Monday, July 27, 2009
I think one of the best memory that I have of Soojipara waterfalls near Wayanad are the Omelette’s that we had from a makeshift shack (thattukada) run by a Father and her daughter. After the almost 4 km trek ( to and fro) and the bath that we had in the falls we were hungry enough to eat anything on sight and we had already forgotten the heavy Kerala style lunch that we had at Wayanad a few hours earlier. The men stopped to have a hot cup of black coffee (kattankappee) and that is when the youngsters discovered that even omelettes were available. There was no stopping afterwards. The omelettes kept disappearing as soon as it appeared and all eyes were on the next one as it got cooked on the thava! We literally finished their stock of eggs and even made the girl cook us magi noodles.
She had the onions and green chillies cut the usual way and whisked 2 eggs per omelette. After spreading this on the “thava” she placed 2 slices of bread on them. This was later flipped so that the bread was toasted on one side. She finished it with a liberal shower of pepper powder which enhanced the taste and thus was born the Soojipara Omelettes. I am sure these omelettes are available in other such places but let me call them Soojipara Omelettes since that is where I first had them. They did pack up and leave after we finished and we did finish all that they had stocked! I hope their day’s business was profitable.
The omelette was indeed tasty and I could not replicate the same taste this morning. I guess the ambience was missing! Talking of ambience, the scene from the place is breath taking! One can see miles and miles of mountains and tea gardens too.
This place is yet to be developed by the Tourism Board and hence even the ticket is collected from a crude shack. (They can build nice hedges and quaint ways to sit around and enjoy nature.)
But we were told that a big plot has already been bought nearby by some private players to construct a hotel and if this continues then gone will be the aura of this place.
When we started the trip it was raining but none of us wanted to turn back and that is when we discovered that a family run small shop had a stock of everything needed for such moments.
We ended up buying plastic wraps, slippers, a few towels and the lady even wrapped some salt for us to ward of the leeches. Talking of the leeches. .it is a long time since I had a visit from them. This tiny but smart pest is common in the high ranges and one may never know one is lodging it until the fellow finishes sucking blood, bloats up and falls off, fully fed. This is when it starts itching and you find that you are bleeding. For the first timers a leech can be a horrific experience but not for me who will not let a tiny leech spoil a walk much dreamt of. Besides leeches are made to suck blood for some treatments.
We donned on the plastic wraps, looking good enough to join the tea pluckers and off we went on the long trek.
With the rain beating on us, we still managed the steep walk down to the falls. It was one step at a time since the path was slippery. Because of the rain we did not take our cameras and thus we missed capturing the lovely moments. We did see a black monkey which I think was the Lion Tailed Macaque. (simhavalan korange) It was not very happy to see us but did pose enough for us to see it.
The water fall is beautiful and the government has posted a few guards to caution the adventurous ones. A few guards are also posted at the start of the descent. The place was open only until 5 PM and the guards leave the place after this time. We were also lucky to have the whole place to ourselves except for the guards who were stationed up on the rocks. We did wonder where the couple who were behind us when we started the walk disappear. Guess the walk in the rain was too much for them. The rain did reduce halfway through. We had a wonderful time in the water and in the rain( the plastic wraps were discarded much earlier to enjoy the rain). It was with much reluctance that we climbed out of the water, with the kids pleading for more time.
We saw Wayand on our way to Mysore and later when we made the trip to Soojipara waterfalls. The place is beautiful and still untouched but time was not sufficient to explore Wayanad fully. Watched on TV how the recent rains washed away a part of the ghat road or the Wayand Churam.
On our way back from Mysore we took a different route through Gudalur and saw even more lovely places. Gudalur – Vazhikadavu-Edakkara-Palunda-Chungathara-Nilambur –Vadapunna -Edavanna-Pannipara-Vadaseri-Vakalur-Pathanapuram-Karusseri-Mukkam-Manasseri-Pazhour are the places that we drove through to reach Calicut. The roads are well kept and Hubby had a lovely time driving through them. This ghat road is called the “nadukani churum” (an important road connecting Kerala and Tamilnadu states) and even this road suffered from mud slides during the recent rains.
Nilambur is yet another beautiful place enroute to Calicut. There are many places to see around Nilambut too. The teak museum being one of them. But we were already late and wanted to get back to Calicut before nightfall.
We also passed Bandipur and Mudumalai wild life sanctuaries on our way back from Mysore and had half a mind to visit Ooty too. A part of the road is terrible while the rest is too good. We couldn’t see any elephants this time and was told that there were enough on the roads earlier in the morning.
I recalled another trip that I had many years back with my parents when we were lucky enough to see many elephants. And it was during this trip that my Father stopped the jeep to take a shot of a herd of elephants who were feeding just off the road. Mother, myself and my elder sister’s daughter who was barely 2 years old were scared and were urging Father to continue driving. Suddenly this male tusker charged onto us and for a minute even my Father was dumbstruck. It needed a not- a-very-gentle tap from my screaming mother to get my Father back into action. Luckily the elephant had to stop by the side of the jeep since there was an embankment separating the road. And by then Father had already started moving the jeep too. But we did have the fright of our lives. When there is a baby elephant among the herd, it is usual for the tusker to be over protective. I guess we were silly to have stopped! I do relate this story to my children and they continue to disbelieve me!
This time we almost travelled the length and breadth of Kerala - i.e Trivandrum to Calicut and Hubby has recorded 4,000 Kilometers of driving. He likes to drive while I like to sit next to him and enjoy the roads and the various scenes that unfold on the way.
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