Exploring Western Ghats : Part 5 : Marayoor

Exploring Western Ghats : Part 5 : Marayoor

 


Kodaikanal – Amaravathi – Marayoor / Apr 30 – May 1

May 1, 2016

Marayoor is ~40 kms away from Munnar, one of the most popular tourist place in Kerala. This place is not as famous as Munnar, nevertheless has beautiful destinations to be explored  having national parks, waterfalls, forests & villages.

Route Recap
Hyderabad – Chennai – Kodaikanal – Marayoor – Munnar – Kochi – Vagamon – Thekkady – Munnar – Palakkad – Kalpetta (Wayanad) – Masinagudi – Ooty – Ananthpur (AP) – Hyderabad.

For my previous post click here.


Marayoor 

After reaching my homestay  I opted to go for a ride to the nearby places with the caretaker of my homestay. Turned out to be a good idea. We went to Annakotai Park.

Annakotai Park 

This park has some ancient burial sites. Well they were unusual because in Hindu culture we have the practice of burning the dead bodies rather than burning them (this part of India is Hindu dominant area, no offense intended to any other religions) but I was surprised to find that these were Hindu burial sites. That’s intriguing !!!! Oh my country has so many mysteries !!!!!!

Ancient Burial Sites, Annakotai Park, Marayoor
Ancient Burial Sites, Annakotai Park, Marayoor
Ancient Burial Sites, Annakotai Park, Marayoor

After visiting these ancient burial sites, we went to nearby Sandalwood Forests. And they are all around. Its one of those precious herbs & medicines India produces & is famous for since ancient times. The purest form of Sandal is extracted from these trees after 150 years. Yes, it takes so long for the Sandal to be actually therapeutic & medicinal. Now you can imagine about the ROI and get an idea why sandalwood products are so damn expensive. Well of course the pure organic ones.

Over the Sandalwood forests, I got to see a beautiful sunset from the hills. What else could have been the perfect closure for the day.

Beautiful views from Annakotai Park
Beautiful views from Annakotai Park

Konthaloor

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Breakfast done and we (me and the caretaker) started off to explore the nearby high altitude village Konthaloor. This place is really nice for people who love nature (especially flowers and fruits). So many of them and of different kinds. And to my surprise I also found the local jaggery manufacturing unit. If you ever come across such unit on your way do spare some time to visit it & understand the process. Its really interesting & speaks a lot about our culture & manufacturing prowess. Moreover, as you move across different regions in India, the process gets different & is adapted  as per the geography of that place, which makes it even more interesting & intriguing.

If you are an Indian one will know what significance jaggery has in our culture. Its an important ingredient of our kitchens used in our sweets, gravies, confectioneries & what not. Jaggery & its byproducts like sugar has been celebrated as panch amrit in our culture along with milk, honey, ghee and curd. A Panchamrit is an offering (prasad) offered to God & devotees after any prayer or traditional rituals. I will share the pics of the unit that I come across. And if you are interested, the workers will be more than happy to explain you the process.

We got some desi stuff on tap here.
Farm Fresh Sugarcane
Big Vessel at Jaggery Manufacturing Unit
Continuous Slow Heating for Manufacturing Jaggery

Apart from this Jaggery manufacturing unit I also got a chance to see amazing flowers & fruits of the region and trust me, they are ample.

Red Bananas in Konthaloor Region which are rare these days

Lakkam Waterfall & around

After the Konthaloor nature drive, my caretaker took off and asked me to proceed further with a guide. We went to a KDHP tea factory for some demo but it was closed because it was labor day. We headed back to Marayoor. On the way, guide suggested that we stop at Lakkam waterfalls but looking at the number of vehicles parked on the road, I immediately declined and we proceeded further to Marayoor.

Gauging my ‘run-away-from-crowd’ attitude, guide suggested a secret stop on the way where we can go down to the river and have a peaceful time. All in. Turned out to be a good decision. How good it will be justified by the pics below.

Park you car here and walk down to the river. Be careful and don’t kill yourself. Stones may be slippery at times.

Wannabe Artist

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

In the evening, I opted to go for a forest trek in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (6 KMs down from Marayoor). The trek cost is Rs. 250/- per person. A guide takes you through the forest and on the way you can sweat yourself out, pass by the ancient burial sites, have a look at the ancient mural paintings, beautiful forest views and some wildlife if lucky. The trek lasts 3-3.5 hours and difficulty level is easy-to-moderate. Bring a bottle of water and carry the empty bottle back with you.

Since nobody really cares to go for a forest trek on foot these days, I was the only one. Some pics.

Ancient Burial SIte

Rock Paintings at Madathala
Rock Paintings at Madathala
Rock Paintings at Madathala
Rock Paintings at Madathala

KSC_20160501_170756_48

River View From Top of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Ok, this is not grass. This is a real grasshopper which looks exactly like surrounding grass. The guide was able to spot this while walking randomly. 6/6 for eyesight there.
Thoovanam Waterfall View From Road.

That’s all for Marayoor and surroundings.

To be Continued ……

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