October is a time of a break in Karnataka because of the Dussehra celebrations and schools are closed for the mid-term. Decided to take off on a visit to Kodaikanal and then decide thereon, on the fly, if Kanyakumari was apt to go to, as a typical tropical depression had set in on the east coast. And so it was, and we (self, Señora, La Niña and El Niño) left over a Thursday morning, to stay there long enough to idle around without an agenda and the haste of a typical tourist.
|The Thalaiyar falls (Rat tail falls) are visible in the top and centre of the montage|
The water from the falls flows into the Manjalar dam visible at the bottom
Collage defined using Picasa
|Clockwise from top left - Silver Cascade Falls, Bear Shola Falls, Fairy Falls,|
Anju Veedu Falls (2 angles), A stream cascading off Pillar Rocks
Collage defined using Picasa.
Noticed that the town starts to sleep after around 6:00 pm when darkness sets in. This was very similar to what Bengaluru was when it was a real "pensioner's paradise". Streets go empty, the noise ebbs, the street lights glow a foggy yellow or white, you hear the crickets loud and clear, the rush of a nearby stream, maybe, and the town starts to ghost and by 9:00 PM, soundly asleep. :)
As my opening para of this post states, one highlight of the visit to Kodaikanal was the trek to the head of an almost unknown waterfall, 'Anju Veedu falls' (Five House falls), which is probably the name of a village close by. This waterfall is in Elephant Valley (Vilpatti Valley) and reached via a detour on the Kodai-Palani road towards Ganeshpuram. This falls was almost a kilometre inside the jungle, and we had to cross a stream (fed by the water from Silver Cascade, upstream) and is a place frequented by elephants. Elephants had been there a week or so back, and we were told that there weren't any explosive booby traps planted, which are used when an 'elephant watch' is on. It was hot and humid as we walked our way towards the waterfall moving through the dense foliage, wondering how the elephants manage to walk through inhospitable territory.
|Anju Veedu Falls - Up, close and personal|
Used Avidemux, Audacity and Free AVI MPEG FLV Video Joiner to edit the video.
Earlier, while in a quest to get the forest department's permission (in the middle of town) to visit a lake (Berijam Lake) in the middle of protected shola forests, our car plonked into a ditch while I was reversing blind. Had to get help from a few passers-by to "lift the car" out of the rut. It was another matter that the officials played hide-and-seek with us asking us to come hither and thither, now and later and giving wishy-washy answers and we eventually had to back out of the plan to visit the lake.
While driving around later near the lake, the car conked off and refused to start. Some minor troubleshooting. including random scraping of deposits around the battery terminal, refused to get the car started. We still had a few more places to go to, but this vehicle failure deterred us a bit. The nearest authorized service station was at Madurai and we hadn't planned to go down towards Madurai for at least a day and a half more. Hail God for small mercies that we were on undulating roads and the time-tested method of rolling the car in neutral gear and then shunting the gear to kick-start the engine worked fine. But we (rather, me :-)), being "adventourists", refused to be cowed down and visited places which would have scared an ordinary mortal with a possible vehicle starter failure (Guna caves, Dolphin's nose for example), while always looking for a place with a downhill gradient to park and then doing the rolling maneuver to start.
The downhill drive to the plains seemingly took a longer time than the uphill climb, though we started off in the morning. Maybe our enthusiasm had waned or we were sapped of energy. Breezed our way to Madurai to check what caused the vehicle startup failure. It wasn't a starter failure, after all, but a corroded battery terminal, which led to improper circuit closure, and was replaced in a jiffy with a drain of around 500 bucks (we had anticipated 10 times more). Due to incomplete directions, we had gotten into Madurai city, when we could have bypassed as the service centre was right on the highway just beyond Madurai on NH-7, costing us around 1.5 hours with potholed roads and crawling traffic. Going into Madurai allowed me to show the kids, where my parents resided and the college where I studied. The city almost looks the same, save for the changes induced by growth (and maybe M K Azhagiri), but most of the landmarks I was used to, remain. As for the weather; I don't know how I managed there for around 8 years. Scorching!!!
|Bins of interest|
And we then started off towards Kanyakumari, as the weather-gods graciously permitted, by having the depression weaken and cross the coast, well ahead of our rendezvous with Cape Comorin. :-)
(Rest in a sequel post...)