Hi all this is not a travelogue. This is all about the things I experienced in a journey. We are colleagues who love traveling and photography. So usually the places which comes to our mind while setting a destination will be related to nature and animals. This time I along with my friends decided to visit Malakkapara. A place which is near Valpara which is one of the hot spots of tourists for its soothing climate. We decided to visit this place mainly because of the route through which we should travel to reach the destination. More than the destination it’s about the path. It’s a path through the forest and there is a high probability to find wild animals, mainly Elephants. So we made a plan to leave to Malakkapara around 7 am from Ernakulam.
On a Sunday morning as planned we started our journey. Initially, we planned to have our breakfast at a hotel which was situated along the Highway just before the turn we had to take to Ezhattumugham. Usually, we used to travel at Slow Speeds through highway as most of us had a 150 cc bike and the fastest one among had a 90cc CruxR bike. This time he brought a pulsar 200CC bike which was one of his friends. So in order to keep justice to that bike we had to travel above 70kmph for most of the time. As it was a rainy season we were prepared for the rain. One of my friend even wore it while leaving the room itself. To see him in that bright fluorescent over coat itself was funny. On our way, we found a new hotel on the way, which felt like more hygienic than the one we planned. So we decided to have our breakfast from this new hotel. We had to wait a lot to get what we ordered as there was rush, may be because it was a Sunday.
After Our breakfast, we started our Journey. Even though Ezhatumugham was a tourist spot, all our mind was set on that forest path which leads to Malakkapara. We crossed Ezhattumugham around 8.30. After Athirapilly there is another waterfall called Charpa waterfalls. Even though it’s a big waterfall, it’s just beside the road which we have to travel. Hence the majority of the tourist used to stop and take photos from there. Recently in social media there was a video of this charpa falls which showed how vigorous the falls became due to the recent rain. And we were expecting the same scene when we reached. But unfortunately, the falls was nothing like what we expected. There were no rains for the past one week and the falls just seemed like a normal waterfall. Still, it’s a sight to watch. As others we too stopped there, took some photos and videos and continued our journey. By around 9.30 we reached Vazhachal Checkpost. This time there was not much checking as always as the officials came near the bike to collect our information and gave us the Pass to cross the Check post. We got two hours to cover the forest path and within two hours we have to reach the next check post which is our destination (Malakkapara). They will give only two hours of travel time which won’t be enough if we travel slowly to reach Malakkapara. So it’s better not to travel too slowly (It doesn’t mean you have to travel very fast, because the roads are narrow, so better be careful while driving). If we take more than 2.30 hours then they will impose fine. They will warn us not to stop anywhere on the road while traveling and there will be forest officers patrolling as well.
As I told earlier we were a group of three. One was our racer boy who had experience in crusing at speeds over 90kmph with his 90cc bike (Even though he took a 200CC bike this time so you can imagine how he might be riding this time). The other one is a hard core photographer who likes to explore and take photos. Other one is me. The photographer among us took his DSLR with him and I took an Action Camera with me. We Crossed the Vazhachal check post and we stopped at Poringalkutthu. It’s a junction and there is a small Dam here. We stopped here to buy some water for our journey. The photographer went and bought three bottles of water and one KG banana. After equipping ourselves with the necessary items we started our long journey. Due to the recent rains, there was full of greenery and we were thoroughly enjoying the journey. All of us were expecting to see some wild animals. There were dungs of Elephants all over the road. There were some really fresh ones making us realize that they are nearby. The excitement went over the roof for us. All of us were really looking for even the minute movements in the forest. Racer boy was the one who had keen skills in observing. So he was the one leading the pack. We were driving slowly and we reached the entry of Sholayar DAM. We can see large pipes from the Sholayar dam which goes to the powerhouse which was deep down the valley. We were about to stop there, that’s when our photographer told us that it’s better to stop when we return. So we continued our journey. After around half an hours we reached a view point from where we can see the Sholayar Dam (Kerala Part).
We stopped there to take some photos. Our Racer boy was looking tired riding the new bike, and we were curious too about it. He was having a hard time in handling the new bike as it had a tight handle and it took the hell out of his arms. By the time we reached the view point it was already 1 and half hours since we left check post, and only 30 mints were left for us to reach Malakkapara. After the view point stoppage, we didn’t stop anywhere until we reached Malakkapara. We were travelling at descent speed too. I nearly crashed my bike on a curve which was followed by a big pit hole on the middle of the road. I narrowly escaped the crash and I could see the fear of what had happened to me in the face of the photographer who was just behind me in his bike. Soon the dense forest gave way to tea plantations. That’s when we knew that we almost reached Malakkapra. And in 2 hours and o5 minutes we reached Malakkapara. The Destination of our journey. After registering our name at Malakkapara check post we decided to have a walk through the plantations taking some snaps. All these time the racer boy clearly had pain in both his arms and back and it was visible on his face. Still, he came with us through the plantations. We saw a wild Boar in between the tea plants. It was so used to humans and didn’t had any fear of humans. We all shouted asking to take photograph. Our photographer was busy changing the Lens of the DSLR to take photos, by that time it went inside the plantations and was hard to see him from where we were standing. I took the camera and followed it but when it saw me approaching, it ran. By the time I returned our photographer and racer boy was having their bananas which we bought from Poringalkuthu. And they knew I will come empty handed without any photos and they had another target ready for me to photograph. It was a squirrel which was eating the laft over banana given by the racer boy. I got one or two shots of it.
After our brief stay, we decided to return. We got our Pass from Malakkapara check post. Like earlier, we had 2 hours to reach Vazhachal. We started our journey and this time we didn’t have much stoppage other than the Sholayar view point and the Penstock which we didn’t cover on our way to Mallakapara. We stopped at the dam entry and took some photos. Our photographer was busy taking photos of the pipes which were leading to the powerhouse.
That’s when our racer boy suddenly spotted a Lion tailed macaque. We asked the photographer to take the photo of that, by the time the photographer was ready with his camera by changing the lens and all, there were no signs of that. By this time the racer boy was complaining about the handle of the bike and was fed up with it. That’s when another team stopped near us to take the photo of the penstock. They too had the same bike as that of racer boy. That person came near our racer boy and asked how the bike is and asked about the handle. That’s when we came to know that it was not the problem of that specific bike, instead, it was the issue of that model itself. Those people too were suffering from handle issues and back pain. Hearing that, our racer boy got some relief thinking it’s not just his bike’s issue. From there he got charged up and we continued our journey to Vazhachal. On our return, we took just 1.50 hours to reach Vazhachal. We registered our name at the check post and took tickets of Athirapilly falls and went to Athirapilly. Both our photographer and racer boy didn’t go near the place where the waterfall lands. We reached Athirapilly around 2 pm and we decided to have our lunch from there. We got into a hotel which felt like newly inaugurated. We had our lunch from there and decided to Walk our way to Athirapilly falls.
We could see lots of monkeys on the path to Athirapilly. The majority of them were having some ice cream or candy with them which were snatched from the tourists. These monkeys are very well versed in the opening and eating the ice creams, sodas etc. it’s hardly ten minutes’ walk to see the falls. And from there is a path to the right which leads to the base of the falls which was our destination. I went there multiple times and I knew how tedious it will be to ascend after our long drive. I told them this is the path, and they were like it’s a simple thing and were eager to descent. It was not that hard to descent and we reached the base of the falls. We expected a lot of water especially because of its monsoon season, but it wasn’t the case, still, it was worth visiting. Once we reached the base we took some photos and selfies as always and sat there for some time as it was very sunny and damn hot. The water from the falls was spraying all over and along with the occasional wind, it was helping us from the scorching heat. So we all decided to take some rest before ascending. After half an hour we started our ascend. Half way through, the racer boy started to feel the pain on his back which was already in trouble by riding the bike. He somehow managed to reach on top and told us that he will stay there and not coming near the falls. But I insisted to come and we managed to go near the falls and we both sat there on the rocks, whereas the photographer went on to take photos of the falls. After taking the photos he came back to us and we all sat on that rocks gasping for air. We and racer boy nearly slept there. After ten fifteen minutes we decided to return. We decided to take the Highway on our return and not via Ezhatumugham road as the racer boy had issues in cornering the bike. We reached Chalakudi in No time as the road was in very good condition. From there we could see the traffic on the other side of the road and luckily we escaped it. We reached Kakanad by 6. Had our tea and we all departed to our rooms having a smile on our face thinking about today’s journey and the lush green we saw and the calmness we felt which was un matched.