The cool air and easy placidity makes Vagamon among most beautiful of Idukki's hill stations. Apart from verdant spice plantations, a silent monastery and luxurious resorts, Vagamon has been made famous by a string of three hills, each dedicated to different religion, all of them coexisting peacefully. You will be touched by this quiet reflection of religious tolerance.
Things to See and Do
Vagamon village consist of a tiny collection of shops and small businesses. All the famed sights and resorts are located nearby, but not actually in the village centre. The three hills, the Kurisumala Ashram, the Labour India Gurukulam School and the resorts are all located within 5-10 min of each other.
In order to really appreciate Vagamon, you have to be a person who enjoys the outdoors. A glance at the list of the day's activities organised by each of the resorts here points to one joy: Vagamon is trekker's and adventurer's paradise. From pilgrimages to nature trails, the landscape lends itself completely to exploration by foot. Visitors can discover the unmarred splendor of the area by themselves or with local guides arranged by the resorts.
The Three Hills
Vagamon is famous for its chain of three consecutive hills, each of which is significant to a different religion. There is a sense of tranquility-not to mention a breathtaking view-atop each of these mounts.
Cars and buses can only go up to a certain point. Visitors will have to make most of their way up these hills on foot. It takes approximately an hour to climb each one. Good, comfortable walking shoes are a must.
Thangal para is the hill at the top of which the mausoleum of Shiek Fariduddin was found, making this a place of Muslim pilgrimage. The rock formations of Thangal para are an added attraction.
Muruganmala is dedicated to Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva. There is a rock-cut temple on one side of this hill, which draws plenty of pilgrims who regularly do the trek up. This peaceful spot is another enjoyable trek.
Kurisumala is the third hill and a Christian shrine. Fourteen crosses are positioned at regular intervals all along the path up the hill. At the foot of the hill St. Thomas Mount, a centenary memorial. A flight of 120 steps leads up to the statue of St Thomas.
Kurisumala Ashram-The Simple Life
Founded by Abbot Francis Acharya, the Kurisumala Ashram (a Cisterican abbey) is nestled amidst the Sahya hills. A Belgian by birth, but later a naturalised Indian citizen, Father Francis passed away in 2002 and his tomb is the first visitors come upon when they make their way in towards the main building of the ashram. There are about 20 monks in resident at any given time.
The simplicity of life at the monastery is evident at every turn-from the low stone buildings that serve as homes for the monks to the furniture-less dining area. There is a pervasive air of silence that, paradoxically, resounds throughout the ashram. The monks spend much of their time in prayer, meditation or manual labour. They make their living from the dairy farm on the premises.
Visitors can take a day trip to the ashram and are welcome to stay at the guest house provide expressly for them. Guest eats their meals with monks and learns through observation about the day-to-day activities and religious beliefs of the community. Staying here entitles you to see the many cows at the ashram's dairy farm which day visitors can't.
Where to Stay
This lovely hill station is becoming increasingly popular. Be sure to book well in advance.
Tel: 04869 248206
Vagamon Heights is scenically located atop a hill tucked away in an isolated part of a plantation estate. They have four cottages here and a treehouse. The resort organises horse rides, paddle boating in a nearby lake, and hiking and trekking expeditions. There is a friendly, homely feel that is absent in many other hotels.
Tel: 04869 248540-41
An eco-friendly heritage resort Vagamon Hideout is perched on a hill surrounded by lush greenery with a large lake lying at the very centre. Twenty variedly designed cottages are spread picturesquely around the lake. They also have a mini aviary on the grounds. Explore nature trails, go fishing and horse-riding, take part in aqua sports, learn and practice meditation and yoga, enjoy ayurvedic and herbal therapies or simply sit around a campfire night.
Ananya Hill Resort
Ananaya Hill Resort offers 5 cottages set on 10 acres of verdant land. The resort offers a restaurant, billiards, table tennis, ayurvedic treatments, trekking, cycling and even hang-gliding expeditions.
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