KOCHI: Once a quaint little town, Kothamangalam has, of late, found a spot on the district's tourism map. Popularly known as the gateway of the high range, Kothamangalam is turning out to be a stopover for many en route to Munnar and Thekkady. With more facilities on the anvil, the area is all set to rise in ranks. While Bhoothathankettu dam and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekad have already established itself as a tourist spot, Inchathotty and Ayappanmudi are the emerging tourist hotspots. While Inchathotty boasts of the largest hanging bridge in Kerala, Ayyappanmudi's major attraction is a serene hilltop temple. The town has also benefitted from being the location of major films like Achayans and Pulimurugan.
A new boat service
While Bhoothathankettu remains one of the most picturesque dams in Kerala with some of the best trekking trails, plans are afoot to make it more popular. "I have mooted the construction of a boat jetty and a boat service from Bhoothathankettu to Neriamangalam so that people heading to high-range can benefit from it," said Antony John MLA. The place also has a children's park, ecotourism project and house boating service.The boat services at Bhoothathankettu are conducted by the Destination Management Company (DMC) under the DTPC. With more people pouring in, the DMC has a decided to conduct a boat service at Thattekadu which houses the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Ayyapanmudi and Inchathotty
Situated around 10 km from Kothamangalam town, Ayyapanmudi with a serene temple at the hilltop is a recent favourite among the youth. People come here to experience mesmerizing sunrise and the view from the hilltop. An aqueduct, an offbeat tourism destination nearby, too has got popular in a short span.
Inchathotty is also gaining popularity with more people coming here to enjoy the hanging bridge, calm water and kayaking.
The boats are owned by people of the locality and it offers a 30-minute ride through the Periyar. "This year we had a lot of footfalls even during working days. Kayaking is getting popular," says Basil, who runs a boat service there.
Antony John MLA says he has put forward a lot of suggestions before the state government to boost the potential of the region. "The aim is to develop ecotourism. We are waiting for the approval of the Forest Department," says Antony.