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We all have experienced the greener and prettier side of the gorgeous state Kerala. There are also the tales of horror that haunts the destination and its people. Talking about haunted places in Kerala, there are some real scary locations which will spook us out with their tales of terror. Among several haunted destinations, one is that the tale of spooky Thamarassery Ghat Pass with its chain tree in Waynad.
Kerala is well known for its natural beauty. Wayand district is a beautiful place in Kerala which has become a home to Thamarassery Ghat Pass, and is believed to be haunted by the wandering soul of a local tribesman name Karinthandan . Lakkidi is one of the best locations in Wayanad and is situated 700 m above sea level, at top of Thamarassery ghat pass. The town nearest to Lakkidi is Vythiri which is 5 km away from it. Chain tree, Pookot Lake and a sightseeing point are within five km of Lakkidi.It is about 58 km northeast of Kozhikode district. The Ficus Tree which is known as the chain tree is situated along the national highway near the Wayanad Ghat with a massive steel chain hanging on it and is a quick stop for many travelers.The chain on the tree has a story.
During the colonial rule,there was a secret route for the local Adivasis of Wayanad. Lakkidi was that secret route which the Adivasis used.Karinthandan was the one who helped the British engineer to discover the shortest route to pass the ghat.
Karinthandan ,who lived between 1700-1750AD belonged to Paniyas(an Adivasi/tribal community).It is believed that he is the person who discovered the Wayanad Ghat route during British period.Being the local chieftain of Adivaram region,he knew every nook and corner of the hillocks within the region.
Once the British Viceroy announced a big reward to those who find a route from Thamarassery to Wayanad and help to create a new road across the churam.A British engineer took the help of Karinthandan to discover the paths through the dense forests. The unknown routes were soon discovered.To take credits of this beautiful place,the engineer took him to the peak of a mountain and shot him dead there.
The British developed road through the forests of
Wayanad and began exploiting the resources within the area.But the soul of Karinthandan started haunting the passengers.A lot of accidents happened during 1890 and 1900.It was believed that it had been Karinthandan’s soul that caused the accidents.
In addition to the attacks from the wild animals, the ghost of Karinthandan created a fear among the people..After a lot of efforts,the priest managed to chain the ghost to a Ficus tree,which is now known as the ‘Chain Tree of Wayanad’.
Well over the years,the tree has naturally grown tall about 25 feet giving good shade all over the place,but quite unbelievably,the chain too has grown taller along with the tree.It is growing which is seriously scary,a fact that has no explaination.A small temple named Changala Muneeswaran Kovil has been built adjacent to the tree.The deity of the temple is none other than the adivasi chieftain who was killed by the British engineer.
The chain tree looks no different from other similar trees apart from the steel chain sunken deep into the trunk and hanging from a tall branch.Since the tree doesn’t stand out,you may not even notice it unless you look for it.A lot of people stop by just because they are curious about the chain on the tree.If you are traveling this route,it may be worth stopping by to take a 5-minute break under the shade of the tree. Many truck drivers stop by and pray for a safe journey up and down the hilly terrain.Many others stop by just to take a small break after climbing the hilly ghat road.
An NGO called PEEP(Peoples Action For Educational Development of Tribal People)organizes Karinthandan Smrithi Yatra in memory of Karinthandan.This procession is organized from Lakkidi to Adivaaram on the second Sunday of March every year and is participated by thousands of people from the Paniya community from all parts of Kerala.The Paniya community has urged the government to put in a statue of Karinthandan near the chain tree and the ghat road to be named as Karinthandan memorial ghat road.
The tourists say that they stop their vehicles at this particular point once you enter the Wayanad district after completing the breathtaking 9 hairpin bent ghats section from Calicut. As a part of belief,people traveling by do a small prayer and offering for the rest of the journey to be safe and secure.
Karinthandan is the first martyr of Wayanad. Though the place is all haunted and holds several scary tales,it hasn’t stopped people of the tribes from honoring the first martyr of Wayanad, Karinthandan.

By Eileen George, Dombivli (Mumbai)



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