November 29, 2010

Athirapilly- Fall of the White Water...!!

My last visit to Athirapilly waterfalls was more than 20 years ago and my memories of the famous waterfalls were faint. Off late the urge to visit them have been on the rise and to fulfill it we started our drive from Cochin to Athirapilly on a lovely bright morning. After taking the deviation at Chalakkudi, lovely winding roads took us through a lot of greenery to one of the hotspots of Kerala. Enroute we passed numerous plantations and small creeks before reaching the waterfalls. A long queue of kiosks, which sold various items awaited us at the parking area. The falls is located amidst the thick sholayar forests near tamil nadu border.

A small walk of 100 odd steps took us to the top of the waterfalls. The majestic falls have been formed as a result of the free flowing Chalakkudi river tumbling down over a few rocks. The view from the top is of the river flowing and then plunging down 80feet to form the magnificient Athirapilly waterfalls. The force with which the water gushes down the rocks is tremendous and it looks milky white in colour.

To have a better and clearer view of the falls, there are steps from the top which takes you down to the base. Even though the steps have not been well carved out, it is worth trekking all the way down to gaze at the mighty falls crashing on to the rocks below. The chances of getting wet are very high even if you are nowhere near the falls as the white water sprays travel quite a distance. Tourists are not allowed to go near the base of the falls for safety reasons. Just sitting on the rocks and staring at the water falling at amazing velocity is a sight which will remain etched in your memories forever.

 Being a hot and humid day, the climb up was quite strenous. With monkeys for company and numerous thirst quenching options available, a memorable trip came to an end with some photoshoots. 5km ahead of Athirapilly lies another famous waterfalls known as Vazhachal. Though not as attractive as Athirapilly, Vazhachal is beautiful and has numerous tourists visiting it everyday.

Athirapilly waterfalls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country and a visit to the same is worth  every single penny. A visit during the monsoons would surely be a visual treat.

 Signing Note: Get yourself sprayed to a mindblowing experience.

Route: Cochin- Chalakkudi- Athirapilly
Distance: 82 kms

November 20, 2010

Yelagiri- A Quaint Hill Station...!!

A beautiful sunday morning ride took me to Yelagiri, one of the less explored destinations in South India. We were a gang of three on two bikes and left bangalore at 6 in the morning to this little hill station in Tamil Nadu. It was a lovely ride with wide splendid roads all the way till the start of the ghats. The ghat roads were also good inspite of them being not very broad.

After a climb of 14 hairpin bends we reached our destination. Near the 12th hairpin bend there is an observatory from where we had some lovely views of the plains below.

Yelagiri is quite different from the normal hill stations for the reason that there is nothing much to do over here. A couple of villages join together to form Yelagiri. There are hardly a few shops, a couple of restaurants and almost nil tourist traffic. However the charm of this place lies in the same.

The main attractions of Yelagiri are Punganoor lake and Swamimalai. The Punganoor lake has been well maintained to attract the tourists. We also had a boating session in the lovely lake. There is a small park next to the lake where the refreshments are available.

Swamimalai is a trekker's delight. A two hour trek leads to the top of the hill from where you get fabulous views of the valley. To undertake this trek it is best advised to start early in the morning and reach the top before the sun is completely out and over your head. However we were forced to miss out on this trek as we reached Yelagiri only by 11am. Also since we visited the place during the month of may, we didnt want to take on the burning rays of the mighty sun. 

After a lot of roaming around in search of a place to visit, we gave up and came to the consensus that there is nothing else to see in Yelagiri. This place is famous for jackfruits and home made honey. We infact had to be happy with a few mangoes and berries as we didnt have much of an option to carry the jackfruits and honey back home. After a lazy lunch at one of the reastaurants we headed back to Bengaluru.

This is the ideal place to visit if the intention is to just relax, smell the fresh air, ride up a few hairpin bends, enjoy the climate, stare at the lovely plains below and call it a blissful day. The best time to visit Yelagiri would be between November and January when the climate is pleasant.

Signature Note: The best way to relax is to absolutely do nothing.

Route: Bengaluru- Hosur- Krishnagiri- Bargur- Ponnari- Yelagiri
Distance: 165kms.
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