(As is usual in my blogs, PINKS ARE LINKS. Click to open the relevant page)
|Dripping rain forest but surprisingly leech free!|
There were some surprises too in between, a pair of Malabar trogons!
|Malabar trogon (male)|
|Malabar trogon (male), a very shy bird|
|Malabar trogon (female)|
The road goes past the dam to cross a bridge and reach the other side. Vehicles are not permitted over the dam. Once you climb back to the other side you have an unhindered view of the sweet water stored in the reservoir and the many cascades that feed it.
|View from the bridge|
|View from the bridge|
|The dam with TWAD buildings in the background|
|Monsoon clouds kissing the hilltops hide all but the biggest cascades.|
|When the clouds lift briefly all the cascades can be seen|
|The reservoir was full|
|Gaur on the knoll|
From there we drove to the site of the intake valve but I was reluctant to cross the locked gates. This had been recently, the site of the a major issue regarding water supply to Coimbatore. The Kerala Irrigation Department accusing TWAD of siphoning off water in excess to what was in the agreement. Finally after a lot of saber rattling it was finally resolved with Tamilnadu agreeing to release water from the Parmbikulam-Aliyar project to Chittur area of Palakkad district.
|View from the intake valve area|
|Our first view from the Pattiar bungalow|
The views were simply breathtaking. I resolved that I'd make a trip in summer. Some day, not too far in the future, I want to sit on the verandah and watch the wildlife come down to drink water.
|Wild gooseberry in the rest house compound|
|Flitting sunlight adds to the beauty of the place|
|Lovely places to crawl through to look for sweet water!|
|Sweet Siruvani cascades|
One thing I can surely vouch for is that the water of Siruvani has an out-of-the-world taste, that is attributed to the vegetation and the minerals in the rocks through which the water flows. I also read somewhere that it is also due to the water imbibing the flavour of the wild gooseberrys that fall and get absorbed into the soil as they rot! There are thousands of these trees on either side of the road.
If you ask me if it is really sweet, to be honest I'm not sure but it certainly is a million times better than some of the packaged water we get to drink these days. We filled our empty water bottles at Pattiar Bungalow at the insistence of the caretakers. I also drank from the little cascades on the hill sides and it is really true; the water is unlike anything I have tasted elsewhere!. Siruvani is Coimbatore's sweet secret. There is no point in a Palakkadan being envious. I was left wondering why the then Kerala Government never thought of having part of the waters diverted with the state itself!
Foot note: While the folks in Coimbatore flaunt their pride to all of us, there is some dispute as to where the sweetest natural water in the world comes from, The official entrant in the Guiness Book of World Records for the sweetest water is not Siruvani but waters of a spring in Phillipines. Of course, can you leave the Americans behind in any race? They claim that the waters of Memphis, Tennessee is the sweetest! That dispute will probably, never get resolved taking into consideration that each of us have different tastes in everything and pollution is not going to disappear any time in the foreseeable future!
While scouring the internet for information or blogs on Siruvani I discovered that there is not too much about this place. There are only two more blogs that give any worthwhile information that will be useful to anyone planning a trip to this Secret of Nature, hidden from prying eyes. I hope it remains that way. I feel proud to live close to such a place that is yet unspoilt by man's greed. I am glad that the Kerala Forest Department is very strict in granting access to this hidden stretch of green.