St. Thomas Mount Chapel

Use the map for accurate location information.

On the Uzhavoor – Pala road, after Kudakkachira, take the left deviation at Valavoor towards Chakkampuzha. Within about 100 metres, there’s a road that goes up to the left and that’s what we want. This is a great road with steep climbs and glorious curves. After about 1.5kms,  to your left, there will be a broken, relatively narrow road passing through rubber plantation. Take that (never with a big/wide vehicle). You’ll soon be mildly ‘off-roading’ and it gets narrower as you go further.

A small, secluded chapel – the St. Thomas Mount Chapel – and a stunning view to go with it.

You MUST note that this isn’t really a Tourist/Picnic Spot. It’s just a good view from a church premise. Take pride in acting accordingly. It would be a good idea to avoid going there in groups/gangs.

The place and the views

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Getting there

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It was a sweet surprise to find a good video of the place already on YouTube. It’s slightly long – 7 minutes.
Use these timecodes to jump:
00:07 – main view, 00:40 – start of the road trip off Valavoor, 03:13 – the best curve,
03:56 – the final deviation, 05:10 – the Chapel, 05:26 – more views.

[Holy Mass timing: Sundays, 4.30 pm]

 

Green Roads (+ 4th Anniversary)

An interesting characteristic of the District is that it has parts of highland, midland and lowland within its boundary. A trip from Kumarakom to Vagamon – from ~10m above sea-level to 1100m – sets a good example of this, passing through either Kuravilangadu-Pala-Erattupetta or via Ponkunnam/Kanjirappally-Pala/Erattupetta. The transitions are smooth and subtle and happens in just 70-90kms.

Put up below are photos of some very green stretches of road  from the midlands. The surface quality is the best around and there are glorious curves.
The locations are on the Kanakkary-Vempally, Kozha-Marangattupilly, Uzhavoor/Kurichithanam-Pala stretches.

One could argue the photos/places look too similar, to which I can only say: it sure doesn’t feel that way in real.
And oh, by the way it’s the 4th Anniversary of KottayamPattanam; the first post was on 31st Oct 2009.

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J-YES Farms, Neendoor

This place should have been profiled here way earlier. The ‘J-YES Farms’ at Neendoor is freely open to all, throughout the year. Along with the rearing of a variety of animals, fishes and birds, the place has a landscaped garden, swings for kids, a plant nursery, an agricultural museum that archives old and traditional farming implements and household objects. There is an open air cafeteria too.

The locals take pride in this project. During the weekends, the place gets filled  especially with kids!

Location map: http://goo.gl/maps/H98NZ
Timings: 7 days a week / 5 am – 7 pm
Entry: Free
Contact: 0481 – 2712828

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Short Circuits in Kottayam

Here is something to get you started with planning short road trips in & around Kottayam. The map below show suggested boundaries (in boxes) and pivots (bulleted names).
You can use the sample routes given after the map to plan a circuit based on your distance, time and location preferences. Use Google Maps.

You can plan a route quickly and it is immensely flexible. You can plan a circular route thereby not having to return via the same places, make a very short route based on your location, mix places up for a longer day-trip, include visits to friends’ & relatives’ places etc.

This would be an answer to the frustrating and not very uncommon situation of “Where to go? What to do?”.shortcircuitgmaps

Sample Routes

1. KOTTAYAM-Ettumanoor/Manarcadu-PALA-Marangattupilli-KURAVILANGADU-Kanakkari-Ettumanoor-KOTTAYAM
(View map)

2. KOTTAYAM-Kumarakom-Edayzham-Thanneermukkom-POOCHAKKAL-Thanneermukkom-Edayazham-KALLARA-Ettumanoor/Mannanam-KOTTAYAM
(View map)

3. KOTTAYAM –KUMARAKOM-Thanneermukkom-CHERTHALA-ALAPPUZHA-Edathua/Nedumudi-CHANGANACHERRY-KOTTAYAM
(View map)

4. KOTTAYAM-ERATTUPETTA-VAGAMON-Teekoy-Ayyampara-Teekoy-ERATTUPETTA-KOTTAYAM
(View map)

5. KOTTAYAM/CHRY-Pulikkal Kavala-Kanjirapplly-KUTTIKKANAM-Elappara-VAGAMON-Erattupetta-KOTTAYAM/CHRY
(View map)

6. Here is one Specialty Route that takes you from low-lands to high-range via mid-lands in about 70kms (one way):
Thanneermukkom-Edayazham-Kallara-Pala-Erattupetta-Teekoy-Ayyampara
(View map)

To demonstrate the flexibility of the routes consider this:
In Route 1, from Kuravilangadu, jump to Kallara on Route 2 (Kuravilangadu-Kuruppumthara-Kallara) and proceed to Thanneermukkom/Cherthala.
On return, go via Kumarakom. There you have it – a remix!  Keep making mixes and you won’t easily run out of  routes to go.

The Specialty Route mentioned above will be a suitable addition to the itinerary of visiting friends and family. Give it a little thought and you could sketch up more specialty routes, like a taste-route which link places with good food, a friends’-route or a holiday family-route!

Note

The roads vary greatly in their characteristics – width, quality of tarring, amount of traffic, foot traffic, population density etc.
Never stop being alert, even on familiar roads.

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Beautiful Sunsets at Mannanam

The Mannanam church is a great spot to watch beautiful sunsets and to experience calming twilight.
(11 kms from Kottayam, view on map).

There stands nothing between you and as-far-as-you-can-see. Just before sunset and during twilight, clouds often stage gorgeous performances. And they never repeat the same moves or hues — the view is unique every evening.

It shows how fun-loving our Earth is!

Inspired by Naalumanikkaattu

It was in January 2011 that Naalumanikkaattu was opened. A first-of-its-kind. The great amount of care and attention given to its maintenance and good-going have paid off greatly. The place is now frequented by at least a couple hundreds people, especially on weekends. The idea was fresh, very practical and the execution was flawless.

Goodness inspires. There are now two more spots in Kottayam that are inspired by the change-of-air Naalumanikkattu offered. Kalathilkadavu Puzhayorasahyanam along the Kodoor River on the Devalokam – Kolladu road (view on map) and Aattutheeram along the Meenachil River, between Cherppunkal and Mutholy, on the Ettumanoor – Pala highway (view on map). These are not as elaborate as Naalumanikkattu but are good little open places for some leisure.

Kalathilkadavu


There are about 6-8 benches here, along the roadside towards the bridge. There is an open park for kids with swings & see-saws, a locally-run hotel that serves snacks & drinks and an ice cream counter. The view get more scenic towards sunset.


Aattutheeram


The Aattutheeram project on the Cherppunkal – Mutholy stretch is a kilometre long beautification of the highway. A passionately maintained garden runs along the road on both sides and it instantly improves the feel of the trip. Even the routine, boring commute will feel better as you pass by. Extending the project, there are now few benches along the garden that overlook the Meenachil River with faint & foggy view of mountains far away.

Walkway at Kumarakom. Into the Vembanad Lake

This walkway is at a walking distance from the Kumarakom Govt. Boat Jetty. It’s about 300m long and ends at a roofed viewpoint – the point where the canal join the Vembanad Lake. (View on map)

There is an adequately sized parking lot right beside the Jetty. A 3oo-metre walk from here, along the canal-side road will get us to the walkway. The walkway is fenced on both sides and fully paved with non-slippery tiles. Savour the view, feel the air, enjoy the walk.

There is a chapel near the end which is situated in the lake. This dramatic spot has been the location for many films, including the giant-hit Mohanlal flick – Spadikam (see the screenshots at the end).

The trip could be extended to include a 30 minute (one-way) nonstop boat journey across the Vembanad Lake to Muhamma and back on a Govt. ferry service from the Govt. Jetty. Include a visit to the Bird Sanctuary located about 3kms away in Kavanattinkara/Kumarakom Tourist Complex and you have got a solid one-day trip in hand.

And hey, the Kottayam-Kumarakom road is now super-good from Illickal. It has a Changanacherry-Alappuzha Road feel to it!

List of places to visit and things to do in Kumarakom