Expedition Rosemala: A quaint little village in the Western Ghats

Darklord

New Member
The first time I heard about Rosemala was a few years back. It was a news item mentioning a quaint little village in the Western Ghats near Aryankavu, Kollam, surrounded by forest. It also mentioned that the road to the village was just a jeep track through the forest. I promptly filed it away for future reference, but I had no option to act on it then. I knew the right time would come later.
0_edited.jpg


Come 2019, another news item caught my eye. It was about concrete surfacing of the road to Rosemala nearing completion. So when a reunion drive was planned with one of my best friends, there was not a doubt where we would drive to. I still did not have a jeep, but I did have one of the next best things, a Tata Safari Dicor. We were not sure if the surfacing had completed or if 4 x 2 was sufficient, but we decided to drive there and find out anyway. Hence one fine day at noon, the expedition to Rosemala began.

From Attingal, it is just ~170 km round trip. The route we took was straightforward. Attingal-Alamcode-Kilimanoor-Nilamel-Kadakkal-Thenmala-Aryankavu-Rosemala.

First stop was this beautiful spot between Madathara and Kulathupuzha (GPS: 8.872183, 77.048456). There is a foot bridge over Kulathupuzha River and a sand bank and woods on one side. I always feel like I have arrived at a blissful place.
1_edited.jpg


2_edited.jpg


3_edited.jpg


4_edited.jpg


5_edited.jpg


The heat of February was intolerable and we moved on after spending a few minutes clicking photos.

En route was the saddle dam of Thenmala Reservoir at Pallamvetti. It is a place I have been to many times in the past, but still decided to make a brief stop.
6_edited.jpg


What better way to beat the 37 degree heat?
7_edited.jpg


The boats were resting as were the crew. We did not want to take a boat trip any way.
8_edited.jpg


Time was catching up with us. We were not sure if there was a cut-off time for entry to Rosemala, along with other uncertainties as outlined earlier. We decided not to stop further and made our move towards Rosemala.
9_edited.jpg


Soon we came across an iconic structure, the 13-arched (pathimoonnu kannara) railway bridge along Kollam-Shengottah railway line, 100+ years and still going strong.
10_edited.jpg


From Aryankavu junction, one has to take the road to the right. Approximately 10 km is the distance to Rosemala. The road is narrow, there is presence of wildlife including elephants, there are a few KSRTC bus trips and taxi jeeps. So one has to be vigilant and cautious. There is a forest checkpost right at the beginning of the road, but no one stopped us, just nodded us through the open barrier. There are a few houses in the initial stretch, then it just becomes a forest road.
11_edited.jpg


After a couple of kilometers, the bitumen road gives way to the newly laid concrete road:
12_edited.jpg


13_edited.jpg


We came across a dip in the road which clearly becomes a river crossing during monsoon. It also appears to be a watering hole, judging by elephant dung lying around.
14_edited.jpg


Safari posing:
15_edited.jpg


16_edited.jpg


The stream:
17_edited.jpg


The road was very narrow and very steep at some places:
18_edited.jpg


Yet at some places, where there are likely river crossings during monsoon, the concrete was used liberally:
19_edited.jpg


The concrete road ends in front of another check post, again open, no questions asked. The next couple of kilometers were untouched gravel road. The way I saw it then, it was motorable by relativey high GC vehicles without any issues.
20_edited.jpg


After that comes the gate to the village, there is a gate and electric fencing, but the gate was open at that time (we are not sure if they close it during the night). This tree makes the landmark:
21_edited.jpg
 

mousourik

Who Am I
Ohhhhh... you stopped so abruptly, but we cannot overcome the inertia of motion. Presumably, in this lock-down period, you don't have any other work. So please let us continue the journey as soon as possible.

And. when do trains pass on that thirteen-arched bridge? Any time table is available? It must be a very interesting sight.
 

Darklord

New Member
Ohhhhh... you stopped so abruptly, but we cannot overcome the inertia of motion. Presumably, in this lock-down period, you don't have any other work. So please let us continue the journey as soon as possible.

And. when do trains pass on that thirteen-arched bridge? Any time table is available? It must be a very interesting sight.
It will be done soon. Just one more post.

The train list is available here:
 

Darklord

New Member
We had gained some altitude by now:
22_edited.jpg


We had already decided that we would just visit the watch tower/view point. We had to drive through the entire village to get there. Upon asking around, we were told that it is better to walk to the watch tower from the main road as big vehicles may have some difficulty maneuvering. We parked our car and walked, although a Safari may have done just fine as it turned out later on.
23_edited.jpg


Rubber seems to be a major crop:
24_edited.jpg


An Oriental Magpie Robin:
25_edited.jpg


Hills acting as guardians of the village:
26_edited.jpg


27_edited.jpg


A ticket counter of Forest Department under construction:
28_edited.jpg


The road ends in front of the ticket counter. One has to walk up through a rocky path for about 5 minutes to reach the watch tower:
29_edited.jpg


The watch tower, which also doubles up as a wireless repeater station for Forest Department:
30_edited.jpg


View of Thenmala Dam's reservoir from the tower:
31_edited.jpg


32_edited.jpg


33_edited.jpg


34_edited.jpg


35_edited.jpg


Some company. A Green Bee Eater:
36_edited.jpg


Red Whiskered Bulbul:
37_edited.jpg


38_edited.jpg


The sun had begun to set by now. The friendly guard invited us to watch the sunset, but he also cautioned that there is a likelihood of elephants entering the road as the sun goes down.
39_edited.jpg


We decided not to take the risk and began to walk back to our car:
40_edited.jpg


We drove back while there was still sun light left:
41_edited.jpg


The drive was uneventful, except a big Sambar deer dashed across the road, startling us.

We took a break and had a dinner of masala dosas from Kilimanoor before reaching home by 9:30:
42_edited.jpg


Of note, tourism is still nascent in Rosemala. The facilities are bare minimum and are not really intended for tourists. We saw a couple of hotel/tea shop and a couple of grocery stores and that was that, so one has to account for that before planning a trip there.

The trip did turn out to be a memorable one for a reunion drive. Already planning to visit Rosemala again sometime during the monsoon with a bit more preparation.
 

mousourik

Who Am I
Very nice, really. The sunset would have mean nice, but your decision was correct. An encounter with wild elephants at night is to be avoided by all means.

Which camera did you use?
And, on which dates you visited it?
 
Top