#5 – In love with wilderness – Tip toeing to Athirappilly Waterfalls (Niagara of India) and wrap

This is part 5 and final blog of the series of blog articles, of our visit to Valparai, I would suggest you read the entire series to follow our trail. If you are interested in a particular location’s blog article, I would highly recommend that you read at least Part 1 of the article before moving into other articles of the series.

It’s Monday morning and I woke up to the sounds of the melodious bird chirpings from the trees nearby. This kind of waking up of is too sweet when compared to waking up to an exasperating alarm.

To an urbanite like me, I used to keep dreaming of Monday morning blues as, me lying on a dew filled grass and staring at the clear sapphire sky above. Resting on a bank of the sun kissed river and watching the shades of blue water caressing my feet, running behind butterflies with blue polka dots and it’s seizing blue berries from the tree on the hill top.

While we having our tea, we learnt from the locals that there is a river walkable distance from the place where we were staying. Even though, we wanted to stay inside four walls for the previous night, we were firm that we don’t want to shower inside four walls.

So we embarked into the river to marinate ourselves with one of the five elements of nature – the water. Other friends of mine, walked inside the water but I stayed back as the river was too fast, deep and the stones inside the water was covered with slippery algae. Wanting to make reality, one of my Monday morning blue dreams, I was sitting in the river bank with my leg, knee deep inside water and I let the river caress me.

The mist wrapped mountains, the river confessing its love to the tree on the way are enticing views for photographers like me. Even with these enticing views bestowing itself to me physically, I took only couple of shots, as mentally, my thoughts were to cross the river.

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While I was absorbed in my thoughts, I found a shallow path nearby to cross the river. I crossed the river using that path. Just after crossing the river, I found two small blue coloured butterflies skirted with brown on their wings playing and teasing each other. I thought to myself, this sight is my accolade to cross the river. I was so allured into that view, that I forgot that I had a camera with me to capture those lovely creatures. This sight also brought to reality one other of the Monday morning blues, even though I didn’t run behind these butterflies.a

We spent almost 1 – 1.5 hour in the river fully enjoying the river as we know for sure, once we are in the town these kind of prospects simply doesn’t exist.

While on the way to the hotel, me and Deepan spotted a rainbow coloured butterfly bigger than my palm. Even though I ran behind this for five minutes, I couldn’t focus on as it was hopping from plant to plant and finally hid itself inside a house.

We checked out of the hotel and we found a typical Kerala restaurant where we had Kerala Parottas, Puttu and Aaapam. Since our energy got restored, some of my friends were attracted to the woods close to the restaurant.

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Of course there were selfies too.

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From the place where we parked the vehicle to have breakfast, we could see a glimpse of the Athirappilly waterfalls.

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We reached Athirappilly falls which is otherwise called as Niagara of India. We had to park a vehicle at least half a km away from the entrance as the parking lot was full. From the vehicle we walked back to the entrance which, in a way was good, as we got some nice photographs on the way.

Unlike the roads of Valparai, the entrance of Athirappilly water falls was crowded and we had to wait in a long line to get into the waterfalls. Once we entered and walked for around half a kilometre, we could see the 145 kilometres long Chalakudy River which originates from Anamudi mountains. The river initially runs smoothly but becomes more turbulent as it nears Athirappilly. At Athirappilly Falls, the water surges around big rocks and cascades down in three separate plumes.

We had to trek down around 2 – 3 kms of walking distance to see the water of Chalakudy river falling from 260 feet. Even though we entered as a team, we got split into multiple smaller teams being attracted towards various places while trekking down. Deepan and Vicky were trekking down and leading us and me following them solo and slow, while enjoying and photographing the striking nature around. Others found a small hanging branch where they wanted to take photographs and were following me from a distance.

There is a nature’s embrace along these unknown rocky trail that leads to the waterfalls; a perplexing entice on these curvaceous paths; a beckoning on those cobbled paths; an inspiration built out of sheer craving and you walk down as if I am in a trance smitten by the nature that’s effortlessly adorable and you feel this is where you belong!

I was trampling slowly along the secluded pathways, precariously tiptoeing around slippery stones and algae formations on the rocks to get myself to see just how fiercely the Chalakudy river falls.

It took almost an hour to get down and to enjoy the mizzle of the waterfalls falling on my face. The fresh water dripping from my face took away with it all my weariness and fatigue caused by the trekking.

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Standing close to the waterfalls for around 15 minutes, I stretched my hand out in the air and looked up the sapphire sky, and just at the same moment, a big drop of water fell on my spectacles followed by few more on my cheeks and orifices. The sleepless nights and restless mornings during the trip meant nothing anymore as I widened my mouth in sheer joy trying to seize raindrops from sky like a Sakkara Bagam (Pied Crested Cuckoo – bird that drinks only rain water).

Rains brought rainbows in my soul and I stood there realizing that these are the moments that turn pain into poetry and ecstasy of letting it all go and getting wet.

The rain stopped as suddenly as it started, and we started back to our vehicle.The rains begotten with it dragonflies in a colour that I have never seen before. I ran behind it for 30 – 45 minutes before I could capture a nice close up shot of this dragonfly.

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With another 1.5 hours of more careful tip toeing as the rain made the pavement even more slimy.

After we had lunch, we started our journey back to our homes. I brace my ailing heart to bid farewell to a place I have come to adore.

In the evening, we stopped for quick tea and also for some photos.

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In the late evening, after the sun down in the horizon, we stopped in a very scenic location where I saw mountains fully covered with mist. I got down from the vehicle to take a closer look and since it was dark, I couldn’t take a picture. I think at this time, there was a leech that got stuck to my foot without my knowledge.

After couple of hours, while Mathi was searching for something found there was a big leech lying next to my foot and yes you guessed it, my foot was fully covered with blood.

As they say, any adventure isn’t fulfilled until you experience, everything in store for you, both good and bad. Lessons will keep on coming, until you learn them.

I washed my feet thoroughly and also ensured there are no more leeches. Still the blood was trickling out continuously. My friends suggested me to take as much as saliva possible on a small sheet of paper and stick to the place of the leech bite to stop the bleeding.
Even though, I resorted to this suggestion and it did stop the bleeding, this doesn’t seem to be a right solution and I searched for it on the internet after a few days. Saliva contains an enzyme which helps in blood clotting and also helps in healing the wound faster. This is not just human but in animals too and that’s the reason we can notice the injured animals licking their wounds so that the saliva on their mouth will fall on their wound and heal it and also helps in stopping the bleeding.

I thought to myself – travel is a teacher, an austere teacher in fact.

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