Salubrious climate, cloud capped mountains, cool breeze, mist-covered cliffs and valleys and beautiful lake come to the mind of tourists when they think of Kodaikanal hill station. But there are plenty of lesser known tourism spots that are abundantly blessed by goddess Nature. Calm serene atmosphere, chirping of birds, dense forests, deep gorges, long prairies and highest peak on the hill are some heart-warming spots not only for tourists but also for environmentalists and forest and animal researchers. Kodaikanal is a welcome addition to any of the Kerala Holiday Packages.
Berijam Lake is one such highly protected tourism spots that has temperate forests, sholas and ever-green trees maintaining its pristine beauty and lush green environment thanks to protective measures taken by Forests Department. Its eco system provides shelter for breeding and feeding ground for various species of mammals, birds, amphibians and invertebrates. It is a major habitat for tigers, leopard, serpent eagles, wild dogs, jungle cat, spider owls, wild boar, tree frog, hill mynah, giant squirrels, Indian guar, mouse deer, barking deers, sambar and Asian elephants.
It was connected by two roads – one leads to Munnar from Kodaikanal and another one is nine-km long road up to Krunji village. But these roads were narrowed down to trek path owing to growth of bushes and vegetation. Swamp and fresh water ecosystems, nature trail, grassland and shola forests are its other attractions. Organising trekking by forest officials will boost arrival of tourists from abroad.
The lake was more than 250 year old. Notes on artificially created Bejijam Lake was in the records of the British in 1800. Colonel Douglas Hamilton of the 21st Regiment of the Madras Native Infantry too had mentioned about the lake. Later, the British set a military check post. The dam is the main drinking water source to Periakulam for more than 100 years. According to records, the lake area was one of the escape routes for the British Army from Kodaikanal to Kochi through Munnar. An old dilapidated building near the lake is the only evidence that escaped from natural calamities.
Tourists will get a chance to see sholas that have most bio-diverse and spectacular landscapes. It is an ideal place for medicinal plant researchers.
Ornithologists can do intense research on resident and migratory birds. Indian guars, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant squirrels and Indian elephants can be seen normally at dawn and dusk. First time, tigers were spotted in the forest two years ago.
The Berijam corridor connects to Tourist Places of Munnar in Kerala like Top station. Forest researchers and environmentalists find shrinking of lake owing to plantation of crop, silt and growth of marsh land vegetation.
Mathiketton Shola near the Berijam Lake is a haven for birds and wild animals. With beautiful surroundings, Kookal Lake is another lesser know tourism spot.
A valley near Vada Kavunji and view of Kerala Pambar Shola, Kurinji plants on cliff near Berijam are other unknown attractions of the hill station.