Edamalakkudy or Idamalakkudy is a remote tribal village of Idukki district of Kerala province of India.
Edamalakudy is located 22 km from Pettimudi village which itself is the most remote place for a vehicle. Pettimudi is 16 km from Munnar in Idukki district of Kerala.
The tourism department of the Government of Kerala has decided to make this village an adventure tourism destination. A tiger trail project is being launched in the village.
The trekking program will last four days and will start from Kochi. It involves 18 km of walking in forest tracks and staying at the Edamalakudy forest camp. Two jeeps will be used to transport the tourists.
In 2016, the first book on Edamalakudy was published by a tribal teacher called P.K.Muraleedharan. The book is called Edamalakkudy Orrum Porulum or 'The truth of Edamalakkudy'. Mr.Muraleedharan was a teacher at Edamalakkudy for seventeen years. He had to trek early in the morning to reach the school He had to evade elephants, snakes and leeches to reach the village. The book was published by SPSS, Kottayam. The book gives details about the lifestyle of the Muthuvan tribal people.
Edamalakkudy is a cluster of 26 hamlets scattered in an area of 106 km2. forest. The village is located between Pettimudi in Kerala and Nallamudi near Valparai in Tamil Nadu. The Muthuvan tribe keeps their ancient codes and customs even now.
From Cochin International Airport buses are available to Munnar hill station. From Munnar it takes 18 km by to jeep to reach Pettimudi village by going through the Eravikulam National Park. From Eravikulam, you have to walk through the forest passing many other tribal villages.
The work on the 22 km stretch to Edamalakkudy was not an easy thing. The government of Kerala allotted Rs.20 million for the road. Another Rs.80 million was allotted for the development of the village. The road contract was first given to VSS and later to KITCO. The road is a dream of the villagers because they transport rice and other essential on head.
The tribal people live by selling cardamom and other forest produce.
In 2010, a separate village council or panchayath was created for administering Edamalakkudy. Thus it became the first tribal panchayath of Kerala state. A new road was also planned under the NREWP. Edamalakudy is panchayath included in Devikulam Taluk in Idukki District of Kerala State, India. It belongs to Central Kerala Division. It is located 32 km towards North from District headquarters Painavu. 205 km from State capital Thiruvananthapuram. Edamalakudy Pin code is 685612 and postal head office is Munnar. Distance to nearby villages: Vellathooval (3 km), Pallivasal (5 km), Munnar (6 km), Chinnakanal (9 km), Rajakkad (11 km). Edamalakudy is surrounded by Adimaly Taluk towards west, Nedumkandom Taluk towards South, Idukki Taluk towards South, Bodinayakkanur Taluk towards East.
About 600 people live in Edamalakkudy in 18 houses. Recent interventions by the Kerala government looked into issues like food security, education, medical facilities and drinking water supply.In 2015, all the villagers of Edamalakkudy were given the Indian social security card Aadhaar. A special camp was held for this purpose at the nearby village of Societykudy. The village council of Edamalakkudy is also located at Societykudy. The government is planning to provide e-banking facility and internet facility in the near future.
There is one tribal primary school and ten nursery schools in this village. The government conducts teacher training programs for the tribals. Free study materials are also distributed to the students.
During the legislative elections of 2016, 180 government officials applied for this location in spite of its remoteness! 12 were selected to conduct the election. To reach the polling station, they had to travel 44 km by road and then walk three km deep inside the forest. The polling team was assisted by another 40 officials including the police, forest and medical team. Ham radio was used for communication as other modes were not accessible. There were nearly 1,800 voters in this station. The government officers opted this hard location because it is otherwise restricted to visitors. Volunteers of various political parties also visited the village for campaigning. During the trip to the polling station deep inside the forest, there were many hitches like the presence of wild animals. In spite of some delay, the polling team managed to arrive at the station well in time.
The village has no motor-able road, no power or communication network. Still some 700 families manage to live here.
The village council sits not in Edamalakkudy but in the next village called Societykudy. The work of the village council is a little challenging as there is no electric and internet connection. Telephones are also absent. An extension office of the village council is situated at Devikulam town. During the monsoon, the footpath from Pettimudy to Edamalakkudy gets washed away. Because of the inaccessibility, only tribal Councillors attend the village council meeting at Societykudy. The bureaucratic assistants and the commissioners are not able to make it.Edamalakkudy is not a single village but a cluster of about 26 hamlets scattered in 35,000 acres of deep forest. Each hamlet is about three to ten km away from the next one.
Edamalakkudy is one of the most attractive wildlife spots in Kerala province. But special permission is needed to visit this village.
The Muthuvans are the only type of peoples living in Edamalakkudy. They are also found in other Kerala villages like Kanthalloor, Marayoor, Vattavada, Chinnakkal, Mankulam, Munnar, Shanthanppara, Adimali and Rajakumari.
'Muthu' means back and 'van' means one who carries weight on the back. The language of the Muthuvan tribals is not Malayalam but a dialect closely related to Tamil. They live in dormitories called 'chavadies' and boys and girls are accommodated separately. The village head is called Kani and has great control on everything in the village. He presides over the meeting of the Council of Elders. The Muthuvan community is known for their organic farming of paddy and ragi. Shifting cultivation every two years is common. Cardamom and pepper are also cultivated. The Muthuvans believes in purity and pollution as a value system.
The provincial government of Kerala has sought the help of the National Biodiversity Authority of India to intervene for the preserving and conservation of the traditional way of life of the Edamalakkudy people. Some interventions were required in fields like power, drinking water and housing.
Only operator to have mobile coverage in such a harsh terrain is BSNL.They have their mobile tower in Societykudy where connectivity to the mobile site is via Satellite link.
Two more BSNL sites have come up recently in the road towards Edamalakudy from Rajamala i.e Pettimudy and Rajamala Factory which are mainly tea plantation settlements and major contact points for people from Edamalakudy. Still some of kudies (name for small settlement of tribals in Edamalakudy village), scattered along this vast forest areas have no mobile coverage. They have to rely on Ham Radio. The Ham network was extensively used by the government to conduct the legislative election in the village during 2016.