Evergreen legacy of the Pazhassi Raja who fought British

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Many of those familiar with the charming nature of Wayanad would have heard of a dam called Banasura Sagar raised in the rugged northeastern Kerala district. Just 21 km off the hill-town of Kalpetta, the 1979-built reservoir across the gurgling Kabani river is India’s biggest earthen dam. In fact, Asia's second in size.

Legend has it that the belt was where mythological Banasura, the son of Ravana in the epic Ramayana, did his penance. If the surroundings are thick forests, the waters holding the dam water have islets that add to the scenic beauty.

It is a belt fit for trekking as well.

Pazhassi Raja

Two-and-a-half centuries ago, there ruled a king called Pazhassi Raja. In 1805, aged only 52, he died fighting the British who were making inroads to down south of India. His resistance was marked with the amazing support of the tribal community called Kurichya. When the invaders advanced with gunpowder, the local soldiers sought to counter it with bows and arrows.

The historical episode has been captured well in a 2009 Malayalam movie titled Pazhassi Raja. The lion-hearted king has got of memorial of late: there is a 1996-built tomb at Mananthavady, 30 km north of Kalpetta. It displays the weaponry the king and his army used in their war against the European superpower. The interiors bear a hangover of patriotism. The museum is open all days except Mondays, and functions between 10 am and 6 pm.

Evergreen legacy of the Pazhassi Raja who fought British

Kuruva Island

It is a 950-acre protected delta on one of the tributaries of the Kabani river. The place has its inhabitants speaking Malayalam as well as Kannada, as the belt is on the Kerala-Karnataka border.

Actually, Kuruva is an eyot of three islets. Two of them have small lakes. The silence is broken by the birdsongs, mostly of parrots. Added to it, the sights are enriched by butterflies in flocks.

Kuruva thrives on eco-tourism. The islets have huge trees but no wild animals. Entry into Kuruva requires official permission. If can be secured from the Division Forest Office in Kalpetta.

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