I was in my home town then, owning to the Pongal Festival (the festival of harvest) in Tamil Nadu. Nothing can substitute the happiness that one gets, when he visits his hometown after a long span. I had quite reasonable number of days in hand, that I could spare a day for this outing.
I've heard about this place Papanasam, often remembered as a town with spiritual importance, beautiful mountains and few water falls. One must be careful with the season of visit since it can be highly disgusting if hit at the wrong season. January is a perfect time, with the rainy seasons just about over and the dams in full flow. Be sure to pack your own food, as you don't find any hotels once you reach the hills.
Me and my brother in law started in our hatchback around 11 AM. The starting point of the hill station reads lower camp. The route spans nearly 62 Kms from Tirunelveli to Papanasam.
Tirunelveli --> Tharuvai --> Cheranmahadevi --> Ambasamudram -->Papanasam -->Karaiyar.
Took some breaks inbetween to enjoy the flavour of nature that the little towns enroute threw at us. This shot was made near Tharuvai about 10 Km away.
The road from Tharuvai to Ambasamudram was OK to tread, should be able to do some decent speed. Had a sip at Ambasamudram. From Ambasamudram, the road was horrible until Papanasam. Exercise caution to avoid hitting the chassis on the ground. It is said Papanasam is famous for a medical treatment, a particular family that cures people from Jaundice.It is said that the treatment is inherited from their ancestors and no others can do it.
From Papanasam begins the Reserve forest area, spread across a massive area marked as a reserve for tiger rehabilitation programme. At the lower camp, the place where the reserve starts, officials kept constant vigil for any illegal poaching and even alcohol.. They inist to swith off the music system and refrain using horns inside the forest area.
In few Kms, the road diverges into two , the left one towards Agasthiar falls and right side towards Karaiyar dam. We took the 'right' one. New road was laid by the time we visited, it was narrrow though. We also encountered a metal bridge where people stalled to have a click.
Finally we reached Karaiyar Dam. Odo zeroed before taking the trip, now read 62. Parking the vehicle alongside the narrow road was tricky, a slight miss and you park it over the vehicle behind ! The day being Sunday witnessed a pretty decent crowd, not irritating however. You gotta hire a boat to reach the Karaiyar falls, which is situated right in the middle of the forest, engulfed with mountains on all sides. Rs 300 for a boat of 15 seats. We joined along with a gang of 5 and hired a private boat for the new 7 of us.
The boat ride was amazing, giving the perfect thrill of trekking a forest.
The boat ferry, maintained by TTDC
The boat cruised thought the crystal clear taking us into the dense forest radar.
The first glimpse of the falls
After 15 minutes of travel, we reached the shore where the Karaiyar falls flows. The boatmen insisted us to return within an hour. We had to walk a bit to reach the falls. The path was lined with vendors selling mangoes, snacks, etc . where we had a smack too.
View of the dam from the falls.
To conclude, it was worth the visit, a truly rejuvenating experience. If you are visiting Tirunelveli, Kannyakumari or nearby places, Karaiyar is a must visit place and should be first in your list !!
More interesting travelogues yet to come,
Watch Out !!