The second day of the Idukki trip started with a round table conference munching biscuits and drinking tea, at a place overlooking a vast valley. Blue sky was on view, so were white clouds floating over the greenery. Right when we started our journey for the day, the rain clouds came on view. Infact, this was a story which repeated all through the trip, rain while riding and those occasional dry spells when we got down at some place. The breakfast was also the same on the two days, that typical mouth watering kerala combination of appam and egg curry, the only difference being one was super good and the second one was not that good.
laughter from the heart
With the idukki dam tragedy behind us(open only on onam/christmad), we reached kulamaavu dam, over which the main road passes. The dam was covered in mist, with only the starting point visible from a distance. As I got down to click with the car parked on top of the dam, I heard the whistle blowing from behind. It seems you are not supposed to get down on top of the dam and the guards were getting ready to prosecute us. We sped on and the next hour was spent looking for a kallu shaap(toddy shop) which serves (SLURP!!!) kappa(tapioca) and beef(yea, take that you anti-beef idiots!). As our luck would have it, either we stopped at a toddy shop with no food or a hotel with no toddy. On a downhill path, one of us spotted a toddy shop board. Sudden break, reverse. The shop owner came outside and began guiding us to the 'parking lot'- "aaa poratte, porattee...(come on, come on)". Slowly we parked, opened our doors, took a look at the shop, closed the doors and left without a word. The look on the face of the shop owner and the drinkers inside was priceless. The reason for leaving? Nothing! :P Another feature of the winding roads was the jewellery and textile shop ADs placed right at the hairpin bend. Some of them were indeed good enough to stop one's breath, like the one featuring malayalam actress Bhavana in an yet unseen poses![winks] And then there was this jewellery called "kandirikkal jewellers"[roughly translated as 'sit and watch' jewellers]! Sit and watch what?, that is the million dollar question.
We were riding through a forest path when suddenly one among us had an idea-"a photo in this setting will look good!" We got out and was excited to see thick greenery stretching a bit downhill. We decided to 'explore'. We didn't walk much over the wet dry leaves when I had this sudden thought of there being leeches. The moment I mentioned it, Ajith, the army man and the 'bravest' of the lot, let out a scream..."athe, attaaa![yes, Leeeeech]". Within seconds everyone was on the road near the car. All of us except me had a good collection of atleast 2-3 leeches each. My collection was discovered much later inside the car and brave me let out this huge cry of horror!
The highlight of the day was the trip to 'Ilaveezhapoonchira'[valley without any leaves]. The leaves doesnt fall on this hills because there are no trees at the top. Just a lush green hilltop filled with grass(the one which cows eat). It is located very close to thodupuzha. On the idukki-thodupuzha road, you need to take a left turn after kaanjaar. The road winds up with sharp curves and steep slopes for about 9 km from the main road. Then you've to get down and walk for about 1.5 KMs if you don't have an off roader. Its a fun climb with the scenery all around and the light winds cooling you in between. There's a lone rest house near the hilltop. The hilltop is the closest you'll ever come to heaven! There are a hundred small and big hill locks stretching on all four sides. Watching the subdued sunset in the slight drizzle was a treat. This is an unmissable place for anyone going anywhere near idukki or thodupuzha.
And then we started the group shots
the walk back