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Old 17th July 2013, 00:51   #1
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Default Drive to Berijam

Another travelogue about driving to Berijam .

However I wish this would go into the chronicles of Tbhp, so that if someone searches the forum for some details about driving to Berijam, this thread would certainly show up.


Berijam is a beautiful picnic spot, 24 kms away from Kodaikanal connected by beautiful roads. There is a large lake namely the 'Berijam lake' at the end of this 24 km drive through a reserved forest. Visiting Berijam will consume atleast one entire first half of one of your days in Kodaikanal.

This travelogue covers a drive of just 48 kms ie, Kodaikanal-Berijam-Kodaikanal exclusively.
Heres the Route Map. https://maps.google.co.in/maps?saddr...=h&mra=ls&z=11


Despite travelling to Kodai many times, a visit to Berijam (once again) was pending in my to-do list for some 32 years. So the last time (on 12.11.2012) when we went to Kodaikanal, we did it.

My travelogue starts from this place.
Drive to Berijam-moonjikal.jpg
Once we enter Kodaikanal we pass through a place called Moonjikal. About a half km after Moonjikal we come to a place like this, where we see Bharat Gas Agency.

The District Forest Office of Kodaikanal is located opposite to this Bharat Gas Agency.
Drive to Berijam-dfo.jpg

District Forest Office - Kodaikanal. We were here by 9.30am.
Drive to Berijam-dfoboard.jpg

We need a permit from the DFO to drive through the reserved forest to reach Berijam. Permits are issued only in the mornings, say from 9.30 am till 11 am normally. It is enough that any one person goes for applying permit and while going it is advised to drive the same car because sometimes they would like to see the car (rarely).

I do not know whether one can obtain permits a day or two previous to the date of visit. Permits are issued for all days including sundays and public holidays, but all tuesdays are holidays and one can not drive to Berijam on tuesdays.

Many tourists do not opt visiting Berijam since it feels like a long drive, moreover they assume that getting DFO permit is a tedious process. But getting DFO permit at Kodaikanal is very simple and easy.

We walked into this office, got an application form and filled it with details like Name, Address, Phone number, Photo ID number, Car number, number of people going and their names. Gave the form to the staff and paid Rs.150 per car and collected a receipt.
Drive to Berijam-dfo-apply.jpg

The forest officer's seat is in the same room just opposite to where we paid the money.
Drive to Berijam-dfofficer.jpg

We walked over to the officer, showed the form & receipt and also showed the ID proof and got his signature almost instantly. The whole process is over within 10-15 minutes including the time we took for filling the form. Very friendly, nice and easy.

The Permit
Drive to Berijam-permit.jpg

Since many of our folks wanted to join the fun, we hired a Tavera and paid Rs.300 as permit fee for 2 vehicles.
Drive to Berijam-bill.jpg

On the way from the DFO towards Berijam, we pass through many sight-seeing places like Upper lake view, the Green Valley view, Golf links, Pine Forests, Guna caves, Pillar rocks and lastly the Moire' point. Since a Berijam-drive will take almost the entire morning session and the drive inside the reserved forest has time restrictions, we headed straight for Berijam. One can check all these sight-seeing joints during the return drive.

Reached Forest Check post at Moire' Point.
Drive to Berijam-moire-chekpost.jpg

The check post guards collect the permit and lets us in. From this post it is a 13 km drive to reach the Berijam lake.

Cars, Jeeps and Vans thronging already.
Drive to Berijam-chkpost-closer.jpg

I dont think there is a restriction on the number of cars allowed in a day. Almost all hotels and local tour operators have included Berijam into their everyday itinerary, so it is crowded nowadays.

When I visited Berijam 32 years ago, there wasn't any restrictions nor any permits required. This joint in the above picture looked lonely. Moreover in those days the drive doesnt end at Berijam but the road leads us all the way to Munnar just another 40 to 45 kms and further towards Kochi.

Once inside the check post, Ready to go.
Drive to Berijam-insidechkpost.jpg

Tavera moves first.
Drive to Berijam-taveramoves.jpg

And we follow:
Drive to Berijam-estilofollows.jpg

-

Coming up next: Road info & Drive inside the park

Last edited by Ddrive : 19th July 2013 at 13:13. Reason: assembling better
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Old 17th July 2013, 22:12   #2
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Default Drive to Berijam

Driving into the reserve forest, We see Roads - many types !
Drive to Berijam-road1.jpg

Broken Roads..
Drive to Berijam-brokenroads.jpg

Muddy Roads
Drive to Berijam-mudroad.jpg

Water Crossings
Drive to Berijam-watercross.jpg

And some hair-pin bends too.
Drive to Berijam-hairpin.jpg

First Stop - A small break.
Drive to Berijam-darga.jpg

More Cars coming in.
Drive to Berijam-carsfollow.jpg


We drive through the following sight-seeing places.

Mathikettaan Solai.
Drive to Berijam-reachmathikettan.jpg
Drive to Berijam-mathikettan-board.jpg
'Mathikettaan Solai' in Tamil. My translation in English for Mathikettan Solai is 'the garden which makes a person to loose his senses' or 'the garden of a lunatic'

Mathikettaan Solai - Dense Forest.
Drive to Berijam-mathikettan-forest.jpg

Zoom a little, we see a large Black Langur. Ahaa.. Wild life sighted !
Drive to Berijam-mathikettan-langur.jpg

Next comes the Fire Watch Tower.
Drive to Berijam-firetower.jpg
The guards can have a clear view of the forest to check for forest fires if any.

Caps Valley view.
Drive to Berijam-caps-board.jpg
This is a cliff with a steep vertical single rock depth of about 300 meters as far as i can guess. The board says, the total depth of the valley is 1000 meters.

Caps valley's earlier name in Tamil was 'Thoppi Thooki Paarai' which means 'Cap lifting Rock'. Old time stories say that, a Briton who once visited this cliff looked down the valley and oops.. his cap fell down the gorge, but in seconds his cap took a reverse, thrown up by the winds gusting up through the gorge. There he got his cap again and he lived happily ever after. And hence the name.

Cliffs are fenced for protecting of the visitors.
Drive to Berijam-capswalk.jpg

We saw a tourist clicking something very seriously, as his folks watched in terror.
Drive to Berijam-boatourist.jpg

Thats a Sand-Boa (right?).
Drive to Berijam-boa.jpg
We do not know whether it is dead or alive, but I lifted it with a stick and placed it away from the road.
They say a Sand-boa is very costly in the poacher's market, Is it true?

Beware.. this is a Bison territory!
Drive to Berijam-bisoncalf.jpg
We were lucky to spot this bison-calf as it moved away.

And then a real-big bison (Indian Gaur) at a distance.
Drive to Berijam-bigbison.jpg
(Some more Wildlife encounters !!)


Moving further we come to this place called the 'Berijam lake view point'.
Drive to Berijam-lake-viewpoint.jpg

The lake at a distance, we got 5 kms of road to go.
Drive to Berijam-lakeafar.jpg

A close-up.
Drive to Berijam-lake-closeup.jpg
We see neat rows of trees over there.
Some of those trees could have been planted by me some 32 years ago.

-
Oh My Gosh, What really happened 32 years ago ?
Coming up next: A Flash-back.

Last edited by Ddrive : 19th July 2013 at 13:26. Reason: Corrections
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Old 18th July 2013, 00:37   #3
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Default Drive to Berijam

A Flash-back.

July 1980, When I was 18 years of age and studying in college, I took part in a 10 day NSS camp held at Berijam. We were about 45 boys from the same college, stayed here in 2 halls, one a newly built school building and the other a primary health centre. The place was so remote and there wasn't any electricity, no bulbs, no tv, no telephone, not even water taps. We used hurricane laterns at nights and we have to go to the nearby stream to fetch our everyday water. We cooked our food ourselves taking turns.

Those days I use to be a member of the college entertainment group. So the NSS-faculty enrolled some 6 of us into the camp for the sake of giving entertainment shows for the campers. We ofcourse did some camp-work like planting trees, thinning forests etc., but mostly our time was spent on planning for the evening's entertainment.

Robin my best friend was with me and some other guys in the group were Vivekanandan, Sridhar and Mughil. These guys are very talented and are born entertainers. Among these Vivekanadan used to be the best, none can beat him in bursting jokes, mimicries and mono acts. He makes us laugh all the time. We use to sit in the dark under a latern and composed short plays & skits. We sang songs and played carrom. We walk out to collect dry wood for cooking food. We go to the streams for fetching water. We strolled a distance looking for bisons. Memories still linger.

Some are gone and some remain. Got contacts with Robin even now. Vivekanadan relocated himself to Chennai and his talents rewarded him more than what he could dream of. He went on to become a top-comedian in tamil movies who is now known as 'Vivek'

Comedian Vivek.
Name:  Vivek.jpg
Views: 14560
Size:  71.0 KB
(Vivek's photo credit - Goes to the unknown owner)

Unforgetable days those are, and since then I've been yearning to visit Berijam once again. So now when I see those tall rows of trees, I think to myself "Oh, those trees could be the ones we planted 32 years ago - Who knows ?"


Here ends the flash back scene..

-
Coming up next : Reaching the lake & Return drive.

Last edited by Ddrive : 19th July 2013 at 13:36. Reason: spellchecks
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Old 18th July 2013, 01:23   #4
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Default Drive to Berijam

Reaching Berijam Check post. End of the road for visitor's vehicles.
Drive to Berijam-berijamlakechkpost.jpg

Drive to Berijam-lake-board.jpg

Drive to Berijam-keep-clean.jpg
(.. and let us leave behind a better generation to preserve these forests )

Kodaikanal 24 kms on the left, towards right is the old road which leads to Munnar, hardly about 35 to 40 kms.
Drive to Berijam-tokodaiboard.jpg

We can see a car coming from the old munnar road. May be it is coming from the Forest colony.
Drive to Berijam-swampcar.jpg
On the right to the car is a big swamp. I dont know what those two concrete structures are but they look similar to the School block and the Primary Health centre.

The Swamp
Drive to Berijam-swampboard.jpg

A temple with steps.
Drive to Berijam-temple.jpg

For those who are hungry.
Drive to Berijam-tocanteen.jpg

Coffee, Tea, Cool drinks, Bread Sand-witch etc.,
Drive to Berijam-canteen.jpg

And finally the lake.
Drive to Berijam-me-atlake.jpg

Drive to Berijam-kids-lake.jpg

Drive to Berijam-kidsatlake-2.jpg

Drive to Berijam-debiatlake.jpg

Drive to Berijam-treesbythelake.jpg

Some Youngsters at the lake.
Drive to Berijam-youngstersat-lake.jpg

Beware.. this is a leech territory too !
Drive to Berijam-leech1.jpg

A leech before its food.
Drive to Berijam-leech2.jpg
They say a leech becomes twice longer and ten times thicker in size after sucking blood from its victim

There is an apparatus to measure the rain.
Drive to Berijam-rainmeasure.jpg

There is a Rest house here.
Drive to Berijam-resthouseboard.jpg

Forest Rest House.
Drive to Berijam-resthouse.jpg

Return drive.. rush back to Moire' point, well in time.
Drive to Berijam-return-drive.jpg
Got a lot of scratches in the car, Courtesy the trees and bushes on both sides of the road.


We did this trip during the month of November and the place looks a bit dry with the sun scorching all day long.

A friend of mine who drove up here in May this year, complained of traffic jam at someplace even inside the park, besides getting stuck for hours in a bumper to bumper jam near moire point. So it is better avoided during peak season times like April, May & June.

IMHO, it will be cool to do it around July, August, September (monsoon/postmonsoon times) when the forest is at its greenish best with a full tank lake.

Thanks


More details about Berijam is available here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berijam_Lake

Last edited by Ddrive : 19th July 2013 at 14:59. Reason: Corrections
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Old 20th July 2013, 07:15   #5
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Default re: Drive to Berijam

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th July 2013, 07:54   #6
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Default re: Drive to Berijam

Thanks for sharing the info regarding the issue of permits.i have been to kodai many times and tried to visit berijam but was stopped at the check post,thought that getting the permit was a big deal,nice to know that it was easy.Is there any boating facility there?
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Old 20th July 2013, 09:53   #7
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Default re: Drive to Berijam

Thanks for the travelogue. Learned about a new place today. I am yet to visit Kodaikanal. But will surely include this place whenever I visit Kodaikanal.
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Old 20th July 2013, 10:35   #8
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Default re: Drive to Berijam

Your flash back is so very interesting to know that the famous comedian is actually your friend. I loved all your pictures. Very well written travelogue!
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Old 20th July 2013, 13:12   #9
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Default re: Drive to Berijam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrive View Post

However I wish this would go into the chronicles of Tbhp, so that if someone searches the forum for some details about driving to Berijam, this thread would certainly show up.
Wonderful travelogue. For me, this is a model travelogue. I for one like to present a travelogue in the same fashion (I dont know when) since this kind of combination of narration with apt photos carries the reader on the journey along with the narrator. Its almost like a movie.

I also agree with the point of including the name of the place / destination in the title of the thread, which becomes easy for someone searching.

Yeah, the flashback part - in such trips the enjoyment in remembering the old times (nostalgia) always exceeds the enjoyment of the present trip.

Thank you for the travelogue for its inspirational quotient.

- Sai
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Old 20th July 2013, 14:08   #10
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Default Re: Drive to Berijam

Thanks for an extensive post on your Berijam visit. I did the Berijam trip twice during my Kodai visits in April 2011 and '12. Both times I went there in a Tempo Traveller arranged by the Hotel where I stayed in. The trip cost around 250 per person if I remember correctly. Most of the tourists from Chennai and other places opted for this Van trip instead of the hassle of getting permits and taking their own vehicles to Berijam. In season ie April, May it is the prudent thing to do. However, nice to get the details of procuring Berijam travel permit which looks relatively easy when compared to other forest rides. Nice pics of Mathikettan Solai and Lake surroundings.
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Old 20th July 2013, 21:01   #11
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Default Re: Drive to Berijam

Quote:
Originally Posted by vindrider2626 View Post
Is there any boating facility there?
Thanks for responding once again Vindrider. Dont miss it the next time.
There is no boating in this lake, and i feel it is good that way

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
Learned about a new place today. I am yet to visit Kodaikanal. But will surely include this place whenever I visit Kodaikanal.
You are most welcome Biju Sir.
A senior Bhpian, yet so humble with your comments.
Thanks for many of your lovely travelogues and beautiful photographs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe1980 View Post
Very well written travelogue!
Thanks Joe. Doing some road trips in Aachen huh ? Post some pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vihari View Post
Thank you for the travelogue for its inspirational quotient.
Thanks Sai, for the elaborate response. Your comments are inspiring me more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by venkatt1800 View Post
I did the Berijam trip twice during my Kodai visits in April 2011 and '12.
Thanks for responding Venkatt
Nice to know you've done it twice .
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Old 20th July 2013, 21:29   #12
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Default Re: Drive to Berijam

Ddrive, I know exactly how you felt when you visited this place after so many years with your family. I remember taking my family to Kotagiri to show them the place where I had lived for a year. It brought back so many beautiful memories. I also hope that you get in touch with all your friends of those days including Vivek (whom I incidentally like quite a bit after Goundamani & Senthil)
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Old 22nd July 2013, 12:28   #13
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Default Re: Drive to Berijam

Berijam to Munnar road does not exist anymore. If you drive for a few more km after Berijam, the road intersects the Kavunji-klavarai road. The Kaunji road can also be reached by starting from the observatory. Once you reach that road, you will get to the old jeep path and from then onto Vattavada on Kerala side.

Some pictures from my cycling trip on that road (December 2009) are up here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/shyamk/...aikanalmunnar/

Shyam
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Old 22nd July 2013, 14:27   #14
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Default Re: Drive to Berijam

Thanks for the detailed report. Is this the same route taken further ahead as a 4x4 route towards Munnar ?
Few more questions :
- Is there any time restrictions on Moire point check point (In / Out time)
- Is it possible for public to book forest rest house in Berijam
- Do they allow tourists to climb fire watch tower
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Old 22nd July 2013, 16:08   #15
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Default Re: Drive to Berijam

Awesome trip log! Brought back a lot of memories - I'd studied in Kodai for 8 years or so and have some fond memories of the place. We have often travelled to Berijam as part of our school activities. In those days, there was a decent road - with absolutely zero traffic and tourists. Good to see the pics!!

And the next time I go to Kodai, will surely visit Berijam - I also assumed that they don't allow anyone to go there these days.
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