This scenic spot features in the Malayalam film 'Loham' starring Mohanlal, where the characters assemble for discussions. It is a water body few have seen or heard of and it does not stand out on tourism maps of Kerala. This is Asurankundu.
With its serene surroundings, the forest offers easy and suitable paths for trekking. Birds roost atop the Palmyra palms. Fish play about the calm water and the water birds look for their catch. This is your essential Asurankundu.
The dam at Asurankundu is about 30 km from Thrissur. If you turn right off the Vadakkanchery-Mulloorkara road and follow the forest path for some distance, you will reach the check-post of the forest department. The permission to go further inside and closer to the dam can be obtained here.
When we hear 'dam,' the image of a huge water body comes to our mind. But Asurankundu is just a check-dam. You can walk across the dam to the other side. They breed fish in the reservoir. Many visitors feed these fish. Mulloorkara Panchayat usually auctions off the catch.
There is a small forest on the other side of the dam. One could walk around the fringes of the reservoir through trekking paths made by people. These paths lead us to a small island full of Palmyra palms. The place is rich in scenery.
On the small island, the rocks are adorned by bird droppings. Various kinds of water birds sit about as if in meditation. The scenes on the other bank can be enjoyed from here. It is dangerous to enter the water as the depths are not known. Pugmarks can be seen on the slush. Families come here for picnics. The children can run about safely by the waterside. The elders can sit and talk on the rocks or on the grass. It is calm all around.
If you want a closer look at the birds, walk a little distance along the banks under the tree-canopy. If you are patient enough, you could see many birds in their routines.
Asurankundu is on the northern side of the Peechi-Vazhani wildlife sanctuary. The Asurankundu dam serves the purpose of collecting the water coming out from the forests and hills surrounding it. There are recommendations to include the Asurankundu dam also in the tourism corridor involving the Peechi-Vazhani-Poomala dams. Boat rides and a hanging bridge are being considered. It might be worthwhile to visit this place before these plans are implemented.
The dam belongs to the irrigation department and the road to the forest department. There is a two-kilometre walk into the forest. During summers, trekking is discouraged as even a small spark can result in wildfires and the entire forest could be destroyed. The best time to visit is the rainy season.
It is good to visit the place from June onward. When rain fills the reservoir, water is released into the canal over the tiers. This is a charming sight. The evenings are pleasant and suitable for larger groups.
How to reach
From Ernakulam, the Asurankundu dam is 103 km via Thrissur, Vadakkanchery, and Mulloorkara. Vadakkanchery is the nearest railway station. From Vadakkanchery, buses ply towards Chelakkara. On the way, get off at Attur and take an autorickshaw to Asurankundu dam.
Things to remember
Please do not litter the place with plastic and food waste
There are no lifeguards and so entering the water is dangerous
Do not remain in the area after darkness
The visiting time allotted is from 9am to 5pm
There is no entry fee.
One can walk through the forest all the way to Vazhani.