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Monday, February 6, 2012

In search of tranquility

City dwellers, in search of peace and solitude, keep certain places, closer to nature, identified, where they frequent during the week ends. While at Coimbatore, we were also exploring such avenues when we learnt about a water fall close by at a distance of about 30 kms. It is fondly called "Kovai Kurtalam" because it is said to resemble the famous Kurtalam falls of Tamilnadu, though a little smaller.    Coimbatore is referred to as "Kovai" in the vernacular parlance. The mountain stream culminating into a fall is under the foot hills of the western ghat mountain ranges, surrounded by rain forests. Since we had a full day to invest, we thought of visiting a place known as Isha Foundations Dhyana Linga, more or less on the same route. This centre is claimed to be  offering spiritual inner realisation. They have created a spherical structure with congenial atmosphere for meditation. However our focus was neither spirituality nor meditation but were simply drawn there out of our curiosity for some kind of appreciation of the activities thereat. The locale was quite cherish able. After having our lunch in their canteen, we drove out.
Now we were heading towards the "Kovai Kurtalam" water falls. There was an easy and direct approach but we preferred to reach there driving through the countryside, with winding roads, connecting obscure villages. One reason for this was availability of ample time and our own inner desire to understand the hinterland. On our way there were paddy fields becoming ready to be harvested followed by a plantation of Curry Leavs (Sweet Neem), Turmeric, Banana plantations, Areca nut Plantations and so on. It was really enjoyable to have a real feel of these crops growing in that area. We stopped at some places to capture the landscape in our cameras.

While passing through the outskirts of a village we could find an open shrine dedicated to the serpent Gods who are believed to protect the village from epidemics etc.  This is a kind of animal worship (zoolatry)/nature worship prevalent in the pre modern societies all over the world. This still continues notwithstanding the advent of all ‘isms.
There was a small town, the end of the habitational area, on the banks of a rivulet formed possibly by the same waterfall we were heading for. We had to cross a bridge beyond which lied the forest area with their check post and barricades. We had to buy our entry passes. 

The journey continued through the forest area with paddy fields in between and the mountains coming closer to us. Shortly we were inside the thickly forested zone and we found that people were required to park their vehicles in an opening created for the purpose.There were separate parking areas for four wheelers and two wheelers. Two wheelers were in much larger numbers.

From this point onwards we were required to walk down the distance of about 2 kilometres through the jungle path. Interestingly  the forest department people have created a suspension bridge with the support of the tall trees for quite a good distance. We thought of using it while returning. The walk also provided some beautiful sceneries of mountains and  water gushing down the hills. The wild growth on the pathway was also home to several insects. Some colourful spiders attracted our attention and we could not resist from approaching them for a closer view.

At the end of the pathway, to our left was the waters from the mountains making its way through the rocky surface and to cross over it we were to pass through a narrow bridge. Immediately thereafter there were stairs climbing deep down. We went up to a distance and had a glimpse of what could be expected at the end. The water has been made to fall down taking a broader shape for which some man made constructions were visible. We thought not to venture deep down fearing that we would need to exert a lot to come up. 

Instead we settled before the bridge and enjoyed looking at families, boys and girls who had made space for themselves, where ever they found it convenient.There were some monkeys too to keep company with.

Around 5.00 PM we thought of returning when my nephew joined us after his explorations. Some of the photographs here are his contributions. While walking down the jungle path we saw a sort of melee at a distance, for some one had thrown a pebble at a beehive and the bees in turn attacked a group. They ran for their lives while we stayed back for about 15 minutes.  When the bees seemed to be at peace we continued and reached the parking place. We drove out and reached Coimbatore after visiting an Emu farm en route.