THE VAGAMON HEIGHTS
Vagamon is a beautiful hill station in the Western Ghats on the Kottayam – Idukki boarder of Idukki district. Located 1100 metres above the sea level, Vagamon is one among the attractive tourist destinations in Kerala, where nature can be enjoyed in its rustic form. It is characterised by the beauty of grassy green meadows and mountains, the restrained valleys, the fascinating pine forests, the natural waterfalls, the vast tea plantations and the misty climate.
Vagamon is also known as the Scotland of Asia. The National Geographic Traveller, a travel magazine by the National Geographic has included Vagamon in their ’50 most attractive places to visit in India’.
A journey from Thekoy to Vagamon through the rock cut road with blind turns and steep edges, itself is an adventurous experience. The road from Pala to Vagamon, now a State Highway, passing through Bharananganam – where the tomb of Saint Alphonsa is housed and Erattupetta, was constructed in 1950’s.
Vagamon has an history of a century only. The British discovered this place, and in 1926, they began tea plantations and by 1930’s the plantations spread to a vast area. In 1950’s, the Kurishumala Ashramam established by Francis Acharya, was a milestone in the development of Vagamon. Kurishumala Ashramam is a monastery of Christian monks, who believe in Christianity along with Indian spirituality and Gandhian thoughts. They manage the Indo-Swiss project dairy farm, where a large number of Indian and foreign breeds of cows are preserved.
The three hills namely Kurishumala, Muruganmala and Thangal para that stands as a symbol of communal harmony, attracts a lot of devotees of various religions. Kurishumala or ‘the Mountain of Holy Cross’ is a Christian pilgrim centre, with a Church on the top of the hill. There are fourteen points or Crosses on the path to the hill top church. Lot of devotees visit this place on Good Friday and attend ‘the Way to the Cross’ procession.
In the Muruganmala, the hill east to Kurishumala, there is a rock-cut temple dedicated to Lord Murugan, and is a place of worship for the Hindus. Thangal Para, situated just a distance away from Kurishumal and Murugan mala, is huge rock mountain, where the tomb of a Muslim sage, Sheikh Fariduddin is housed. There is also a suicide point in Thangal Para.
The Mooppan Para is another hill in Vagamon is also a place to visit. It is a view point as well as a suicide point.
The pine forests stretched over a wide area of sloppy hills is a beautiful picnic spot in Vagamon. The pine trees are cut once in twenty years and the pulp of these pine trees are used to manufacture paper for currency printing.
Vagamon is also known for the varieties of wild orchids, and a place for adventure sports like trucking, paragliding, rock climbing and mountaineering.
Vagamon experience a pleasant weather throughout the year. The climate varies from 10 degree to 27 degree Celsius. The ideal season to visit this place is from October to May.
Nearest railway station to Vagamon is Kottayam – (65 Kms) and nearest airport is Nedumbassery International Airport – (110 Kms). Distances to other tourist centres from Vagamon are Kumarakom – 78 Kms, Thekkady – 60 Kms and Munnar – 150 Kms. To Thiruvananthapuram its 215 Kms, Ernakulam – 120 Kms, Madhurai -170 Kms and Kodaikanal – 200 Kms.