Starting our return journey from Kuttikkanam at 4pm in the evening means, we had still some more daylight hours left, to be spend in some good locations. Two options sprang up, one was Parunthumpara, the place which became famous because of one recent movie and another one - Panchalimedu (Panjalimedu), was suggested by the resort staff. The resort staff had favoured Parunthumpara as it was most visited by tourists, but somehow we decided to check out Panchalimedu, since we had not heard about it before. As per the resort staff, it was just a hill, which doubles up as a viewpoint.
The route taken was from Kuttikkanam drive towards Mundakkayam about 3 kilometers, then take a left turn. Once the turn was taken, roads became very narrow.
As we proceeded further, we could see no homosapiens around and the incline was quite steep too. I felt like, it would have been rather fun to explore this place on a motorbike, because of the narrow winding roads and the steep climb up. The scenery around was pretty good too.
After travelling some distance we reached a place which seemed like a viewpoint because of its height. Stopped at this point to have a look around.
On enquiring with one of the rare mankind around, we found that this is Panchalimedu. It seemed like what the resort staff told was correct. Anyway we decided to spend our time here till sun sets. There was a small hill behind where we parked our vehicle.
Some among us suggested that we will climb up this one for fun. But I decided to just click around.
My son also went along with the gang who started climbing up. I took one more snap of the hill which they were climbing.
On a closer look found that there is a cross at the top.
By this time my friends who already started climbing had covered a fair distance up.
Soon I could see my son calling me up for helping him go up. That was the trigger I needed to trek up and started moving upwards. Once I moved up I found that the slope was increasing.
The most interesting part of this trek is to enjoy the scenery behind you, since as you go up the scene behing you changes with each step upwards
My friends who did not climb up has become so small.
By this time I reached near my son and started to climb further up, in between stopping to enjoy the scenary behind.
One closer look at this frame, I could see some interesting structures towards the middle of this frame. Naked eyes was not enough to clearly identify what it was. Zoomed in using all the power which my medium range (non DSLR) camera can and found out that it is a beautiful church.
The approach road was giving it a special facelift.
Another view of those waiting down, gives an idea of the height that we were gaining.
More and more thingys begin to be visible now. Just watch those fields towards the left bottom of this frame.
We are nearing the top and now the thought of how to climb down striked us. It is easy to climb up, but trekking down through this route will be a pain. Still the trek experience was worth it. Still we had not reached the top.
Soon a moment of glory came when we stepped to the top of this hill. My God, it is damn beautiful. What a place? Wondered whether it is heaven on earth. The excitment was so high that I didn't know what to do. Just stretched my hands up and enjoyed being near to the sky.
Did I hear someone singing, "I believe I can fly".
Toward one side of the hill there was a hilly path one side of which was adorned by Cross, not one but many of them, no wonder why this hill is also called cross hill. We called up our driver and asked him whether he can come up through this path.
Remains of some ancient constructions were seen on the other side of the hill. Panchalimedu means Hills of Panchali, and this was one of the hiding places of the Pandava brothers and their wife Panchali.(This is part of the epic Mahabharatha)
The pond seen in this frame is the Panchalikulam, means the pond of Panchali. The divine makaravilakku of Sabarimala is visible from this location. (click here to know more about Sabarimala)
By this time my eye was already on the giant cross. Soon I began to try and click some pictures, coz you don't often get these kind of background every other day. My friend's daughter was happy to pose too and this resulted.
I didn't expect this little girl to pose so nicely when I asked her to kneel and pray in front of the cross. She did it so perfectly and passionately that I could click my best picture of the day.
The same shot, another angle another settings
Time again for shooting down more scenary around as I began to go crazy seeing this landscape, shooting down pictures.
I laid down to enjoy the closeness with the sky, only to find that sky is so beautiful.
Everything here seems to have a charm. The skies, the moutains, the cross, the ancient structures everything. Now that I found the sky in such a color, how could I leave it out from my shots.
Some beautiful little birds flying around
This place was simply amazing and there seemed to n number of ways to capture magnificient shots all of a sudden.
Just laid down to click this and stayed like that for some more time watching just the sky.
Meanwhile my friends were walking around exploring heaven on earth. The pandavas seems lucky to chose such a place as their hiding destination.
Light was fading fast, but by this time our driver managed to bring the vehicle half up through another route. We climbed down to join others.
How can I leave, without clicking one pic of my little cutie in this backdrop.
All good things must come to an end. The daylight was almost withdrawn when started travelling down the hilly route, which was a pain to negotiate in this kind of a vehicle, but worth exploring in an SUV.
We were just finished climbing down the steepest part when I could see the driver panicking while applying brakes. On enquiring he told us that the brakes are gone. Immediately we requested him to stop the vehicle. We were in a plain land, so he could stop it by turning off the engine. The road was narrow, but we had no other option. We thanked god, for it did not happen while we were negotiating those curves coming down steep hill.
The driver went in search of a workshop in another vehicle and we were left stranded in a hilly village. We could really understand the warmth of the people in such virgin villages when one of the family invited us to their dwelling and we were treated like guests which was a huge relief for us especially the women and children in our gang.
Found out these cranes in a nearby tree, getting ready to take rest after the days work. F(rame shot in night mode)
It took about 2 hours to sort everything out and we were back in the roads aiming our homes.
The memories of this trip are sure not to fade, for it was so eventful. We cherished the company of each other. The kids too enjoyed for they were asking us to stay back and not return. The mystic mountains was truly mystic. But the ultimate find was Panchalimedu, where we found that heaven is so close. Vowing to make such trips together again soon, we parted to our own home sweet home.