Explore The Unexplored at Kasargod

Explore The Unexplored at Kasargod

Text:  Dilraj NP

Palavayal, a village in Kasaraod is noteworthy. Visiting a cluster of smaller villages within the village is rejuvenating. People in Palavayal are fascinated to introduce their guests to the rich, unmatched and unseen cultural heritage of Malabar region.


Who would not need a break from their nerve-racking work hours and distance from the maddening crowd of a city for a few days? 

A true nature-lover cannot resist stepping into nature’s bounty, tae a stroll along the verdant valley and return with a handful of rejuvenating memories. It isn’t Shakespeare’s countryside beauty, but it sure is something close.  It was the unexplored terrain, the virgin rivers, indigenous food that left my taste buds dazed and the friendly native of Kasargod district that left me spellbound. I happened to visit Kasargod, north of Kerala’s state capital, a couple of years ago as response to a friend’s invitation. Later, I returned several times only because of the irresistible charm that it left in me. The closest to reach the place is from Mangalore International airport which is about 70 kilometres from Kasragod, while one can reach the destination from Kannur, the nearest district which is about 95 kilometres.

My first visit captured the serene and unexplored beauty of this place. The peace of mind, tranquility and the bliss I enjoyed here were inexplicable. 

While one may thin that the destination is just a feast to the eye or a pristine land to experience a calm ambience, Kasargod is equally exciting when it comes to adventure. The place is may be enthralling to those who are interested in nature photography and adventure sports.

Adventure at nature’s bosom
Kasargod’ treing routes are well laid, especially for tourists. Trekking destinations such as Thonikadavu, Ranipuram are popular among others. Kayaking at the bacwaters of Nileshwaram in Kasargod is yet another specialty of the land. The stretches of river Thejaswani is suitable for both whitewater and bamboo rafting. Those who do not wish for a traditional Kerala lodging is provided with camping and tenting facilities. It cannot be called a day without an organic meal from the farmlands of their villages where a rare opportunity to spend an intriguing time with the farming community is available.

Tabor hill in Palavayal, Kasargod provides a fascinating view of sunrise and sunset. It is for the experience of the evening that tents are set up on hilltop where visitors can spend a night beside a campfire and have a sumptuous dinner. 

The route to Talakaveri, where River Kaveri originates, provides a mystical driving route filled with misty pathways, woods, mountains and waterfalls. The local authority arranges a treing route too, to the river.

In the heart of its villages 


‘Kalari’, the traditional training space for the martial art of K erala, ‘Kalaripayattu’ is performed, is Explore The Unexplored at KasargodTabor hill in Palavayal provides a fascinating view of sunrise and sunset witnessed in various parts of this district. ‘Kavu’, sacred groves which are mostly a few metres away from a house are seen in parts of the district. They are associated with a presiding deity.

Tours are conducted through the villages and mini-forests where there will be demonstrations of Theyyam, a ritual folk dance-form popular in this part of Kerala. A tour to the biggest sacred grove, Kammadam kavu is also indispensable. The grove is spread around a span of 60 acres, acts as a green carpet with rare orchids, medicinal plants and shrubs. 

While the land’s beauty is being shared to the world through tourism, employment to the natives is one of the prime objectives of tourism here. It helps farmers sell their produce and generate additional income for households by providing homestays and food for tourists.
 

Palavayal, a village in Kasaraod is noteworthy. Visiting a cluster of smaller villages within the village is rejuvenating. People in Palavayal are fascinated to introduce their guests to the rich, unmatched and unseen cultural heritage of Malabar region. 

The village is about an hour’s drive from the nearest railway station in Payyannur, Kannur. There are buses plying regularly to the closest town, Cherupuzha which is 35 kilometres from Payyannur. Several villages in Palavayal are located 5 to 20 kilometres away from Cherupuzha town. 

Organic fruits, pure honey, pure mil and mil products all add to the charm along with the handloom showrooms that sell authentic product. 

Inclusive Tourism  
Tourism in Kasargod has taken an uphill trend with the inflow of inbound as well as outbound tourists due to the numerous and exciting destinations within the state.  

While the land’s beauty is being shared to the world through tourism, employment to the natives is one of the prime objectives of tourism here. It helps farmers sell their produce and generate additional income for households by providing homestays and food for tourists. The infrastructure for tourism activities is built in a sustainable way with active participation from all the sections of the society. 

Farmers who migrated from South Kerala during early 1920 to 30’s constitute a majority of population here. They widely produce coconut, areca nut, coffee, turmeric, ginger, honey, cocoa, vegetables, fruits etc. Most of them follow natural methods of farming and have to their credit, award winning organic farmers. They are proud to cultivate crops without the use of chemical fertilizers.

Tourism and the people of the land are intricately connected. The tribals are included in tourism projects as supporting-staff as they are familiar with the local terrain. They help the guests in treing, farm visits, swimming and rafting and other expeditions. It is the natives who drive the guests around for off-road expeditions.

People involved in tourism have chosen places those are rustic and least explored. They have not made any big investments here in constructing new structures instead gave facelift to homes and farmhouses, which are close to evergreen forest and waterfalls and are now registered homestays under the local government authority. Social media helps them spread the popularity of the district and the activities involved.

Contentment and spirituality is not all about living the present to the full but going back in time to the cultural and historical trails and taking inspiration from age-old customs, traditions and culture of the Northern Malabar. 

They also encourage their guests who are interested to stay bac and learn organic farming, honey bee rearing, Kalaripayattu, Pottery etc., from the experts in these fields. 

Now the promoters are planning to extend this form of sustainable, responsible and inclusive tourism concept in other parts of the state. The aim is to make this model pervasive in Kerala and slowly in other parts of the world. 

People behind this concept also believe that in the era of digital media, consumers’ voices should be the first and foremost inputs in branding. The brand attributes should include consumers’ aspirations and expectations. So they involve the visitors in branding and promotion. The brand should also resonate to sensuality, cultural, spiritual ethos and beliefs of the people. This is the corner stone of their branding philosophy. 

It is an assurance, that Kasargod will have more to offer each time one returns to the land.