We got up at 5.30 AM. Last night my Mom had made Roti (Bread.. Indian style.. very much like Tortilla) and some veg dishes for dinner. I had mentioned to her that Prashant might prefer eating Roti than Rice. We mallus eat boiled rice - sort of brown rice in its thickness and flavor - and curry as our regular meal. You need some time to get used to its taste. Prashant got to meet my parents and my elder bro who were at home. I wanted to show Prashant our paddy fields (where we grow rice in traditional style.. the machinery world is yet to take over old style country living). See pic. After shower and breakfast we headed for Trichur town. By then we had also made a draft plan for the rest of our trip.
Gate to Vadakkumnathan Temple
Day 1 - Visit the famous temples in Trichur town and then go to Athirappilly Falls and make it to Cochin
by night. Day 2 - Go to Munnar Hill Station and stay overnight. Day 3 - Return to Cochin and if we get time explore the city and also visit my friend Annooz and then reach Aleppey by evening. Rent a house boat and do backwater cruise till next day morning. Day 4 - Return to Mangalore. Who wouldn't be excited? We were. Especially because we have not made any reservation for travel or stay.
Trichur town (locally known Thrissur) is the headquarters of Thrissur District. It is an important cultural center, and is known as the 'Cultural Capital of Kerala'.
It is famous for the Thrissur Pooram festival, the most colorful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. It has a large number of well-known temples, Thiruvambady temple, Vadakkumnatha temple and Paramekkavu temple, and two churches of note, the Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral and the Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours (called "Puthan Pally" - meaning "New Church" - considered to be the biggest church in South Asia). The Kerala Police Academy (second largest in India) is also situated in this town. My cousin bro lives in Trichur town. We went to his place to change clothes before going to the temple. Men have to wear the dhoti (a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth, usually around 5 yards long, wrapped about the waist and the legs, and knotted at the waist) inside some temples in South India (don't ask me why.
The edge of the Falls.. Yep, you can go that close. At your own risk.
I will explain it to you offline is you are interested). My mom had gifted Prashant a new dhoti when he came home. We went inside Vadakkumnatha temple (said to be 2000 years old and a classic example of the Kerala style of architecture with beautiful murals of the seventeenth century delineating graphically the story of Mahabharata). An hour worth spent.
It is 10 AM. We boarded a bus to Chalakkudy town, had lunch at a small restaurant, and then boarded another bus to Athirappilly Falls. There aren't many buses going to the Falls. An hour got busted waiting for the ride to Falls. PR (my friend and colleague) called on my cell phone from his hometown Ottappalam to say that he is on his way to Cochin in his brand new Ford Icon (Black Beauty) and if we will be there while he crosses Chalakkudy he can pick us up and ride along to Cochin.
Falls and the Chalakkudy River
I wasn't sure if we would be back from the Falls by the time PR would hit the town so we thought of meeting up in Cochin that night. He was going there to meet up with his old school buddies. We reached the Falls around 4 PM. There were not many people at the Falls may be because it was a week day. Good for us, isn't it?
There was plenty of flow in the river to make a healthy fall and the distant front view of the fall scene is pretty (see pic). I had been here 3-4 times before and it is one of the must-see places in Kerala in my opinion. The place is not commercialized at all but I think the authorities should provide more facilities for visitors to enjoy the view of the fall without spoiling its natural look and surroundings. Visitors can go very close to the edge of the fall (at your own risk) and enjoy the beauty of wildness to full extent.
At the bottom of the Falls
There are trails to take you underneath the Falls. It is a magnificent experience standing on a rock to enjoy the soaking water splash from the falls. This location is a favorite spot for movie makers and has been part of so many commercial films and documentaries. We got back to the top and took a dip in the river somewhere ahead of the Falls. The stream won't be so powerful in October. Never attempt this during Monsoon season though. You will be washed away.
We got some energy boost with a cup of warm tea at a local small tea shop. Time to leave the Falls as it is a long ride pending to reach Cochin. The next bus returning to Chalakkudy was pretty much empty. We took another bus to reach Cochin and reached there around 9 PM. I called PR from my cell phone and he asked us to join him and his friends at a bar in Edappally, Cochin. A bottle of Kingfisher (Indian Beer.. Brewed by UB Group) and a plate of spicy fried Mussels tasted so good after a tiring day of travel. Cheers to the Almighty!