I contemplated my visit to Irpu falls as I browsed through the web, speculating the volume of water in the month of December. Could not gather much information, but the photographs that Google threw up made me decide. I was going. Located very close to the Kerala- Karnataka border, Irpu falls under the Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary in Coorg district. Also referred to as Lakshmnana theertha falls, this 52 meter high thundering falls is a tributary of Cauvery and has a very popular Shiva shrine near by.
Driving through the green and serene Rajiv Gandhi national park (Nagarhole forest) was a delight. The engulfing silence was broken when a few dholes (wild dogs) crossed my path.They loitered around for a while, posed for my camera and trudged back into the dense forest. Dholes hunt in packs and are commonly see in Nagarhole and Bandipur national parks. Herds of deer gave company throughout the drive and so did a couple of langurs.The long drive through the forest ended when coffee estates propped up everywhere. While in Coorg, coffee is ubiquitous. Crossed the border town of Kuta and a detour off the main road led to the base of Irpu falls. The place gets quite crowded during the weekends.
|Dholes in Nagarhole national park|
The water volumes though not impressive from a distance, looked beautiful as I walked closer to it. The cascading falls was a delight as its splashed itself on to the big boulders and sprayed all over as it made its way down through the forest. The protruding boulders on the sides are a great place to climb over and watch the falls. The slippery, moss laden rocks encapsulating the falls looked equally beautiful and made a gorgeous setting. Papilio Buddhas and the sun's rays made some brilliant colours as both cut across and fluttered all over the lovely Irpu. There were a couple of small pools near the base which enticed most visitors to sit by the rocks and dip their feet into the cold waters. Being a weekend, the place was quite crowded and people happily made their way to the falls to cool themselves on a warm afternoon.
It is permitted to get close to the falls and go beneath it only post the rains (after October). Irpu has a completely different character during the monsoons. It is impossible to get anywhere near the falls and the boulders are hardly visible as the majestic falls is at its fiercest best then with humungous volumes of water. The view point, somewhere midway on the climb, is the best place to witness the falls between June and September. I wasn't disappointed as I had expected an even worse scenario with just a trickle of water. However, a visit during the rains is definitely recommended to witness the majestic Irpu. It is also possible to trek further up, but requires permission and is possible only with a forest guide.
Signing Note- A gorgeous ambiance amidst the verdant greenery...!!
Route- Bangalore- Mandya- Srirangapatna- Hunsur- Nagarhole national park- Kuta- Irpu falls
Distance- 245 Kms