The Athirappally Ways
Not every trip is planned. And so was this.
It was through a change of plans that we decided to go on a trip to Athirappally Waterfalls, situated in Chalakkudy, Thrissur. In fact, we were on our way to Chithali, a small district in Palghat for bull race which is held annually in connection with Onam celebrations. But since the court had a stay (which we came to know only after traversing half way to the place) for the same due to violation of animal rights, we decided to visit Athirappally Falls. We all have been to the place earlier, but this time, we thought of heading to the utmost bottom of the falls.
Deviating from NH47, we took the road to Chalakkudy. A few kilometers had passed and we saw an arch that welcomed us to Silver Storm and Athirappally Waterfalls. Moving further for about twenty – thirty minutes by passing greenery which were in plenty on both sides, we got stuck in traffic block – which I guess is unusual in that route. A long chain of vehicles could be seen ahead of us. That clearly looked like it will take forever to reach our terminus. Few moments passed by. It was then someone in our group pointed at a small and rugged building which was completely covered with green creepers. It was beautiful and we thought of getting in there. In the process of finding way to enter its premises, we took a pocket road which we found towards the right of us. But since the building’s compound had a fence, we dropped the plan.
As the traffic looked totally like a time eater, we proceeded further to the left – thinking geographically, heh. The road ended at the almost banks of a river that had mountains in the background. We parked our car in a small compound nearby. Just as we were about to reach the banks, we could hear the roaring sound of waterfalls. Upon looking to our left, there we saw it, about a kilometer away, the all scenic and picturesque Athirappally Waterfalls. The very sight of spotting it itself made us immensely happy since reaching at that river bank is something that we never thought of.
We headed to the left. It was hard to find a way. But we somehow managed to climb up places and find our way through. The land was wet, almost marshy. Yet we found it amazing to walk through the small bamboo forests, stamping on the wet earth, caring ourselves from leech bites. The river flowed through our left – calm where it was flat and noisy while it hit the rocks.
About ten minutes past the route, we saw a native – Suni was his name. To get a better picture of the locality and proceeding further, we enquired him about the same. He said that there is nothing to worry even if the guards catch us for not having passes. He also shared his mobile number and asked us to give a call if at all we get caught. Upon leaving he added – “these are helps, that don’t demand anything in return.”
We moved further. Apart from us and some random people, we didn’t see anyone else taking that route. Our feet eventually started getting adhered in marsh. The slippers got stuck in as if they were glued. Our backpacks started getting camouflage designs. With every step, the falls’ roaring went high – we could see it at a distance. As we stepped closer and closer, droplets started kissing our faces. With each step, the count and size of those droplets increased. Eventually, kissing gave way to hard hitting.
People were around, some of them having colorful umbrellas. Moving furthermore, it felt like heavy rain. The falls hitting the earth, smashing upon the rocks, splashing up, flying in the air and again smashing on us. At some point, the droplet felt like stones. The camera got fully drenched within no time, so did it’s bag. Rain cover came to the rescue, but we didn’t put off the camera. Though we could barely see through the viewfinder, we kept shooting. We went and stood on the front most rock. We screamed out of sheer joy and shot selfies.
Felt like the change of route did find its fruit. By this time, our bags and legs got cleaned. We didn’t even have to rub the mud off since it was already taken away with the heavily hitting water drops! Fifteen minutes had passed by then; it was fast and we didn’t knew.
Upon returning, we stopped halfway were there were rocks and sunshine. It was past noon and the Sun was up there, right above our head; however, the water was still cold. We took off our clothes and put them on rocks. Aby, whose camera stopped working, dismantled the lens as well as the battery grip and kept for drying. I lay down on the rocks, while others undressed themselves and went to take a bath in the stream. An hour passed by. The Sun did its job – everything got dried. Our route looked better by this time – more sunshine and less watery. The number of times our slippers got stuck reduced. Also, we reached back to the river bank in no time. After cleaning our legs once again, we got into the car.
It was past 3:30PM. Our stomachs began to make chirping sounds. Following a late lunch from a small hotel, we returned home.