Thursday, October 22, 2015

Nedumkayam Forest

     It was in the monsoon of last year, my previous visit to Nedumkayam forest in which I was lucky enough to meet a tusker in between the tall teak woods. This time also the same hope led me with my friend Abbas towards Nedumkayam when I got a holiday on account of Mahanavami.

calm and quiet forest

     Nedumkayam is located near Karulayi village, 14km away from Nilambur town, Malappuram district, Kerala, India. Visitors and tourists are allowed to enter into the forest here and the entry is controlled by tickets sold through the forest department at the entrance of the forest. Adults and vehicles are charged seperately and the amount is as meagre as Rs 20 for each adults. We took two tickets and they charged Rs 10 for our byke also.  The counter was busy with selling of fresh forest produced honey also.

Nedumkayam bridge

Nedumkayam river

     We slowly started our ride through the jungle.   We moved ahead enjoying every single moment.  After passing a couple of kilometers, we reached near Nedumkayam river.  There was a bridge also to cross the river. The side walls of the steel made bridge was partially dilapidated. But totally the bridge looked safe.  Our byke was not allowed from there ahead. We parked it in the space allowed there. On the bridge there was a warning board that says about the danger of swimming in the river. Many people were drowned here before and the dead ones  included a british engineer Mr ES Dawson(1897-1938), who built this bridge. His body was cremated here inside the forest and the tomb is still neatly being looked after by the forest department.

River view to the upper side

Tomb of the british engineer ES Dawson

The description near the tomb

     Another attraction here is 'Aanappanthi', which is the Malayalam traditional name for elephant taming centre. Decades ago, it was a busy place of elephant training. A board here says that approximately 41 elephants were trained here at a time before.

'Aanappanthi' the elephant taming centre

     A tribal settlement also was there which comprises approximately 25 huts and a small school also. Let me post a few pictures also  that will speak more than what I narrated here.

Teak woods waiting for auction. Forest income for government.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pazhassi cave, Nayadampoyil

     Here are some pictures of Pazhassi cave at Nayadam poyil, Malappuram district. The tall rock behind is Pottan para, to where we had a trekking a few months ago.  Kakkadam poyil, Kozhippara waterfalls, Chempothi mala, Nilambur-Kakkadampoyil ghat road and many other trekking and off road spots are the nearby attractions. A large water theme park is also under construction in this area.

     Pazhassi cave is located inside the forest and one can reach there by 2km of walk from Nayadam poyil village. KSRTC bus is available upto Nayadam poyil. Buses are available both from Nilambur of Malappuram district and Mukkam, Thiruvampadi side of Kozhikode district.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pottan para trek

     After the eventful Vellarimala trek, I was looking for more attractive  adventurous locations to visit.   In between, I visited some of the high altitude locations nearby my place. It was then I got chance to get acquainted with Aneesh who is residing at Thottappully, a remote hamlet in the high-range area more than 20km away from Nilambur in Malapuram district.  Thanks to the facebook group  'Sanchari' in which he had posted many pictures of amazing trekking spots around his place.  In no time I contacted him and collected as much information as I could.

     I had already visited Thottappully, nearby Kozhipara waterfalls and Kakkadampoyil village many times before.  All the times when I visit the place, majestic look of the peaks was my attraction. All these mountains had carried a beautiful blanket like covering of green grass. Some of those hills appeared only as silhouettes while many other hills were seen completely disappeared in the fog. Anyway I have decided to trek any one of those peaks as soon as possible.

(All pictures of this trek can be viewed here)

     The desire for the trek happened to be a reality when my cousin Niyaz K Zubair enquired me about the suitable locations for trekking. I told him about Chempothi mala and we planned to scale it on 16-05-2015 Saturday. I contacted Aneesh and fixed the date.

     Niyaz and his friend Riyas from Kottayam, both are working in Banglore as Electronic engineers, had booked their bus tickets one week ago itself.  And after the full night travelling in bus, on Saturday, they reached around 9'O clock in the morning at Mukkam where I was waiting for them. They reached at me after performing their morning rites and breakfast at Niyaz's home, Koduvally. Niyaz took his car from his home for covering the distance upto Thottappully where the trek starts.  I also joined them at Mukkam. We took the route to Kakkadampoyil via Thekkumkutty-Maranchatty-Koompara. On the way we bought some porottas and egg curries from a hotel for our lunch. After Koompara, the ghat road begins and this road lays approximately 9km to reach Kakkadampoyil. At about  10' o clock, we reached Kakkadampoyil where Aneesh was waiting for us.  He said he has arranged his brother Abeesh to guide us to the top of Pottanpara and who is now waiting for us at Thottappully. Aneesh said that both Chempothi mala and Pottan para are beautiful peaks and choosing either one of them is enough in a one day trekking. So we opted Pottan para.

 After 5 km more in car via Kozhipara water falls and narrow roads through steep terrain, we reached at a place just before Thottappully where Abeesh was ready to accompany us as guide. He said he saw our vehicle since we reached far away from there as he could see long stretch of the road while standing at a view point there. The tarmacked road ends where Abeesh waited us. From there the road is rough and only four wheel drive Jeeps can go ahead towards Thottappully. We walked towards Thottappully side a few minutes and took a left turn that indicates there is the beginning point of our adventurous trek. We moved ahead by a trail that was going up through rocky and shrubbery areas. Soon we saw the boundary of forest, a big cement block, two arrow marks punched on it. The arrow marks indicate the direction of boundary lines of forest area towards both sides of the block. Thus we entered into the forest.  Niyaz was closely observing all even small things while walking through the jungle. His eyes were sharp enough to spot small flies, creepers and different kind of plants. Abeesh, our guide, a young enthusiastic guy, was always vigilant to share us his outstanding knowledge of various flora and fauna of western ghats.

     It was when we gained some height it started raining. quickly we found shelter under a big tree under which the pouring was not much strong. After the rain got subsided we moved ahead. Anticipating the rain we had carried umbrellas in our back packs, and the rain didn't turn to a violent mode at any occasion throughout the trekking. That helped us to finish the task without taking any unnecessary risks.

     Moving upward, we entered into a rocky terrain. It was steep. Climbing up through wet rocks was really a risky affair, especially for Riyas, who had bought a new pair of shoes intending only for this trek and he had to remove it from his feet all the times we come across with a rocky terrain. The shoe, seems an expensive pair though, was a wrong selection as no grip was there in its sole.  Anyhow, he managed to keep pace with us wearing and removing the shoes throughout the trek. We kept moving ahead. We didn't mind the rain afterwards because the rain gave us a cool breath and amazing experience. If it was not raining, we had to suffer the hot sunlight all along. As we gained more and more height, the view downwards and surrounding hills turned amazingly beautiful!  We were savoring the real sense of scaling a peak in western ghats.

     Forest cover slowly gave way to greener-pastures. By 2'o clock we reached near the peak of 'Pottan para'. The name 'Pottan para' is a Malayalam name, which means 'breaking rock'. (Pottan- broken/breaking, Para - Rock). In the peak of Pottan para there were a few rocks lying elevated that have some cracks on it. One of such rocks stood completely broken and we were frightened of it that it may fall down at any time to the deep gorge.  That may be the reason for the name Pottan para.  The 360° view from the top of Pottan para was breathtaking. Suddenly, out of nowhere, fogs appeared and the place completely submerged in it. Nothing was visible for a while.  Abeesh said, after a few minutes the fogs will get cleared. Exactly as he said, a wind came and all the fogs flew away. Now the atmosphere is clear and we enjoyed the beauty of surroundings. There was a rock face stood projected on the peak. Abeesh asked us to look at it carefully. On the rock there had a naturally etched face of a chimpanzee. He said it is known as the 'Chimpanzee rock'.

   We could see all surrounding villages from the peak. Far away towards east we spotted Nilambur town. Towards west, Thiruvampady and towards south, Kakkadampoyil. Some other towns and villages also were visible.  We could spot the rocky cliff that stood close to Kozhipara water falls.  Far away in the other side of Kuruvan puzha, (the river passing through Kozhipara waterfalls and that joins in river Chaliyar at near Canoli plot Nilambur) we could see a lot of majestic mountains that looked beautifully green. The view was literally like a beautiful scenery.  Aneesh said that the other side of Kuruvan puzha is 'Pantheeraayiram acre' forest. (Means 12,000 acre, traditional Malayalam).  On the top of  one of those mountains Aneesh showed us a single tall rock standing vertically, that was known as 'Ottappara'. This also is a Malayalam name which means 'single rock'. Two day trek will be needed if we wanted to go there, he said. Beyond that point the forest and mountains have no end near anywhere. It is connected to Nilgiri hills, hills of Wayanad and Nilambur forests. One or two weeks of time is not enough to cross the area.

     We spent a few time on the peak. It was raining even then. The call from the stomach reminded us it was the time for food.  We had spotted some water holes before reaching the peak. Our bottles had been filled from there. Now we reached another water hole  and there we decided to have the lunch.  It is still raining. We, somehow opened the pack and finished the all three packets in a very few minutes. Abeesh had carried his homely food in his back pack. He also finished it in a few minutes. We took the water from the water hole and quench our thirst and the rest of water used for washing.

     We didn't dump the plastic waste in the forest, we carried it back. Abeesh said that he and his friends sometimes scale the hills only for removing litters and plastic wastes from the area. It seems true because there were no much plastics wastes in the vicinity, comparing some other trekking spots.  Time is now around 3pm and it is the time for discending. We started moving down. First we had to cross a meadow filled with grass and shrubs. It was then Niyaz showed me blood in my pant.  Suddenly I realised that it was leech, the blood sucker commonly seen in mountain areas in rainy season. I searched for that lifting my pants up, I couldn't find the leech. It may have got enough blood and gone already its own way. But since then, it was really a 'leech play' to start with. Riyas found one on his belly and blood was spreading even on his jeans. One by one everyone of us found the 'blood sucker' on their feet, arms and dresses. Abeesh opened his bag and took a cover of salt. Applying salt will make the leech removing operation smooth.

     After a while we forgot the leeches and resumed descending. The way was not the same that we used for ascending. This trail was bit more steep and through more dense forest. Abeesh pointed two nests on a tall tree and he said it is the home of big squirrels , sometimes only seen in western ghats.  We saw then a tree that looked incredibly huge.  Abeesh said it is the Rosewood. This only tree can persuade us to think about the material value of Kerala forests.

     We gradually got down and reached a solar fenced area where the forest area ends. Solar fencing is intended to protect the farm lands and inhabited area from wild animals. We moved far down and reached near the house of Abeesh at Thottappully.  He quickly moved to his house and unloaded his back pack there and came back. Should not forget to mention that he had given us some sweet orange that, he said, was yielded at his own house. Thanks him for it. We then moved ahead and reached at the car. Bade adieu to Abeesh and reached Kozhipara waterfalls. We took the ticket from the counter, Rs 20 for each, and jumped into the river. It was really a rejuvenating bath and all the tiredness washed away.  Taking back the energy, we entered back the car and drove back home. A day of adventurous trek and breathtaking moments ends here. No doubt the memory of the day will never get vanished away from our hearts!
All pictures of this trek can be viewed here

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Scaling Vellarimala

     Yesterday was an eventful day for me. My long cherished ambition was fulfilled. Vellarimala was always my craze for the last many years. I had visited many times the surrounding villages to get the outer view of the location. Sky-touching mountains covered with fogs and their majestic look always tempted me to scale  the mountain at least once in my life. Many times before I attempted to arrange a trek with some of my friends though, all the times it all gone to vain. Wild fire, Maoist threat and many other obstacles pulled us from having an attempt. 

All pictures of this trek are available here 

     But this time, with my friend Najeeb Thottathil my brother-in-law Thufail CMR and 7 others from Valiyaparamb, near Mukkam (Anees, Jasir Vp ,  Amjad Vp , Shahul Hameed , Hashir BzYousuf Sha and FäHiz Muhammed ),  I made it a reality.

     The trek was highly risky one and the way to the top of vellarimala is entirely through dense forest. No roads are there after the inhabited area is over. We had to cross all the way without even any guide. Only Shahul and Yasar among us had scaled this at least upto the half way before. So we hadn't the clear idea about the route. In some places we missed the foot trail and we had to make the way ahead ourselves. Anyway somehow we managed to reach upto the highest level as much as a team could do in a single day time-frame.

     The vellarimala range is not only one mountain or two. It comprises a lot of mountains including, Vavul Mala, Masthakappara, REC Para, Vattapara  and beyond that it reaches through Wayanadan mala towards Chembra near Mepadi, Wayanad. It has connection with Nilgiri hill ranges.

     The place is located near Muthappan puzha, in Kozhikode district, Kerala. (Route : Kozhikode-Thiruvampady- Anakkampoyil- Muthappanpuzha).  I shall try to write a detailed treklogue with more photos later.
All pictures of this trek are available here 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is Copying the solution?

     Writing a blogpost is not an easy affair. I realise this while sitting to write down something. But when we read the posts written by others, simply we feel that it is an easy job. It is from this perspective, one intends to publish a blog. But on the way ahead, the 'writer's block' badly attacks him.  As result, the blog remains dead after posting a few notes! Same plight happens for the facebook posts also.

     So, they reach into the conclusion that copying only will be the solution to stay alive. But once the copying is noticed by someone, the long earned reputation goes evaporated!  Many friends' fb posts, nowadays I see, are copied from any other's posts.

     Sometimes they share any legendary celebrity's quotes. But they deliberately forget to include the author's name in the bottom. If the reader didn't realise that the post is a copied one, he would normally think that the guy is a great writer. And when someone notices the malpractice and leaves a comment indicating the source of the quote, quickly he edits the post and adding the name of real author. I experienced this from some of my friends.

     Anyway all the best wishes to those who write and publish themselves


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