Skipping a long awaited trip back home, I decided to spend a week travelling the different parts of Kerala in the last term break. My folks liked the idea and decided to come down south to experience God's Own Country.
Day 1 of our trip began with Athirapilly Falls. Nicknamed the 'Niagara of India', this is a 24m high waterfall on the river Chalakudy flowing in the Vazhachal Forest Division. It is around 70 km away from the city of Kochi and it took us around 1 hour 30 minutes to travel from Kochi airport to Athirapilly via car. We had chartered a taxi for the entire duration of our 7 day trip.
We arrived in Athirapilly district at around 3pm in the afternoon and after getting off at the entrance, made our way by foot towards the Fall. The trek to the fall is around 2 km and is steep initially and then moves downhill. Its quite a rocky terrain through the forest areas and it is advised to wear shoes, I wore slippers to the fall and got myself a bad footache (However, I couldn't help but notice some ladies wearing high heels to a trek!). You are accompanied on your journey by monkeys who are always more than eager to grab hold of anything that you are eating, drinking or disposing off! As you go down, you can start hearing the roaring sound of the falls and it gives you immense encouragement to run down that last mile.
The fall itself is magnificent! Listening to the water as it hits the rock and watching the tiny mist rise from the river is a blissful feeling. Watching the water hit the rocks with such force you are reminded of that line by the Joker from The Dark Knight "When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object".
By evening the place gets crowded with excited tourists from all parts of the country- I could easily make out several Delhite, a Bengali family and of course a few Punjabi families- each eager to get there pictures clicked in front of the awesome falls! There were also a couple of paid photographers who took your picture for a nominal charge.
There were huge boulders on the side of the river where we were standing and one had to climb several boulders to get to the falls. I was surprised to see that even old ladies showed such agility in climbing these boulders to reach near the falls. Although you can't get to close to the falls as the region is cordoned off for safety reasons, but that doesn't spoil this nature's beautiful wonder. However, would did almost mar this beautiful sight were the half naked men showing their potbellies, bathing near the stream flowing out of the fall. But, after living in India, you are used to such things!
There are plenty of small resorts nearby to spend the night, and some of them have even have the river flowing across their backyards, where one can spend lazy evenings around a fire or go in for an early morning bath.
The stream behind the resort we stayed in
Athirappilly is a must go, for anyone visiting Kerala. What's more it is also the place where Mani Ratnam chose to shoot his 'Raavan' because of the scenic impact this place has on anyone who visits it.