The Vagamon Hills

After our stint at Kumarakom, we were off to Vagamon for the day. Till not long before, I was not aware of a place called Vagamon. The first passing comment came from Anoop, who for some unknown reason was quite fascinated about Vagamon. He used to talk endlessly about beautiful meadows, mountains and pine forests. For me, from what I had heard, the place seemed quite like an Ooty or Kodaikanal, and used to think quite often, why Vagamon was not famous like these places.
 
The Vagamon hills
Photo 
© Nidheesh Narayanan
More about Vagamon. It is situated at the border of Kottayam and Idukki, and the perfect settings on Western Ghats. Around two hour’s drive from the centre of Kottayam. To reach there, one has to go through an awesome drive through the high ranges of Central Travancore – a thoroughly breath-taking drive.
 
There were ten of us, started off early morning after out open air bathing adventure at Ajeesh’s home near Kumarakom. Etumanoor, Pala, Erattupetta and finally uphill we were closer to Vagamon.
 
Biker boys
Photo 
© Nidheesh Narayanan


The road to Vagamon
Photo 
© Nidheesh Narayanan
Once up there, it was one sight I was least expecting to see. The Vagamon hills were something out of this world. The lush green rolling meadows, the spectacular mountains, the green pine forests, for a moment, I was stunned. I thought “Is this Kerala, or am I in Scotland or Switzerland?” and with it the reassuring thought – “No wonder my land is called God’s own Country!!!”
 
It was a long afternoon. First, it was the hide and seek across the pine forests, which was pretty electrifying. Very rarely had we felt so close to those countless characters in movies that used to run around pines aimlessly. Even wondered why Karan Johar or Yash Chopra needs to go to foreign shores to shoot green. It is very much available at home.
 
The pine forest
Photo 
© Nidheesh Narayanan
Then it was some trekking, there were some small and medium hillocks, and all was conquered with the élan that Hillary and Tenzing had while toppling Everest. The mist filled cool air did not let us become even a bit tired, and soon enough, we found ourselves in the middle of the rolling green meadows.
 
The rolling meadows
Photo 
© Nidheesh Narayanan
This was like heaven.
 
Greenery all around. Picture perfect. Postcard.
 
Running all around, it was happiness and joy all over, and the weariness and fatigue of academics, travel and old monk had all gone missing. It was then, in between the lush green meadows, that we saw the lake.
 
Besides the lake
Photo 
© Nidheesh Narayanan
The lake did not have a name. It was sky blue in colour, and when surrounded by green all round, it was a delight to the eye.  Add to it the mist and fog that was slowly setting in around. All the indulgence of the day had made us tired enough to take a dip here. As usual, most of us were not quite enthusiast at it initially. Who would bother to jump into ice water after getting out of a refrigerator?
 
After a lot of thought process, all of us were in the waters. It was freezing cold. Obviously, what more to expect from a lake in the middle of a high range across the Western Ghats? But a few minutes into it, the wintry feeling changed to a cuddling effect, warm effect of nature. For the next couple of hours, the lake was our domicile. Swimming up and down, we were thoroughly enjoying the alive and awesome feeling of being on heaven and earth at the same time.
 
The Awesome Swim
Photo 
© Nidheesh Narayanan
We got out of the water only when twilight set in. Even then, when the sky turned golden dark, the experience was only getting more and more alive and even better awesome. End of all, we were on our bikes, going downhill back to Kottayam, with the experience of a time entrenched deeply into our souls.
 
It was one more moment in my mind to thank God. Not for what he has given us all, but for giving the opportunity to enjoy and be enthralled by the beauty, splendour and breath-taking sights of his creations. God really spares no opportunity to make us feel Alive and Awesome.
 
Around us, we are blessed with sights and sounds that have the touch of divinity. But why do we always go to a Scotland or Switzerland to enjoy the same divine emotions, when it can be reached effortlessly – at our own backyard?
 
For me, there is only one paradise on Earth, and its God’s own Country.
 
This post is written for Cinthol’s new Alive is Awesome marketing campaign.
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