MANU REMAKANT finds out innovative ways to beat the cold while at Lakkidi
Bet most of you have not heard about Lakkidi. Or that it is the place that gets the second highest rainfall in India? This is where the sky and the blue mountains meet, it is almost as if you just need to stretch your hand and touch the clouds that flit past. Standing on `Onpatham Valavu,’ in Lakkidi, which is around 700 m above sea level, the rest of the world seems to have shrunk. From atop the hill the road seems far away, and the trucks on that road resemble matchboxes.
Lakkidi is also the gateway to Wayanad. On your left, where the road falls steeply, a visual feast awaits the traveller. There is the beautiful valley and the mountains that skirt it while on your right the mountain steadily climbs. Onapatham Valavu is where the road gives away to the mountains.
From this point the view is such that it will take away your breath.
There is a slight chill in the air. From this distance, the trees in the valley far below mysteriously turn to blue. The leafless branches of trees in the valleys appear to be stretching out to touch the sky. Power lines that run almost vertically down from the top of the mountain vanish into the mist.
A cold wind sweeps in along with the mist. A few yards away, on the shoulder of the road near the gorge a van is parked. It is an ice cream vendor, selling… ice creams of course!
“We sell a lot of ice creams daily,” says Rajan, the ice-cream vendor. It would appear that those eating ice creams there want to beat the co*ld with some more cold. Seeing is believing. And if you want soak in the ambience, have an ice cream.
As you move out of Lakkidi, towards Vythiri you pass a large Ficus tree on your left. You could miss the chain that is bound around the tree and the small altar near it. Don’t pass it by, there is a story. It is said that a priest bound the spirit of an Adivasi youth to the tree.
Legend has it that an Adivasi youth, Karinthadan helped a British official find a route to Wayanad from Kozhikode. In order to take the credit of the discovery of the route, the British officer killed the Adivasi youth.
The troublesome spirit of Karinthadan haunted subsequent travellers to Wayanad until it was chained to this tree.
Getting or trying to get a bus out of Lakkidi is perhaps the most memorable part of the journey. “There is no way the bus will stop for you,” cautions Rajan, “If you want to get on board, jump in as the vehicle slows down in its climb. No heavy vehicles stops on its climb to Wayanad, for it needs super machine power to pick up once they halt.”
A bus comes 10 minutes later. I was lucky that I got my timing right and jumped on board the private bus that was climbing down slowly to Sultan Bathery.
Source: The Hindu