Pullumedu, Thekkady

Visitor Information

  • Famous for: pilgrimage, shrines, festivals
  • Entrance Fee: no entrance fees
  • Visiting Time: no particular time
  • Visit Duration: 2 to 4 hours (subject to change according to your time of visit)

Set amidst tea and coffee plantations, with the lingering smell of spices in the air, we know for a fact that the lush glens of Idukki and surrounding landscapes are unparalleled in beauty and might. Idukki is one of those rare places where we can see the serene and wild side of nature; all at one place. At one side, we see the crafted and moulded plantations tea and coffee plantations, amidst serene rivulets and rolling meadows. On the other side, we see tall teak trees and pine forests with wild trails, high mountain peaks and narrow twisting paths. What more do you want from a vacation getaway? Whether you are up for an adventure trip or a family getaway or a couple’s retreat, Idukki has it all. Pullumedu is one of the hilltops in the district. A speciality of Pullumedu is that it is not only a serene and beautiful hill top with mesmerising landscapes; but an inevitable part of the religious ethos of Kerala. There are a number of myths surrounding Pullumedu which is associated with the legend of Sabarimala Sastha Temple.

Traveller Tips

  • Whenever you are planning a trip whether you need it or not, you must always carry your valid ID proofs with you. You might need it to gain access to some of the areas in Idukki.
  • Make sure you have packed handy medicines with you, especially if you have kids with you.
  • Always carry a handy first-aid kit with you. Trust me you are going to need a lot of bandages especially if you are on an exploratory trip.
  • Whenever you plan a trip then your wardrobe is the first and foremost thing you have to pack. Make sure you have packed comfortable clothes according to the season you have chosen for your visit.
  • Now, this I don’t need to remind you! Click the beautiful moments, through those lenses. Yes, I am talking about your camera! The wonderful landscapes and smiling faces need to captured and kept safe forever.
  • Pullumedu is not only a sacred spot but a place with delicate ecosystem as well. Hence the place is strictly plastic-free-zone.
  • Make sure you keep the place clean as it is your responsibility.
  • Carry plenty of water with you because there are going to be a lot of adventure activities waiting for you at Pullumedu.

Things to Do

  • Spend a few hours amidst the lush dells of Pullumedu. Sit back and relax, all the while listening to the chirping of the birds and roaring water falls in the distance.
  • Go on a walk amidst the narrow winding paths, enjoying the sounds of the wild. If you are lucky you can spot a deer or two. If you are too lucky then you can spot herds of elephants or wild buffaloes. Make sure you know how to climb a tree!
  • There is nothing more fun than exploring the wild. You can book a jungle jeep safari with your tour agency and don’t worry as you will be safely entrusted in the hands of an expert driver.
  • You might have glided over water on a boat or a ship or a yacht. What about bamboos? Yes, bamboo rafting is quite a favourite activity that tourists often opt for. While it doesn’t have the luxury of a yacht, it is definitely an experience to die for.
  • The peak of Pullumedu is a perfect vantage point for paragliders. Since the peak is comparatively not that high, it serves as the perfect take off point for novice trekkers.
  • The rolling meadows of Pullumedu is a serene beauty. Locals believe that the very air of Pullumedu has healing powers. Whether it is true or not, Pullumedu offers you crystal clear skies and mesmerizing landscapes all around. How would you like to spend a night under the starry skies, listening to the sounds of the wild? The experience would be a welcoming change, from the four walls and hard ceilings of your luxurious dwellings.
  • Border hiking is yet another favourite spot for tourists who come to Idukki. It is quite a refreshing take and the wilderness humbles you with its might and beauty.
  • If you are interested then you can stay a few days with the local tribes at Pullumedu. Even though this is off limits for regular tourists, you can avail this opportunity if you seek prior permission with the Forest Department in Kerala. This would definitely provide you with a refreshing new take on life.
  • Make sure you have packed handy snacks with you. You don’t want to trek on an empty stomach.

Availability of Guides

Pullumedu is located in the high range hill staion of Idukki District in Kerala. Pullumedu being one of the preferred tourist sites in Idukki; with rolling meadows adorned with mist, set amidst tall pine and majestic teak trees is never short of guides. Trust me you will need a guide if you want to explore the unexplored trails of Pullumedu. Even though Pullumedu translates as a ‘meadow of lush green grass’, the mountain has a wild side. So, it is better if you hire the expertise of a guide from the official tourism office at Thekkady. You can also avail this facility online from the official website of tourism at Thekkady. This would ensure that you are looked after especially if you have planned your trip in the peak season. You can also pick up a guide once you have reached the place. But I would advise against this because it is always dependable to hire someone who is officially linked with the authorities. It would eliminate the risk of hiring someone who is a complete stranger to you, especially when you are traversing across unknown territories. The surrounding landscapes of Pullumedu are also festooned with wild trails and it is not at all safe for those who have no idea about the terrain to venture out into dark paths. So, if you want to get a taste of the raw beauty of Pullumedu and surrounding landscapes, then hire a guide who is well adapted to the local culture as well.

Best Time to Visit

Recent climatic changes have altered the course of weather patterns in Kerala. However, the summer season in Kerala, usually begin in the month of March and extends till the month of May. The temperature during this time can reach up to 35 degree Celsius. The monsoon season in Kerala is split into two phases due to the onset of north-east and south-west winds.  The first monsoon season begins in the month of June and extends till August. The next phase begins in October and extends till the month of November. Both the seasons experience heavy downpours accompanied with heavy lightning and thunder. So, I guess I don’t need to tell you that you must not even think about visiting the place during these heavy downpours. Lighting and bare hill tops do not work out well at all unless you are shock resistant.  Besides there is also a high risk of landslides and this can be a threat to your expectations for exploration. As opposed to the chilled winter climate in northern India, the winters in Kerala are surprisingly pleasant and welcome her visitors well. Pullumedu being located at Thekkady which is a high range hill station does not experience heat like other places in Kerala. So, if I have to pick out the ideal time for you to visit Pullumedu, then I would suggest the month of December. But avoid the months of January and February because it is pilgrim season and the hill top will be crowded with devotees. Besides the real beauty of the place burst out when the green meadows are covered in a glittering sheen of fog and beautiful mist.

How to Reach

Since there are no direct trains to Thekkady, you have to get down at the nearest railway station to Thekkadi which is at Kottayam. From here you can avail the help of local transportation facilities, which you can find in plenty. I would suggest you to hire a cab so that you turn this into a road trip. You have another half an hour’s travel from Thekkady to Pullumedu which can be easily traversed either by foot, if you are into trekking. You can cover this distance by road also. The nearest airport to Pullumedu is at Cochin, which is well connected with local and international flights.

Interesting Facts and Trivia About Pullumedu

  • This small and petite hill station is located 48 kilometres away from Thekkady and lies parallel to Sabarimala, which is home to one of the most important religious centres in Kerala- Sabarimala Sastha or better known as Ayyappa.
  • Pullumedu is not completely accessible by tourists. Being a sacred spot, Pullumedu is under strict protection particularly during in the months from December to February. The festival at Sabarimala Temple falls during these months.
  • Other areas at Pullumedu are strictly off limits at all times. The delicate eco system of Pullumedu demands extra attention and cannot be tampered at by alien elements.
  • Another reason why, Pullumedu is strictly off limits to tourists is due to the fact that the mounts also houses some of the most ethnic tribal settlements in Kerala. These primitive tribal groups still maintain their ethnicity and cultural ties with an ancient past that has long been forgotten.
  • These tribal settlements are an inevitable part of the religious ethos of Sabarimala. Even to this day, some of the rituals and traditions of Sabarimala are undertaken by these tribal groups.
  • The hill station is located just a few metres away from the beautiful and pristine Periyar River.
  • Sabarimala plays a vital role in the religious consciousness of Kerala. Many theories have been propounded by historians regarding the origin of the temple. The temple is set amidst thick forests, and is set in the Pathanamthitta-Konni hill ranges with the Western Ghats framing their boundaries. The mountains are very important to the myth of Ayyappa, the presiding deity of the temple. Pullumedu is one of the mountain peaks which form the chain of sacred mounts near Sabarimala.
  • Pullumedu is located parallel to the Sabarimala Sastha Temple and is more a place of religious significance rather than a tourist getaway.
  • On January 14, 2011- on a Makara Jyoti Day, Pullumedu witnessed its biggest tragedy. The Pullumedu Human Stampede was a dark event in the history of Sabarimala. More than hundreds of devotees were stamped to death while they were returning from the temple after witnessing the sacred event of the appearance of the Makara Jyothi or ‘celestial star’.
  • The actual cause behind the stampede has not been recorded yet. It is generally believed that the stampede was triggered due to an overturned jeep.
  • It created a major stir in the political arena of Kerala. The incident attracted attention to the lack of facilities and other amenities for pilgrims who visit a temple, whose annual turnover is approximated at an average of 3, 00,000 crores per annum. In light of the tragedy several plans and policies has been initiated for Sabarimala Pilgrim Centre.
  • Being a sacred location, devotees believe that if you have a wish which is pure and innocent, then mount Pullumedu during the Makara-jyothi day and your wish will be granted.
  • Pullumedu is adorned with rich green meadows and a variety of rare specimens of flora and fauna. The very air of Pullumedu is believed to have healing properties, capable of curing all illness.

Nearby Attractions

Every inch of space at Thekkady is an overload of scenic abundance. For every single soul that visit the place, Thekkady offers something to take back home. The place cannot be covered within a day or two. It should be carefully charted out and these places in and around Pullumedu must be included in your itinerary.

  • Cheeyappara Waterfall
  • Thekkady Lake
  • Vallakadavu
  • Idukki Dam
  • Periyar National Park
  • Periyar Tiger Trail
  • Periyar Lake
  • Pattumala
  • Peerumedu
  • Vandanmedu
  • Munnar Hills
  • Peeru Hills
  • Mangala Devi Temple
  • Kurikkady
  • Chellar Kovil

Nearby Restaurants

  • Grandma’s Café
  • Our Place Restaurant
  • Bamboo Café
  • Hotel Peppervine
  • Abraham’s Spices
  • Thekkady Café
  • Bar-Be-Que
  • Coffee Garden

Reward yourself with a refreshing take on life as you traverse through nature’s best crafted works. Indulge in the small pleasures of life and appreciate the small wonders of nature. Trust me; you will need it once in a while between those hectic schedules of your life.

About Rohit

An architect by profession, Rohit Agarwal is a curious traveller, seeking out the minutest detail about the places he travels to, and that’s what one will find in his writings. His writings have appeared in various blogs, he’s currently trying to bring forth as many different places a traveller who shares the same level of curiosity like him would like to visit through his writings.

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