One full day in Kozhikode. Nothing planned. Western Ghats always in mind. So we hired a taxi and set off with a rough idea of where to go but not much about what to expect.
Our first stop after an almost 2-hour drive through bad traffic in Kerala’s ‘rurban’ roads was Peruvannamoozhi. This small village has a dam, which is part of the Kuttyadi Irrigation Project. That the dam was open made the visit worth it. It was giddying to watch the water gushing down. The village is beautiful but like any other such villages in Kerala. A small, neglected garden near the dam had plenty of butterflies.
After a mid-morning snack of parippuvada and tea from the local teashop, we hit the road to Kakkayam—the place that became infamous due to the custody murder case of Rajan, an REC student, during Emergency. This 1-hour drive along scenic countryside was interesting. Kariyathan Para is one pretty place on the way—a shooting hotspot it has become. We spotted a couple getting videographed filmy style as part of the wedding video, a trend more common in North Kerala.
Tickets to Kakkayam dam are issued from a counter at Kakkayam Angadi. We were asked enter a relative’s or friend’s phone number in the register, just in case we didn’t return. Sounded a bit scary! The lady at the counter also helpfully informed that there was no food available on top, so we decided to have lunch from one of the few hotels at Kakkayam Angadi. Passable fare!
From Kakkayam Angadi, the road becomes narrow and winds up the hill. Flanked by forest on one side and valley on the other, the drive was exciting. In October, the wild flowers were in bloom.
Vehicles are allowed till the check post. After entering our names again in the register at the check post, we walked along the forest trail—a welcome change after several hours in the taxi and the slightly disappointing visit to Peruvannamoozhi.
The trail ends at Urakkuzhi Falls. This deep gorge where water plunges down into the thick forest is where Rajan’s body was supposedly thrown. No wonder the body was never recovered.
Now there is a hanging bridge across the river from where you can enjoy the falls. The friendly guides will help you down some of the rocks for a better view.
While coming back, it became so misty and the visibility was poor. We waited for it to lift to get some good photos but no luck. But luck was waiting ahead. We spotted this beautiful snail. Never seen such a colourful one.
On reaching the parking lot, we heard commotions over leeches. We somehow escaped the leech attacks. Though that luck didn’t last long!
We had noticed some interesting flowers on the way up. While driving down, we stopped to click them. We were seeing some of the flowers for the first time.
In the excitement of taking macros, we didn’t notice the squiggly little ones climbing on to our shoes. We noticed them only when we got into the car. Then it was time for frantic leech-picking. Stepping out of the car means more of them scrambling up our feet. So we had to toss them out from within the car. Worried that his car would get infected with leeches, the driver also helped.
And it was time to go back to the city.