The Chimmony Tale
I was busy with my office schedule while Sinesh called. It was 14th of December 2010 and until the call, I wasn't aware, that 16th was a holiday. I was informed that he was planning a trip to Chimminy wild life sanctuary, which was the lone one of Thrissur district. Discussed with Sunil and Renchi and , as usual, there weren't any hesitations. Decided to leave Trivandrum, by 9 AM, the very next day, to join Sinesh and Family at Angamaly, by evening, and reach Chimmoni before dusk. Sinesh took over the duty of arranging night stay at the Forest Inspection Bungalow.
Chimoni wild life sanctuary got its name from the Chimony River flowing through it, which originates at the western slope of Nelliyampathi Hills. The river was dammed, forming the Chimmini reservoir, catering to the agricultural lands in the planes of Thrissur district. Flora and fauna are vivid, as the sanctuary is contiguous with the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve.
Started a bit late from the planned schedule, opted MC road, had lunch from Kottayam and reached Angamali, thereby joining NH 47, by around 5 PM. Sinesh was waiting there for long, in his Paleo, and drove north together. Left NH 47 at Amballoor, near Thrissur, and deviated to the right. Drove past Varantharapalli, towards the Western Ghats and light faded as we reached Veluppadam.
As we reached Palappilly, it started raining all of a sudden. The track went through rubber plantations, not at all inhabited, and we were the lone travelers, along the stretch. It was raining cats and dogs by then and we struggled to cut through the darkness. After about an hour along the frightening stretch, the lantern light at the distant check post, came as a soothing sight.
As the check post people had information on our visit, they had a watcher ready, to lead us to the Forest Inspection Bungalow, by the side of Chimmony reservoir. Thus, after all these hassles, we occupied the spacious three bedded IB, by around 8 PM.
Though power failed, owing to the heavy down pour, we weren't in trouble, as the IB had generator back up. The care taker of the IB provided us a decent dinner, with non veg delicacies.
After the dinner, drove to the Range Officer's residence, with Suni, driver with Forest dept. The RO Mr. Jayendran was a young energetic chap, recently married, and he had his wife with him, who came for a weekend visit. Had a brief chat and left, as we were not to disturb the young couple, who met once in a week. Before leaving, he directed Suni, to take us for a night trek, if we were interested. He also offered to visit us early next morning, to plan our day.
Sunil opted to stay back and Sinesh and I got ready for the walk, accompanied by Suni, another watcher - I forgot his name- and Sharmila, a graduate in forestry, who was working on a project, on the fauna of the sanctuary. Walked along the reservoir side up to "Virakuthodu' sector, in the silent darkness. Spotted a Sambar deer in the adjoining woods. We were behind it and Suni would have stamped directly on a 'hump nosed viper', if Sharmila was not to scream and push him off.
The creature was right on the mid track and didn't even bother to lift its head. Spent a while clicking and continued further.
A slender loris on a tree top jumped off our torch beam and couldn't trace him, though we spent a while, in search. It was midnight by then and we decided to return.
Sinesh and I went for a short walk early morning, and black tea was ready, as we returned.
|Early morning view from the IB|
Our caretaker had Upma and vegetable curry for our break fast, and the RO visited us, just we finished it. As we had engagements at Trivandrum, the very next day, we were to leave the place at least by noon. Thus we had just half a day left and he advised us to opt for a trek to a small falls in the woods, by name 'Choorathala', which can be covered in three to four hours. Owing to time constrains, we agreed, and were off soon, guided by Sujith, a watcher with the dept.
The initial stretch was a mild hike along cleared path.
Just after half a kilometer, the woods thickened and the track went uneven. We had occasional brooks crossing the track, thus rendering it slippery.
As usual, our kids lead the trail, and Sujith found it hard in taming these wild gooses.My young boy was to be carried occasionally and Sinesh and I took turns in loading.
He loved walking across brooks and we had to wait patiently, for him to be through.
Woods thickened further and the going went tough, as there wasn't even a track at many places.
We had to penetrate the foliage to keep going.
Thorny bushes disturbed us all the while. Prop roots crossing the track, too were enjoyed.
Thus proceeding we approached a gigantic rocky structure and continued along its side.
At places Sujith had to hang on prop roots to make way for us.
The rock slowly appeared carved in, forming a cave like appearance, through which we were to slide in. It would have been a shelter to many from shower and wind.
Choorathala wasn't that huge plunge, but still it had a beauty of its own. It appeared as if a heavy shower, shattered by the rocky base.
To experience the shower one has climb along the slippery rocks. Atop, you will find aside a white curtain, separating you from the woods.
If you stick to the rocky side, not even a single drop will wet you. Step forward and you are beneath a painful shower. We played the shower - no shower game, for long, until Sujith reminded us, lifting his wrist watch.
Got out, dried ourselves, and opted the return trek through a different track. Had few more brooks on the way which put us to test.
The down trek soon ended by the reservoir side, and the remaining part was through level jeep track, laid by the forest dept.
Back at the IB, by 1'o clock, had a hurried lunch, and packed out soon, as Sujith was to take us to the dam site, before we left.
Reservoir was some what full and the shutters were open. Watched the milky descent for a while and the return journey commenced.
Dropped Sujith at the check post and we drove together up to Ernakulam. Sinesh and family parted there.
Previous day's tedious drive, less slept night, and the trek along the woods, had drained all my energy and I was tired like anything. I was a bit anxious whether I would be able to drive all the way back. But the pot holes of NH 47 and the occasional heavy showers, was sufficient to keep me awake till we reached our shelter by around 10 PM.
Here ends the Tale,folks.....just the Chimmony Tale.
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