Jeu: “Let’s go to Nandi Hills. Bike ride. 2AM. What say?”
And with that, I left all plans of rejuvenating-by-staring-at-the-ceiling-for-the-weekend and headed to his house.
As with Jeu Gang and their plans, by the time I reached their place, the plan had changed from Nandi Hills to Yeracaud to Wayanad. Anyway… as long as we go somewhere…I am good.
We decided to leave bikes behind and booked a small bus (Tempo Traveller, that’s what it is called apparently) that could easily accommodate 14 people. There were 12 of us. The journey started at midnight.
As usual, with these trips, noise and boisterousness was at its peak. Though my sensible mind told me I should sleep, sleep evaded me until 5AM. Then, suddenly, my mind went dead…
The next time I woke up, I was in Kerala and it was around 6:30AM. It was foggy, dew on the window-panes, we were driving through a forest. I saw the sign ‘Muthunga Forest Area’. At a check-post, we drank piping hot chai. I slept again.
The next time I woke up, we were in Kalpetta, Wayanad. It was 7:30AM. Jeu was asking me what was the name of the waterfalls we were to go. Tough question. My brain works in slo-mo early mornings. I checked my phone memo and explained: “It’s Soonchipara Falls, not Meenmutty. Apparently, Meemmutty requires a 2km trek through a jungle and it was written somewhere to be a difficult trek.”
Jeu, to the driver, “Bhaiyya-ji, Soonchipara Falls chaliye!”
|Driving through tea-estates|
So, we drove to Soonchipara Falls. The drive was beautiful. My mind was in snooze mode but it registered narrow lanes, going uphill, sloping tea estates and hills at the horizon.
|at Soonchipara Falls|
We reached Soonchipara Falls at 9AM The board at the gate to Soonchipara Falls points to the direction of the Falls and says “1 KM”. LIAR!! It was a good 3kms to the Falls. A mud road, a concrete road, steep steps that made one’s weak knees creak and at times, no road.
But you forget your pants and grunts when you see the Falls. It’s so pretty!
And the best part is this is one of the Falls when people can take a quick dip. And so did many of us. Some slipped on the rocks too. And I held on to dear life by clutching anyone’s ready hand while going closer to the Falls.
|That tiny girl in blue is Tarzan's Jane, my wild wild friend|
The adventurous ones went further to the foot of the falls. And a couple, whom I aptly should call Tarzan and Jane, climbed a small hillock which nobody dared to climb and stood next to the falls. Arms raised for a click, they seriously looked like Tarzan and Jane. At another time, another friend, wearing shorts with the Batman symbol on the rear, was struggling to climb down a spot. Yea, here at Soochipara, Batman struggles too. I, not to fond of slippery rocks, took a spot in the middle and dipped my toes.
You dip, you swim, you struggle, you fall, you climb or you become Tarzan. There is enough for everyone to enjoy in this place.
We spent quite a good amount of time at Soonchipara Falls. It was around noon when we left from there.
We reached town at 1PM for lunch. That hour’s drive to town was the quietest. Everyone slept, tired, mouth wide open. Soonchipara Falls had beaten us dead!
After lunch at one of the restaurants on the street side, we headed to Pookode Lake.
“Natural and 52 feet deep”, said the Boatman who took us for the lake-ride. We religiously had to wear life-jackets. The ride was breezy, the lake is quite huge and thank god, it was well-maintained. A good lake-ride. Me liked!
After the Lake, the Driver said he would take us to the View Point. If you are from North or North-East, you can totally miss it. Our mini-bus halted at the street side. The view was that of rolling green hills and a curved road at a distance. Umm… it’s okay… We clicked two photos and moved.
The Driver said we can go to the Banasura Dam, but we decided to skip that. We wanted to reach home a little early because many of us had early morn shifts the next day, and truly, our fun quota was over-filled and tiredness was seeping in.
|Boats docked at Pookode Lake|
Wayanad has a lot of places to see… but for us, this is the route we decided to take. A quick trip that lasted 22 hours. Fun way to spend 22 hours of a weekend, what say?
|Oriental Lilies for sale at Pookode Lake|