Vandanmedu is a quaint village in Idduki district of Kerala. It is famous for being the largest Cardamom producer in the World. Blessed with natural beauty, Vandanmedu is a perfect weekend getaway. A Plantation Stay is the best way to experience this region. Just 27 kms from Vandanmedu is Thekkady and the famed Periyar wildlife Reserve. Vandanmedu and its surrounding areas like Murikkady, Pandikuzhi, Gavi and Chellarkoil are shining examples of sustainable eco-tourism.
Vandanmedu is located 25 Kms north of Kumily on the Thekkady- Munnar highway. It is at a distance of 27 km from Thekkady and 85 km from Munnar. Buses and Taxis are available for Vandanmedu from both Kumily and Thekkady.
Vandanmedu is primarily a Cardamom Plantation area. Plantations offer a guided tour as well as boarding and lodging. The plantations usually grow Cardamom, Pepper, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cinnamon. There are abundant fruit trees as well. Pineapple, Mango, Guava, Banana, Orange, Mangostene, Jackfruit, Rambuttan, Butter fruit, Litchi, Papaya and Rose apple are the local specialties.
We had stayed at Carmelia Haven. As we were 2 couples, we took a Tree House and a Cave house!
It is a good idea to visit Murikkady during your stay at Vandanmedu. Located 5KMs from Thekkady, Murikkady is famous for coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations.
Pandikuzhi is a good picnic spot situated between Chellarkovil and Tamil Nadu state border. The cascading waterfalls make it a haven for trekkers and photographers. The flora, fauna and streams provide a perfect ambiance for a picnic lunch.
Gavi is a picturesque retreat for trekkers as well as nature enthusiasts. It is located 14 KMs from Kumily. Gavi is primarily an Evergreen Forest and is home to Tiger, Elephants, Leopards, Bears, Indian Gaur, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Lion Tailed Macaque and Nilgiri Marten. A vehicle pass is required to enter Gavi as it is part of Periyar Tiger Reserve. The best way to experience Gavi is to stay in a Forest Tent Camp overnight.
Chellarkovil is located 15kms from Kumily and has a unique distinction of running a community based ecotourism programme. Trekking and guided spice plantation tours are the primarily activities. The programme is nature based, ecologically sustainable, imparts education and benefits local people economically. A herbarium of medicinal plants, a tourist amenity center and an Eco shop are the interesting places to visit. The income generated through tourism is utilized for the afforestation, environment protection and for the benefit of local farming community.
Ramakkalmedu is a hamlet on a hill station located about 15 km from Nedumkandom on the Munnar-Thekkady highway. Legend says Lord Ram had visited here and set his foot on the peak and hence the name Ramakkalmedu. The peak is dominated by Kerala’s largest statue of Kuravan and Kurathi. The two rocks between which the Idduki dam was built were named after these two historical characters from a local legend. There is a wind farm set up to harness wind energy in this area. The view from the top of both the Western Ghats as well as the plains below is breathtaking.
Situated 32 KMs from Vandanmedu is the famed Idukki Dam. It is built on the Periyar River, in the ravine between the Kuravan and Kurathi Hills. At 167.68 meters, it is one of the highest arch dams in the world.
Construction of this Arch Dam and two other dams at Cheruthony and Kulamavu has created an artificial lake of 60 sq. kms. width and the water stored, is utilized for production of electricity.
For a travelogue on the loveliest Hill Station of Kerala, visit Enchanting Munnar.