If you’re looking for a spot to find some peace or hang out with friends, then you don’t always have to go for a very long ride to Munnar or Idukki. Many people don’t know this, but there are places in and around Malayatoor in the Ernakulam district that have views to die for. Located around 52 kilometres from Kochi, you can explore all of these places at no cost (except for travel charges of course). For people who don’t know about Malayatoor, it is a luscious and beautiful place that is abundant in flora and fauna.
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Malayatoor is accessible by roads from all sides, and is mainly connected to Angamaly, Kalady, Kothamangalam and one of the prominent waterfalls in Kerala, Athirappilly falls. It is recognised as an International Pilgrim Centre. Tourists are mainly found to travel to Malayatoor for the religious aspects of the place.
St. Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ is said to have come here to pray in AD 52. It is believed that his footprints are seen on the top of Mount Malayatoor that attracts believers from across the globe. The so-called ‘Malayatoor season’ or the time when this pilgrimage happens is during the months of March to May but the dates may vary according to the time of Lent practised by devotees of Christianity.
But this is not the only aspect that attracts people to this little heaven on Earth. Malayatoor is situated in the lap of nature. The long and wide forests are enriched with small waterfalls, big and small mountainous terrain, irrigation canals, wild and exotic birds and animals and so on. The roads within the forests give people the chance to enjoy a walk or a ride through the forests among the wide varieties of trees present here. Entering the forest is prohibited by the Department of Conservation of Forests but there are other places that welcome tourists.
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Malayatoor boasts of many tourist attractions in and around the area. Some of which are widely known while some places are only known to the locals.
The prominent attraction is Mount Malayatoor, a six hundred and nine-metre high mountain that houses the shrine dedicated to St. Thomas. The thirty-minute trek to the top of the mountain leads to a breathtaking view and a cool atmosphere. Trust me, the trek is worth the effort.
While this attraction sits atop the mountain, you’ll find another one at the foot of it. Manappattu Chira is a small one hundred and ten-acre lake made for irrigation purposes around the area. It receives water from the Idamalayar Dam and is often filled to the brim. Mornings around the lake offer a breathtaking sunrise that reflects off the water and offers people a serene atmosphere for walks and jogging or just to relax. You can access boat services and fish in the lake too.
Athirappilly, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state is at a distance of twenty-five kilometres from Malayatoor and the road to the falls is one for the memories. The ride to the falls from Malayatoor offers scenic beauty and trees cover the roads like a canopy. Travelling through the forest, tourists can often glance at wild birds and animals like elephants, deers, peacocks and even leopards or tigers. The roads run parallel to the river to the checkpost that marks the end of the forest route. Malayatoor is also a checkpoint for people who travel to Valparai through Athirappilly and Vazhachal.
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One other attraction around Malayatoor is the Mahagony Thottam, a forest of huge Mahagony trees and wild jack trees which is maintained by the forest authority and the Vana Samrakshana Samithi. It is an area where travellers can be with nature and listen to the sounds of nature. Spending some time in this forest can certainly uplift the soul of a person. It’s a perfect place for spending some quality time with family and friends. The place is also a location that is used for movie shootings. Some of the movies that have made use of this place are Bahubali, Pulimurugan, Madhura Raja and so on. There is a small entry fee to the place but the experience is calming.
These are some of the famous and known tourist attractions of the area. But being such a large area, Malayatoor has many places that are mainly known by the people nearby. There are many small waterfalls like Bharanikuzhi, Kalluvathil and so on that are seasonal in nature and become active during the rainy season. The Forest Department prohibits entry to some of these so you’d want to make sure that entry is allowed before you decide to take a dip.
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Aquaducts are other places you will find only if you go deep into the forest. Aquaducts are big canals built over rocky terrains to carry water from the Edamalayar Dam. They help in irrigating nearby areas. The places near the aqueducts are of great beauty. There are often cliffs and small ponds nearby that many people don’t know about. It’s a great place to spend some time with friends especially during the morning and afternoon when the sunlight is least strong. The aqueducts near Malayatoor are in Illathondu, one in Malayatoor and Chathakkulam. All of them are accessible by road.
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The road from the small Village of Naduvattom to Malayatoor is a well-maintained path that is perfect for walks and bike rides. One can walk or jog through that path listening to the chirping of birds and occasionally, the voice of peacocks. It’s a simple path through the forest. The word Malayatoor is an amalgamation of three small words. Mala (Mountain) Arr (River) and Oore (Place). This is to say, Malayattoor is a meeting place of the mountain, river, and land. And the place truly lives up to its name.