The Mystique Vagamon
You just need to take some pictures of various camp sites” This was the only info that I had regarding this particular trip. Just like any other young blood, the only thing that wakes me up in the morning will be a trip or a pesky mosquito
As planned I along with my buddy had to reach Tripunithura by 6:30. We booked and Uber from CUSAT and reached there 30mins earlier than expected. A good cup of tea from a nearby T-Stall was enough to skip the wait. Our pickup arrived as planned and driving it was the third and final add-on, our beloved CEO. The route we have taken as suggested by Google guru was Tripunithura-Pala-Erattupetta-Vagamon. The road was initially bumpy but soon as we reached Pala it turned out to be the best. Just when hunger kicked in we halted at the one place we all get assured good food, The Indian Coffee House. We started off tummy full and a very good stretch of road ahead but our luck was short lived since the Erattupetta-Vagamon route again was a bit weared out. Soon as we started the climb there was quite a spectacular view at the foggy hilltop.
Finally reached the spot by 10am where we met Sanju, a local tour operator and our guide for the day. Well I have been to Vagamon twice yet never got to see anything but the usual destinations and “this time it’s going to be different” quoted Sanju. And when we reached our first spot ‘Thangal Para’ I realized that he was not kidding. The jeep took us deep in to the hill and yet at a point we had to stop and walk for 10 mins to reach the destination. To keep it simple, it was foggy and it was again foggy all the way around. As two of our gang started pitching the tents I took a quick snap and moved on to the edge of the cliff. I couldn’t see anything but the white foggy mass in front but I could feel the elevation and the breath taking scenic beauty hidden behind it. Having taken enough snaps of the campsite we shifted to another location at the same spot and I must say the view was totally different yet splendid. There was mild breeze at this spot and thus the view remained the same most of the time. Again quite a handful of shots but it suddenly rained in between and luckily there was a tent set up and we made ourselves comfy inside.
Just as the rain cleared we headed down to our next spot at ‘Thangal Para’ itself which was roughly 3 km from the first spot. It was a recent film location and had exhibited quite a few leftovers of a 30lakh film set. On one side it was the horizon and the other was a rocky cliff and the best part of the location was the wind. It was so windy that we had to actually pitch the tent firmly to the ground.
The routine photo session continued and we left the spot after half an hour. We headed towards our base camp which had ample refreshment facilities and just behind it was a mini waterfall. We headed down and I must say it was more like a private waterfall with double the fun. We set up the tent towards the shore and shot few long exposed frames and we left there with a promise to ourselves, Next time we all are going to have a spine chilling bath. It was 2:30 pm and we decided to have lunch and headed towards a restaurant 3 kms from the base camp. After lunch Sanju took us deep down into ‘Naadu Nokki ‘where the jeep felt more like roller coaster. The path was narrow with an abyss on one side. What else could one ask for some adrenaline rush. Once we reached the spot after a 4 km off-roading. The view and the climate was totally worth it. There was a small building under renovation which houses a kitchen two rooms and a new washroom. The elevation was the highest yet and it exhibited a vivid landscape. The fog cleared for a while giving us one of the best views of the day. And I must say camping here is going to be insane. The wind speed was mild yet the fog moment was rapid. We left the area and continued to our next spot ‘kurishumala’ which again was a 3km drive from base camp. The place had a huge landscape with and an equally exhilarating view. The hill top was accessible by foot and there was a cottage which exhibited good facilities for campers. Unfortunately for us it started raining heavily and we decided to skip our plan to stay overnight. We started the descent with a decision to be back at the same spot after a month and hopefully Mother Nature will let us experience the true beauty of this virgin land which was totally mystique and unexplored.
Campper @ Pranav Prasannan