a country side cum hillock experience, that too not far from Kottayam town?

Vennimala is in Puthupally, about 15 kms from Kottayam. The hill slopes are dark and green with rubber plantations and plants. Large caves and freshwater ponds are local attractions.

Vennimala is also famous for the temple of Sree Rama and Lakshmana. The yearly temple festival lasts for about 28 days, attended by gatherings of people the entire period.

Although not a real hill station, Vennimala is included among Kottayam hill stations because of the next to hill station experience at a convenient ride from town.

Less known Kottayam hill stations

Maniyamkunnu, Matrumala in Koorappada village, Kurinji Koomban and Koottickal are only known locally. They are not huge locations, rather small hills with lots of serenity and nature’s grace.



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