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.
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.
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.
Road trips are fun. Time for some in-land roadtrips. These great roads are spread across the 5 Taluks (Vaikom, Meenachil, Kanjirappally, Changanacherry and Kottayam) in Kottayam. There are adequate wayside amenities viz. restaurants, fuel stations, ATMs, stop-over shoulders.
A view from Cherpunkal, on the Ettumanoor – Pala – Erattupetta road
The roads are:
1. Vaikom – Thalayolaparambu – Ettumanoor
2. Ettumanoor – Pala – Erattupetta
3. Kidangoor – Manarcadu
4. Kottayam – Pulikkal Kavala – Kanjirappally
5. Pulikkal Kavala – Karukachal – Changanacherry
6. Changanacherry – Alappuzha
7. Chengalam – Kumarakom stretch of the Kottayam – Kumarakom road
Smooth and free-flowing, these roads are a pleasure to take on.
Tastes best when chilled. Feels best on Sundays and holidays.
The following route map includes all of the above roads to form a single route.
Vaikom – Thalayolaparambu – Ettumanoor
Ettumanoor – Pala – Erattupetta
Kidangoor – Manarcadu
Kottayam – Pulikkal Kavala – Kanjirappally
Pulikkal Kavala – Karukachal – Changanacherry
Changanacherry – Alappuzha
Chengalam – Kumarakom (part of Kottayam – Kumarakom road)
Maps courtesy: Google Maps
Naalumanikkaattu is an in-house tourism project by the Manarcad-Ettumanoor Bypass Residents’ with technical support from Tropical Institute of Ecological Sciences (the same people behind the Butterfly Garden). A stretch of the bypass has been worked upon and transformed into something like an open park. Benches are placed along one side with tress planted in between. Paddy fields extend to both sides. The already-wonderful landscape will get even greater once the trees grow up. This is indeed a great start.
Also read: Inspired by Naalumanikkaattu, two more similar projects at Kolladu and Mutholy
Location: 2.5 kms from Manarcad Junction (on the Manarcad-Ettumanoor bypass)
(View on map)