Tapping into Kalvarayan Hills’ potential for tourism
Plans to develop the area and its surrounding hamlets into an eco-tourism destination are on the anvil
The district administration is working on a master plan for developing the Kalvarayan Hills in the Eastern Ghats, known for its picturesque waterfalls and pristine vegetation, into a major eco-tourism destination in the State.
The administration, in association with the Forest Department, has identified land at Thalvizha hamlet in the hills for promotion of eco-tourism activities, including guided treks and adventure sports, and other basic amenities for tourists.
“We have proposed the setting up of an adventure zone and other basic amenities for tourists in the hills. A consultant appointed by the Department of Tourism will visit the site and conduct a feasibility study over what kind of adventure sports can be conducted in the area. Activities like ropeway have been planned, and the work will begin after a detailed plan is drawn up,” Collector P.N. Sridhar told The Hindu.
Waterfalls and valleys
Located at a distance of 50 km from the district headquarters of Kallakurichi, the hills encompasses five waterfalls in addition to some vantage points which give a view of the picturesque valley.
While Periyar falls located on the Ghat Road has become a potential tourism spot, the other waterfalls — Megam, Kaviyam, Maankombu and Sirukalur — are difficult to access.
Megam falls is located 10 km from Vellimalai. Considering its tourism potential, the Kariyalur panchayat has constructed a road for the first 3 km, though the rest of it is not motorable. However, this has not deterred trekkers from visiting the falls.
“Kalvarayan hills has very good tourism potential. The area may not offer the best facilities but there are many regular visitors. It is a hidden treasure for nature lovers who want to spend time away from routine life,” an official said.
“The administration has planned to develop guest houses in the hills managed by the Forest Department to good use. Trekking routes will be created, and trained nature guides will accompany and educate tourists about nature conservation. Development works, including concrete flooring at the bathing area, providing safety railing, signage and route map to the waterfalls, have been planned. Forest guards will be posted in all the waterfalls to ensure safety and surveillance will also be stepped up,” Mr. Sridhar said.
Herbal, bamboo farms
The proposal also incudes a bamboo farm spanning 10 acres at Moolakkadu village and a herbal farm at Kariyalur.
“We plan to have 60 varieties of medicinal plants. Saplings will also be sourced from the tribal people. In addition, an organic millet farm has been planned on 39 acres of land at Serapattu village,” the Collector added.