The details of the history of Idukki are not much known and there are no proofs of Paleolithic age. The region of Idukki was earlier ruled by the Chera dynasty and the Kongu Nadu. The capital of the Chera Dynasty, Kuzhumoor was at Kumily in present day Peerumade taluk. During the period from 800 AD to 1102, the areas included in the present day Devikulam, Udumbanchola and Peerumade taluks were under the control of the Vembolinad kingdom. For some time, this was under the control of the Thekkumkoor Rajas. Idukki came under the rule of the Poonjar Raja in the 16th century. Manavikrama Kulasekhara Perumal established the Poonjar Kingdom and bought the High Range areas from the Thekkumkoor Raja. So a large part of Idukki came into the hands of Poonjar Raja.
When the British invaded Kerala, the European planters came to Idukki region. In 1877, the Poonjar ruler, Kerala Varma leased around 227 sq kms of land to the British planter, John Danial Manroe. This area was largely covered by thick forests. North Travancore Land planting and Agriculture society was formed by him and there were members in this society. These members then developed estates of their own in the High range areas. Many planters migrated to the high range areas that were covered by forests. Several plantation industries were started and deforestation started, leading to the destruction of vast area of evergreen forests. The high ranges here were attracted by the Scottish planters and they built many bungalows in Munnar which are very attractive. Idukki was formed as a separate district in the year 1972.
IDUKKI District was formed on 26 January 1972 as per Government notification No 54131/C2/71/RD dated 24th January 1972. The district consists of Devikulam, Udumbanchola and Peermedu taluks of the erstwhile Kottayam district and Thodupuzha taluk (excluding two villages Manjallore and Kalloorkadu) of the erstwhile Ernakulam district. At the time of formation the district headquarters started functioning at Kottayam and from there it was shifted to Painavu in Thodupuzha taluk in June 1976, where it is proposed to build a new planned forest township.
The district’s name, ‘Idukki’ is supposed to be derived from the Malayalam word ‘Idukku’ which means a narrow gorge. Periyar which is one of the largest rivers of Kerala, flowing through Idukki gorge formed between the two high massive rocks called “Kuravan” and “Kurathi”, is the site of the gigantic Idukki arch dam.
We have very little authentic knowledge which throws light into the ancient history of Idukki district. Eventhough there is no clear evidence whether men of the paleolithic age lived here, there is evidence of stone-age civilization. Stone-age dolmens were discovered in the valleys of Anchanad in Devikulam taluk. Archaeological excavation conducted during 1947-48 at Kallar Pattom colony in Udumbanchola taluk and at Vandiperiyar in Peermedu taluk brought to light the remains of Old Stone-age Menhir and Tombs.
Thodupuzha was the head quarters of Vadakkumkoor Raja. There is remains of a fort at Karikkode. Near this fort there is a Devi temple said to have constructed by the Vadakkumkoor Raja. There is also another temple by name Annamala Temple constructed in Chola style. The church at Muthalakodam, near Thodupuzha is believed to have constructed before 13th Century.
The Ninnar Mosque near Karikkode is said to have constructed by the Vadakkumkoor Raja for his Muslim soldiers. Thodupuzha was also a nerve business centre. There is historical evidence to prove that from ancient time onwards ivory, teak, rosewood, sandalwood, peacock etc., were exported to foreign countries.
Historians believe that Kuzhumoor, the capital of Chera Kings of the Sangam Age, is the Kumily in Peermade taluk. It is assumed that portions of Meenachil taluk and the whole of High Range were included in the Thanthuzhynad under the Kulasekhara Empire (A.D.800-1102). For some time these regions were under the region of the Thekkumkoor Kingdom. It was proved that Vennimala, one of the capitals of the Thekkumkoor Rajas, was in Idukki district. Poonjar Kingdom was established by Manavikrama Kulasekhara Perumal. Manavikraman brought Meenachil taluk and the High Range under his rule from the Thekkumkoor Raja. Thus major portions of Idukki district came under the rule of the Poonjar Raja.
Anamudy Peak (The highest peak in Western Ghat)
According to the 2011 census Idukki district has a population of 1,107,453. This ranks it as 416th among the 640 districts of India. The district has a population density of 254 inhabitants per square kilometre (660/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was -1.93%. Idukki has a sex ratio of 1006 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 92.2 per cent.
Notable people from Idukki district include K.M. Beenamol, Shiny Wilson, Asif Ali and P.J. Joseph. There are 11,516 Scheduled tribal families in the district, including Malayarayan, Mannan, Muthuvan, Oorali, Paliyan, Hilpulayan, Malapandaram, Ulladan and Malayan.
There are six state highways passing through the district. National Highway 49 connects Cochin – Madura – Rameswaram. The railway does not pass through the district, and the nearest railway stations are Ernakulam, Kottayam and Alwaye.The nearest ports are Cochin Port and Nedumbassery. The International Airport is near the northern boundary of the district. A survey for a mini airport is in progress at Anakkara, near Kumaly.