Kerala Tourism - Bird Sanctuary Thattekkad, Bhoothathankettu and Edamalayar Dam
The longest river of Kerala “Periyar” meaning big river flows through some of the bewitching scenery of nature. The merge of these green waters with green dense rainforests creates a deep green sensational effect on the eye. This is the unique 'Kerala' which makes everyone say “God’s own country”. Birds, animals, rivers, trees, flowers, fruits, hills, valleys, rainforests all flock here as they know that Kerala is their right abode.
The honeyed voice of cuckoos in Thattekkad goes in sync with the rhythmic flow of Periyar. Birding is done by those adventurous bird-watchers in this bird sanctuary, home to rich and varied birdlife. The literal meaning of Thattekad is flat forest which is an evergreen low-land forest located between the branches of Periyar. It covers an area of hardly 25 km² and is located in Ernakulam district about 60 km north-east of Kochi. Both forest birds as well as water birds are seen here in which a particular region hosts a paradise of the cuckoos. Drongo cuckoo, Indian Hawk cuckoo and Large Hawk Cuckoos have made this sanctuary their habitat.
Ornithologists who conduct frequent birding camps have identified over 280 species of birds in the area including exotic migratory birds. Dr. Salim Ali, the well-known ornithologist has described this sanctuary as “the richest bird habitat on peninsular India”.
Thattekkad is a habitat of ashy wood swallows with ash upper parts. They are often spotted on the branches of palm trees and power lines. Rufous tree pie, Malabar Trogon, white bellied tree pie, the rare Ceylon frogmouth, Malabar hornbill, crimson backed sunbird, little spider hunter, plain flower pecker, vernal hanging parrot, Malabar parakeet, grey breasted prinia and many more have been skillfully photographed by many adventurous bird watchers from this birds’ haven. Birders would not like to leave this place as several new, exotic and common birds form a canopy over here.
Gigantic rocks entrenching the Periyar are another attraction in this virgin forest. This natural built came to be known as “Bhoothathankettu” which literally means monster dam. It is situated in the village of Pindimana and is connected to Thattekad bird sanctuary about 10 km from Kothamangalam.
According to myth, some monsters planned to submerge the Trikkariyoor temple, whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva. They rolled huge, massive rocks to dam up the Periyar so that the area will get flooded. But, Lord Shiva, smelling the danger deterred them by making a sound like the crowing of rooster. The demons thought the dawn is nearing and the fear of the arrival of light made them flee. Water flows on through the narrow space which the demons failed to dam up.
But geographical evidence gives its attribution to great floods in the 4th century and 14th century that gave rise to the port of Kochi. The devastating landslide during the flood is believed to have caused gigantic rocks to roll down from the mountain and embed the riverbed forming the old “Bhoothathankettu”. This natural spot is a spectacular visual treat for the adventurous nature lovers as the rendezvous of the rocks, waters and rainforests give an “out of the world” experience.
The Edamalayar River, a tributary of the Periyar also creates a splendid horizon in the greenery. This river anchors the Edamalayar dam which is about 10-12 kms. from the Bhoothathankettu dam. The breath taking view of the reservoir with the reflection of the hills is the major attraction here. Also about 2.5 kms uphill, rock cut caves are visible where the Malayalam movie “Vysali” was shot. The mist coming from the mountains blanket the river creating another different visual feast for the nature lovers.
Exploring the Periyar forest really satiates an adventurous traveler’s expectations as the wildlife, rivers and mountains rivet in its entirety. This eco-adventure leads to one of the depths of nature in the wilderness often heard in folklores.
Would you like to visit this natural spot?
Birds from Thattekkad
The rich bird sanctuary in peninsular India
Mythical dam in Periyar river connected to bird sanctuary Thattekkad
Dam built in Edamalayar river, a tributory of Periyar
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© 2012 Radhika Sreekanth