Well, my second trip after coming to IIT, although just a single day outing, it was great and different in many ways. Firstly, it was not as pre planned (from the fact that on the night before even at 7:00pm we had no idea how we were going to travel to that place) as the trip to Pondicherry. Secondly, much more exhaustive and more of a trek than a trip. Had read a little bit about the place on the net but it was difficult deciding on the mode of travel and we are glad that we picked on the tourist taxi (not that we had much choice).
Everyone (9 of us in all) got up early, as a good early start was mandatory to enjoy the trek. Enjoyed a damn cheap meal of idlis on a roadside dhaba and reached the Tada forest check post nearly 2 hours after leaving IIT. There we had to shell out 100 bucks for the 2 ambassadors to travel on the road that disappeared on the 1st turn and we had a good bumpy ride up to the point beyond which travel by car was not possible. The drive too was wonderful with a little bit of chitchat and playing dumb charades. No one is going to forget Nikhil enacting ‘Maa’ that time – cracked us all up. If anybody could do that, it had to be him.
We later dispensed the cars near the water stream and proceeded on foot, thus beginning our journey into the flora (not much of fauna that I heard of) and towards the waterfall
We had reached the starting point in good time with the sun dimly lit above the horizon and the atmosphere pleasant for a good morning walk. It was enjoyable to walk through the thin single person passages, crossing water streams on the way and clicking away at every good spot that we could find. Of course having 8 friends along with you is an additional advantage with everyone providing some entertainment on the way. (No, I am not talking about my first photo that was taken without my knowledge). Gautam as usual carried on with his PJ’s and nobody knows why but somehow the most frequently used word that day was ‘hagga’. Of course there were theories that the reason for that was the inability of most of us to perform our daily duties that morning (now c’mon, whaddya expect someone to do at 5:15am?).
Anyway, slowly but steadily we started crossing the dirty trails, the wet streams (one of GP’s jokes J) and the slippery rocks. We experienced nearly all kinds of terrain, of course in their milder form. The walk was pleasant. Initially we were pretty slow, conquering each rock with proper care but improving with each step. This was apparent when we crossed the same stream in a couple of minutes in our return journey that took us atleast 20 min initially. The most exciting part of the trek was the end when we reached the smaller reservoir and could not get any easy way to reach the top. Ankur, our ‘Sherpa’, tried one of the ways but it was too dangerous for others to follow. Even he had given up once but finally managed to climb it. We had to look at some other way to reach the waterfall. Seniors had already said that the last climb was a bit challenging and many people come back from the bottom reservoir itself. Anyway we had reached there early enough and were not going to give in so easily. Had a small ‘fruit’ break there and then started on another path that seemed to lead away from the stream but we kept following it. It was difficult and one good slip could send you banging on the rocks below. Nikhil and me were the ones ahead so that if it turned out to be a wrong path everyone would not have to climb down again. Somehow, all these fundaes, about sending sort of a scout to have a feel of the terrain, climbing up one by one like the movement of a SWAT team, the front person helping up the guy behind him, and each time waiting for the conformation of the front person before going on forward, came naturally to all of us (Ya, I know all this sounds highly exaggerated but believe me it isn’t). Well the second attempt too resulted in a failure since it was not going anywhere near the falls and we started descending back in the direction of the falls. It was then that one of us spotted the way to the falls. Climbed a few more rocks and there we were standing in front of our destination.
Although I had thought that in this trek it was the journey that was the destination but reaching there it felt that had we gone without seeing the two cliffs and the chilling water reservoir (chilling even at 1:00 pm in the afternoon) between them, our journey would have never been complete. We all jumped into the water but atleast I and Ankur could not stay in for more than 45 min. since both of us got cramps even when we were not swimming…just ‘chilling’ out. Friends had a few “rocks on the rocks” as they fondly put it.
Everybody was out by 2:00 and feasting on bread, sauce, cheese spread and bhujia sev. (Trust me, even they were a treat after the long walk and the chilling water). Soon we started our descent and were ourselves surprised at the speed and the effortlessness with which we were able to climb down and back to the two taxis waiting for us. We had one event that needs to be told before I end with this lengthy article. We were somehow, due to difference in walking speed, divided into 2 groups while coming back. Five of us were walking quite carelessly enjoying the scenery when the herd of cows and bulls behind us suddenly got frustrated with our slow speed and started running, which we thought charging, towards us. One look at the black bull behind us was enough to get us on our feet. We made refuge at a small clearing, which was luckily nearby, and waited for the herd to pass on. We had a small break after that and then made our way for the awaiting taxis. Although now as I remember it, it wasn’t that frightful a deal, but at that moment it was our legs which responded faster than our brain. And as if it was not enough, we overtook the bull again at a clearing and just before reaching the cabs it again charged towards us and our reaction was invariably the same although this time we had more space to take cover.
Well, it was the first trek for most of us and all of us were dead tired at the end. Each one of us slept atleast 12 hrs the next day and most of us missed our lunch at the mess. But I guess the trip was worth it and more.
For those of you who have already decided on going there, here are a few tips: