On Day 2 of our trip, we were ready by 8am and had thenir before we started to Athirappilly Waterfalls. On the way it was full of tea plantation estates. Early morning was fitting to watch the green of tea leaves completely dominated by the green before the sun gives different touch to it. First we came across the Sholayar Dam. On one side of the dam there were calm green mountains and large water body. Far to the eyesight we could see virgin waterfalls silently pouring water to the dam. On the other side of the dam it was marvellous to catch the glimpse of the green on the walls of dam. Seeing the vast drench of gorgeous trees and mountains was fascinating. While it was drizzling, stretching the hands to the sky to finally cushion the head and circling 360 degrees (like Director Bala Mahendra captured beauty of Nilgiris/Ooty in “Kannae Kalaimaane” song) to register the landscapes again and again in heart and to realise what we have done to be in this beautiful planet was an experience of lifetime. At one place we could see a tea factory. And later we had Kerala’s delicious Appam as our breakfast from a home-cum-hotel like. (One Appam costs only Rs.5!! and one Vada costs only Rs.3!! Either trust me about the tariff I mentioned or travel there. But worth travelling).
From Sholayar Dam
Check post at forest entry point
Large extended family of jackfruit
Once we crossed the interstate border we were stopped at the check post monitored by the forest officials. Adjacent to the small forest department complex, there were couple of Jackfruit trees. These trees were an adobe for the large extended family of about twenty Jackfruits huddling at different places. And many of these fruits would weigh close to half my weight (on which I should soon work on). The roads ahead were guarded on the both sides by the trees of dense forest. The roads were taking at least one bend/curve for every 150m. The roads were narrow and bit pathetic. In a way it was okay for me to have pathetic roads; we travelled slowly in the jungle and enjoyed the depth of the silence in the deep forests. The atmosphere was terrific and we kept the windows open all throughout the journey. According to our chauffeur, normally we can witness elephants. Due to rain, elephants were not found.
There were complex networks of shrubs, wild creepers and climbers, tall trees. Wondering how the botanists keep count of the species available in this forest alone. With the help of grey clouds, sun started playing hide & seek with the forest and provided us numerous shades of green in the forest. We came across a valley of mountains on our right side. I completely lost myself in the valley. Just observed it. On a grassy mountain, there were footsteps making way towards a factory. At many places I stopped the car to just click snaps and didn’t worry that it made our journey long. I didn’t need any time compose the frames. I just had to click it, nothing else.
There were creepers, happily decorating the wet huge rocks with smiling pink flowers. Every one of us enjoyed it. We came across silent silvery lake mirroring the mountains and the trees. We witnessed black monkeys of the forest. Vazhachal Waterfalls and Athirappilly Waterfalls arrived. We didn’t know how the 3.5hours journey went. We never felt bored. It was an awesome experience. One of the best routes for adventures travel in bikes etc. I had a silent wish to travel in an open roof ferry for two persons. Our chauffer didn’t stop at many places because there would be movement of wild animals in the forest. [But another reason is I was stopping at many places to take snaps. Trust me; I limited myself to take snaps because I was consciously aware not to lose the joy of the trip by clicking many snaps). I would highly recommend this trip (Valparai to Athirappilly Waterfalls) to everyone. The road from Valparai to Athirappilly Falls has everything for nature lovers’ viz., trees, creepers, shrubs, green, lake, monkeys, valley, flowers, mountains, waterfalls, dam, delicious food etc.
Snake (Our chauffeur said that this snake will pluck human eyes. Reminded me of my friends who during school times narrated numerous fictional stories based on this snake)
Lake (mirroring the mountains)
(This is not Athirappilly Falls)
By the time we reached Athirappilly it was raining heavily there. The water was flowing at a greater speed. We enjoyed it. Since it was raining we couldn’t spend more than 30” at the waterfalls. I have written more about Athirappilly falls previously here. Now we are in Kerala. On way to Chalakudy we stopped and had our lunch [as wont find much hotels in Athirappilly Waterfalls, I admitted my family to prepare the lunch]. Via Chalakudy we went to Kodungallur. The deity Bhagavathy Amme/Amman in Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple was ravishing, majestic. The deity was ornamented with gold plating glittering amidst numerous ghee lamps (nei vilakku). Next we went to Paravoor Mookambikka temple. The shrine here was admits Lotus ponds. The deity was simple and elegant without ornaments. Now we headed to Triprayar. Sri Rama temple here is the only Rama temple adjacent to a river in the planet. Ghee lamps framing the idol were adding a serene touch to the atmosphere. We were fortunate to go at the right moment (just the last people before the Pooja for which the shrine would be closed for a brief time) to pray for a long time. The best thing about Kerala Temples is simplicity. No archanas (Pooja), no special queues, home like divine feeling.