|Elevation||1,100 m (3,600 ft)|
|• Official||Malayalam, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Nearest Railway Station||Kottayam|
Vagamon (Malayalam: വാഗമണ്) is a hill station located in Kottayam-Idukki border of Idukki district of Kerala, India. It has a cool climate with the temperature between 10 and 23 °C during a summer midday. It is situated 1,100 metres above sea level. Vagamon was discovered by the British who found the place ideal for tea plantations and they were followed by Christian missionaries who built their abode of service at Kurisumala in Vagamon. National Geographic Traveler has listed Vagamon on their directory of the '50 most attractive places to visit in India’.
Still untouched by commercialisation, the sleepy town with its scenic valleys, beautiful green meadows, enchanting pine forests, mists, fogs, tea estates, waterfalls with the overall greenery is really striking. The landscape is mostly hilly bald with green meadows. Vagamon is also home to a large variety of flowers and orchids. Cuddled up within three striking hills Thangal, Murugan and Kurisumala hills which are the representation of the chief religions in Kerala, i.e. Hindu, Muslim, and Christian which represent the cultural harmony. Vagamon has amenities for trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing. However business interests are trying their best to exploit and sell and market vagamon for tourists. How much benefits the local people are receiving from tourism boom is to be seen. The efforts made by the Kurishumala Ashram have helped the farmers of vagamon to improve their earnings by ensuring better price for milk and marketing opportunities.
Vagamon is at the fringe of the Western Ghats and the foot hills on its lower side reach up to Teekoy with a gradual descent. This narrow strip of descending land gives a vital connectivity to the plains as both sides of vagamon up to kuttikkanam on the south west and moolamattom on the north east, are marked by steep and inaccessible hill slopes. Travelling by the hill highway in this section is an exhilarating experience with deep valleys and magnificent views all around. Vagamon presents very spectacular views with an ethereal touch. Vagamon's charm is worth experiencing and is indeed one of the must see places for tourists. Reaching Vagamon itself is an extraordinary experience. The meandering road to Vagamon is cut in solid rock lined with pine forests. And as you wind your way through green capped hills, the rolling plains come into view thousands of feet below you. The road to vagamon from Erattupetta opened an easily accessible and direct route to vagamon from the plains. This road which was constructed in the 1950s was an engineering marvel and is rated a state highway. The road was made in treacherous and dizzying terrain under the initiative and leadership of Acharya Francis who established the Kurisumala Ashramam. About a dozen workers died during the construction at the hanging cliffs and a 20 foot tall memorial tower stands in honour of those who gave their life for this road project at the beginning of the road in Teekoy town junction. One more speciality is there IBM software company is getting developed in VAGAMAN near Management College.
Vagamon is located 15 km from kottamala 39 km from Thodupuzha, 33 km away from Palai, 45 km from Kumily, 22 km from Kuttikanam and about 65 km from Kottayam. Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport while the closest railway station is Kottayam. There are many fine resorts available in the surrounding areas with affordable cost for trekkers. Key tourist centers such as Thekkady, Peermade and Kulamavu are straightforwardly reachable from Vagamon.
Places of Interest
- Kurisumala: Kurisumala means 'Mountain of the holy cross'. Kurisumala monastery situated on the Kurisumala hill [ Kottayam district ], is a famous pilgrimage center for the Nazrani Catholics where cross put-up in each sub hill stations. The nearby Kurisumala Ashram is an abode of calm and spiritual delight. This hill area includes 12 sub mounds where pilgrims visit. Travelers can enjoy trekking and climbing this high hill. The area is fully surrounded with Tea estates and lakes.
- Indo-Swiss Project Dairy Farms: Indo-Swiss Project dairy farms is situated on the Kurisumala hill. The dairy farm is managed by the Kurisumala monks (restricted entry).
- Mitraniketan: Padma Shri Laurie Baker's & wife Dr. Elizabeth Baker's previous residence (ashasadan) and workstation (mitraniketan) and also home to nurse Alina Cattani, and Dr. Hildegarde Sina,constructed in 1963, it is famous for its Baker style of construction.
- Vagamon Meadows: The rolling green meadows of Vagamon has a lake amidst them. It has for long been a favorite location for shooting movie songs.
- Pine Forests: A valley having huge lofty pine trees lined in rows.
- Thangal Hill: This is a center of Muslim pilgrimage. There is an ancient cave though which one can walk for kilometers. A suicide point is also situated here.
- Mooppanpara: It is a v-shaped canyon, one of the admired view points as well acknowledged as a suicide point. The outlook from the summit of the strenuous climb is amazing.
- Murugan Hill: It is situated near to Thangal Para. A Murugan temple is situated which is devoted to Lord Muruga with gorgeous stone age carving.
- Paragliding and Paragliding Festival
Feature films in Vagamon
Song sequences of many South Indian films are shot in Vagamon. Recently, the Naseeruddin Shah starrer - The Blueberry Hunt - was shot in Vagamon and surrounding area.
Organised Crime Activity
In August 2008, the Kerala Police said it had begun investigations two months back into a training camp organized in December 2007 by the banned SIMI activist in Thangalpara, a rocky landscape accessible only by foot adjacent to Vagamon hills.
Always be alert and keep yourself safe by not standing on hill top when there is suspected rain, since there can be lightning hazard.
On 18 August 2014, two tourists from Kozhikode died in Vagamon, after lightning struck them. Others who were with them sustained minor injuries. The incident happened at around 4:30 PM when the tourists were hanging around the barren hill tops. Both fell after the thunder struck them and their dresses had burnt out. Though both were shifted to hospital, they died by the time they reached hospital.
- "'SIMI's camp in Kerela, not ultra's training ground'". The Deccan herald.
Holy cross on top of Kurisumala hill, Kottayam
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