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Old 8th January 2008, 15:28   #1
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Default Unseen Idukki-How I got out of my armchair

"Singapore??? You haven's shown me your backyard yet"

was my wife's reaction when I casually commented on a trip to Singapore. I was half asleep on an armchair at my home in Kerala, enjoying every moment of our X'Mas vacation, when I blurted the now infamous "Singapore" comment. She was right, as my ideal vacation off late has been that of an armchair political critic, reading all sundry mallu magazines and engaging in debate on national/international politics with neighbours.

"Why not, let's explore the backyard". That harmless comment of mine triggered chain reaction and within no time we hit the road in two cars full of people. Our destination-Idukki Dam- one of the highest arch-dams in Asia, which lies hardly 40 Kms from my home and is open for public once in a bluemoon.

A family full of driving enthusiasts, there were many jumping for my Esteem's keys, including my dad, and my 17 yr old cousin. Beling so selfish to explore the wonderful high-range roads, I resisted all.

Our first destination was Cheruthoni dam, which is one of the tri-dams that form Idukki reservoir that feed the biggest hydro-electric power plant in kerala (~780mW). The route we took was a shortcut that takes us straight to Kulamavu dam (the third one), though we are not going to stop there. Incidently, Thodupuzha-Idukki state highway goes on top of this dam.

First sight on Kulamavu dam

The roads were, as usual really good. Within no time we reached Cheruthoni dam. This is where you get the entry tickets. Cameras and mobile phones are strictly banned. The plan is to walk across Cheruthoni dam, then circumvent a hill and then you get the Idukki arch dam. After crossing that we exit to Idukki- Kattappana road, that is roughly 7 Kms from where we have parked our cars.

Mid way through the walk, those who didn't get the keys earlier rushed back to take our cars to the exit point. The road climbs down from Cheruthoni dam and then climbs up, intermittently giving the magnificent sight of Idukki dam.

We drive down to Idukki town. A short drive from this point (in the pic) took us to the very bottom of the arch-dam. You could lean on the dam and look up, the view is amazing as the dam covers you like an umbrella (This arch dam has a parabolic shape, that looks like half of a coconut shell. the unique shape gives the structural rigidity to divert the water pressure to the hills on either side).

After having sumptuous kappa+fish curry as tea snacks, we headed for our next destination- Calvary Mount, which is roughly 10 Kms uphill on the Idukki-Kattappana road. You could easily spot the board. This is a trekking destination with beautiful view of Idukki reservoir.
Details about Calvary mount

We decided to drive up part of the trek, till the ticket counter. This route is rather a Jeep territory- mud road with descent inclination and rocks on the road. One would have to be careful with cars, else you end up scrapping. 800 made it up easier compared to Esteem. The trick is to walk the way with generous use of clutch. Also decide on the angles in advance and take them as slow as possible. Had fun!

At the top

View of the reservoir

Here is another
You could spend the whole day trekking around, or trekking down. Towards the reservoir, there is chance of encountering elephants. We decided to laze around.
On the return drive we did encounter an elephant family on the side of the road. We didn't hang around much as our route often attracts heavy fog in the night. My uncle was having all the fun on the 800. With balder tyres on its rear, it easily steps out on cornering. We reached home by 8PM.

Singapore...here we come

Last edited by WhiteKnight : 8th January 2008 at 15:31.
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Old 8th January 2008, 15:43   #2
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All of sudden surprise trips would be long lasting on the hearts in comparison to the well planned one. Well written.

Good photographs too
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Old 8th January 2008, 15:46   #3
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Nice pics WhiteKnight, Nice to read of the trip in the backyard..

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Old 8th January 2008, 16:03   #4
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Arrow Nice Report


Nice report of Idikki Dam.

Brings back memories; on a bike trip to Kodai thro Idikki ( I think near a place called Painav) we came bang in front of an elephant on the road, around 7 am. The guy in the front passed it, two others made rubber-burning stops, I was the rear guard and almost rammed into these guys. The 1st Yezde guy was s***ting tonns for next two days, he almost rammed the animal

Love your shot of the water and hills.

Happy Driving,


Last edited by ramkya1 : 8th January 2008 at 16:04.
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Old 8th January 2008, 16:08   #5
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nice writeup, very good pics.
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Old 8th January 2008, 16:47   #6
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Hey, which route to take from Cochin? How many Kilometers?
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Old 8th January 2008, 18:35   #7
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Wow, this looks like a very interesting place. Nice report, how do we go here? Some directions please.
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Old 8th January 2008, 19:52   #8
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This should give you some broad idea where it is and you can always plan a visit to Munar along on this trip

Last edited by Samurai : 8th January 2008 at 20:04. Reason: resize
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Old 8th January 2008, 20:01   #9
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Here it is... By the way anyone using GPS here? Will it give you full range till idukki ???
Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world!
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Old 8th January 2008, 20:03   #10
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Beautiful pics. esp the one from the top..Awesome.
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Old 8th January 2008, 20:38   #11
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Nice report and good pics.
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Old 8th January 2008, 21:30   #12
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Wow! I've always wanted to visit the Idukki dam.. Our family planned trips on 2 occassions, and both times we ended up dropping the plan due to some reason on the other.
Nice write up,white knight!
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Old 8th January 2008, 21:35   #13
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Terrific place to visit on a whim, good work whiteknight, waiting for more such trips.
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Old 9th January 2008, 10:18   #14
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Great report. I visited this place while I was in the school. Time to go again sometime. Your travelogue has stirred up old memories.
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Old 9th January 2008, 10:34   #15
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Like Biju, I too went to Idukki as a kid, Moolamattam Power House, Idukki Arch Dam and boating in the reservoir in 1977! Time to revisit.
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