Sky Cycling at Pothundi Dam | Photo: Jayesh P/ Mathrubhumi
Nelliyampathy, the land of evergreen forests, and rich tea and coffee plantations are located close to the dense jungles of the Western Ghats. This potential tourist destination has been spread across 576.54 square kilometres at the catchment area of the Bharathapuzha and Chalakudy rivers.
Though Nelliyampathy is situated at a height of 1585.08 metres above sea level, the population here has touched 5000 recently. The majority of the population includes migrants from Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu along with the tribals. Apart from plantation work, the people here depend on the tourism sector for a living.
Alluring sights of Nelliyampathy
Soon after passing the checkpost of the Pothundi forest department, the tourists can reach Cherunelli viewpoint, 14th viewpoint, and Ayyappan Chola viewpoint on the Kaikatti ghat road. The other major attractions in Nelliyampathy are the orange and vegetable farms run by the state government, Seetharkundu, Karappara hanging bridge, the jeep safaris to Karasoori, Meenampara, and Mattumala regions, and Kesavan Para viewpoint trekking.
Lack of facilities poses challenge
The Information Centre opened in Kaikatti to provide details regarding Nelliyampathy has been continuing to remain shut for 10 years. The centre had worked under the literacy mission with the support of the grama panchayat. Though another information centre has been established in Pothundi as a part of the checkpost, full-fledged operations have not been started here. Hence, the tourists who arrive here are tracing the spots in Nelliyampathy on their own.
Restrictions hit tourists
The strict regulations of the forest department have led to the closure of many destinations which allured tourists to Nelliyampathy in the past. At the same time, tourists are banned from entering Manpara, Hilltop, Kurissupally, and Karappara waterfalls. Over 80 jeep drivers in the locality found a livelihood by taking tourists to these regions. But the restrictions affected their life now.
Strong interventions from the government are necessary to revive the tourism industry in Nelliyampathy.