“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
First trip of 2012 and there was a great expectation from the team as to how,where and when the trip will be.Just like my quote i never even asked Joths about the plan but said yes adn registered for the trip. Five of us traveled from Bangalore and joined the gang from Chennai who were waiting for us at Udumalaipet to begin the first day of the 3 day trip.
Day 1: As soon as we reached the road that will take us to Munnar, there were 7 4x4s waiting for us and we got in one of them after loading all our luggage and breakfast. Vishnu & i were in a jeep with 3 other young pretty women from Chennai and it took us a mere 5 minutes to break the ice and soon we were chatting our way. Saw a few of fellow team members on sitting on top of their 4x4 and we gals wanted to do the same. 2 minutes later Priya, Kavitha & i were on top sitting comfortably much to everybody's surprise and glee. With cool breeze blowing on our faces we enjoyed this part of the drive and slowly realised that we aren't going anywhere near Amaravathi but are hitting the Marayoor falls for breakfast & bath. Breakfast done and next thing on agenda was to trek to Marayoor falls through a trail that was slippery,steep and had to cross through small pools of water to get to the falls. The sheer joy of stepping into cold water after that trek was so inviting that many fell into the water as soon as reaching there. Then there are souls like Ashish,Balaji, Bharathi & Viji who were busy with their cameras to capture every bit of the moment. Got into the freezing water slowly and after few minutes threw caution to wind and stepped in completely :) trekked back to the road and had a splendid lunch with payasam and started our journey towards camping site. Stopped in a quaint little town for chai and back we were on top again and this time we made Bharathi to come up too. The look on almost every single person on the road was in awe as we four managed our balance superbly on the ghat roads and there was a gentleman who actually peeped out of the window of the car that he was traveling and said "Baapre"which made us all burst out laughing. Mist started to roll in pretty early and we reached our campsite around 5.30 and by 6PM,tents,camp fire and fire to cook was up and burning. After a big round of Antakshari, Kavitha, Vishnu & Bharathi got busy preparing noodles and a few of us kinda devoured that in few minutes. We also by then noticed our famous "profile pic photographer" getting busy with his subjects and saw that the pics actually were superb. Settled for the night but inspite of being bone tired a few of us couldn't sleep. Blame it on the cold and body pain - but no complaints here. We got busy talking and by 4 we had our "IPS Sathyan" amongst us who was picked from Kanthaloor.
Day 2 - At the break of dawn we woke up to just sound of waterfalls from far and cry of birds n insects. Just the sheer pleasure of such a morning is not something one can describe.I was more than glad to enjoy such pristine beauty of the hills and got ready for Day 2 that will take us to Kodai hills. After a yummy breakfast of Puttu,Idiappam and kadalai kari we resumed our seats on top ;) and Viji from the other jeep also joined us this time. 10 minutes later we saw the jeeps ahead of us had all stopped and one look towards the left side and our jawas were all but wide open. Surrounded by tea plantations slopes and slopes of them we saw a river running across that was azure just to match the colour of sky. It's called MaaduPatti and we drove after taking pictures of that. Didnt have the heart to leave the place but our destination Kodai beckoned and we moved. Saw the original source of that waterbody which is called Devikulam. Passed Munnar and at Anaimudi Shola National Park came the shocker - no vehicle will be allowed to take that forest road due to MullaiPeriyar issue. The organisers tried their best to get permission but were denied stating legal reasons. Quick change of plans took us back to Udumalaipet after lunch. By 6 we were back to where started and waiting there was the 2 TT that will take us to Kodai through Palani Hills. Should applaud everyone for cooperating without a mumble here and also the organisers for the quick arrangements of all these. It was super fun in the TT that i was at and am sure it would have been the same at the other vehicle too..After 9PM almost everybody save the driver and his friend slept only to wake up to chilling mist and a very slight rain. Reached Kodai and again back to offroading to the camp site. Never in my wildest imagination did i picture this. We started around 11PM to the camp site,complete offroading as there was just a trail at few places and at a few places not even a trail was seen. Wonder how the jeep drivers actually manage to drive in pitchblack darkness. We reached the a place where we got down and crossed a stream to a place which was suggested as camp site. We were at the mercy of the full moon that was shining bright to look at the area surrounded and saw that it was acres and acres of grass with hills surrounding all four side and could see a silver cascade of a waterfall at a far distance.This was our campsite and after initial reluctance and lot of encouragement we spread out the trauplin sheets to crash in our sleeping bags. Most of us didnt even want dinner as it was around 2AM and all that could we think of was SLEEP. I vaguely remember Vishnu waking me for dinner but didnt have any will to get off the sleeping bag.
Day 3- Crashed without dinner and after sleeping for 4 hours without any disturbance,wokeup at 6AM just to check if anyone was even awake..Surprisingly Joths,Vishnu the biker & Joe were and after speaking to them for about 10 minutes i crahed back to wakeup at 8. There came the Katta Chai which tasted like Amruth from heaven and i just couldnt stop myself from going for a second n third helping much to Vishnu's surprise. The breakfast call by Vishnu saved us from the scorching sun and we ran to the stream side to devour noodles. Start of day 3 was a trek on the hills that will take us to a view point of Palani Hills. Oh but what a trek that was - for about 10 minutes we were passing through dense growth of grass and almost every one of us had a scratch or two from the thorns of plants that were as tall as we are. The break before climbing down the hills at a mud house was the best of the whole thing. Someone found cherry tomatoes and soon lot of them were hunting for them to munch on. Trek back the hill and were asked to reach the waterfall for bath. Another kilometer and a half trek took us to place where there was mini waterfall that fell down and had created a natural pool / stream. We saw Priya sliding through the rock to the pool and soon all of us were pretty much doing that eagerly. It was all but refreshing and after lazing there for more than couple of hours we came back for lunch. Hot rice with chicken for non vegetarians and dal for veggies. Food never tasted this good and all of us had our stomach full.Only thing most of us were openly talking was about the hardest part of getting back to civilization after glorious 3 day ramp with Mother Nature.
All good things must come to an end and here we are back home.Back to our gadgets,meetings and deadlines. But am sure most of us are just waiting for one another such break. As ever this trip was excellent inspite of the glitches.