Lush greenery with the relentlessly
flowing River Periyar, hovering dark clouds, and half open shutters of the dam awaited us at
Bhoothathankettu. As we took a stroll on top of the dam, and later on the narrow
road that snaked its way beside the river, endless vistas of the
meandering river flanked by undulating hills and dense forests left us captivated. A gentle breeze blew across my face, as I gazed at the breathtaking panoramic view of the surroundings from the watch
tower. Except for distant chirping of birds and clinking of bottles hung from a nearby tree, it was just the silence of nature that wrapped us.
While the landscape views at
Boothathankettu are picturesque, the interesting stories behind the dam’s name
would leave every curious traveller intrigued. Bhoothathankettu, translates to ‘built by ghosts
or demons’ in Malayalam, and the legend says that demons wanted to dam the
waters of the river to submerge the Shiva temple at Trikkariyoor down the
stream. They had to complete the task of building the fort with boulders before
the break of dawn, but Shiva tricked them by sending a rooster that gave out a
false cock-a-doodle-do. The demons panicked, stop building the dam midway, and
left the job half done. Believed to
have been the work of the demons, there are boulders downstream, which act as a hindrance in the flow of the
river. However, geologists and historians
might have a more reliable story to it. There are records that suggest that it was the flooding
of Periyar River in mid 14th century, which resulted in the boulders
being where they are presently in the river.
With both a modern dam and a
natural one, Bhoothathankettu Dam is definitely one of the most picturesque places to visit in the state of Kerala. Though I restricted my exploration
of Bhoothathankettu to the views of the gorgeous landscape, there are trekking
trails offered by the authorities, which will take you on some exciting adventure into the nearby forests.
There are boating services available as well that would take you further down
on the river, and offer a closer view of the lush green forests and hills.
Paniyeli Poru, Inchathotty suspension bridge and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary are some of the other attractions
nearby, which you can head to after your exploration of the new dam built by
humans and the old one by ghosts.
How to reach Bhoothathankettu:
The closest major city is Ernakulam
town (Cochin), which is about 60 km away from Bhoothathankettu. Ernakulam is
well connected to other cities across India by trains and flights. It’s ideal
to take your vehicle or a private cab to get to the dam.