Kerala- God’s own country. It is really God’s country, so we got this opportunity in the month of May 2010. We made plan to visit one of my friend house at Aluva ,Cochin. So after planning and deciding how to visit we thought of taking train from Chennai on Wednesday so that we can enjoy Cochin in 04 days i.e. Thursday to Sunday. On Friday we had planned to visit Athirapally and Vazahal waterfall. So for going to see these falls we had hired a cab. The cab person arrived at our place at sharp 0900 hrs and we started our trip to the lush green forest of Kerala.
As we are moving further slowly ,slowly we were crossing the city area and were going towards Forest side. As we crossed the city area we found ourselves in the midst of dense Rubber plantation. As per official records 92% of rubber comes from the State of Kerala. And I was actually witnessing it. Both sides of our road were full of rubber plants with a half cut Coconut shell hanging at the middle of the tree for collection of rubber. The land area was so optimal used .There were three plantations on single piece of land viz.coconut, rubber and pineapple. So altogether it was very good experience travelling in the midst of lush green area with birds chirping, clean air and no noise and air pollution.
We were enjoying our car ride on this wonderful route. Then after one hour or so our driver took a turn and we reached at one beautiful place. The place has beautiful landscape, water bodies, small reservoir and a small tea shop and Restroom. (What I remember the place name as Nature’s Resort (but unfortunately I am unable to find this place on internet). It’s a picturesque spot and one can actually enjoy by going into water as water level is very low here.
After enjoying this beautiful place we moved further and after half an hour we reached at Vazahal Waterfall. At Vazahal the car parking arrangement was available. So we had parked our car at the parking and started walking down towards waterfall area.
a. Vazahal Waterfall – Waterfall area (Vazahal Garden) near Vazahal waterfall is secured by railings so that people do not enter in the waterfall area. There is a small garden with sitting arrangement s, small herbal garden inside the garden and was full of Monkeys. All these are monitored and administered by Vazahal Forest Department. From this garden we can actually view the waterfall. Now a little about Vazahal Waterfall as mentioned in Wikipedia,
“Vazhahal Falls is a rushing watercourse in the Chalakkudy River in the Thrissur district of Kerala, South India. It is located 36 km from Chalakkudy and 5 km from Athirapally Falls. The riparian forests of the Chalakudy River have revealed the existence of a thick riparian vegetation of more than 10 metres width for a distance of 10.5 km downstream from Peringalkuth, covering an area of 58.5 hectares. Out of this, 26.4 hectares lie within the Vazahal area, including three large islands densely covered by riparian forests. Classified as one of the finest waterfalls in India, Vazhahal Waterfall cascades on the edge of the Sholayar forest range in Kerala. Gurgling down with a great speed, the view of this waterfall is just splendid. The nearby Vazhahal Forest is a good place for enjoying the flora and the fauna of the surrounding. Besides, enjoying the waterfall one can also visit the nearby garden that is flooded with colourful flowers. The view of the waterfall amidst the effervescent flowers is truly splendid. The best time to come to Vazhachal falls is during the months from June to October, when the monsoon is in its full swing. To reach here one can either hire a private taxi or avail a bus from the Chalakudy bus station.
Since few accidents happened in past, thus direct entry to falls are now restricted and a railing is fixed between garden boundary and river.
So after relaxing at the Vazahal Garden we moved to our next point Athirapally Waterfall.
b. Athirapally Waterfall – Athirapally Falls is situated in Athirapally panchayath in Thrissur district of Kerala, on the southwest coast of India. Located on the west-flowing Chalakudy River near the Vazhachal Forest Division and the Sholayar ranges, this 24-metre (80 ft) waterfall and the nearby Vazhachal Falls are popular tourist destinations. It is nicknamed “The Niagara of India”. The nearest railway station to Athirapally falls is Chalakudy Railway station and is at 30 km to the west and the nearest airport is Kochi International Airport about 55 Km from the waterfall.
The journey to the Athirapally falls passes through a landscape of winding roads, small villages and lush green trees. Athirapally is situated amidst thick forest, thus night riding should be avoided. To reach at top of the Athirapally waterfall we can reach via a paved path that leads through thick bamboo clusters. A steep narrow path also leads to the bottom of the falls. We went to the bottom of the fall. About 7 million tourists visit the falls and vazahal picnic spot every year, still the place is well maintained, greenery restored and cleanliness has been taken care of.
Luckily the day we went it was very pleasant weather and we enjoyed the view, the place, water and overall spot a lot .We also luckily got the opportunity to see Malyalam movie shooting at the fall. But seeing the shooting we also realised how much hard word the side dancers also put for the successful completion of songs. Many Malyalam, Tamil and Hindi movies shooting were done here. Movies like Dil se, Guru and Raavan etc songs were choreograph at this place.
At around 1500 hrs we returned from Athirapally falls and reached to our next point at around 1600 hrs.
c) Kodanad Elephant training centre – This place is located at 45 Kms north east of Kochi and at around 30 kms from Aluva where we stayed. It is one of the largest elephant training centres of South India. Kodanad is known for the Elephant Kraal; i.e. the place where the newly captured elephants are kept till they are properly trained and disciplined for riding and to do heavy works etc. The old Kraal is consists of wooden compartments which can accommodate as many as four elephants. As I am fond of Elephant and love to watch them, this place is an excellent place to watch baby elephants. As many as four to six baby elephants are brought in and trained in Kodanad every year .Kodanad also offers Elephant safari to visitors. Elephants are made ready with a specially constructed wooden saddle on top, designed to make riding comfortable and safe.
There is also a mini zoo sheltering wild animals which are unfit for survival in the forest. It is open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm on all days except Mondays. In order to preserve the beauty of Kodanad in its natural state, the Government of India has included this place in the list of Ecotourism destinations. The zoo is not at all maintained and it was in a very filthy condition.
This finishes our day excursion around Kochi and we reached back at around 1830 hrs.