Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wayanad- The chain tree

Recently I was at Wayanad and that was when I happened to hear the local myth about the 'chain tree'. This large Ficus tree, bound by a prominent chain is an interesting excursion, approximately 15 km. from Kalpetta. It is said that a British Engineer, with the aid of a tribal guide named Karinthandan, found the difficult mountain terrain into Wayanad. Eager to take the credit for the discovery, the Engineer conveniently killed his guide, whose soul, according to the legend, constantly haunted subsequent travelers. It is believed that a priest chained the troublesome spirit onto this tree and hence name the Chain tree. Even today, a chain still hangs from a Banyan tree to mark the spot where a British Colonialist murdered an Adivasi tribesman (and thus, the name. One thing is for sure. This place must attract tourists. The view of the hairpins from the top is incredible. You even have hotels named ' chain tree' nearby. Just another element of the amazing Kerala- truly God's own country.

4 comments:

magiceye said...

fascinating!

D.Nambiar said...

Love the night time shot. It adds eeriness to the whole thing.

Nevin said...

Thank you 'magiceye' and 'D.Nambiar'. :)

Tony John said...

I visited the Chain Tree at Lakkidi, Wayanad last week during my trip to Wayand and Ooty. The Chain Tree was not really part of my itinerary but since it was just opposite to the hotel I stayed and it was one of the top attractions as per the tourist guide given by the hotel, I decided to take a look. In fact, the tree was visible directly from my hotel room (The Wayanad Gate hotel) but I didn't notice anything special about the tree. It looked just like any other trees in that area. But I got a bit curious when I saw many cars and tourist buses stop by and taking photos.

The tree was just 50 meters from the hotel and I walked to it with my camera. As I approach the tree, I noticed the big steel chaning sunken into the trunk of the tree. Also, there was some signboards that says "Changala maram", "Chain tree", "No parking in front of Chain Tree" etc.

I was still wondering what is so special about this tree. There was a small tea shop run by a lady and while sipping my tea there, she asked me if I know the story about the tree. Looks like she read my mind and she explained the history (or, legend?) associated with the tree. That was an interesting and touching story. Here is the summary of it:

During 18th century, the British decided to explore the routes through the Wayanad ghats to transport spices from Kozhikkode and other parts of the ghats. They took help from a local adivasi moopan called "Karinthandan". After identifying all the secret routes with the help of the moopan, a British engineer shot him dead to take full credit of identifying the new routes. Later, it is believed that the soul of Karinthandan started haunting the travellers and finally, a priest chained the soul into a tree, which is now called the Chain tree. I did more research on this legend and found a lot of information from the historical books and other sources. I have shared what I learnt in this blog - Chain tree - history and legend

Currently, there is a small temple attached to the tree. The deity of the temple is none other than "Karinthandan" who was killed by the British after taking his help to identify the unknown routes through the ghats.