Friday, August 27, 2010

Soochipara Falls in the Monsoons

Thundering water amidst dense greenery in the Western Ghats is what I saw when I visited Soochipara Falls recently. Soochipara Falls, one of the more famous tourist attractions of Wayanad is located about 13 kms from the town of Meppady in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India.

To reach Soochipara Falls, one has to drive through tea, coffee and spice plantations. The drive itself can be quite intoxicating with nature in full abundance. The feeling of being enveloped by mist adds to the WOW factor.

By the time me and my friends reached the parking lot, we were completed covered by mist and could hardly see anything in front of us. All of us had plans to take a shower under the waterfall, but were having second thoughts due to the dropping temperature. However, we stalled our thoughts for a while and proceeded to buy the entrance tickets from the ticket counter.

We paid 20 rupees per head for entry, 25 rupees per camera and 20 rupees for car parking and got ourselves our entry permits. We found out at that ticket counter that we have to walk a kilometre and a half downhill to reach the waterfall.

We walked for five minutes before arriving at a ticket checking counter. This is where all our baggage was checked for plastic content. After all, we were entering a NO PLASTIC zone. The interesting thing here is that if you want to carry even a plastic bottle inside then you pay a security deposit at the checking counter. Upon safely bringing back the plastic bottle, the security deposit can be collected.

A unique and very apt concept and thanks to such environment friendly policies, we hardly found any litter, leave alone plastic during our downhill trek to the falls.

It took us about 10 minutes to complete the descent and soon we could hear the thunder of the waterfall. The final 200 feet was covered in slippery and steep rocks and we had to watch our steps. From this point onwards all of us were slowly getting drenched in the spray coming from the waterfall.

On seeing the waterfall up front, we realized that we could not take a shower under the waterfall and instead decided to take a dip in the fast moving and extremely cold water. The dip was really refreshing. The only sad part here was that I could not take a lot of pictures as my lens filter kept getting fogged by the water spray. Guess, I needed a lens wiper or something like that.


After spending an hour here, we slowly climbed our way back to the trail and only stopped to have a hot glass of lemon tea (kattan chaya in Malayalam). The cold bath and the hot tea charged us so much that we indulged in some tropical photography. More on that soon.

But, overall, I would definitely recommend a visit to Soochipara Falls in the monsoons. The trek is not that tough and shopping for local crafts are also available. And then the place is truly mesmerizing.

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