An Old Photograph that Took Us to Mannarkkad

It is being a long time that my mother-in-law visited us. Usually, she used to be with us for more than half a year. But this time as my sister-in-law (brother-in-law’s wife) is carrying she found difficult to share her presence equally with two sons. It was when her 2nd daughter–in –law went to her own house for delivery she came to visit us. More than to me my kids are affectionate to their paternal grandmother. Soon after my delivery, I joined my office and I was so busy with my stressed office schedules that I hardly found out time to spend with my munchkins. It was my mother-in-law who filled my void in their life. In most parts of the world daughters-in-law always hate their mothers-in-law. But I am very proud to say that I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful mother-in-law. My kids were so thrilled when they knew their granny is returning after a short vacation. They were overwhelmed with joy. On Friday evening she reached our town. My husband went to the railway station to pick her. The moment she stepped into our house my kids encircled her and she bought them into her control by offering sweet candies and crispy and spicy potato wafers. She got refreshed and after scrumptious dinner, we all sat in the living room and started to converse. As she was meeting us after a long time she had to ask as well as share many stories with us. It was clearly reflected on her face the happiness of becoming granny for the third time. While biting potato wafers she shared some intriguing incidents took place in our village. We really had a wonderful evening with lots of fun. When we elders were busy with our conversation the younger ones were tackling the mess in her handbags and carry bags. While putting things outside they suddenly came across a beautiful photograph of serene nature and some pictures were taken in front of shops which were named in the Malayalam language. We basically belong to Hyderabad and we all wondered how Amma got a relation from Kerala. My elder kid asked her which is that place and has she visited it before? With a smile on her face, she took the photograph from him and stared on it for a minute and told us her childhood friend Sita married to Kerala years ago. Decades ago she visited her with grandpa and the picture was taken at that time. From her words we all clearly understood, she misses her close friend. My kids asked her where that serene nature is exactly located. It is situated in Mannarkkad in Palakkad district in northern parts of Kerala. My second child asked her to share some intriguing facts about Mannarkkad. Whenever her grandchildren demand something she never used to refuse. She took the bail by saying that she may not be able to recollect all the interesting places in Mannarkkad but will try the best. As they visited the place soon after marriage the tour to Kerala was really fascinating and memorable for them. She started to explain about Mannarkkad and its peculiarities.

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She told that Mannarkkad is considered as a ‘gateway to the silent valley’. With fifty thousand population,Mannarkkad town is one of the fastest-growing towns in Kerala. The place is adorned with breathtaking hill stations and amazing species of wildlife.  The valleys of Mannarkkad are sandwiched between two shallow rivers called Nellipuzha and Kunthipuzha. Positioned at the foothills of the Western Ghats the place got the name from Manarkkadu Nair Veedu. Manarkkadu is a combination of soil, river and forest. Cinnamon, plantain, rubber and pepper are widely cultivated in the regions of Mannarkkad. It is always said, Mannarkkad is a perfect destination for rejuvenation and relaxation. Amma also told that she visited Kerala by purchasing tour packages at cheap prices. One by one she started to memorize the important places in Mannarkkad.

Kanhjirapuzha Dam

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To meet the household and irrigational requirements a dam was constructed on the banks of Kanhjirapuzha River. The dam is located at a distance of 13 km from Mannarkkad town. The dam is decorated with Vakkodan hills. The bare Vakkodan hills are enveloped with emerald plantations of tea and spices. The dam is an exquisite place to learn fishing using coracles. Fishing is done in commercial scale with the help of the fisheries development programme. Another praiseworthy attraction is the Kanhjirapuzha gardens.

Silent Valley National Park

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Silent Valley National Park is located at a distance of 20 km from Mannarkkad town. Silent Valley National Park is home to many endangered species of flora and fauna. My husband told that in 2012 the UNESCO declared the famous Silent Valley National Park as a world heritage site.

Meenvallam Waterfalls

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Amma asked her kids whether they like to see water cascading from a great height? Together they said ‘yes’. Meenvallam Waterfall is a perfect instance of the same. It is positioned at a distance of 20 km from Mannarkkad town.  To enchant the marvel of the waterfalls, it is always said to visit the place soon after rainy seasons. The water flowing through Kallikode hills is basically originated from Thuppanadu River.

By saying this tears rolled down from Amma’s eyes. She expressed her wish to visit the serene Mannarkkad. My husband assured her that in the coming summer vacation we would definitely explore the serene hill station and also try to locate her dearest friend Sita.

When we surfed on the internet we came to know about many other notable attractions in Mannarkkad. We decided to explore the place by purchasing the tour packages from Gogeo Holidays, a leading travel planner in Kerala. They provide many offers such as they curate packages at reasonable rates with exciting offers. Travellers always worry about how to communicate with locals especially with the tribal communities who only know the Malayalam language. To wipe your worries Gogeo Holidays have arranged a tour guide who will be with you throughout your trip. The benefit of visiting Mannarkkad is not only to capture mesmerizing images of nature but also satiate hunger by tasting scrumptious delicacies of both Tamil Nadu and Kerala dishes.

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