BHOOTHATHANKETTU is a dam and also a tourist spot in Kerala, India. It is situated outside the village of PINDIMANA, about 10 kms away from the town of KOTHAMANGALAM and 50 kms away from the main city of Kochi. The original natural dam has been supplemented by a modern dam impounding the BHOOTHATHANKETTU Reservoir (THATTEKAD Reservoir). During the MALAYATOOR pilgrimage season, pilgrims use the roads through the forest to reach the church.
Large blocks of unshaped stones are placed on both sides of the Periyar River to form the dam, making it look like a natural formation built by superhumans. The name Bhoothathan Kettu, means “monster fort”; past generations believed it was built by a Bhootham(monster).
The reason behind the dam’s name is that monsters(Malayalam: Bhootham) planned to submerge the TRIKKARIYOOR temple, whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva by making a dam in the PERIYAR river and flooding the area. Suspecting trickery the omnipotent Lord Shiva, came up with a plan to deter them. He faked the approaching dawn by a rooster’s sound. The demons fearing the arrival of light fled the place. To this day there is a visible proof of their effort where you can see the boulders which the demons were supposed to have rolled onto the riverbed, the Old BHOOTHATHANKETTU. The PERIYAR flows in through the narrow space which the demons did not quite manage to dam up.
It has been attributed to two great floods – one in the 4th century and the other in 1341, which threw open the port of Kochi. The massive landslides during the flood are believed to have caused gigantic rocks to roll down from the mountain and become entrenched in the Old BHOOTHATHANKETTU.
Tippu Sultan later in April 1790 decided to capture Travancorea and was able to break into the territory after making the way through the NEDUMKOTTA. He destroyed the wall at Konoor kotaa or kottamuri and advanced further. He filled trenches for a few kilometres to enable his army to move forward.He destroyed many temples and churches and brought enormous harm to the people. He finally reached the Periyar river banks at Aluva and camped there. However, by this time a small group led by Vaikom Padmanabha Pillai and Kunjai Kutty Pillai went upstream and managed to break the walls of a dam at BHOOTHATHANKETTU causing heavy flash floods downstream PERIYAR river.
There is a safe natural walk trail through the thick forest which leads to the old BHOOTHATHANKETTU is amazing. The debris of huge stone are visible here that looks like real. The sight of the huge stone used by the Bhootas to construct the dam is left behind unfinished and river PERIYAR flows through the narrow space between the stones. During the trek we can enjoy the thick evergreen and riparian forests with breathtaking view of sky touching trees. One of the major attraction is a big tree with hollow inner space where a tourist can stand inside the tree and take a photograph. But the most interesting attraction is a big cave inside the forest, believed to be used by Bhootas while constructing the dam. One can only sit in the cave as it is not high enough for a person to stand which makes us think of short stature of monsters. On the way we can see big “cheeni” tree in which if we knock with a stick produces a loud sound even the elephants gets frightened by the sound and the tribal’s uses this for natural protection from animals. The trek takes one hour and the route is without much steep and undulations which enables even old people to explore the nature’s beauty and the old BHOOTHATHANKETTU. The trek takes total one hour to complete.