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Old 29th July 2018, 12:11   #1
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Default Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Introduction

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.

This was a very special trip for us, as we would all be going our separate ways soon after this. A very special thanks to neethu, sandeep, sasi, sundar and manisha for making this a wonderful and memorable trip!

This was a 'semi-planned' trip. As in we did plan a trip, but the destination wasn't finalized until a few hours before we started! The plan was for us to visit the hills, but the heavy rainfall and the ensuing landslides/ road closures made us strike off a lot of destinations from our initial plan. Many of the trekking trails were closed due to the heavy monsoon rains and the others were kinda unsafe. After a LOT of debate, we finalized on Vagamon. Our other finalist was Illikkalkallu view point.

Sadly, my beloved Baleno had to sit this one out. First, the trip was planned for 8 people (though only 6 could make it), and second, the roads to Vagamon were not that good. And that meant only one thing. We needed an SUV

Let me confess, I am not a fan of SUVs. They are big, unwieldy, and have terrible road manners. I'd take a low slung, low GC, road hugging sedan any day over an SUV. But desperate times call for desperate measures. We booked a Scorpio via Zoomcars.

Here she is, at their yard. Sitting all big and off-roady.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_062924.jpg

The interiors were spartan, though decently maintained. Not a lot of rattles, and thankfully, the tires were good.

The route:

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-route.jpg

We didn't get time to make detailed plans. So we decided to rely on Google maps and trip adviser to help us out.

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 29th July 2018 at 12:20.
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Old 29th July 2018, 12:27   #2
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

The Trip

We start by 7.30 AM from Kakkanad. Some punctuality issues were there, but lets just gloss over that.

We had breakfast from Nandanam hotel on the way to Thripunithra. And that meant selfies!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_071204.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_073619.jpg

Malankara Dam

We got this one from Google maps. Its between Thodupuzha and Muttom.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-malankara-dam.jpg

Not a lot to see here, but it does provide some photo ops.

Beautiful! I meant the background ofcourse!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623094027_img_3367.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01543.jpg

Some "bothie" action!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_092405.jpg

It was calm and peaceful there.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01547.jpg

I'll have to admit, she does look good!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01560.jpg

And she can take you places where you can get some great shots!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01574.jpg

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 29th July 2018 at 12:53.
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Old 29th July 2018, 19:30   #3
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Malankara Dam to Vagamon Lake

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-tea-lake.jpg

Our first stop was the Vagamon Lake. From Kanjar, there are two roads to Vagamon, both meeting at Pullikanam. One goes through Moolamattom and the other via Kannickal. The former is the main road and passes through towns while the latter was the 'road less traveled', at least according to some locals at Kanjar. They told us the roads were in bad condition, but hey we have an SUV so why not!

Supper narrow roads through all that greenery? I love it!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01583.jpg

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623100602_img_3378.jpg

Woah! A recently cleared landslide

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_103301.jpg

And then we saw the first waterfall!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623101722_img_3381.jpg

And another

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623101835_img_3383.jpg

And another and another and another

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_100327.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623102856_img_3395.jpg

These are normally dry throughout the year and came to life with the monsoon. There were plenty of houses here and seems like they all have a personal waterfall in their backyard! Fun!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01589.jpg

Looks like theres a waterfall at every turn! Well actually it was every other turn so... And yeah, pics at every single one of them!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_094305.jpg

She looks perfectly at home in the jungle!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_102009.jpg

I did miss my Baleno. She would have looked gorgeous next to the waterfall. But I gotta admit, the Scorpio is one butch son-of-an-SUV!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_102746.jpg

We ran into a group of college kids on a bunch of bikes and a rather good looking Xenon. I wanted to park the two SUVs together for a pic but the kids started lighting up joints and we had to scoot.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_103057.jpg

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 29th July 2018 at 19:45.
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Old 29th July 2018, 19:58   #4
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Viewpoints

Once we neared the top of the hill, the viewpoints became more beautiful.

The roads were OK so far

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_104705.jpg

Beautiful landscape. It was cloudy and cool.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_105102.jpg

Our in-house photographer!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_105310.jpg

A different perspective!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01627.jpg

Oh yeah!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_105206.jpg

Lil' miss sunshine!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623105938_img_3408.jpg

You can see the 'koda manju' (mist/fog) descending the hills. We would soon be engulfed by it!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_110006.jpg

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 29th July 2018 at 20:03.
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Old 29th July 2018, 23:26   #5
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

More Viewpoints

The route was beautiful with so many viewpoints. You could spend an entire day just driving here.

Some pics from the drive

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01649.jpg

We could see the fog approaching from a distance

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_112305.jpg


Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01654.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623112807_img_3420.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01680.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01661.jpg

A hairpin bend with kind of an embankment gave us an opportunity for more photos

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01663.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01667.jpg

Each phone/camera brought out a different shade of green, but you get the picture

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01665.jpg

I had to take a U turn on the hairpin bend to get the next picture. Maneuvering an SUV is so much harder!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_113424.jpg

I just had to take her back down to get this wide shot

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623112530_img_3416.jpg


Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_112658.jpg

This is AWESOME!!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623112906_img_3421.jpg

The happy couple!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623113422_img_3430.jpg

We met our Scorpio's cousin. Damn she is a looker!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01679.jpg

We hit the road once again after spending close to half an our taking pics. The roads were fine for a few more kms but then this!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_111142.jpg

The road kinda ended. Nothing but rocks and dirt and mud for the next few kms. My poor poor Baleno would have died a sad lonely death here, her innards torn out by the cruel vicious rocks! But the Scorpio actually seemed bored by all this! She just powered through all this without a fuss! Still every time I went over a rock, I expected that heart-wrenching sound of underbody hitting some thing. Not a sound!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_111348.jpg

The fog was almost upon us. We needed to move fast. We hoped it didn't bring any rains with it.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_113742.jpg

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 29th July 2018 at 23:29.
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Old 30th July 2018, 22:32   #6
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Vagamon Town

We reach Vagamon town by around 12.30 PM and decide to have lunch.

Lunch at Kailas Restaurant. Food was decent.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_125034.jpg

See the mist outside the window

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_123143.jpg

After lunch, we spend some time walking around town in the dense mist. It was fun until a slight drizzle forced us back into the car.


Tea Lake, Vagamon

I dunno if this is on the other side of a hill, or if we outran the mist, but it was somewhat clear by the time we reached the lake.

At the parking lot. The road is not paved and the rain washed away the dirt exposing rocks. Seemed like we were the only ones there

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_132821.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623133032_img_3454.jpg

Entrance to the lake area

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623133115_img_3456.jpg

The path leads further into the tea estate

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01701.jpg

Somebody made a new friend! Unfortunately he started following us and got all excited. We had to shoo him away

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01710.jpg

There is a wooden bridge to cross the lake. There is a zip like parallel to the bridge for whom walking is just too mainstream. The hazy background is not some special effects but the fog which had started to catch up. Heavy rain followed

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_133921.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01712.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623134019_img_3475.jpg

There is a small abandoned cottage on the other side of the lake. We took shelter here.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_140046.jpg

This is a beautiful scene! They could easily fix this cottage up and turn it into some kind of a homestay. The view would be phenomenal! A lake in the front yard. Tea estates all around. A forest with trekking trails in the backyard! What more could you want?

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01730.jpg

And then the fog descended. And how!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623134748_img_3489.jpg

Heavy rain and strong winds followed. A short break in the rain gave us an opportunity to make a break for it

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623135620_img_3502.jpg

Sorry to leave you here all alone buddy

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-20180623135911_img_3507.jpg

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 30th July 2018 at 22:37.
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Old 31st July 2018, 23:17   #7
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Tea Lake to Vagamon Meadows

The fog brought heavy rain with it. Visibility was poor.

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_141703.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_141804.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_142111.jpg

Some of the hairpin bends were being paved. Roads were truly horrible. Hard a hard time navigating around the rocks. However, these weren't a match for the Scorpio. A bit further ahead we saw a Superb going past us. No idea how they were gonna manage that section

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_142224_hdr.jpg


Vagamon Meadows

It stopped raining for a while and we decided to risk visiting the place. Plenty of space to park. It was very wet and muddy. I forgot to bring sandals and ruined my favorite shoes


Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_142917.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_143005.jpg

A light drizzle had started and we decided to take our umbrellas and rain coats. We soon found out that they were absolutely useless!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_143229.jpg

Entrance to the meadows. Theres a ticket counter there. Please check out some summer time pics of the meadows, its completely brown and barren before the rains!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_144759.jpg

This area is known for lightning strikes during monsoons. And yet here we are during the monsoons in the middle of a storm

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_145132.jpg

You can see the lightning conductor on one of the hills

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01739.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc01740.jpg

It was quite an experience! Heavy winds, fog and eventually rain. It was so cold!



A time lapse of the fog blowing across. Sorry for the shaky cam, I was shivering!



It started raining soon. We couldn't keep the umbrellas open in the wind. We ran back to the car, but nearly lost our way in the dense fog. This was the best part of our trip!

Drenched to the core!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_151051.jpg
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Old 1st August 2018, 22:21   #8
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Back to Cochin

It was only around 3PM, but we decided to head home. It was raining too heavily and we didn't want to risk getting stuck in case of a landslide/fallen trees. The dense fog slowed down our progress considerably.

On the way back we spot one more view point and decided to stop. The scene was just too beautiful to miss!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_153753.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_153918.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_153745.jpg

She served us wonderfully during this trip. Rough roads, mud, rocks. Not once did she complain. I have to say I am impressed!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_154443.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_154911.jpg

She's rough, crude, loud and isn't easy to handle, kinda the opposite of my Baleno. But yeah, she gets the work done and looks damn good doing it!

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_153803.jpg

Here we are, one last time before we go our separate ways

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-img_20180623_154242.jpg


Epilogue

Up and down, it was 200 kms and 12 hours. For a trip that was very nearly cancelled the day before, it was fantastic! We've had a few outings before but by far this was the best. The rain, the fog, the cold, the hills, the ride and above all this crazy bunch of travelers! Our timing was perfect. Vagamon during summer is just dry and during the peak of monsoon, could be dangerous.

Once again lemme thank my friends for being such awesome travel companions. With everyone going their separate ways, I doubt this little posse will get together for another trip. But hey, at its best, life is unpredictable.

Until next time!

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 2nd August 2018 at 22:03.
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Old 3rd August 2018, 08:22   #9
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd August 2018, 09:44   #10
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Great write up and equally good photographs of a relatively newer spot on the Kerala tourist map. Any post or thread featuring Vagamon brings back lot of memories, for my hometown is close to this beautiful highlands. Numerous nights I have spend with friends during our college days atop the meadows of Vagamon, bantering amidst the chilly fog. Gone are those days, but memories never fade. Off late, the meadows were misused heavily by wedding photographers and tourists which forced the local authorities to restrict access to the same. In my opinion, the tourist spots of Vagamon looked so much more beautiful a decade back.

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Old 3rd August 2018, 11:19   #11
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Beautiful travelogue. Beautiful photos and well-written descriptions. No doubt Kerala is at it best during monsoon.
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Old 3rd August 2018, 12:52   #12
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post
Vagamon during summer is just dry and during the peak of monsoon, could be dangerous.
!
Nicely written T'log. Vagamon is perfect just after the monsoon. Had gone there couple of years back. MUttom - Thodupuzha route was the highlight.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ml#post4072846

Some pics similar to the ones you shared .

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc_0170.jpg

Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon-dsc_0174.jpg
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Old 3rd August 2018, 17:49   #13
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post
The misty hills of Vagamon
Crip write up! Your thread brought back some good memories that I had cherished when I went there last year.

They certainly have some really unexplored places and Vagamon as such is not as a popular destination for the tourists since its relatively a new find for the major population outside Kerela.

Thanks again for sharing!
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Old 4th August 2018, 23:43   #14
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.
True Indeed. The journey, the time spent, the exuberance all reverberates in your mind for a long time to come.

Malayalathil Paranjaal "Jeevithakaalam Muzhuvanum Manassinu Kulirekunna, Chundil Punchiri Vidarthunna Oru Adipoli Yathra"

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post
I liked this photo - the Valley, the hills and the clouds with the fog bridging the gap between the hills and the clouds. Good One.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post
Images 1654 and 1661 felt like "the road ahead leading to an endless range of mountains ahead with a whistling sound of wind".

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post
Vagamon Town

There is a wooden bridge to cross the lake.

This is a beautiful scene! They could easily fix this cottage up and turn it into some kind of a homestay. The view would be phenomenal! A lake in the front yard. Tea estates all around. A forest with trekking trails in the backyard! What more could you want?
Amazing photos of the Lake and the Bridge. I think, this bridge and the bungalow had come in a movie of Mohanlal. I do not recollect the movie name, but I am pretty sure it is in one of the movies.

Quote:
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Back to Cochin

On the way back we spot one more view point and decided to stop. The scene was just too beautiful to miss!
The time spent in the chillness with the combination of Fog and Rain would have been endearing. Enjoy more such in your future.

Did you had "Chaaya" and "Parippuvada" in that climate? One of the best combination for energy for the body.
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Old 6th August 2018, 10:58   #15
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: The misty hills of Vagamon

great travelogue and very misty pictures

I was at Vagamon, an year back and stayed at Vagamon Heights and enjoyed the beauty. We spent a lot of time within this private forest, where they had their own lake, boating etc., the misty conditions were really superb. The drive to Vagamon and the place itself is very lovely and not much of crowd.

We went from Chennai - Dindigul - Theni - Cumbum - Kumily and up into Vagamon.

Swami
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