It was an image again that caught my interest to visit Idukki dam. Yes we planned an entire trip just to visit Idukki as it looked mesmerizing from the pictures available on the Internet.
We soon realized that Thekkady, Idukki and Munnar can become a good holiday and we would be covering these destinations as they are close to each other. The fact that we were going to drive and go to these places added to our excitement as we had a memorable holiday when we went to Gauhati and took a self-drive car that led to known and unknown destinations covering Shillong, Cherrapunji, Dawki and places that we just drifted.
Likewise this trip too had the advantage of having the vehicle in our access at all times and we would just drive to some road as it seemed inviting.
(On the way from Bangalore to Thekkady -Photograph by Reshma Krishnamurthy).
Thekkady our first destination in this trip was inviting. On the way from Bangalore to Thekkady we were just blown away at the magical spin of the nature. I would never think of monsoons and holidays together. But an advance booking of the hotels and our belief that we will manage didn’t deter us to go during monsoons and we just loved it.
Even the Nipah virus didn’t alter our plans though we were watchful on the news updates and had decided to change if required.
Thekkady is a paradise with an absolute green cover and has the beautiful Periyar lake. As we waited for the boat to take us around in the drizzle, everything around us seemed good.
(Boating at Periyar lake, Thekkady. Photograph by Reshma Krishnamurthy).
Yes for the first time, I felt rains are not bad and it won’t take away the charm as long as it is manageable drizzles.
(The magical Periyar lake and the boating experience at Thekkady. Photo by Reshma Krishnamurthy)
So after 1 ½ days of our stay in Thekkady, it was time to head to Munnar but of course stop over by the iconic Idukki dam nestled at a distance to be covered in one hour. On the way we were shown a destination and informed that was the Idukki dam. It just didn’t look as I had seen in the pictures but I figured it was the same dam from a distance.
( A side view of the Idukki dam-Photograph by reshma krishnamurthy)
I tried recollecting what I had seen on the net and I again started talking to the locals that there were two mountains, a bridge and I wanted to see that point. They informed us that we had to go towards Cheruthoni dam entrance which is right next to Idukki.
So finally we reached Idukk/Cheruthoni i dam by 12.30 noon and thought we will wrap it up by 1.30 to head to Munnar.
On reaching Idukki I literally jumped in joy. I was thinking I am going to be the proud owner of memorable pictures. It was like a page of National Geographic magazine or BBC Earth channel come alive in front of me.
As we stepped out of our car in the parking area, we were informed that it was mandatory to register before heading towards the dam bridge. Of course it wasn’t going to be any concern and we walked over to the security booth only to be informed that the area was a high security zone. As we waited in bated breath what would come over next, we were informed we had to leave our mobile phones and go and no photographs or video could be taken anywhere around the dam.
(Photograph taken from Internet).
I was of course disappointed but I thought this might be the opportunity to soak the experience completely without any self-driven pressure of photograph, video, selfie or anything on those formats.
We started walking over the bridge leading to the mountain and we were told we could walk on the dam, stay as long as we wanted, walk around the mountain and reach the other dam entrance. Yes Idukki has three dams across the Periyar river flowing. So one can walk over the Cheruthoni dam and walk around the mountain for 2 kilometers and reach the entrance of Idukki dam.
(Photograph taken from Internet). (We walked on this dam and the other side is the blue waters.
When we saw the nature of one of the cleanest rivers, mountains standing tall, waiting to be admired, I just didn’t want to leave . Again with a child around, it was of concern if we could walk and come back with equal energy . I somehow convinced my child that we had to walk around the mountain. There was a buggy stationed at the entrance of the bridge but it didn’t seem to be functional.
(Photograph from the Internet)
On one side was the clean blue water from the Periyar river formed into an artificial lake and the other we could view the villages amidst lush greenery over the dam. This has been one of the most spectacular viewpoints that I have ever been in the country.
So as we soaked in the experience, realizing this will be in our memory and not over camera phones, it was the moments to cherish and feel blessed to witness a magical sight. I have to say that whether it is the collective action of residents or government agencies or tourists and activists, the entire area was plastic free and it looked like a replicate of heaven.
Once you walk around the mountain you come to the entrance of Idukki dam and it leads to a small cave again manned by armed personnel. My child was happiest walking through the dark yet safe zone cave and we did walk back slowly cherishing each moment seen at this destination. If given an opportunity, this is one of those destinations; I would want to go back again to India’s first arch dam.
(On our way back from Idukki to Munnar, carrying tons of memories. Photograph by Reshma Krishnamurthy).
This tourist and relatively crowd free destination is an engineering marvel and has been around since 1975.
I have shared a few pictures that are available on the Internet. I am given to believe that earlier, pictures could be taken at the dam, but now due to unwarranted threats, these spaces are protected and not encouraged on being photographed.
A few tips if you are planning to visit Idukki dam:
- Carry your own water bottle, food and an umbrella or a hat.
- Wear good walking shoes.
- Be sure if you can get your child to walk over 2 to 2.5 kms or be ready to carry him or her accordingly.
- Be well prepared to leave your cameras, mobile phones, however expensive they are in the security counter.
If you are a little lost on the way, do ask for Cheruthoni dam, adjoining the curvature Iduki dam. Google maps may not really help in getting you here.
Do not go over weekends or public holidays as it might be closed and you can get a view .
Munnar is 2 hours drive from Idukki dam and to reach the dam from Thekkady, it might take you close to an hour.
Featured image is taken from the Internet. If you plan a holiday or have been there, let me know your experience.