There is an old-wives tale that goes thus - if the Kalladikodan hills darken, the Kunkapuzha tends to breach its shores. The widespread forest fires in this area are often a sign of the harsh summers that are coming up. The Kalladikodan hills are not just one of the many other hills ; it is a Pandora's Box of myriad myths, rich history and many a witchcraft tales to tell. From the uprising against the British - to the legend of Kalladikodu Neeli, there is even an ancient art form called Neeliattam that is based on the myths surrounding Neeli.
The Siruvani Dam, Attilla waterfalls, Kanjirampuzha, Meenvallam waterfalls originates from the Kalladikodan hills. Mruthasanjjivani, the life-giving plant is said to have been found on these hills. There are many that head to Kalladikodan to collect another precious substance called 'Kanmadham' – a viscous rock formation that oozes out from the age old granite rocks here. The sticky substance is known to have unique medicinal properties. And that is not the only factor that is responsible for placing Kalladikodan on the tourism map.
The Siruvani Dam is a major centre in the Kalladikodan hill ranges. Siruvani in Palakkad District supplies drinking water to the city of Coimbatore. Water from Siruvani River is renowned for its taste and mineral properties. It takes around 18 Kms from Iddakurrissi on the Palakkad-Calicut NH route to get here. Private vehicles are allowed only as far as Injikkunnu which is 2 Kms away from Pallakayathu in the Karimba Panchayat. You are then required to take an entry pass from the forest range check post there. The fee for a group of eight members is around Rs. 1600. From here you can travel for 3 hours on the Forest office vehicle. It is customary for the vehicle to stop at the hairpin bends here called the S-Bend. The view here is breathtaking, covered with a dense fog and this includes the Kanjirampuzha Dam view too.
After the S-Bend, the next stop is Singaparra. You can get into the river from here. The Kerala –Tamil Nadu border runs through this range and we would by then be in the Kerala side. There is another kilometre long walk from here; this takes you into a dense forest. If mother luck favours you may even come across some wildlife. The Forest range guest house is located 4 Kms away from the Siruvani Dam. The 135 – year old residence is called Pattiyar Bungalow as it is set on the banks of the Pattiyar River. The building also goes by the name of Mylone Bungalow after its foreigner builder. Around 10 years back a foreign lady had come in search of the Mylone Bungalow claiming to be the granddaughter of late Mr. Mylone. She even had the original building plans and other drawings as proof.
At present the building doubles up as the Forest Camp Office. Muthikulam, the lap of Kalladikodan hills comes above Siruvani dam. This is where the purest water flows and it is from here that the Siruvani River originates. Between Muthikulam and Siruvani river there exists a dense forest route. The remains of a plane wreckage is said to be lying in there somewhere. Only a maximum of 100 people are allowed into Siruvani in a day. You can get to know any information about the trip from the Injikunnu check post and the permission for the same is obtained from here too. The contact number is 04924201042.
The Kanjirapuzha Dam is located along the Kanjirapuzha-Siruvani route. This is where the mystical Kalladikodan valley lies. Kanjirapuzha is just 4 Kms away from Palakkayam. There is the Attilla Waterfalls and also an expansive botanical garden of the District tourism promotion council at Kanjirapuzha. The falls are 12 Kms away from the Kalladikodu range along the Palakkad- Mannarkkad route. From the town, vehicles are allowed entry up till Munnekara. After that you will have to hire a high-gear jeep for the next leg of the trip. If you are up for it, a trek is also recommended. The walk uphill can get tedious though as only a short distance is covered in tar and concrete. The pathway is mostly in a dilapidated state because of the heavy rains, a pristine river and some smattering of plantation areas. Wild elephants are a common sight here.
There is a massive mango tree and from the foot of the tree you can get a good view of the Western Ghats. The Jeep journey ends after 2 Kms and what lies ahead is a narrow path hidden in the shrubbery and slippery boulders. A hermit is believed to come and live on a clearing below a huge rock. And because of this, the rock is known as ‘Swamipara’. Many put in offerings near a Devil-tree and pray here. The spirit of Kalladikodan Neeli is also believed to be present here.
A narrow way between the rocks leads to the crystal clear river and the cascading Attilla Waterfalls. The falls are so beautiful; it can almost calm your senses and take you to another world. Talks are on for setting up a Hydel Power Station at the foothills. Another 3 Kms from Munnekara is the Meenvallam Hydel project. There are 5 waterfalls here but the entry is restricted only to the first one and all five have a varied kind of charm and allure. The Forest protection Samiti at Munnekara provides passes for 20 rupees that will take you to Meenvallam.
There have been some studies relating these centres by the Palakkad-Idakurrissi-Palakkayam -Siruvani tourism circuit. But nothing much came from this. Examining the possibility of the Meenvallam-Attilla– Palakkayam – Siruvani- Kanjirapuzha forest route has also been proposed.
How to reach Siruvani; Siruvani is the drinking water project of the Kalladikodan ranges.
Entry is strictly with the permission of the Forest Department only.
An 8-member team will incur a fee of Rs. 1600.
The entry pass is obtained from the Injikunnu check post, there is a vehicle of the forest department to take you inside and the duration of the trip is 3 hours.
For more information, contact 04924201042
The Attilla Waterfalls are 12 Kms from the palakkad-mannarkkad route Private vehicles are allowed entry only till Munnekara and from there you need to hire a jeep for a 3 Km journey and then trekking.