Next day we visited Athirapally water falls. The journey of around 48 kms which is normally doable in about an hour took us about 2 hours – we kept stopping on the way to take pictures. It was by far one of the most beautiful drives I have been on so far. The typical winding, narrow roads through rural Kerala were very good to drive on and more than anything else spotlessly clean. There was just a short stretch of the road which was in bad shape. To put it shortly, zimmmmbly enchanting! 😀
We left the hotel at around 8.30 am and stopped at a wayside coffee house for breakfast. It was a shocker. There were no idlis or dosas. Puri and vegetable were available – I guess the vegetable had beetroot in it since it looked pink! About 80% or more of the items on the menu were non-vegetarian. The coffee was excellent. I can’t really say much for the coffee in Kerala. Ever since I left home, I had been drinking some awful brew called coffee – reminded me of “the coffee in the army they say is superfine, it looks like ditch water and tastes like turpentine”! So this coffee came as a real treat – some real coffee for a true, dyed in the wool coffee addict.
First glimpse of a river
From there we drove on and soon turned off the main road. The road went through some palm estates. Suddenly we chanced upon a river running by just behind the trees and vegetation. Stopped by to take a pic. All of Kerala strikes me as one huge picture post card.
Drifting clouds seen through a canopy of trees.
Cows going for a walk
There was this lovely vision of the prettiest cows I have seen in a long time coming along the road. It would take a crazy coot in India to go ga-ga at the sight of cows. But these cows just completed the picture amidst all the greenery and looked so healthy and clean. I got off from the car and started running backwards to get a good click. The cows did not seem to be in a mood to be too obliging. They kept walking as I kept running backwards. Finally! Did get a good click.
The road wound through oil palm estates. Got to see palm fruits collected to be sent for oil extraction. Was good to have a driver who was friendly and well informed.
Stopped at many places along the way for such clicks.
Around every bend onc came across such sights.
The first view of the Athirapally water falls from a distance.
There were plenty of monkeys waiting to grab food from visitors. Here was one grabbing a bite on the sly.:-D
Entrance to the short trail to the waterfall.
Loved the boards put up by the Forest Department in many places.
Not to miss the monkey tail dangling down like a pointer.
Here is a little one exploring life on its own.
Another one in a contemplative mood.
And yet others too busy to notice the world around.
Approaching the river leading to the falls.
The river comes flowing towards the fall. Entry to the river is prohibited, though one can cool off one’s feet in the little bit of it that flows between the rocks. The waterfall from the top looks so majestic!
The water falls down and flows away into the horizon.
The waterfall from below. It’s absolutely out of this world!
All things come to an end. With a heavy heart we depart from there. But there is more to come.
We drive further from Athirapally on the highway towards Charpa waterfalls.
Shortly after leaving Athirapally, we come across a mountain stream which is chanelled through a small bit of rubber pipe at the end. The water is crystal clear, amazingly cool as well as tasty. It feels blissful to pour some of it on my head – the trek down to the river and the waterfalls has left me absolutely hot and sweaty.
Another beautiful sight!
From there we drive further on towards Sholayar reserve forest in the hope of seeing some elephants on the way. We do see a lot of droppings (but no elephants in sight) as well as a few pheasants, but they are just too quick and I miss capturing them. 😦
After a while we turn back and drive back. On the way we see one more real life picture post card.
We stop at Athirapally looking for a place to get some vegetarian food. As luck would have it, we do find one restaurant where we get piping hot, fresh, thin phulkas and some very good chana! Finally it is really time to say good bye! Hope to visit you again Athriapally!
Awww….. give me a break. You are such a bore! Will you let me have a nice afternoon siesta now! Go away!
This one though gives me a sad look as it says good bye!
Driving back through the plantations, we notice a nutmeg tree and get one fresh one to eat along the way!
This has been a glorious day. Paradise, thy name is Kerala! It is 4.30 pm. We are slap bang in the middle of “civilization” in Cochin. The anti-climax to a perfect day.
Kerala is a wonderful example of how progress and development has been coupled with environmental protection. It has not lost its old world charm. In many ways it seems like the Kerala of old which I used to visit as a child. I am so happy to see that there are still some spots which are relatively untouched by the tourism bug.