Monday, September 24, 2012

Misty & Mysterious Munnar - Part-4: Lakkom and Chinnar

See Part 3 here

29th August, 2012

As always the final day of a holiday always begins with the rather somber thought that a few days of fun is ending. When we walked in for breakfast, we were one of the handful of people in the Tea Room. It was Onam and we could see the signs of celebration all around.

Lunch menu for Ona-sadhya was on display and it wasn't particularly appetizing for both my son and me. A traditional Kerala 'sadhya' was not something we'd enjoy. The breakfast spread compensated for the lunch we'd miss, but not really miss! My son and I prefer our South Indian breakfast and I must say the idlis served in the Tea Room far surpasses the ones you get in the more famous restaurants in Coimbatore or Chennai.

We were loathe to go. My son kept wandering around inspecting the cars he planned to buy. He had only recently promoted our humble Punto to a SUV status after its trip up Anaimudi Shola!

Finally, we rolled off into the mist. A friendly KSRTC bus in front of us would guide us through the fog and the narrow roads.  


It is lesson for people driving on these roads. I have found that the KSRTC drivers more careful on these routes than the TNSTC drivers; whose skills border on the reckless. If you have a KSRTC bus in front of you, try to avoid overtaking it.

They maintain a fair pace and because there aren't too many stops on the way, get you to your destination safely and in time. That is, assuming you aren't in a hurry!

After Munnar the traffic is a little more heavy on the road towards Udumalapet. We were in no hurry to get home either. Lakkom falls was our first destination after Munnar. You have little temporary shops on the road side that serve nice tea with a dash of ginger or cardamom.

If you missed your breakfast, no problem. You can have noodles, raw carrot or an omelette. What a choice you have if you want an omelette! Quail, naatu kozhi (country chicken), duck, broiler or Giri Rajan ( a type of country chicken), from left to right.

After a rejuvinating cup of tea we started our downhill roll. Along the way we ran into this gentleman from Palakkad but working in Mumbai. We had seen him the previous day on our way to Top Station. Now here he was rolling along stopping for an occasional photograph.

  (His story is here in Mango Musings.)

Lakkom is roaring cascade, not a really high waterfall, and if you are adventurous you can wade through the shallow pool at the bottom.

There is some basic accommodation available near the fall if you want to spend time there. It seemed like a good idea considering the number of tourist vehicles that pile up at the turn. 

It would be nice to watch the milky flow under a full moon with the music of its roar reverberating in accompaniment. Reach Lakkom in the evening, stay overnight and leave after a dip in the cold water in the morning! Make sure you carry your kitchen though!

Having had an early breakfast in the Tea Room our tummys were reminding us that we weren't paying attention to their needs. My son had already made up his mind about lunch; chappatti & chicken curry at Chandana Residency in Marayoor! Unfortunately for him Chandana was in Onam mode. Most of the staff were still on leave and Mr. Jayaraman was rushing about harried as before. They only had the Ona-sadhya and I had no choice. However, he was gracious enough to source some chicken curry from the bar for my son. Rice and chicken was more welcome for him, than the sadhya!

2.00 PM when we finished lunch and got into the car. If we went flat out we could be home in about 2.5 hours but we were not exactly keen to get home so early! Chinnar was inviting and I had promised the lady at the EDC booth about taking walk in the jungle on our return journey.

I put the decision to my son. Palakkad or Chinnar trek? Jungle trek came the reply! I shouldn't have asked. We got off at the EDC booth at Alampatti and the lady greeted us with a smile, obviously amused that we kept our promise.

Thoovanam waterfalls was our primary target but that would be a 5 hour walk two-ways. We did not have the time and it didn't seem ideal on a full stomach so we chose to walk to the dolmen and caves with tribal art.

I have already posted on our experience on the trek so I wont make you read it all over again but if you want to know how my son graduated to a Woodcrawler you can CLICK THIS LINK

However here are a few more photos from that lovely walk in the jungle.
The first bit is all uphill, not too steep
Just a reminder that you are not alone
Our target, the honeycomb rock face

The rock wall with the paintings

This one is clearly visible
Wall 2 with the 'magic' painting....nothing seen now

A splash of water and the colours appear

It's not very clear but something is recorded!

To honey comb rock

View from one of the holes in the rock face

If the previous one wasn't convincing!

God knows how these holes were created; wind, water or man?

On Point B

View from Point B. The length of the Chinnar river from Chinna Thoovanam

You might meet some friendly but shy gaur too!
The time set aside for this trek was two hours but we did it in about 90 minutes. We could have spent more time on Point B but there was a drive back to Palakkad and a chance to meet up with elephants in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve across the border was tempting.

If you want to trek to the Thoovanam falls ensure you have the right footwear, water and food. The round trip will take about five hours; not counting the breaks you might want to take. Of course, it goes without saying that your dress sense has to be a little more earthly so you'll blend into the jungle!

Happy trekking......catch you again soon on these pages. Meanwhile, don't forget to check Mango Musings for some "aside" tales from these trips!


cappuccino said...

lakkom falls are beautiful...a different holiday this time...

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