Monday, June 29, 2015

Chinnakanal falls – A beauty in Munnar

26 June 2015

It was an amazing experience to see the water galloping down the rocks to create a beautiful waterfall at Chinnakanal, a few km to Munnar. It does not need much effort to reach this falls as it showcases itself on the roadside. But to enjoy its full beauty you need to visit in Monsoon when rains hit Munnar hills.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A beautiful hill called Makalidurga

7 June 2015

It was 1PM which was an odd time to start any trek. In front of us was Makalidurga, the hill that we had planned to climb. While coming towards Makalidurga we decided to climb Nijagal Betta which caused delay in arriving at Makalidurga. It was lunch time and we were little hungry. A hot day with almost clear skies was not ideal for afternoon trekking.

A hill next to Makalidurga

You meet lot of great people during treks but also few bad ones. Here at Makalidurga the bad man came in the form of Vinod Kumar. He made his appearance suddenly and said that people would damage our vehicle. He asked us to park at a place where he can keep an eye. No soul was around and it was only Vinod who can “play” with the car. Clearly he wanted money in the guise of taking care of the car. We ignored him and continued further. There was some confusion about the path to take. In the meantime Krishna was not comfortable with the idea of car and Vinod being together. “Why not we take him as a guide? Instead of paying money just to have a look at the car, make him climb with us for the money”. We were sure that no one else would do anything to car. Due to heat, we also did not have the patience to search the path and climb.

Makalidurga as seen from the place where we parked the car
Vinod started his bargaining skills. He said about the money he gets from working for Sand lorry business. I was annoyed and told not to compare us with illegal morons. He pulled another arrow by saying that he would ask Lord Manjunatha on how much money he should take after the trek. Nonsense, we told. He was desperate for money and finally we agreed on an amount and started climbing.

Views from Makalidurga
He was too talkative but luckily I was saved as I walked slower that day. Krishna who was climbing with him consumed all his talks. On hearing his words, it was clear that he was a person with no values and morals. It was a shame considering that he was only 19 years.

The climb was easy with small trees and bushes around. After sometime, the gradient increased and we had to navigate around huge boulders. The heat and hunger was taking a toll on me. I was desperate to reach the top.

Fort entrance
It took us 50 minutes to reach the top of the hill. Vinod had earlier challenged that we had to pay whatever he asks if we take more than 90 minutes. He was too shocked with our speed. He did not know that the two city guys had done good amount of trekking before. It was time to change his mental model.

Remains of the fort
A small fort is constructed on the top with a Temple dedicated to Shiva. The fort is completely in ruins. A small pond is also muddy. But the views from the top are great. We spent some time relaxing under a tree and roaming around the fort. It was very peaceful.

Lake seen while climbing Makalidurga
Climbing down was simple though bit painful on our knees due to stony path.

How to reach Makalidurga?

Makalidurga is about 60km from Bengaluru. After Doddaballapura, take the road towards Gouribidanur. You cross a railway line and Makalidurga railway station. Either you can park you vehicle at railway station and walk for a km along the track to reach the base or drive further and take a mud road that goes to the base. Cross the railway line and start climbing. The trail at the base is confusing but becomes clearer as you climb up. Do not try to climb when it rains as negotiating some rocks can become tricky. The place is very near the famous Ghati Subramanya Temple.

Scenery from Makalidurga

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Adyanpara waterfalls

Continued from here.

To reach Adyanpara waterfalls, we had to go towards Nilambur. Google maps showed a shortcut from Kakkampoyil passing through the forests. This time we were more cautious and took feedback from locals on the conditions of the road. Locals recommended taking that road. It was indeed a great option considering that the ghat road was very scenic with very less vehicles running on that stretch.

A waterfalls on ghat road
Adyanpara waterfall is very famous in Mallapuram area which was indicated by a number of sign boards to the falls. The forest department collects entry fees for the waterfalls.

The falls is well maintained. Railings have been put to ensure that people do not venture into water. The area is also kept very clean. It was surprising as the place attracts many visitors. View points are constructed to view the waterfalls.

Yet another nice waterfall in Mallapuram area. The falls is about 15 km from Nilambur.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A hidden waterfall

As mentioned in the last post, we saw this waterfall while we were struggling to find Kozhipara waterfalls. I later felt that that we should have spent more time to explore this waterfall rather than just take a picture and leave. But anyway, it was a beautiful waterfalls.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Struggles to find Kozhipara waterfall

Continued from here.

When we started from Kodenchery, little did we think that our journey to Kozhipara waterfalls would be an adventure. Google maps showed two routes to reach the waterfalls. One passed though villages and other route was inside forest. Obviously we chose the latter.

The road was narrow and climbed up continuously. In fact we gained 2,500 feet within the span of 5-6 kilometres. On the way we asked a local whether the route we were following was correct or not. He said something negative which we could not properly understand. Language was a problem. We interpreted correctly that he was asking us to return back. But I was so sure of Google maps that I ignored the local. “This guy does not know the place” was my reaction. The map was showing 7 km to the waterfalls and it was too difficult for us to ignore it and turn back.

But local person was absolutely right!! The road abruptly ended at one place. We were just 4.5 km away from the falls. Invectives came out of our mouth cursing the map provider. The place was empty and we could not check with anyone. It was not necessary as there was no way we could continue further. With decreased spirits we started driving down.

Now we were more intelligent to take support of a local. The first person we met on our way agreed to help us out. He was going to a small village near the waterfall. It was good and we asked him to get into the car. Apparently forest department had not given permission to construct road through the forest. Lesson learnt: “Combine technology with local knowledge!!”

We climbed down the road completely and started climbing up again on the different road. The roads were still narrow as we gained 2,500 feet. At a place called “Kakkampoyil”, we stopped to have a cup of tea. We were in the car for last 2.5 hours without finding the waterfall!! The villagers at Kakkadampoyil confirmed that we were on the right path. That was assuring.

After Kakkadampoyil, we got down into a valley. The waterfall was visible on the opposite side of the valley but we still had to cover a long distance. There were no clear signs about the waterfall and we did not realize when we crossed it. Again locals helped here. Turning back on the narrow ghat road was very difficult for the car.

Actually, Kozhipara is an easy waterfall to reach. You just need to walk couple of minutes from the road to view the falls.

But it is hard to get down to the base of the falls. We can only see from the side. The slippery rocks were difficult to negotiate. The waterfall is formed by Chaliyar River.

With every struggle I have seen a positive outcome. While struggling to find Kozhipara waterfall, we bumped into another waterfall whose existence was never known to us. Photo of that waterfall is in the next post.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Nijagal Betta – A nice little hill

7 June 2015

The idea of climbing Nijagal Betta was conceived while I and Krishna were driving towards Makalidurga. It seemed that we could quickly climb that hill before attempting Makalidurga. We crossed Dabaspet and parked our vehicle at Coffee day and started walking along the highway. After about hundred meters a small road deviated from the highway and crossed railway line. Due to recent rains the path under the bridge was waterlogged and hence we climbed up to cross the railway line. The hill looked majestic from railway line.

Crossing the railway line

Due to the presence of religious sites, the hill was frequented by locals. The path was clear and we had no issues to find the way. As we climbed up the path slowly, the scenery became clearer. It was a sunny day and watching blue sky against hilly background was a treat to our eyes.

At midway we took a small detour that provided a nice view of the Mantapa. It was not possible to reach Mantapa from the place where we were standing. We decided to find the way while coming back.

We thought we reached that top after crossing a gate but we had hit a plateau where the real hill was still away. The place was beautiful with a mix of greenery and rocks. That place demanded some time for our cameras.

After another stretch of climb, we reached the place that looked like top. A Temple and Durgah are situated next to each other inside the rocks. Animal and chicken were sacrificed; those poor creatures were cooked and consumed by people. It does not give a good feeling.

Shivaganga seen climbing the hill
To reach the top, a steep rock face had to be climbed. It was slippery and looked risky, so I removed by shoes and climbed those final steps. On the top were some dilapidated structures and trees had grown on them. The view of the plains below was simply amazing.

After spending some time, we climbed down and reached Mantapa situated near the dargah at the base. The Mantapa was in a bad shape. Treasure hunter had dug at many peoples. It looked at the Mantapa could collapse at any moment. It was precariously standing with the support of few stones which prompted us to quickly come out of that place.

Though it was a Dargah, Hindus were the primary visitors. In A small pond in front of the Dargah was used for bathing purpose. People looked strangely towards us. They all wanted us to take their pictures though it was known that we would not be sending any hard copies. We did not oblige to their demands!!

Overall it was a simple climb of about 870 feet and it took us about two hours to perform the round trip. It is a nice little place with easy climb. The hill is also called Siddara Betta by locals. This should not be confused with Siddara betta that is situated near Madhugiri.  

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Aripara waterfalls

After visiting Thusharagiri waterfall, we headed for the next falls in the region, Aripara waterfalls. We planned to visit few more waterfalls in the area which demanded a stay in the area for a night. The prospective of riding back to Wayanad was not a good option and so was to go to Calicut. But then in a nearby village called Kodenchery was “Thushara International”. It was surprising to see such a good hotel in that less visited village.

We had our lunch at the hotel and proceeded to Aripara waterfalls. The waterfall was nearby but due to narrow and curvy roads it took us about an hour to reach the place. A small parking area is constructed near the falls. After paying entry fees we entered into the falls area.

Aripara is not a waterfall in strict terms but more of a series of rapids formed by Iruvazhinji River. Nevertheless it is a beautiful and serene place. It is similar to Jomblu Theertha near Agumbe.

Though it is a small waterfall, many casualties are reported here. The slippery rocks with fast currents make it a dangerous place. There is a video in youtube that shows an accident in the falls. It is scary. Having seen that video before, we were extremely careful in our movements in the falls. Forest department is constructing railings to prevent people from getting close to water. The drilling of holes on the rocks was in progress during our visit.

A nice little waterfall.