On a rainy trip
I had just reached home from Hyderabad when Baiju’s call came at night.
Baiju hung up the phone without saying anything more. I had a doubt that he was telling me to play, but after thinking about it, I thought it would be better to go this way. Go there without much planning and preparation. Isn’t life so beautiful if there is no burden of expectations? Baiju woke me up on the phone at four in the morning and it was true. I set out without knowing what and why.
The group started from Kunnamkulam. It was from Kecheri that we — me, Baiju and Jagan — boarded that twenty-four-seater Swaraj Mazda.
We got last row seats as we boarded last. I felt that it was a blessing later when I got to know Balakrishnan Chetan, Kuruvila Chetan and Hari Mash who were sitting with us.
Harimash was the coordinator of the trip. Harimash introduced himself through the mic. Hari sir began to introduce himself during his studies at Srikrishna College, where he contested in the elections, and then looked for a job as a laborer at a parallel college in Kunnamkulam. Then everyone introduced themselves.
Most people like to travel. Some retired and set aside the rest of their lives for travel. From a three-year-old child to a 70-year-old man, the group had already passed Chalakudy and entered the Athirappalli road.
Our first destination was Thumburmuzhi.
Our tour guide Sandex Mike took over from Harizar. At that time we had no idea about the deep knowledge and love of a KFRI employee named Sandex for the forest, rivers, plants and animals.
Gradually Sandex took the reins of that journey. The car had reached Tumburmuzhi by then
Sandex says there’s a surprise breakfast waiting for you.
We entered the only restaurant there. What is a Javanese restaurant called? I thought to myself, it was a surprise breakfast as Sandex had said. Chakkaput and dal curry. A sweet food made with rice flour and dried and powdered jackfruit. We crammed as much of it as we could eat. Because Harimash had said that if we want to get the next food, we have to reach Peringalkuth Dam site. We should take care of ourselves
After eating we went down to see the Thumburmuzhi suspension bridge. The Thumburmuzhi Suspension Bridge is one of the bridges connecting the Thrissur and Ernakulam districts across the Chalakudy River. A suspension bridge where only a few people can walk at a time.
As we entered the bridge we saw four girls standing on top of the bridge dressed in identical costumes. And a man wearing saffron who was talking to them. I didn’t understand the person at first glance, but later I realized that it was a film shoot. Standing next to that saffron body was famous director Omar Lulu. A set without big crowd and noise. When they arrived thinking that they could finish shooting before the people came, we reached the suspension bridge ahead of them under the leadership of Sandex Chetan with special permission.
Anyway, we returned from the suspension bridge without causing them any trouble.
Below is a view point. When I stood there, I got the full picture of the Chalakudy river and the suspension bridge. That is the beauty of Thumburmuzhi
After leaving the view point, Sandex took us to a butterfly park. There were many kinds of butterflies. Some of the butterflies seen here have since been found in Madagascar.
When Sandex said we were skeptical. Can butterflies travel that far?
“New studies show that beetles and butterflies continue to travel from one part of the world to another. Those that travel this way have much longer life spans,” Sandex said. I also remember those thumpi with white and black wings which we call Orthu Vishu thumpi, are seen only during that one month in our country. The rest of the time they must have been on the interstates.Our next trip from Thumburmuzhi was to see Athirappalli Falls.
“What is that hotel known as Jawan Hotel?” asked the driver Shijo Chetan. In the past, there was no pension for the retired soldiers. The government gave them five acres of land in the outskirts of the forest. The successors of that generation later started a society there and named it Jawan Society. Today, Jawan Society is a society that manufactures many bio-diversified products.
While the car was moving towards Athirappalli, Sandex Chetan told about the biological diversity of the forests of Athirappalli, about Indian Great Hornbill (Indian Great Hornbill), why it got the name Malamuzhakki and how many types of hornbills there are in Kerala.
Last year I remembered the story of a male hornbill who died after being hit by a vehicle while taking prey to his children in the Athirappily area. There was a piece of fruit in its beak that it was carrying for its children. Who can forget Baiju Vasudevan, a nature lover who climbed every tree in the Athirappilli forest in search of its children and brought food to the hungry children of that hornet.
But the fact that the hornbill and its stepfather Baiju Vasudevan died not long ago may be a sign of fate. Athirapilli waterfall started to be seen in the distance. Athirapilli is the most beautiful part of Chalakudy river. There was a good crowd when we went. The allotted time is about one hour. We quickly walked to the base of the falls. The descent down the stone-paved path bordered by bamboo was not a pleasant one. But when we saw the happiness on the faces of the people coming back from the bottom of the waterfall, we realized that there is something that makes the mind happy after this suffering. Seeing them all coming down with so much enthusiasm made us forget our tiredness
When I reached the bottom of the waterfall, I felt like I was in another world. The water splashes overhead and falls down with a great roar. When it falls down, the splashes of water from it will come and cover us like a smoke. In a matter of seconds we can get wet and take a bath without stepping into the water. But it was fun. Telugu Tamil movies are shot here to give the audience a feeling of chilling in the lap of nature. Raavan, Baahubali and Pushpa. We returned from there even though we hesitated to take so many pictures. Jagan said that eating ice cream in that cold will be a fun experience. We didn’t hesitate at all and bought each ice cream and walked back. Don’t blame me, the ice cream tasted good.
Although I have been there many times before this, it was on this trip that Athirappalli felt like an experience. It must have been raining and the waterfall was overflowing
As I was coming back to board the carriage, I noticed a monkey sitting on a tree. The party is somehow trying to drink the last drop of sweetened cola from the pet bottle that someone carelessly spilled. It cannot be done by closing the boat. I felt sad when I saw that sight. The habit of throwing away plastic waste without any responsibility. We continued our journey from Athirapilli to stop as Man. The next target is Vazhachal. When Sandex Chetan reached the wide part of Chalakudy River on the way, the driver Shijo Chetan slowed down the car. This is where the scene where Baahubali takes the Shiva Lingam and climbs to the top of the rock was filmed. There were steep granite rocks that held the bank of the river. For a moment that scene of Prabhas in Baahubali came to my mind
The car moved forward. We reached the banana bowl. When I went there, there were not only Malayalis but also some foreigners. We walked along the new footpath made along the bank of the banana river “This was washed away in the flood of 2018. It was rebuilt” said Sandex Chetan.
Vazhachal is a place where the Chalakkudipuzha falls. It is very slippery on rocks. Seeing that sloping flow of water, so many lives have been lost here. Now no one has permission to enter the water. Everything is barricaded and barricaded
We walked back to the car along the sidewalk. That’s when KSR was there. Saw some cars of T.C. All of them have a signboard saying “Ullasayatra”. KSR TC also runs such day tour packages very well. I thought that was a good thing. Or is there any other sight more beautiful than our yellow and red colored elephant cart going through the hills of Kerala?
Our next destination is Peringalkuth Dam. There the lunch was prepared for us and on the way we stopped beside a small waterfall. Charpa Falls On its sides, fallen soil and fallen trees can be seen. Rest of the 2018 flood paper
The carriage moved forward from Charpa. The first one reached above the iron bridge built by the British. It is that bridge that stops the water in Peringalkut. Peringalkuth Dam is the exact opposite while all other dams lift the shutters and allow water to pass under them. The water is released here by lowering the shutters of the dam. Water will flow down over the top of the shutter. We now have to go to the inspection bungalow at the top of the dam. It has to go around ten kilometers. While passing through it, we saw that the old buildings used to house the dam site workers were covered by the forest.
Sandex Chetan said showing an old building. It used to be a hospital. In the hospital where surgery and post-mortem were conducted. As the people at the dam site decreased, it was closed and locked.
There are tribal colonies here and there inside the forest. There they saw the elementary school where their children were studying. “Children will study there during the day. Elephants will come and go at night,” said Sandex Chetan.
Some distance. When we left, we reached the Inspection Bungalow.
The building is almost sixty years old. With bsnl tower nearby, those with bsnl connection had mobile range. No other network was there. This is what we should remember the most while going on such a journey. If we go alone in the forest, we cannot contact anyone or escape from the forest. It’s just that you can lie down on the path that the elephants have walked and go around in a circle. A complete view of Peringalkuth Dam can be seen from the Inspection Bungalow. Only then will we realize the size of that dam. Below you can see the pen stock pipes carrying water to the power house. Electricity is generated by spinning turbines at high speeds. When we know that there are thirty such hydel power plants in Kerala, we can understand how much Kerala owes to these forests, rain and nature.
All the hydel power stations and dams we see now are from the 1st five year plan
Commissioned in part. The first five-year plan emphasized agriculture and irrigation. Peringalkut and Sholayar also generate electricity for the city of Thrissur. It was while looking down from the inspection bungalow that we saw long-tailed black monkeys.
Sandex Chetan said that apart from black monkeys, there are also lion-tailed monkeys.
Nature lovers have turned against the Athirappily hydropower project because of the loss of their habitat, which is facing extinction. The midday meal was prepared by the workers of the inspection bungalow. A meal with good Mattayari rice, sambar, chicken curry, fried fish, lentil wax, rasam, curd and papad. He was very hungry because he was tired from climbing the forest. Eat well
There was no thought of sleeping on the long veranda of the bungalow after the meal. Should come and stay there for a day or two. I thought to myself. Time to write the next book.
Our next destination was Lower Sholayar Dam. Lower Sholayar Dam is in Kerala and Upper Sholayar Dam is in Tamil Nadu.
When Tamilnadu water is released in Upper Sholayar, it reaches Lower Sholayar and from there when Peringalkuth Peringalkuth Dam is opened, Vazhachal and Athirapilli are filled. It then flows down and joins the sea as Chalakudy river
Lower Sholayar Dam is situated at an altitude of about 800 feet above sea level.
What if you come to the forest and don’t see an elephant? The driver Shijo Chetan insists that he will show us the elephant and sit down. At last, the elder found out somewhere. A unicorn stands among the trees in the distance. Everyone was excited. Photography and noise.
Kuruvila Chetan could not see the elephant as he was sitting on the other side of the cart. That’s why the elders said that what others saw was not an elephant but a big rock. The elder said that there is no elephant in this forest. Even those who saw the elephant became suspicious after hearing the arguments of Kuruvila Chetan. While they were looking at the photos and videos they had taken, Kuruvila Chettan was looking out as if I didn’t know anything about this.
In any case, Shijo Chetan soon saw a herd of elephants. With that, Kuruvila Chetan said that he would not give up without admitting that there is an elephant in the forest.
Shiju Chetan knows exactly where to see the animals. On the way, the elder showed me many things like Mlaw Man. With such a guide and a good driver, such trips naturally become interesting. Soon we were on our way from Malakappara route to Sholayar route. We were able to get inside because it was a tourism department vehicle. Lower Sholayar was a beautiful dam. We took some pictures around it.
“What percentage of forests will there be in Kerala” we asked the Sandex guy. “According to the current law, thirty percent of total forests are required. In Kerala, it is not even twenty percent”.
When he said that, Sandex Chetan’s words were mixed with disappointment. In that one day, we also felt the feelings and worries of that man as our own. The world is made up of nature, forest, soil, trees and living things.
Live and Let Live
What beautiful words.
Our journey has reached its final stage
What follows is a rain walk.. We all took umbrellas and slowly walked along the hillside. In the distance, fog had begun to fall.
We walked slowly to the rhythm of nature. The cold wind caressed our faces.
Everyone was exchanging their numbers with each other as they realized that the journey had reached its final stage. The fog covered the valley.. it slowly reached us. A car’s horn sounded from below. A sign that it was time for our return trip. Another great day to remember for a lifetime. The train started its journey back. Then suddenly it started to rain, making our journey a true name