The famed mountain pass of the Western Ghats in Kerala begins at Lakkidi in Wayanad. Thamarassery Churam is how the Kozhikode people call the mountain pass, while Wayanad Churam is how it is identified in Wayanad. Like how the mountain pass has two names, it is also witness to two types of rain. The one that originates on the mountain top and the other from down below at the valley. Both can be witnessed at Lakkidi, which receives the highest amount of rainfall in Kerala. Earlier, it used to rain all-round the year in Lakkidi. Now, it does not rain that much. But still it would rain continuously during the southwest and northeast monsoons.
There's a legend behind how the place got the name Lakkidi. A tribal youth, named Lakkidi, was standing guard to prevent the entry of outsiders, who had an eye on the forest produce. The landlords of Thamarassey were fed up with Lakkidi's guard and plotted with a British man, who was a friend of the Samoothiris, to oust the youth. He went up the mountain on his horse to take on the tribal youth. The foreigner gave him a bag of gifts.
When the tribal youth tried on a pair of glasses given to him, he turned blind and he was easily killed by the white foreigner, claimed the legend. However, after his death, Lakkidi's ghost became the trouble-maker. As the ghost haunted the houses of the landlords, it was exorcised at a fort on the mountain top. Lakkidi, who was defeated through deceit, was crestfallen and his tears continue to rain down on the valley and the mountain pass, the legend said.
The unending rain on the mountain is indeed a sight to behold. It is virtually as if the sharp mountain peaks pierce the clouds, causing it to rain down.
Where to watch the rain
The ninth hairpin of the mountain pass is the best spot to view the rain. You can at the same time watch the rain on top of the mountain and the one below at the valley. The path from Vythiri to Lakkidi offers mesmerising views. It would be raining all around - on either sides of the pass, on the mountain path, tea estates and coffee plantations. You can also see the rain on the faraway Chembra Peak, and the mist engulfing the mountain soon after the downpour. Most of the time you would not be even able to distinguish if it’s mist or water raining down the mountains.
Lakkidi would be one of the best places to enjoy monsoon tourism. You can sip on to a hot cup of coffee as the rain lashes down the mountains. Or walk up the forest trail during the rain, or drive down the muddy paths.
There is no dearth for resorts at Lakkidi and Vythiri. Monsoon tourist season would also see good number of visitors. So, you need to book in advance. You can also find resorts and homestays at the nearby Pookode.
How to get there
You need to climb up the mountain from the Thamarassery valley on the Kozhikode-Kollegal National Highway and after crossing the nine hairpin curves you would reach Lakkidi.
Distance: Ernakulam-Kodungallur-Ponnani-Kuttipuram-Kozhikode-Thamarassery-Lakkidi: 235km. You can also reach by taking Ernakulam-Thrissur-Kunamkulam-Kuttipuram-Kozhikode route and climb the mountain pass.