August 15, 2019
Kochi: Vennimala is a fascinating hill where the ancient Sreerama-Lakshmana Swamy temple near Kottayam with tremendous tourism potential is situated.
But very few people are aware of the place as different tourism agencies of the government and the tourism department have totally ignored it in the past.
Ironically, the place is very close to Puthupally which is the home town and assembly constituency of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) has its own share of blame for not taking any steps to protect the temple which is getting dilapidated.
It is managed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) which is struggling to run the temple despite ASI restrictions.
Believed to be as old as the Ramayana period, the temple is not visited by even one per cent of the large number of those bound for global tourism destination Kumarakom passing through Kottayam.
The place is marooned from the rest of the places due to poor public transport connectivity. Common public have to take a bus from Kottayam to a remote village called Payyapadi beyond which buses do not ply. They have to then walk up the hill for over 1 km to reach the temple.
Those who can afford to hire taxis or autorickshaws need to shell out huge amounts.
Over 14 kms from Kottayam town, Vennimala is a blend of natural beauty and mythical history surrounding the temple.
Nothing changed even after it was added to the Puthuppally tourism package.
Legend has it that Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana lived here during their exile and Cheraman Perumal consecrated the temple.
It is famous for offerings to departed souls on the day of ‘Amavasi’ in July. A dip in the temple pond, they believe will wash away all sins.
According to the myth, there is a secret channel from the temple that opens up into the pond which gets water from a stream which never dries up.
Jithin George, a member of the Puthupally panchayat, of CPM told The Covai Post that the place had been ignored.
He lamented that even the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation had stopped operating a bus to the place, the reason being poor revenue collection.
He said a team from the Centre and State had visited the place to promote tourism a few years back. But there was no further followup action, he added.