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India

Thudanganadu, the door to high ranges

This sleepy village on the Thodupuzha-Pala road in Muttom grama panchayat has not changed much since the first generation of settlers reached here.

Over a decade old Roman Catholic church close to the main town stands testimony to the early years of settlement as it was the first church built by the faithful who reached Thudanganadu, then a forest area.

The village surrounded by mountains provided a fertile land for cultivation.

There were records of the first settlers in Thudanganadu area receiving loans from the Madambi, a representative of the Travancore ruler at Ramapuram for starting cultivation.

Wild animals

According to K.J. Kurien, a second generation settler, the first settlements were on the hills as the area was infested with wild animals.

Slowly settlers reached in large numbers and started encroaching the low-lying areas. Though Thudanganadu is known as the first settlement in the low range of Idukki, it had a long history tracing back to the origin of the Karikode temple nearby.

“There is a place called Kottackakam, denoting the connection of Thudangandu to the royal era. Now the remains of a pond believed to have been used by the royal members is in ruin in Kottackakam,” said Mr. Kurien.

Travel link

It is believed that the first settlers in Thudanganadu were seven families and it had a history of over 110 years, said Mr. Kurien. There was a travel link from here to Alappuzha port and farmers travelled there to sell spices produced in the village, he added.

According to K.J. Mathew, an 85-year-old settler, the village was the launching pad for moving to the high ranges. He said that the earlier settlers in the high range moved via Kuttikanam and reached the first settled village in Upputhara.

During the same period, the settlers from the other side moved via Adimali to the hgh range.

The name Thudanganadu meaning the first village might have got the name as it was a launching pad for further movement to the high range.

The settlement route was Kuravilangadu, Ramapuram, Kadanadu and Thudanganadu, which was the last entry point to the high range which starts from Kudayathur hills.

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