My last visit to Athirappilly waterfalls was more than 20 years ago and my memories of the famous waterfalls were faint. Off late the urge to visit them have been on the rise and to fulfill it we started our drive from Cochin to Athirappilly on a lovely bright morning. After taking the deviation at Chalakkudi, lovely winding roads took us through a lot of greenery to one of the hotspots of Kerala . Enroute we passed numerous plantations and small creeks before reaching the waterfalls. A long queue of kiosks, which sold various items awaited us at the parking area. The falls is located amidst the thick Sholayar forests near Tamil Nadu border.
Predictably my favorite beaches are located in my home state of Karnataka , though I like Goan beaches , they are too crowded for my comfort. I haven't been to Kerala 's beaches and the beaches in Tamil Nadu (at least the ones I have been to) were very dirty and full of dead fish. I have been to Mumbai's beaches but they were dirtier than the TN ones. In Andhra Pradesh and Orissa the beaches were so hot that I couldn't enjoy being there and to my bad luck I visited these states in the peak of summer so I don't have particularly fond memories of these locations. Anyway now cutting the chatter here are some of my most favorite beaches in Karnataka . The holy beach behind the main temple in Gokarna , crowded but it is so long that one can find some secluded place...
Thekday was calling loud and clear on the Ugadi weekend. I reached Kumily , which is the town nearest to Thekady by bus from Bangalore on the morning of 28th March. It is at the Tamil Nadu / Kerala border and very close to Kodaikanal and Munnar. The plan was for the old Reflections (a collegiate magazine team of ours during Engg college days) to meet and have a look around. Sujith, Rahul and Thomas ettan apart from me were the participants for this trip. Sujith had booked an Inspection Bungalow (IB) at Kumily , which is where the stay for the next 2 days had been planned for. Kumily being just 4 kms away from Thekady, this was the perfect place to halt.
This had been one of our dream treks and got lucky that one of our Bangalore based trekking club got permission for the route. Obtaining permission is quite difficult owing to the fact that the trek ranges along restriced areas of both Kerala and Tamilnadu and most the trek route would be along the border of the states.The plan was to cover the trek with in 2 days which would be difficult to squeeze since the ideal time to cover the trek would be 3 days. So we had to cover a distance of 35 (15Km on first day and 20Km on the next) within two days. We had started towards Munnar Friday night and got to reach Chinnar at 7 am the next day, where we first encountered the Kerala border check post. The guide joined us there and we went along the picturesque road towards Munnar. We had a great breakfast (Appam and Puttu-kadala curry) at a place called Marayur inside the Kerala border on way towards Munnar. The highway route was amazing with beautiful tea estates and gorgeous valleys.
Day 1:We took the Rajhamsa from Bangalore to Hampi. This is a direct bus but a better choice would have been a Volvo to Hospet and local transport to Hampi which is 12 km from Hospet. As soon as we set foot in Hampi , guides and rickshaw drivers stalked us like any typical tourist spot. We walked past them to figure our way to Padma Guest house (try this number if you want to book 08394 241331) which is just around the corner of the street, haggled with the landlady Padma (as Chetan had hinted me to bargain prices), checked in for Rs.350. But I feel the price was not a bad option considering I am not the foreigner who would take a room for Rs.50 and soak in the culture.