Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vagamon Heights @ Vagamon - Part 1

"Nature at its natural best"

The search for a holiday location
Only three more days to go for the school vacation to be over. Still I have not gone for a holiday with my kids and family. Where to go? Only two full days available. Munnar, Kodai, Ooty all ruled out either due to the distance or the place has become tooo familiar.
Sometime, during a trip to munnar had heard about Vagamon. Searched the net for Vagamon. Got some pics. Felt like, it is a nice place to be in. But where to stay. Googled and some phone numbers propped up. Dialed those. Some say resort is under renovation. Some say sky high prices. Some say nice packages. Which to chose from? By instict chose the one where the guy was so courteous in his talks.
The resorts name was "The Vagamon Heights". Called up him again and he was offering, Stay, food, horse riding, fishing, trekking + boating @ 4000 per family (2 adults and 2 kids). Seems quite interesting. We booked 2 rooms as we were 4 adults and 2 kids. Got some discounts as peak season was over.

So another chance for me to drive through the hills amidst natural flora and fauna.

The journey
Come friday morning and as is the usual habit, started the journey 1 hr late than what was planned originally. We hit the road by 6.30 am. The twisties of MC road (Main Central road) were enough to charge me up. But I was not doing high speeds just to avoid travel sickness for those on board.
The MC Road

We reached Ranni at about 8.45am. Decided to have breakfast here. By about 9.15 we left this place. Next point was Erumeli - which is one of the synonyms of religious harmony. The mosque at erumeli is visible from quite a distance and as we approach the junction we could see the ayyappa temple also.

From Erumeli we proceeded to Kanjirappally, but soon found out that we were climbing some ghats. The drive, the roads and the scenary was so superb that I did not even bothered to stop for enquiring the route. After climbing the ghats for some 30 kms, I got a call from the resort guy and enquired about where I am. When I told him that I am climbing a ghat, he told me that I have lost route and now I have to turn left from Mundakkayam. Thanked for the call and continued enjoying the journey through these ghats. Stopped at 2 - 3 spots for some photo shoot and to enjoy the cool breeze.

After some time reached Kuttikanam. Kuttikanam - Elappara route also is awesome. A must drive route for all the driving enthusiasts. The greenery just got better due to rains which started some 1 week ago.
A photostop at kuttikkanam

Had a stop at elappara to climb a small hill and rejuvenate any fatigue, if present. following two snaps taken from this hill

Till elappara it was the typical kerala ghats. From Elappara we have to take a deviation to vagamon. Believe me this road is different. It is a sort of a valley. No hill to climb, but really winding roads amidst the green blanket covered mountains. Still cherish the memory of driving through this lane.

Soon we reached vagamon after complete driving pleasure and enjoying thoroughly almost all the route covered. .
Thanks to my innovative googling to find out the shortest route available and help from some of the friends due to which I travelled through the longest route possible covering almost all the hills which I was not supposed to take .
We travelled a distance of 230 Kms.
The route was

Thiruvananthapuram > Ayoor > Anchal > Punalur > Pathanamthitta > Ranni > Erumeli > Mundakkayam > Kuttikkanam > Elappara > Vagamon.
Still we were pondering on how the resort will be

The entry to the resort
The Vagamon height resort is in the vagamon - pullikanam route some 1.5kms from vagamon.
We reached the gate of the resort. We had a look around. Only the gate and a small security check post. Where is the resort? We crossed the gate, reminiscent of the gate in the Evil dead movie.
Soon one guy came to us and told to register our names there. He opened another gate and told us that we have to travel 2 - 3 kms through this jungle trail to reach the resort’s office. Seems quite interesting. Started the journey slowly as it was a narrow road.
We saw this board there

As we moved forward found that we are moving through thick dense forest

We reached a point where there was a small river crossing and over some rocks. Crossed the river and we were approaching an open area with a lake. It simply took our breath away.

A view of the lake from this road

Then it was a climb through some dense forest and soon we reached the resort’s office on top where a big horse was roaming around alone. This journey of 2 km was an amazing start to the things to come.
My innova resting after a nice workout

A small cafeteria near the resort's main office

Check in:
The check in process was quite simple. After the check in process, one guy was assigned to us for all the support. He guided us to the cottage. Voila the way to the cottage itself was very inviting.
It was a three storey building. There was a small hanging bridge which landed in the first floor. It was a sort of open air dining room. The second floor contained one cottage and the ground floor another.

The view from inside the cottage was good, because we feel as if we are amidst thick dense forest with the sound of insects and some birds to accompany. Even the bathroom had big windows, which if opened we have a feeeling of

getting a bath amidst the woods.

A view of the woods from resort's window in the afternoon and later in the evening when fog came down

Activities at resort to followPart 3 - Activities at the resort for the rest of the day - offroading in a 4x4, viewpoints, rose garden & boating
After a rest of 30 minutes, our guide took us for sight seeing in a 4 x 4 jeep. The jeep itself was good since the passenger cabin on the back was open roof.
We were starting for an amazing experience which we didn’t expect. Soon the jeep was travelling in some roads atop the hills in such a way that we had huge steep inclination for company on both sides. We were swaying to both sides

since there were absolutely no roads.

We reached one of the view points from where we could have a breath taking view of the nature’s creations.

The kurisumala church is visible from here

another view from the same viewpoint

We could also see the route which we take, which if one sees won’t believe that vehicles can be driven through.

A view of the track which we took. On the right hand side hill, you can see the jeep trails on top

After spending some time there we were ready to climb further upThe 4x4 with kids ready to climb up

There were 4 such view points. Due to lack of time and impending rains we could go to only one more view point
Then started the decent. For a change this guy was decending steeply and not in a zig zag manner.Looking down one feels really scary. This one ride is much much better than the artificial rides on the water theme parks.

Halfway down the decent there was a rose garden. Since it was not season only very less flowers were there. Can imaging how it will look like if all the roses planted there have flowers.

Continued the decent and soon we reached the bottom which had a nice lake.

The boats were ready and we experienced the cool water in the comfort of this pedalling boats.

Soon it started to rain, but when we are in such an august company of the nature how could we run for cover. Just opened an umbrella and enjoyed the boating amidst the downshower, an experience we will cherish for a lifetime.

As we reached back our cottage, thick fog was descending

our steed was taking rest under the comfort of a tree

Soon daylight bid goodbye to this beautiful showpiece handmade by nature and undistured by the tourist invasion.


pixelshots said...

u have done an awesome work here.. me tooo much similar in tastes, and have a photo blog too.. wil be happy to hear from you about my blog.. keep going with the work.. said...

thx pixelshots
gr8 to hear from a person having similar tastes. Will visit ur blog too

Rohit Dassani said...

The pics are amazing...i really really wanna visit Gods own country!! said...

@ rohit dassani
Thanks for dropping in and commenting. The place is so beautiful and any angle is sure to provide great photos!!

Anonymous said...

amazing photography

Hariprasad said...

Excellent pics and an awesome narration!
M planning to visit Vagamon during the mid of August this year with my family (including my grandparents). Is there a doctor on call available there just in case?


excellent blog...and nice snaps..


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