It was mid of May 2015, when me and my friend decided our plan to visit Neliyampathy. It was after our usual semester exams. With lab works, assignments, project activities and tons of modules to mug up, there was but very few occasions in our engineering life to get excited about. This 10 days of semester break that we got after our exams were definitely one of that.
So we made plans to visit some place tranquil and reticent away from all the turmoil and tantrums that was usual in our college life. After an hour long discussion and internet research we decided to visit Neliyampathy. The decision was made after scrutinizing economical and time factor. We had only budget and because of that we were only considering one day trip within 200 km radius from us. This is the main reason behind us finding this magnificent hill station. Otherwise we would have settled for some cliche hill stations nearby which includes Munnar, Ooty and Kodaikanal.
Now we were in our college hostel at that time which was in Thrissur district. Neliyampathy is located in Palakkad district and was around 75 km away. We only had two options to reach there. Either travel by bus or by our own vehicle. To save money, we first considered bus. There were buses from Thrissur district at regular intervals. But later we decided against it, because we felt that we might miss the opportunity to relish the spectacular beauty that Neliyampathy has to offer. State buses here are like big rectangular boxes with high window placement so one has to stretch oneself from the seat to get a glimpse of outside.
So we decided to leave the next day at 4 am from our college hostel. We spent the following evening preparing for our little expedition. We fuelled up our vehicle which was my good old honda activa 110cc. It was not the first time I was going on a long trip in it. So I wasnt much concerned about its performance. It was solid and reliable and still ran strong beside being 5 years old. We checked the tire pressure, estimated the total budget needed, fully charged our smartphones and downloaded the route to our destination for offline access.
The next day, sharp at 4 am, we hit the road to kickoff one of the most enduring expedition. I was at the driver’s seat and I drove continuously for two hours covering around 50 kms. This brought us to Nenmara town which is around 28 kms from our destination. The time was 6 am by then. We decided to have breakfast from a nearby street vendor. It was still early morning for the folks of the town, so most of them were still shut. It was still bitter cold, so we did not dare to remove our jacket. I had a Masala dosa and my friend had a ghee roast with sambar and chutney. These are considered as prominent breakfast food in Kerala.
After breakfast, we continued with our small expedition. We stopped at an ATM on our way because we knew that there were no ATMs in Neliyampathy town. The lane that led to Neliyampathy from Nenmara was much more exotic. There was an endless greenery on both sides of the road. There was paddy fields and small hills which was fascinating to look at. Many views compelled us to halt and take some photographs.
It was one the way that we passed Pothundy dam. It was around 6:30 in the morning and the water shimmered in the morning sun. The ascend to the Neliyampathy hills starts after this. The road that climbed the hill was in satisfying condition and 10 hair pins that I had to tackle during the course gave me good driving experience. To the left it was dazzling aerial view of Pothundy dam.
After an hour or so, we finally reached Neliyampathy town. It was 7 am, and by this time the town was alive and was bustling with town folks. There was a lot of small local shops and hotels in the town. We took our smartphone and in Google Maps we searched for the nearest attractions. It was Seetharakundu point, which was around 5 odd kms from the town. The view was privately maintained so we parked our scooter and walked through a privately maintained garden to reach the view. The 10 minute walk that we had through the garden was breathtaking. All the flowers around made us feel wonderful and fresh.
After the walk, we reached suicide point aka Seetharakundu. It was a majestic view. The 460 metre deep view to the ground from the cliff and strong wind that was blowing continuously gave me magnificent feeling that is so hard to explain in words. There were no security guards or fences and one could easily fall over if not cautious.
The scenery there was stunning. Trees at the edge of the cliff made an awe-inspiring background. We took out our cameras and clicked countless pictures just because we couldnt get enough of the view. We walked along the edge of the cliff for sometime, and then we reached a point where we could see a stream flowing downwards. We descended down to the stream and the once we reached it, the view was wild and exotic. We spent some time there and then we decided to go back. The ascend was not that much fund and exciting as descend. It took a lot of time and energy to get back to the initial point and by that time we were gasping and out of breath.
It was around 11 am by then, and we decided to visit one more attraction before starting on our return journey. We quickly checked the Google Maps and found out that Palagapandy, another attraction wasnt much far from Seetharakundu, where we were. We reached there in less than 30 minutes. From there one can prefer to savor and relish the scenic beauty either with by trekking or by hiring a jeep. As we werent allowed to take our own vehicle, and as we were already tired and exhausted, we chose to enjoy the view in jeep. The jeep travelled through unpaved and stone roads and the landscape that was on the side was beyond explanation. The gorgeous and grand tea, coffee and cardamom plantations filled us with a divine feeling. We also had the chance to catch a glimpse of wildlife side which included elephants, giant squirrels and different varieties of birds. I thought that this place would be a heaven for a wildlife enthusiast. We were told that there are also leopards, but we were not fortunate enough to see it.
At around 1 pm, we returned back to Neliyampathy town. The climate there was neither too hot nor too cold. It was around 28 degree celcius. Compared to the place from where we came, this wasnt considered hot climate at all. We lunched at a local hotel there and had oonu which is Malayalam word used for rice and curries. The rice with sambar and pappadam was savory and I wondered whether it was because of the quality of the food that they served or just because I was plain hungry.
By 2 pm, we decided to return back to our hostel. With traffic conditions, it took us a good 3 hours before reaching back.
We reached our hostel room by 5 pm. We went through all the pics that we clicked while we sat exhausted and tired after the journey. The pictures of dam and its aerial views, hairpin curve driving, bustling hill station, gardens, terrifying suicide point, streams, waterfalls, plantations and wildlife animals left a smile on our face. We knew another day have passed, we are a day nearer to the old mundane mechanical lifestyle that engineering life presented us. But this time we were elated as were left with a handful of wonderful memories.