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Monday, September 07, 2009

Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and its mighty waterfalls...

An event of days gone by...last December during my solo all india motorcycle journey...

Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, nestled in the South West of the Western Ghats is located in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. It is home to some famous rivers (Thamarabarani, Manimuthar), waterfalls (Courtallam, Vana Theertham, Agastyar, Manimuthar), dams (Karaiyar, Manimuthar, Papanasam) and hydro-electric power plants. Even my ancestral home at Kallidaikurichi falls in its fringe boundaries and close to the national park's buffer zone.

 
It was one fine balmy morning and I had ridden from
Kanyakumari to Kallidaikurichi. Upon reaching my ancestral home, I got to know that most of the rivers and waterfalls were in full spate due to the excess rainfall this area received due to the North East monsoons. Some areas were cordoned off to prevent citizens from water related dangers. However, this got all me all pumped up as I had never witnessed these rivers or waterfalls in full spate. So, I proceeded to explore this natural event in the company of my uncle who expressed similar interests too.


First, we proceeded to the Manimuthar dam forest entrance, got our forest permits done and proceeded to climb up through the
Kalakkad forests through completely desolate roads. We sighted a lot of peafowl on our way up. Peafowl survives in huge numbers in this wildlife sanctuary. When we finally reached the Manimuthar falls, we were astonished at the thundering sound the waterfall created. On a normal day, the waterfall would fall onto the rocks below, but on that day, the waterfall seemed to be falling about 20 m to its front, straight into a large swimming pool, if I may. This also turned out to be our breakfast stop and we had some nice home-made idlis, searing gunpowder and chutney.


Next, we made our way to the Courtallam waterfalls for a midday shower. Again, in full flow, it was scary to enter into the falls, but we somehow managed to squelch out some courage. Though, the courage couldn't last for long, once we felt boulders of water hitting our backs without giving us a moment to breathe. After our super human shower, we proceeded to witness the beauty of the Agastyar waterfalls at Papanasam (the top left picture). The entire 10 km road that leads to this waterfall was blocked citing safety reasons. All we could was stand in awe and admire this natural wonder. Finally, we made our way to the Karaiyar dam to see if the boat service to the Vana theertham waterfalls was functioning, but it looked like even it was closed due to the heavy rains. We sulked on hearing the news, but drew some happiness by biting into yummy and delicious raw mangoes. On our way back through the forest roads, we spotted a large group of Hanuman Langaurs enjoying themselves.


Some day, I will go on a tiger exploration drive in this dense forest - Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.

To see India through the eyes of a motorcyclist's lens, visit the album below.

my solo all-india motorcycle journey

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