Pristine forests, exotic flora and fauna and verdant meadows characterise Vagamon, a location straight out of a tourism brochure. Located 1,100 m above sea level on the western fringe of Idukki, and bordering Kottayam, the Vagamon mountain range was cleared by the early planters for the cultivation of tea and coffee.
Vagamon first witnessed changes in 1926 when Walter Duncan and Company set up their tea plantations in a massive 534-acre plot of land. A decade later, Christian missionaries set up the Kurisumala Ashram, which transformed the region into a spiritual nerve centre, popular even today.
The terrain differs from thickly wooded areas or grassy plains to the ruggedly mountainous. While pine trees cover large tracts, tea plantations are less in number compared to other hill stations such as Munnar. Indeed, Vagamon’s charm lies in the relaxed ambience that makes it an ideal getaway.
Located 5 km from Vagamon, is Kurisumala, an important Christian pilgrim centre, with a church atop a hill. There are 14 crosses along the path leading to the church, which commands stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
This Catholic monastery, which strives to combine Indian religiosity with Christian spirituality, has been attracting monks from around the world for close to four decades. Abbot Francis Acharya, a Belgian, and Fr Bede Griffiths, an Englishman, established this Cistercian abbey in 1958.
On the eastern side of Kurisumala is Murugan Para, a rock-cut temple dedicated to Lord Murugan that attracts a large number of worshippers.
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