One day, I went to my cousin Arun’s home, which is in Kottayam district to escape from the boiling climate of Palakkad. I wanted to get some relief from the stress that I was under due to work pressure, so thought of taking a break and relax at Kottayam, the land of rubber trees and my favorite rain.

Talking about the trip, I always preferred KSRTC bus for most of my bus journeys, the only bus that could provide much safety and comfort.

I love to travel in KSRTC from my childhood. We always traveled by KSRTC in Kottayam district and neighboring areas. That day, I reached Kottayam by 4 pm and picked an auto to KSRTC bus station. There was an ordinary bus to Erattupetta getting ready to start. I jumped in to the bus and quickly sat on No.51 seat near to the driver . That is my favorite seat and the star seat of all bus fans! 🙂 It is the best position for good sightseeing and for enjoying the driving of our “pilot”!!!! :-O 😀

Bus started from Kottayam and within few seconds after leaving the bus stand, an Erattupetta super-fast entered the stand. After 2 to 3 km of drive, there was another Erattupetta ordinary running past us. Suddenly the Erattupetta super-fast, that I have mentioned previously, covered both of the buses and disappeared! At a time, 3 to 4 Erattupetta KSRTC services, running like a chain, came in as usual, a common scene here 😛 !!!!!!

The next day, after a lazy wake up and breakfast, me and Arun were thinking about the places around Kottayam district. At last, we decided to go to Peerumedu in Idukki district, through Vagamon. We reached Erattupetta KSRTC stand by 11 am and bought two bottles of chilled mineral water. The staff told us that on 11.30 am, Elappara ordinary bus will reach there, and from Elappara, several buses were there to Peerumedu. As they said, we picked Elappara ordinary service.

Even in summer, Vagamon looked beautiful. After passing Teekoy, the area that covers, comes under Idukki reserve forest. We traveled through the edges to deep valleys, Karikad, which is the highest in altitude & the bending point in Vagamon enroute to Kurishumala (Cross-hill) junction.

Our bus was coming back from Vagamon, diverted to Elappara route, another beautiful area. Tea gardens, green grasslands, hills were a visual treat to our eyes!

The road was too good. Pine valley, Kolahalamedu are the major stops in that route. We reached Elappara and it is a small town. After reaching the main bus stand, we asked our conductor how to reach Peerumedu from there. He said that there were only few KSRTC services in that route between Elappara and Peerumedu. Therefore, we decided to take a private bus to Peerumedu. When we reached Peerumedu, we found that there was nothing interesting about that town.

Filmmakers’ favorite place: “Parunthumpara” is very close to Peerumedu but only Jeeps are available to visit that place. Therefore, we continued our journey to Kumily by a KSRTC Fast Passenger.

Peerumedu – Kumily route goes through the major junction town Vandiperiyar, which is the gateway to Gavi, Vallakkadavu, Mullaperiyar dam, Periyar tiger reserve etc. We were very hungry by the time we reached Kumily. We were surprised to know that Thekkady was only 5 to 6 kms from there!

However, buses are available only for a particular time. After having a delicious Tamil style meals from one Annapurna hotel, Arun said that there is a route from Kattappana to Thodupuzha via Painavu and forest sections, if we were lucky, we could see a tusker on the forest road!

I was thrilled to hear about that route. The conductor of one private bus said that, the last bus from Kattappana is by 5.40 pm, and there will be no service after that because it will be the playground of elephants! We immediately picked next private bus to Kattappana.

It was around 5 pm, by the time we reached Kattappana. Each of us had a cup of hot coffee from a local tea shop and entered Thodupuzha ordinary, which would start by 5.15 pm.That trip, was awesome!!!!

The unforgettable thing was a stunning front view of Idukki dam!!!!A wonderful experience!!!!! That was the major highlight of our trip until we reached the Idukki reserve forest. It was around 7 pm when we are entering to the forest sections. Except the headlights of our bus, there was nothing but the blind darkness. During that 10 to 15 kms of forest travel, we were expecting an elephant would cross our path. But unfortunately, we couldn’t find any wild animals. Even that trip was really thrilling because each and every moment we felt amused reading the caution boards warning; “Beware of wild animals” “drive carefully, animals will be crossing” “the forest is own to its animals” etc.

After the forest trip, we came through Kulamavu dam, and reached Moolamattom. On the way to Moolamattom, there was rain and fog. That route was blessed with 12 hairpin bends. While the bus was running around 40 km/h on that straight road, we saw an old man standing in the middle of the road and waving his hands to stop the bus. The driver couldn’t see him until the headlights hit him as the bus went very close.

Within a fraction of seconds, the driver turned his steering to avoid a major accident. The old man was saved!!! Thank God!!!!
Recovered from the shock of that incident, we reached Thodupuzha town by 9 pm. We hadn’t realized that all the buses going to our place had gone while wewere having food in a hotel. On enquiry from the shopkeepers, we came to know that there was a bus at 11.30pm. We decided not to wait for that bus but to go to Koothattukulam by a FP by 9.45 pm.

It was all most 10.40 pm by the time we reached Koothattukulam. Some buses had already left by 10.30 pm! Next bus was only at 1 am! After two and half hours of sleepy waiting, we got Pala ordinary with a yellow fog lamp! We reached Pala by 2 am, and got the Erattupetta FP by 2.40 am. It was 2.55 am by the time we reached home.

You should try this route by a bus during winter or rainy seasons as there are more chances of an elephant crossing your path!!!
Do not waste your time for food and try to pick up the last bus at least…!:-D 🙂 😀

Vimal Mohan