Monday, January 3, 2011

Our visit to Talakona, Andhra Pradesh

After giving a long break to the adventurer inside, we decided to go on a trip to Talakona, a place near Tirupati, with waterfalls, hills and forests, approximately 60 Km from Tirupati. It was Saturday, 18th December 2010. This year the monsoon was heavy in Tamilnadu with Jal cyclone and other 7 depressions in the Bay of Bengal destroying many crops (Yeah I know that this point is least relevant to our visit to Talakona, But in future, i.e, in 2100, my blog will be referred when some student of Geography wants to study the rain in Tamilnadu in past days).

When we started at 9:00 PM, it was already fogging. We stopped at Anna Nagar at our usual petrol bunk to fill our tanks for the long journey ahead. When we reached the Madhavaram roundtana it was already 10 PM. From there the road was dark, foggy and traffic free. When we turned left towards puttur, the road ahead was comparitively narrow and worn out with many small pits. It was very difficult to ride thru. Once we entered into Andhra pradesh border the road was smooth. After cursing the TN Govt, we went ahead and reached Puttur and then took a road which reached the By pass. It was already 1 AM Sunday. Then we crossed Alivelu Mangapuram and without turning right went strait ahead (knowing that we are diverted from the Tirupati road at this point, I was afraid if Lord Venkat will be angry for not visiting him, having come this long). After riding for another half an hour we reached a point which showed almost 50 Km to the destination. We turned right from the main road to which was alomst like a village road..
(Have u ever had this feeling when travelling on main roads in bus sitting on window side gazing at the sunbathing earth? Like... There will be many small roads starting from the main road in the right and left... That road looks like it leads to a village... with farms on both sides... Trees here and there...You want to break your journey and go thru that solitary road and find where it leads to... what kind of people live there? what are their daily activities? How is social life in that place? What does ppl there say to each other? I know how a typical Indian village will be... But still I wanted to see more of it...I always wanted to... I know Ill do that whenever chance cast...)

That village road took us thru farms, warm and cozy huts here and there with some light burning inside (at 2 am), thru dangerously invisible wells even with ground level, thru sleeping cows and buffaloes... (aah.. cows... gifted creaturs... There will always be someone to take care of it... to feed it.. to bath it... to love it... it need not go to school or office in the very morning, can go to the tasty pastures and spend time with the loveable bull.. graze.. sit in a shade and enjoy the sun in the noon...)

We rode thru the storehouses and granaries, in that cold foggy night... Everyone and everything around us was wrapped in sleep.. Only we were riding thru... And the sound of our bikes are the only disturbance to that very stillness... I had never experienced a cold nite like that before.. Since I was riding bike the cold wind blew thru my chest.. And I was shivering from head to foot.. Just then I thought of my blanket at my room... How blissful it wud have been if I were in my room... But then room is just an eight cornered space and earth as a whole is a sphere (no corners).. So I was happy again for venturing this trip..

A board on the road shone in the lights reading "Ghat section begins"

Then we realized that we were already travelling thru a road cut out of hills on one side and pitch black seemingly uninhabitable forest on the other side.. At this part of the road there was no sign of human activity except the boards and the road cut of the old hills.. Everything else around us was the same natural earth as existed at the time of the formation.... In an instant I felt like modernised Adam (But No Eve anywhere around)..

Suddenly we saw a board with Panther painted on a steel board.. Below that something was written in telugu... We could not make head or tail of it.. But the board with panther roaring in that darkness amongst hills on one side and woods on the other added by no sight of human acitivity, were enough for the three of us to pull our accelerators... I was very sure that even if some panther shows up out of the woods, we 3 were left alone to either fight or run(ride).. Coz make a circle around us with a radius of 5 Km, there could not be a single human being...Thank God nothing came up for quite a long time... Then some form appeared out of the darkness which looked almost like a human.. When we went nearer we confirmed it is... Santo, the telugu vadu asked him whether we were heading on the correct road? We proceeded after the confirmation..

An hour thru that maddening chillness lead us to a small village...Atlast we were relived that we were travelling thru the right direction... Since it was an Eco-tourism project many ppl in that area was dependent on travellers like us for their living..There was a small wayside tea shop.. The time was 4 am.. The hot kerosene pumping stove at the tea shop was heavenly in that 15 degree cold... All our fingers were numb due to continuous driving and the temperature...The shopkeeper warned us not to go into the forests as there are spirits wandering.. (Nothing could make me happier)...To put it simply he asked us not to wag our tails... As always we were tempted to do that...

He told another 15-16 Km to the destination.. We started from there and from then on the road was like a lane.. Now we could spot many huts and already the day started to break in though it was only 4:30... Many ppl started cooking outside..We rode along enjoying the morning activity of the villagers and atlast after an hour we reached the destination.. It was around 6 and dawn..

Awesome place.. Worth the tiring journey... Not knowing what lays inside, we entered an elephant arched entrance... There..we were welcomed by the sound of a slow and peaceful stream.. flowing from the hills.. To the left we found small cottages.. It was 200% worth a honeymoon spot...  There were jungle huts, Canopy walk into the jungle, sight seeing, fishing arrangements made by AP tourism...On enquiry we were informed that all the cottages were already booked... So we just came out and went forward.. (till now we didnt find any sign of waterfalls)..
Canopy Walk

After a five minute ride we atlast came to a place where we cant ride the bike further... The road ended abruptly at a temple.. We parked there, went around to take a look at the place.. After the tiringly lonely journey all thru the forest and hills all along the nite, some people, shops and morning activity brought us back into 2010's seemingly socialized world...(Not knowing whether Im happy or disturbed by the socialization, I waited to see what lays ahead for the day)..  On to the right, there was a long and huge hill the peak of which we couldnt see.. lush green with dense vegetation... A road was apparently visible on the hills which promised without saying that its the road to the waterfalls...

"Venkateshwara Park", written in steel on the invitingly half open steel gate, was guarded by a two three guards sitting by its side.. We bought bike tokens and the gate made a screech when we were let in... We went thru steep valley on one side and high hill on the other... Taking snaps here and there... That 1 Km scenic ride is unforgettable... (Please experience it once)...  

The  Scenic Valley Road
We parked the bike and started walking.. All the way thru uphill, a stream followed us in the valley...

The following Stream
Its obviously the water from the falls.. It looked cool and fresh... After five minutes uphill we saw that sight of waterfalls at a distance.. Vow.. Yeah... etc sounds were uttered and we walked faster... When we went near we could guess the force of water.. Ooooh... Immense... Couldnt stand at a distance...Tiny water droplets made a chill pricking shower even at a distance.. Breathing became short and difficult... When we went below the heavy strand of water.. oooh... It almost pierced us... But the feel was so good...
 
Full view of the falls

Water was very cold and it almost freezed... After playing in water for almost 20 mins we went down to the small falls below... That was not very adventurous but for the natural pool formed there.. From here the stream started... A few girls were there and we showed off our skills... Then landed ashore...

Way back was very tiring but comparitively a short journey... We reached chennai at 7 PM Sunday...

The Adventurous Trio

Meet you with my next thought...
Surendar.

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