A beautiful cloudy afternoon, three young passionate bikers with a thirst for travel, and a super-enthusiastic me! It has been a long standing desire of mine to go pillion riding on a rainy day, feeling the caress of the wind and raindrops falling on my face. Without a second thought, I accepted the invitation to join my son Varun and buddies, Sachin and Praveen on a biking trip.
Off we went all the way through rain and shine, on wet roads lined by lush green paddy fields, majestic trees and thick bushes amidst a backdrop of towering mountains which were resplendent with silvery lines of flowing rivulets all the way down. Our destination was the Meenvallam waterfalls situated at the foothills of the impressive Kalladikode mountains, that are a part of the magnificent Western Ghats. Interestingly, folklore vouches on the presence of the legendary forest goddess, the fiery Kalladikode Karineeli, in these mountains.
The picturesque bike ride to Meenvallam water falls
An awesome view of the Kalladikode hills which forms part of the Western Ghats in Palakkad dist of Kerala.
Rubber plantations that could be found enroute
For those of you who would want more details about the route, Meenvallam waterfalls is situated about 30 Km from Palakkad town. Go along the Palakkad – Mannarkad road and turn right at the Thuppanad junction that is about 2 Km from Kalladikode town. From there you need to travel roughly 8 Km through a narrow, picturesque route lined by rubber and banana plantations, and you reach the main entrance of the Meenvallom hydroelectric project, which is the gateway to the Meenvallam waterfalls. Tickets to this highly sensitive eco-tourism spot are at Rs. 20/- per head, that is collected at the forest check post, enroute. The entry timings are from 9 am to 3 pm, and the officials mentioned that we need to get back before 5 pm. And very obviously, the best time to visit this eco-forest area is during the monsoon season.
“Green is the prime colour of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” This was a place which was totally green in every aspect. From the minute we entered the gates, it was a different world…a world of silence, a world of calm and a world of pristine, natural beauty! And the best part was that being a weekday, tourists were conspicuous by their absence, and we had the whole place literally to ourselves! How much more lucky could we get!!!
The main entrance of the Meenvallam hydro electric power project. Vehicles are allowed until this point only.
Green as green can be!
A short walk and a trudge downhill through a rocky pathway brought us to one of the most magical of places.. it was a wooden makeshift bridge across the swelling choppy waters that has made its way high up from the Kalladikode hills and was on its way to the Thuppanad river that later joins the Thoothapuzha. There was a narrow, makeshift bridge across the stream that led to a secluded shack on the other side. The waters were very rough and choppy and we made our way carefully down slippery rocks and stood near the stream, totally enticed with the ‘poetry of the earth’ as John Keats had said. The water that flowed through was very cool and sweet to taste, and felt simply divine!
The makeshift wooden bridge across the stormy waters that came thundering down all the way from the Kalladikode mountains.
Happy Praveen poses for the camera!
Varun is all smiles to have accomplished the balancing act!
After a while of taking in this blissful scene, we made our way back to the main path and walked in the direction of the waterfalls. A friendly stray dog came up to keep us company much to our delight, and stayed with us wagging its tail until we came up to a stream that had to be crossed. The water was so very cold and came up literally up till our thighs. It was definitely an awesome experience to wade across to the other side of the stream, holding hands and gingerly stepping on stones that were not slippery or were firm to the step. Somewhere midway, we stopped for a while, enjoying the steady force of the icy cold water and drinking in the freshness and beauty of the surroundings. I must say, it was truly a humbling experience too with the realization dawning that there is nothing more healing that Nature’s own hands! Some precious moments make you feel so very happy and peaceful, and this was certainly one of them. It felt literally like a soul connect.
A friendly stray decides to keep us company
We had to wade across this stream to reach the other end
The water flowing steadily through the stream was really cold and refreshing.
The heavenly sight of the water flowing through rocks and pebbles through the forest
Its celebration time for Sachin
We continued our walk across the stream, and took the path upwards that led to the small Hydel power sub station. It was from there that we got the first glimpse of the majestic waterfalls. The stormy waters were falling straight down with a great deal of sound and fury, and we carefully got down the rocky path to reach the flowing stream. The rough waters of the stream and the thunderous sound of the waterfall nearby made me slightly hesitant in following them, i soon found myself holding on to Sachin’s hands and going down the muddy, slippery, rocky path to feel the refreshing water flowing by. I am truly glad i did, because how else would i have been a witness to such beautiful moments! What could be more blissful than sitting on a rock, feet in the flowing cool waters, and drinking in the amazing calmness of the surroundings !
The first view of the magnificent waterfall through the bushes
Nature at its very best!
The fabulous trio – Sachin, Praveen and Varun posing happily atop a rock
Overwhelmed at the beauty of Nature, we started our walk towards the waterfalls. From the thundering sound of the waters, it was clear that we were getting closer to our destination. A narrow path with security railings guided us to an amazing and unforgettable scene. I have never witnessed such a breathtaking waterfall before that too at this proximity! Words certainly cant do it justice. All i could do was to watch this magnificence of nature with awestruck wonder. There was this huge cascade of water that beat down the rocks below mercilessly, creating a rhapsody of thunderous music which belonged only to the thick forest surrounding it.
The narrow path that leads to the waterfalls
An awestruck moment witnessing Nature at her best!
The captivating Meenvallam waterfalls
A moment of absolute bliss
Mother Nature never fails to amaze us with its rich treasure trove, and we were lucky enough to capture some of its finest nuances on camera!
The remnants of a tree that had seen better days.
A mushroom growing on the a tree trunk.
The various hues of a fallen leaf
What a colour combination! Nature’s unparalleled creations!
A moth which caught our eye
The delicate balance between life and death
Another one of God’s beautiful creations!
I guess the meaning behind Thoreau’s words, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth”, gets more profound. To me, nothing else mattered at that point.
The joyful memories of this beautiful trip will stay with us for a very long time to come. There was a deep contentment within us as we made our way back to civilization, with a song in our heart.
Pictures courtesy: Sachin & Praveen