Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kukkal Chinnar Episode - 4

Manjampatti to Chinnar                       Day 1     Day 2    Day 3

   Disturbed sleep came to an end by 5 in the morning. Crystal clear flow along the canal, by the side of our night stay, was a boon in all sense and we were ready for the last lap of the expedition, by around 8 AM.

        Thanked Alex, for all his support, and left the village, commencing the 13 km walk to Chinnar, through the dry scrubby jungle.

             Had news on a tusker frequenting this sector and the walk was a bit cautious. There weren't much events, as the track was clear, apart from occasional stops for Biju to capture a bird or two - especially those found in dry regions.

Blue bearded leaf bird - Photo : Biju PB

Collared dove - Photo : Biju PB
              As summer was in its peak, wayside water sources were all dry and we fearfully noticed the rapid drain of our storage. But Gireesh was found confident on the proximity of a tribal settlement at 'Talanji', where we shall have a refill. It was just as we sucked off the last drop, Gireesh spotted the hamlet at a distance.

Thalanji in red envelope
                 Though the walk went brisker,  it took half an hour for us to reach the spot and by then I had a badly dried throat.

              The water the inhabitants use, is from river Amaravathi, which flows near by and the previous day's untimely rain in the hills had rendered it a muddy reddish tone. Necessity forced me to gulp it down and I had to pay for it, later in the day. 

                     Spotted a few coconut trees in the premises by then and a tribal boy agreed to fell a few tender ones for us. That was a heavenly gesture, which i believe, had enabled us to live up to the aim. Left 'Thalanji' under the torching sun and we had 5+ kms more, to our destination. The next water source, as Gireesh and the Thalanji people assured us, was 'Athiyoda', a stream about 3 kms from Thalanji.

         Proceeded with occasional breaks under the shadow of not-that-frequent big trees, as we feared sun stroke. Just after one such break, noticed a herd of spotted dear, running frantic. Reason for the panic was a pack of Dhole (wild dog), at close quarters. We fell in between and the pack aborted the hunt and dispersed. We had saved a life but deprived others their food- equally good as bad.

                     Sun was squeezing our moisture out and the lone hope was on 'Athiyoda', assumed to be very close by then. Two more turnings and we were there. Desperate is a word too mean for such an occasion, for we had just the trace of a stream, burnt sand surfacing.


          Sat on the bank, wordless for a while, and some one started walking, with others following. None spoke for the next two kms or so, for fear of dehydration, until the Pambar flow was audible. 

         I had never longed for water like that, in my life, and I drank up to my nose, aware that the flow  had just left the town of Marayur. Had a thorough wash up, crossed the flow and walked up to Marayur - Chinnar road, where a car waited, to take us to Marayur. Had lunch from Marayur at 4 PM and left for Munnar to catch the night bus to Trivandrum, leaving Girish at Marayur for his journey back - of course along tarmac. 

      Got beneath my good old bed roll, by 5 in the next morning, and could doze only for three hours, as my mobile went ringing ……….

                                It was Raj on the other side


  1. Thank God... The whisling Thrush didnt follow us on the fourth day....

    1. Actually it did till 6 in the evening....

  2. Hello Shinu. Thanks for the full write up on your Kodai to Chinnar trek. I remember you giving me a brief description of it at Killimanoor, I can now visualise the experience a lot more from reading the report.
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Welcome back Chris. Happy to know that you still remember those discussions.

  3. Been waiting for this episode -- excellent photos.


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