March 5, 2013 in MAPS SPECIAL
VAGAMON-THE SCOTLAND OF ASIA
What could be referred as next eye-catching destination for film-walas; be it Bollywood or Hollywood ! Vagamon is a hill station located in Kottayam-Idukki border of Idukki district of Kerala, India. It has a cool climate with the temperature between 10 and 23 °C during a summer midday. It is situated 1,100 meters above sea level. Vagamon also known as the ‘Scotland of Asia’, was discovered by the British who found the place ideal for tea plantations and they were followed by Christian missionaries who built their abode of service at Kurisumala in Vagamon. National Geographic Traveler has listed Vagamon on their directory of the ’50 most attractive places to visit in India’.
Still untouched by commercialisation, the sleepy town with its scenic valleys, beautiful green meadows, enchanting pine forests, mists, fogs, tea estates, waterfalls with the overall greenery is really striking. The landscape is mostly hilly bald with green meadows. Vagamon is also home to a large variety of flowers and orchids. Cuddled up within three striking hills Thangal, Murugan and Kurisumala hills which are the representation of the chief religions in Kerala, i.e. Hindu, Muslim, and Christian which represent the cultural harmony. Vagamon has amenities for trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing. However business interests are trying their best to exploit and sell and market vagamon for tourists. How much benefits the local people are receiving from tourism boom is to be seen. The efforts made by the Kurishumala Ashram have helped the farmers of vagamon to improve their earnings by ensuring better price for milk and marketing opportunities.
Vagamon is at the fringe of the Western Ghats and the foot hills on its lower side reach up to Teekoy with a gradual descent. This narrow strip of descending land gives a vital connectivity to the plains as both sides of vagamon up to kuttikkanam on the south west and moolamattom on the north east, are marked by steep and inaccessible hill slopes. Traveling by the hill highway in this section is an exhilarating experience with deep valleys and magnificent views all around. Vagamon presents very spectacular views with an ethereal touch. Vagamon’s charm is worth experiencing and is indeed one of the must see places for tourists. Reaching Vagamon itself is an extraordinary experience. The meandering road to Vagamon is cut in solid rock lined with pine forests. And as you wind your way through green capped hills, the rolling plains come into view thousands of feet below you. The road to vagamon from Erattupetta opened an easily accessible and direct route to vagamon from the plains. This road which was constructed in the 1950s was an engineering marvel and is rated a state highway. Had it not been for the initiative and influence of the then member of parliament Shri George Thomas kottukappillil this very expensive road would not have been materialised. The road was made in treacherous and dizzying terrain. About a dozen workers died during the construction at the hanging cliffs and a 20 foot tall memorial tower stands in honour of those who gave their life for this road project at the beginning of the road in Teekoy town junction .
Vagamon is located 39 km from Thodupuzha, 33 km away from Palai, 45 km from Kumily, 22 km from Kuttikanam and about 65 km from Kottayam. Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport while the closest railway station is Kottayam. There are many fine resorts available in the surrounding areas with affordable cost for trekkers.