Berijam lake - 21 kms from Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is the most beautiful lake in all of South India. Originally discovered by the British & Spanish people, this place was a swamp 80-100 years ago. It has been converted to a lake with catchment areas around the lake. the lake itself is situated in a very high altitude...just a couple of hundred feet below kody !
Berijam lake is surrounded by pine forests which were planted here a few decades ago. they are now killing the other trees around and the law is trying to bring down all the pine trees. sad, but the forest has to be saved and hope it comes back to its present magnificence.
The lake has very pure water and is the main source of water for a town called Periyakulam which is situated in the valley below Kodaikanal. Fishing is allowed here, and you can get a boat ride if you can get hold of Isaac, the boat guy. Besides this, there are fantastic pine forests around the lake and theres something about pine trees and the fog and the lake and the shrooms and...ooops !! okokok !! I'll let you in on a secret...Kodaikanal is known around the world for its 'MAGIC MUSHROOMS' which have a hallucinogenic substance called psylocibin which produces hallucinogenic effects if consumed !! This grows in abundance in Berijam ! But be warned !! There are tons of other mushrooms which are extremely poisonous so do not attempt to pick them yourself. These have almost the same effect as LSD and is not a thing for 'amateurs' ! The forest puts on a grand show when you're tripping on shrooms in Berijam !! If in doubt, do not fret...go back to 'vattakanal' in Kodaikanal and ask for 'James', he'll be able to help you with your shroom requirements !! Heres a fact for you guys out there...these shrooms grow only in England and Mexico other than in Kodaikanal !!
I've mentioned that psilocin, which is what psilocybin quickly becomes as it enters your metabolism, is 4 hydroxy dimethyltryptamine. It is the only 4-substituted indole in all of organic nature.
Let this rattle around in your mind for a moment. It is the only 4-substituted indole known to exist on earth !
It happens to be this psychedelic substance that occurs in about eighty species of fungi, most of which are native to the New World. Psilocybin has a unique chemical signature that says, "I am artificial; I come from outside." I was suggesting that it was a gene - an artificial gene - carried perhaps by a spaceborne virus or something brought artificially to this planet, and that this gene has inssinuated itself into the genome of these mushrooms.
Now for the fun part ! Berijam is 21 kms from Kodaikanal, and Berijam is the last point you can treavel by car or any other fourwheeler. two wheelers are not allowed into the forest. there are two roads from Berijam, one goes to Munnar and the other to a small village called Kavunji. Now the best part is...both the roads are blocked for traffic for a couple of decades now and are just fantastic for trekking. Nobody uses these roads and they have stuff growing on them. this makes it perfect for trekking ! Note that there are lots of wild animals like leopards and bisons, so it is a wise thing to trek in a small group rather that one or two people trying to be heroes ! The Munnar trek is about 40 kms from Berijam and Kavunji is about 9 kms. You can even catch a bus from Kodaikanal to Kavunji and trek to Berijam. The forest is spectacular to see this way ! bisons and deer are everywhere ! You can trek all the way from Kodaikanal to Munnar which is approximately 80 kms and will take around 3 days ! This is really radical to do and you have to go prepared with warm clothes, heavy rain gear (second half of the year) and food to last.
Berijam lake is protected by forest laws and both the lake and the immensly beautiful forest are protected and you need special permission from the forest office in Kodaikanal to go there. i would suggest you go and get permission early in the morning as the forest office closes by 11:30 AM.
You only get permission to stay in Berijam till the evening, but if you are persuasive enough, you can get permission to stay overnight in Berijam ! There is a dormitory at Berijam, which can serve as a base for trekking. There is a canteen too with a friendly cook who'll cook anything for you, provided you have had the brains to shop for vegetables and stuff before getting here. Prakash, the cook will whip up anything you want to eat without any complaints. Iwould suggest you carry eggs and bread. This is the best breakfast you can have before you start on that wildest trek in your life !
The forester of Berijam was a very friendly chap, and he's promised to take us to some marijuana plantations on the kerala border next time we're there !! Can u believe that !?! Where else could you run naked thru ganja fields !??!
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