The name sprung imaginations of a vast barren land on the top of a hill to our mind. We expected dusty red soil and dry weather when we were kicking off to enjoy our first bike ride to explore a destination. It was the name, Valley Where Leaves Don’t Fall: Ilaveezhapoonchira, that deceived our thoughts. A beautiful meadow with a lush green valley was a total surprise to us on the top of that hill.
When kicked off from our accommodation at Kochi, we expected a smooth ride to the roof of Kottayam, a district that is famous for Kumarakom Backwaters. Hitting the roads early in the morning helped us to escape the usual unfriendly traffic of Kochi. Soon as the Sun showed its face over the horizon, we rode on to the country roads of Kerala. The curves and the turns were splendid for a rider in me while the green farms and the beautiful roadsides thrilled the two travelers on our bike.
We must have traveled for an hour and a few more minutes; suddenly after a turn on our road to Ilaveezhapoonchira, I noticed a hanging bridge over a small river on our left. By the time my brain processed the sight we had already crossed the place. Yet I stopped after a few feet and returned. Kay and me got off the bike and strolled on to the hanging bridge. The clouding fog around us and the flowing river beneath gave an exotic look for that wobbling bridge. The hanging bridge was too narrow to accommodate more than a person to pass through its spine, yet with her backpack, Kay let every walker to pass her while standing on it and enjoying the view.
We continued our journey to cross several villages and a few small towns. After another hour or so, we listened to the instructions from “google maps” and took a sharp turn. From there we started climbing steeper. It was just the beginning of long messy road ahead. A thirty minutes ride from there and we could manage to reach somewhere which is not Ilaveezhapoonchira. The recently paved roads with unstable stones troubled us and tempted us to call off our journey. We clicked a few snaps and decided to return. It was then a local villager saw us and inspired us to continue our journey, and so we did.
On our way ahead, before reaching our first site, we stopped at two spots. The first one was a check-dam over which our road was running. The check dam was just an over-sized pond but the location was pristine. A warning sign stopped us from getting into the waters but we were relished by the fragrance of coffee flowers. Our second stop was somewhere on the top of another hill which we misunderstood as the upper edge of Ilaveezhapoonchira. The view was capturing but we didn’t know that there was something much bigger at a reachable height from there.
Sprawling green meadows decorated with wild short palm trees were caressed by the wandering clouds and fog. The dew collected on the tips of grasses refracted sun rays and designed the floor with beautiful rainbows. Far below was a river that found its way through the joints of hills. At last, we were really on the roof of Kottayam. A spot of water that we could notice from the heights is the part of a Mahabharata tale among the local people.
The lake was one of the temporary destinations of Pandavas. During their stay there, Draupati, the beautiful wife of Pandavas, used to take her bath in the lake. Even Devas were tricked by her beauty and they used to watch her bathing in the lake. This senseless act of Devas irked Lord Indra, the King of Devas, and he built hills around the lake to act as a shadow for Draupati from others view.
Long back, most probably during the time of Pandavas, there were no trees in the valley and that attracted the name “Valley where leaves don’t fall: Ilaveezhapoonchira“. However, on my visit, I found that the name doesn’t suits the place any more. We strolled through the grasses for sometime and continued to our next destination – Illikkal Kallu.
Are you interested to visit this place? If yes, please read our Ilaveezhapoonchira Destination Guide before you set off.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com