Monday, December 24, 2012

Siruvani – The Life Line

           This is my 50th post in this blog and let me express my gratitude to all followers and well wishers who had been the pushing power, behind these notes, on my travel, all these years. Read ahead... 

            The mountain stretch of Western Ghats, bordering Tamil Nadu and Palakkad district of Kerala, is believed to spring out the tastiest and sweetest flow, which was planned to be tapped, early in the previous century, to cater to the needs of the then tiny town of Coimbatore. The Siruvaani Mountain – so is the stretch known – thus witnessed the construction of a dam in its valley, blocking the Siruvany flow, to be diverted to the other side of the hillock.


           Before the dam, the Shiruvani flow was a mighty tributary of the Bhavani River, which later joins the Cauvery. A road was also constructed connecting Mannarkadu of Palghat District with Coimbatore, which runs past the Shiruvaani sector so that the reservoir is accessible from both sides. The road is still there in good shape, but traffic is strictly restricted for wildlife concern and the region still remains a least disturbed stretch of evergreen woods, with all flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats.


                Our destination was Pattiar Bungalow, an old building constructed along with the dam, located amidst the reservoir and we were at the Wildlife Warden’s office at Mannarkadu, by 3 PM, in this context. While going through the formalities, the officer in charge reminded us twice, that we are late and will have to hurry, as to reach our destination before its dark. Got out soon, bought provisions from the town, for the night and the following day, and headed along the Palghat route. Deviated left at Edakkurissi, went past Palakkayam , left human habitat and had the first stop at a Forest Check post. Normally visitor’s vehicles are not permitted beyond this. The staff there had prior intimation on our visit and didn’t have any hassles. The next stop was at Sinkapara Forest station and the forester in charge of the station informed that two watchers have already been sent to Patiar bungalow and they too urged to move quickly as it was already half past 5 in the evening.

                Just about 100m ahead, we had a road block as a Gaur.


          He was very reluctant to give way and we had to spend more than 10 minutes, on that account. No more events and reached the bungalow before light faded.


Despite the chill people were reluctant to go in, as the view from the portico was simply amazing. The Siruvani flow suffers a deep plunge in joining the water storage and the bungalow is located to face Muthikulam falls – so is it known – with the dim light magnifying its beauty and majesty.


                The Paatiaar Bungalow is a big old building with two well appointed bed rooms, a ding hall and a kitchen apart from a spacious Veranda. Reji and Krishnan – the care takers – showed off their cooking skills and the cold night could do nothing against stuffed bellies.

                Assigning morning duties with Krishnan, Reji accompanied us in roaming the premises of the Bungalow, which presented astonishing sights, giving a restless hour to my camera.


       



                       After breakfast drove up to the state border and went ahead with the inevitable part of such travels – a hike up the hillocks. Sugunan, the watcher in charge of the check post, guided us to Keralamedu, a moderate hike from the border point. Still Sunil had a hard time as he had to carry his one year old tot all along.


                Once up, the amazing beauty of the valley and the cool breeze won’t let one return that soon.




        To the north of the mount lies the Coimbatore part of Tamil Nadu and the filtering plant can be clearly spotted at the base, where the water tunneled across the mountain is treated, before piping it to the town of Coimbatore.


                        The Muthikulam falls, the reservoir and even the bungalow can be spotted to the south, presenting a panorama and to add to it, we had a lone Gaur grazing in the adjacent hillock.


                  On return, paid a short visit to the intake well of the tunnel and got back to the Bungalow by noon. As we expected, Reji and Krishnan were ready with a delicious meal, with delicacies we never expected.

                Packed up after the lunch and while driving past the huge dam structure, amidst thick greenery, I was wondering how this sector would have been a hundred years back and fearing how it would be a few years later.

18 comments:

  1. hi shinu,
    congrats and nice writeup. is this bunglow opened for public or required any special permissions? if you have any contact number of the mannarkkad forest office please share with us.

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  2. Sorry Shan..I don't have any contact nos. A friend of mine in the dept. arranged this journey

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  3. your writings are really good .i feel like i visited siruvani.keep it up.

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  4. ഷിനു ചേട്ടാ, വിവരണം നന്നായിട്ടുണ്ട്... :)
    ഇവിടേയ്ക്ക് പോകാന്‍ പെര്‍മിഷന്‍ ആവശ്യമാണോ?

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  5. Nirmal Raghavan : Just to visit you need no permissions. The Forest Dept. runs an echo tourism project and you can visit this sector in their vehicle

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    Replies
    1. Shinu.. Good to c u, i'm working closer on Wildlife Photography & Forest safety awareness programs & i hope this would helps me, can u suggest me the contact details for this place and details to gather the dept and explore.
      Msg or Whats App - 9710820426 (Im from Chennai)

      Delete
  6. Ashish Cherian PaulFebruary 11, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    where the bungalow is located exactly and whats its rent

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  7. Ashish : The Bungalow is by the side of the reservoir.
    You may contact the Wild Life Warden's office at Mannarkadu, for details

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  8. I found this post for the first time today. I must have missed it at the time of publication. Another great read Shinu, and I'm proud to be one of your 50+ posts followers. Carry on carrying on...

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  9. man ...ur travelogues are just awesome...and the places u choose...hats off.....

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  10. is there any way from coimbatore to enter in these mannarkad hills?
    Is this possible to visit in upcoming months of this year?

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  11. There is a way through Karunya University but I don't think it's easy to get permitted.

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  12. Thks for the information...wot about the road condition??

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  13. Hi Shinu... great write up...:)

    Will it be good to visit this place during july-august months?

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  14. Wonderful blog!!.. and nice writeup along with pictures. Pictures speaks about your travel. Thanks for sharing this lovely travel experience. It makes me feel like i should travel to those places. Book your bus tickets in advance in Hebron Travels to comfort your journey.

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