Over at the Trivandrum FB page, Divya Dinesh has given some nice insights into leisure spots around Trivandrum and here is one such article. Particularly of interest for families with kids.
Disclaimer: This article is purely advisory in nature and does not mean you should not do your own research about weather, security and local conditions of the place. The climbs seems mildly challenging and if you have health issues, please take advise from your medical professional. Any water body has the potential for drowning and please be aware of the risks of flashfloods etc, during monsoons, dam release etc. For any emergencies, please contact the local police station or the Forest Department officers.
We Trivandrumites are blessed with two different flavors of holiday spots, seashores and hill tops…. both being easily accessible!
For those of us who have had an overdose of Golden Valley and Meenmutty here is a different diversion – en-route to Braemore Estate near Palode is Mankayam, situated at the pristine Idinjar falls.
To reach Mankayam, one has to take a right from Palode Jn via Peringamala towards Idinjar. (Kowdiar-Perrorkada-Vazhayila-Karakulam-Nedumangad-Nanniyode-Palode-Peringamala-Idinjar-Makayam). It is roughly 36-38 kms from Trivandrum city and an hour’s drive. Sign boards and friendly local people will help ensure that we reach our destination without much hassle. Being a part of the Kerala Forest Department’s Ecotourism project, there is a checkpost at the southern periphery of Mankayam and a nominal amount gets charged as entry fee. Hardly 200 meters up the road is a large open space for parking. The entire area is dominated by the shrubbery and lofty trees of the Shola forest kind.
Apart from having two magnificent waterfalls, Mankayam, is a good spring-board for trekking too. To reach the upper falls, one has to climb over large boulders and trek a bit through the forest. So it is recommended only for the adventurous lot. HOWEVER, both the falls are magnificent and are thoroughly enjoyable J
The lower of the two falls is very close to the parking lot. Few minutes of walking over rocks and we are there! The best part of Mankayam is that even during summer the waterfall is active and the pool at its base is large enough to accommodate 30-40 people at a time. The water is clear and cool and the surrounding trees permit in sufficient sunlight, making it an ideal spot to just lie back and take a nap. The Forest Department has also provided toilet facility and also huts for changing clothes (how I wish these were provided in all our tourist spots!!).
Note of caution for everyone: the pool is quite deep just below the falls, so do not wade in too far without acknowledging the risks. Jumping off the rocks on the side of the pool can be fun, but potentially dangerous if done without caution. Like any other waterfall location, Mankayam has its share of leeches. In case you get bitten by one, just apply some common salt. So do remember to carry a packet of salt powder with you J
Regarding food, bring pre-cooked food and water along with you. At Braemore estate the authorities provide facility for outdoor grilling and camp fire, but it not at Mankayam falls. The last best place to buy food would be at Palode Jn.
The Braemore Estate is 6 kilometers north of Mankayam. The road leading to the estate is narrow and winds up hair-pin bends. So not accessible by anything bigger than a 17 seater. The Braemore Estate has charms of its own and is apt for a weekend getaway. The estate rents out cottages for decent charges and is considered a hotspot for camping trips. The upper most point of the estate has a helipad and beyond it is a trekking trail which leads down to a narrow valley with another beautiful waterfall on one side.
Braemore Estate and Mankayam falls are accessible throughout the year, but typically not recommended during the monsoon season as there can be flash floods.
Enjoy the trip!