Up the ghat pass of Wayanad at the very gateway of this ancient elevated paddy land or Wayal Nadu at around 700m lies this tropical blue lake skirted by vernal wet green forests and grass land tops. The Pookode lake is a natural freshwater spring lake having great ecological, geographical and cultural antiquity.
This refreshing waterbody is so close to the highway (Calicut-Kalpeta) and travelers are wooed to its chilling charms. Temperatures are much lower around the lake and it is a great getaway from the heat of Calicut. I was drawn to this ancient beauty while attending the National Theatre Festival of Kerala 2011 at Kozhikode.
Plenty of KSRTC buses are available from Calicut to this place. It takes under two hours to reach the lake from the city. The blue lake also has mesmerizing lilac waterlilies in its bosom. Reeds, bamboos, flowering riperian shrubs and trees lull the lake from all sides. The walk around the lake along the winding path is amazing and spectacular. It opens up a new view of lake at every curve and turning.
Plenty of tourists from other states are also here to enjoy the chill and charms of this forest fairy. boating and canoeing provisions are available. Plenty of monkeys are also here. There are also a few fish ponds near the lake. It is a plastic-free zone and rural handicrafts are available in eco-shops with mud walls and bamboo thatches.
The ancient Banyan and a small shrine of Pookode Amma the mother goddess of Pookode prove that this was an ancient sacred lake and shrine like Devikulam near Munnar located well above 1600m in Iduki district towards the south. It is interesting to note that this sacred lake is so close to the Jain ruins of Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady in Wayanadu. Wayanadu itself is known for its Jain antiquity that still shelters Jain people in its natural bounty though reduced to a few in hegemonic invasions in history.
Wayanadu with its geographical proximity with the Deccan plateau and Kodagu, Hassan and South Kannada districts of Karnataka was a cradle of Jainism from BC era itself. Its closeness to Sravanabelgola is remarkable. Pookode Amma could be Pathmavady Devi or Khusmandini Devi or any other sacred fairies of Jainism with a local tint.
Now she is worshiped locally in the Hinduized form of Wana Durga or Bhagavathy. I remember V V K Valath the renowned scholar and researcher in Kerala culture and history who opened up the mystery of Wana Durgas in Kerala by researching and disseminating the knowledge on their Sramana past. He is the major organic intellectual in Kerala to expose the spatial and renaming strategies of Brahmanism with which it changed the whole cultural terrain in south India in a few centuries.
Unfortunately he could not complete his mega project of writing about place names and local histories in Kerala. Anyway Malayalees are gifted with his few volumes on a couple of disctricts like Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, Ernakulam etc. published by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi.
Anyway today the azure blue waters of this virgin spring is still medicinal and contains healing powers for the local people and the tribals of Wayanadu who were its original owners. This is one of the coolest summer locations in Kerala where you can beat the heat and rising temperatures in the planes and relax in the lap of mother nature for a while and regain your human qualities and creativity which you can utilize for the conservation of nature and culture in an inclusive and democratic way.