Kumily is a fast growing spice and tourism hub which is situated on Kerala-Tamilnadu border in Idukki district of Kerala. Kumily is well-known for its pleasant weather and picturesque geographical terrain filled with misty mountains and green cardamom plantations. It is one of the largest spice trading centre in South India. Kumily streets are full of spice shops and all grades of green cardamom and other local spices shops beckon tourists who pass by. Kumily attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists due to the presence of Thekkady and Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is a major gateway to Kerala from Madurai region of Tamilnadu. Many luxury and budget hotels in and around Kumily is the backbone of its economy and employs thousands people.

Kumily has bagged an important position in the cardamom map of the world due to its preferred location in the Cardamom Hills of Western Ghat mountain system. It is in the middle of two largest cardamom auction centers of the world, Bodinayikanur e-Auction centre in Theni district and e-Auction centre at Puttady in Idukki district. These two centres execute decisive role in price determination of small cardamom.

Kumily is Thekkady

Thekkady and Kumily are functionally same place. Kumily serves as the transportation hub for Thekkady. Thekkady is a small village which is situated 4 kilometers away from Kumily town. Periyar Tiger Reserve is the main attraction in Thekkady. Periyar Tiger Reserve encompasses 925 km² area which spans across Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts. It houses more than 40 tigers, hundreds of elephants and rare lion tailed macaque which belongs to critically endangered primates. Malabar Grey hornbill and Great Malabar hornbill both of which are endemic to Western Ghat are found in Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Thekkady Boating

The main attraction of the Thekkady is the boat ride through Periyar lake, an artificial lake which was flooded while constructing Mullaperiyar Dam in 1895 by British Government. During the boating, there are chances to spot wild animals including elephants, deers and Indian bisons. If you are lucky enough, there might be chances to see tigers on the shores of Periyar lake. Other than boating, many adventurous programmes are being conducted by Periyar Tiger Reserve. Nature walk, Green walk, Bamboo rafting and Tiger trail programmes are on the list. Charming boat ride through Periyar lake take visitors into serenity and tranquility. The 90 minutes boating through waters filled by tree stumps  provides glimpses of rare flora and fauna. The lake is artificial and was created when forest area was submerged for constructing 100 years old Mullaperiyar dam which is the major cause of conflict between Kerala and Tamilnadu.

Boating38590 minutes
Nature walk18502-3 hours
Green walk18502-3 hours
Night trekking16002-3 hours
Bamboo rafting and trekking23504-5 hours
Pugmark Trail 1301 hour
Periyar Tiger Reserve price chart
Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Tiger Reserve has received award for the best tiger reserve in India from a pool of 50 tiger reserve. According to the latest tiger census, there are 40 tigers in Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Kerala-Tamil Culture

As Kumily is situated on Kerala-Tamilnadu border, obviously it has both Malayalam and Tamil speaking communities who co-exist in harmony. Even when Mullaperiyar Dam issue ignites and erupts violation in all parts of the state, Kumily remains peaceful. Majority of Kumily town belongs to Kerala and a small portion is controlled by Tamilnadu. There is a checkpoint here in the town. Border crossing of local people is a common phenomenon here. Hundreds of plantation workers come from Tamilnadu in the morning to Kerala side and return in the evening. People in Kumily are bilingual.

Mangaladevi Temple

Deep inside the dense forest of wild animals, where tigers and wild elephants are wandering, there is an alluring structure, Mangaladevi Temple. It is one of the oldest temple in Kerala, situates Kerala-Tamilnadu border. It believes that Chera Chenkuttuvan, the Chera King who built this temple 1000 years ago after he knew about the story of Kannaki. Both states claim for the ownership of this temple, but an agreement which allows both Kerala and Tamilnadu to run the temple. Mangaladevi Temple which lies 15 kilometers away from Kumily or Thekkady. Mangaladevi Temple which lies at an altitude of 1337 m above sea level. The temple is in the line of Pandyan and Kerala traditional architecture. It is made of huge stones with rectangular shape placed in order without any binding materials to put together. It is still a wonder that how lifted these heavy stones to the mountain top of the deep inside of forest. Due to negligence for a long time, the temple has suffered severe damage. Even the temple is in ruins, thousands of devotees from Kerala and Tamilnadu rush to Mangaladevi Temple on Chithra Pournami Day in April/May. The temple is open only once in a year on Chithra Pournamy Day. Priests from Tamilnadu and Kerala conduct rituals of the temple. Visitors to the temple require prior permission from forest department.


Cumbum Valley in neighboring Theni district is one of the highly fertile land where diverse crops are widely cultivated. Cumbum Vineyard is the must see destination in Thekkady. Eventhogh Cumbum is situated in Tamilnadu, Cumbum  is usually considered as part of Thekkady destination. Cumbum is 14 kilometers away from Kumily town. Private vehicle are allowed to cross the border. There are many jeep safari packages in Kumily which offers 2-3 hour Cumbum Valley trip. One need to cross Tamilnadu border to rach Cumbum. Paddy fields, fruits and vegetables are also cultivated in Cumbum. It is located in the middle of three hills called Thekkady Hills, Varusanadu Hills and Kodaikanal Hills. Visitors can visit different vineyards and purchase grapes and wines.

Cumbum vineyards

Tribals in Kumily

Kumily and neighboring places have many tribal communities and Government has allocated designated areas for fishing and other agricultural activities in Periyar Tiger Reserve. Mannan and Paliyas are the major two tribal communities in Kumily. Eventhough they retain their own languages and culture, they are more active in mainstream society.  Government has allocated lands and some other rights for the tribal in the Periyar tiger reserve including privilege for fishing. Former prime ministers of India Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have visited  tribal communities in Kumily.

Mannan King, Government approved

Mannan community is the only existing kingdom in Kerala. Government of Kerala has given all privileges to the Mannn king including providing state car. Mannans are Tamil origin and they speak language which is similar to Tamil. It is believed that they were descendants of Pandya dynasty. Mannans were workers and labourers of Pandya dynasty who remained in Idukki even after Pandya retreat. Pandya ruled part of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Mannan community’s headquarters is in Kozhimala (also known as Kovilmala) near Kattappana town. Current king of Mannan, Raman Raja Mannan (Binu) is from Kumily mannankudi.

AKG in Kumily

Kumily has witnessed many strikes for land and livelihood. In 1961 3rd May, 1800 families were forcibly evacuated from Ayyappankovil to Kumily under the order of Chief minister Pattam Thanupillai for the acquisition of land to construct Idukki hydro project. People were starved without food and shelter until the issue has been solved by the hunger strike of A K Gopalan, the  leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The rehabilitation camp had no adequate sanitation facility and there was hardly anything to eat. People died of diseases and and no treatment was provided  to those who got infected.

12. Amaravathi service cooperative bank is the first of its kind in Kumily.

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