Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Seat No. 36 - Kumily

Explore the untrodden roads that holds very rich, exciting and enriching experiences!

Why don’t you just take a direct bus from Bangalore to Kottayam? This was the question posed to me by my friends.

Dear Friends, you are correct ! The direct bus from Bangalore to Kottayam takes less than 12 hours and best done overnight to reach next day morning hours.

Then why on earth did I choose an unconventional route. There are a few reasons like buses and trains being full on the usual route and then a nagging soul that keeps reminding me that this is a new route via Theni Cumbum and Kumily!

So I did take a chance & I did travel on 22nd April 2016… yet another first but unconventional  route : Bangalore – Salem - Namakkal  - Dindigul –  Theni – Kumily – Mundakkayam – Kanjirapally - Kottayam.

Route map - Bangalore to Kumily via Salem Dindigul Theni

Where is Kumily?
Kumily is the largest Gram Panchayat in Kerala. Kumily is a town in Cardamom Hills near the very famous Thekkady and Periyar Tiger Reserve, in the Idukki District of Kerala. Kumily is known as Gateway to Thekkady and it is also known as the Spice Capital of Kerala. Kumily lies in the National Highway 183 that connects Kottayam through Mundakkayam and Kanjirappally. The state of Tamil Nadu borders the town. It is a major tourist destination and a spices trading centre. The nearest airport is Madurai (125 km) and railway Station is Theni. The famous pilgrim centre Sabarimala is 150 km from Kumily.  Kumily is well connected with Kottayam and Kochi.
Kumily is always a special destination for most of the tourists due to its climate. Nearby Tamil Nadu district is Theni, where tourist can see grapes cultivations in large acres. Kattapana is the nearby municipality. Famous tourist attractions nearby are: Thekkady, Anchuruli, Ottakathalamedu, Kalvery Mount, Vagamon, Pine forest, Kalyanathanddu.


My plan of action: I took the Atlas Tours bus from Bangalore at 20:00 hrs. Seat number 36.. the first and single seat on the left side. Only plus point was unhindered views of the landscape ahead! The bus was just okay…  it was not punctual & not air conditioned! Taking such a bus is not a great idea especially when Bangalore is a boiling cauldron in April - thanks to a fabulous summer. Fabulous only for the retailers who offer fabulous summer discounts to gullible customers!

2200 hrs : We had dinner at Krishnagiri : This place has a hotel and facilities to freshen up.

Tip: Recommending a private taxi or own vehicle to travel from Bangalore to Kumily so that you can stop at a hotel with 3 star or higher facilities for food or stop at your will and enjoy breathtaking scenery!

2345 hrs : The bus stopped! Probably the driver felt groggy after driving for 6 hours. Surprisingly there was no alternate driver. The conductor in this bus was more of a specialist and would only open / close the doors and handle passenger luggage.

I did my best to sleep. But I woke up to the sound of gushing water at around 0545 hrs – I could see huge pipes from the hills carrying water to the hydroelectric project. We crossed parts of Periyar national Park, Western Ghat mountains and voila... we entered in to Kumily! 
I must have also seen Meghamalai - but we will save Meghamalai for another day!

0600 hrs @ Kumily Town : We stopped for a morning tea ! I noticed that almost all shops advertised about spices - cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and all kinds of tea.

Kumily Town

Mother Nature has been bountiful and beautiful for Kumily. 

Kumily, with its lush green plantations and its aromatic spices, is an enchanting place. However, the neighboring places like Vandiperiyar, Vandanmedu, Murikkady and  Chellarkovil will offer you equally or perhaps more beautiful sights and experiences. As you  drive along the serpentine roads and the wicked hairpin bends of these places, Mother Nature reveals herself in a hundred ways and a thousand hues. 

Rest of the journey from Kumily to Kottayam was completed within 3 hours. We traveled through interesting places like Peeramedu, Mundakkayam, Kuttikkanam, Kanjirapally.
Kuttikkanam is a village in Idukki district, Kerala, southern India. It is 3,500 feet (1,100 m) above sea level and surrounded by lush green tea plantations. It is within the territory of Peermade. Kanjirappally and Mundakkayam are the nearest cities.

I have decided to visit Kumily & Kuttikkanam again as there are lot of places to explore ... I will share those experiences on another post. Good bye for now and have a great week ahead!


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