Saturday, 14 February 2009
Journal of a Route to the Neelghurries from Calicut. Part 2.
Left Nellamboor at 8 A.M. on the 9th, and arrived at Eddakarra at 12. For the first mile the road is through jungle over paramba, or high ground, terminated as usual by a slip of paddy field, and continues so, alternately, parramba and low lands, to the Karunbara river, which also takes its rise at Mangerri Mala, and falls into the Beypoor river about three miles east of Nellumboor. The ferry is called Yânandy and Pallikote Kádâwâ. Here I found a small ferry, and three or four bamboo rafts ready for me: it is fordable only in the fair season. From this river the roads leads, as before, over high and low lands to the Kalakùmpora river, which takes its rise in the Ella Mala, south of Caracote, and falls into the Beypoor river at Walloosherry; the ferry is called Neddumbary Kadawa: though deep and rapid, it is less difficult to cross than at Yanandy. Here also I found a ferry and rafts. From this river the roads leads through an extensive forest jungle, intersected here and there by uncultivated marshes, to the Neddumbary Kollum, a farm belonging also to the Teeroopad, in the middle of an extensive range of paddy fields, where the road is chiefly paramba or high land, for about two miles, to a range of paddy fields named Eddakerrapoilel, at the south-east end of which is a kollum belonginf also to Tachara Teeroopad. The river (Beypoor) approaches it about half a mile to the eastward, and is practicable, for small boats, for ten months in the year. The distance from Nellumboor to this kollum is about eight miles. Nothing can exceed the magnificence of the scenery from the openings in the low lands: both to the right and left, as well as in front, an endless succession of huge mountains, ranging from 3000 to 5000 feet high, clothed with forest jungles, the highest peaks of some of which are 1000 or 2000 feet above the table land of the great chain, called the Gâat Mountains. Those to the right form the table land of the Koondee hills in the Neelghurries. Here literally, as Mickle says, “hills peep o’er hills, and gâats on gâats arise.” Although the monsoon has set in only five days, the rain is pouring in torrents down the sides of the mountains, forming some most beautiful cascades and cataracts. These mountains are the famed teak forests. The chief owner of them is Táchàràkàwil Teeroopad. The largest is Kalla Mala, and runs south-east and north-west, and divides Tiroowambady, or the north-eastern most deshums of Porawye, from Ernaad; up the Waddakarry, there is a pass into Wynaad, that comes out at Koonyore Cota.
Map showing the route taken by Thomas Baber in 1823, part 2. Please click on the map for a larger version.
Left Eddakarra at 4 P.M., and reached Caracote Eddom at sun-set. The road leads through forests, chiefly of teakwood of the largest description, the property of the Nambolacota Waranoor. Midway there are two small rivers, one called Calcum (which takes its rise in the Kombula Mala, and falls into the Beypoor river, near Eddakarra); the other, Caracode, and takes its rise at Davalla, at the top of Carcote Pass; both are at all times fordable. Boats have been known to go up as far as Kodderrypara, which is only two miles west of Caracote. The Caracote Eddom is a farm belonging to the Nambola Cota Waranoor: it is a miserable building, and the only one, excepting a few surrounding huts, inhabited by pariars (slaves.)
Left Caracote at 8 A.M. on the 10th. The first mile and a half is through forest jungle, and so very thick that, had not the road been opened for me, it would have been impossible to have taken my palanqueen further on. The pass is over a succession of mountains covered with forest jungle, until within a mile of the top, -- the whole of which space is nearly bare of trees. The ascent commences at the southern bank of the Wellakatta river, which is fordable at all seasons. For the first few hundred yards, the ascent is not at all difficult; it then becomes exceedingly rugged, and thus it continues alternately easy and steep, in some places precipitous, to within a mile of the top, where it is one continued ascent (forming an angle of 45o ) to Nadkhang, the name given to the summit of the pass, which I reached about midday, having walked nearly the whole of the way. To the left of the pass, within a mile of the top, I observed several persons working in the vicinity of ravines or breaks in the mountains, where golden ore was being extracted. The surface of the ground appeared to have been excavated about a hundred yards in circumference. There was no getting to them owing to the immense chasms between them and me. From Nadkhang to Davalacota, the distance is about four miles: the road, which is a mere foot-path, goes over bare hills (very steep) nearly the whole way. Davalacota is the occasional residence of the Nambolacotta Waranoor. I found here a chetty names Kalapen, whose business it was to light up the shrine of the Waranoor’s household god (named Ayrawelby Paradawar). The approach is extremely difficult, and utterly impracticable for horse or palanquin.
I halted here about an hour; during which time I ascertained that there was a pass leading direct from Davalacota to Caracota Eddom, over the Koothrakela Malla, and about two-thirds of the length of the Caracota pass, and comes out at a place called Kallankooty Manna, about three miles from Caracota Eddom. By the Malabars this pass is called Kata-Mooka; by the Baddagurs of Davalacota, Gullikotoo.
From Davalacota I proceeded to Ottakail-Karaumba; the distance is about one mile and a half. This kararumba is a farm belonging to the Nambolacotta Waranoor, Narangawittel Arashen, the steward of the Waranoor’s estates, as far as the Kakkhang Tode, or nulla, within four miles of Nambolacotta. There are about a dozen houses in its vicinity. I halted here during the night, and had a long conversation with the inhabitants, who are chiefly Badagurs. Speaking of the Neelghurries, they (the Baddagurs) said, “they originally came from those hills, and where more or less connected with all the Baddagurs, and particularly those in the Koondee-Nâd; they spoke in grateful terms of improved condition of the Neelghurries, since Mr. Sullivan took up his abode amongst them, having previously been left to the mercy of those to whom the hills were yearly farmed out.
Pages 311-313, Journal of a Route to the Neelghurries from Calicut, Asiatic Journal (New Series) III.