Although it is only four kilometres (approximately) from the main road, the trek to Keezharkuthu waterfalls is a sheer test of endurance, determination and adventure.
Situated in Thodupuzha, a small township located in Kerala’s Idukki district, the water falls is perhaps one of the best gifts to the residents of the villages nearby. Indeed, it was a pleasure drinking the water from its source, rather fearlessly. Yes, the water as pure as it can be and cold as well.
We, a group of 10 trekkers, began our journey at 5:00 am from Kochi. Approximately, two hours later, we had reached the town of Thodupuzha. Around7.30 am, we treated ourselves to a simple yet sumptuous breakfast, only to realise that the food was bound to digest soon enough!
The leader of the group, Mr. Rajan, had also made arrangements for lunch and soon we set out to the Cheenikuzhi, a tiny village in Thodupuzha. We decided to park our vehicle at a spot located about two kilometres from the village, and thus began the trek.
On our way to the waterfalls, we halted at the residence of Mr. Aji, a local resident. Aji and his family were very helpful. In fact, Aji volunteered to take us through the forests that led to the waterfalls. Having grown up amidst the lush green surroundings, it was obvious that the waterfalls were indeed his home away from home. One would be quite amazed to see how he climbed uphill, wrapping a lungi and wearing a pair of rubber slippers. “I believe this is the best way to walk through the forests,” Aji says. He even provided each of us bamboo sticks which proved to be mighty useful throughout the trip.
The path was perhaps the trickiest path ever. Flat-ground seemed like a distant dream. Not to mention the deadly presence of moist rocks and too many dry leaves. These forests seemed to be ideal hideouts for a variety of reptiles, insects and wild elephants. One of my fellow trekkers even spotted a viper!
There were certain spots where we had to use a rope as the terrain was slippery. We also spotted a little ‘cave’ where the tribal folk would prepare a meal or two. As we continued trekking uphill, the sound of the waterfalls grew louder and we could no longer hide our excitement. We had eventually reached our destination and were dumbstruck at the sight of the water gushing down from a height. There was no time to waste. No sooner had we reached a shade, than we decided to take off our footwear and head towards the waterfall for a quick and cool dip.
The force of the water was unimaginably strong. It was if the water gods wanted us to stay away from them. Neither of us had to work hard to get closer to the base. The water currents had done the honours!
According to Aji, the waterfalls is also a source of hydroelectricity. It is also called the Rainbow Waterfalls due to the presence of a colourful VIBGYOR pattern at the base.
A few hours later we decided to return to our base. The trek downhill was a challenge in itself. To begin with, the path appeared more cluttered than the onward journey. Then again, we decided to help each other and complete the task.
Having reached the ‘half-way’ point ahead of time, we decided to relax a calm area along a stream. Some of us even decided to enjoy a fascinating afternoon siesta.
We had halted at Aji’s residence where we were served a glass of black tea, a plate of steamed tapioca with a spicy chutney made of tiny green chillies (known by the locals as Kaanthaari molagu).
We also had the pleasure of crossing a few as we walked up to our vehicle. The sounds of peacocks in the forest were one of a kind.
Soon, we bid adieu to Mr. Aji and thanked him for the hospitality. I must say, that the power of nature is superlative. In a matter of four seven hours or less, I was convinced that fresh air, water and silence are the true medicines to the stress of everyday life.
Location: Thodupuzha, Idukki district (Around 25KM from Keezharkuthu Waterfall)
Mode of transport: There are many buses from various parts of Kerala to Thodupuzha. However, you would have resort to your own means of transport from the town of Thodupuzha to starting point of the trek. Bikers can enjoy a bike ride up to the starting point. Others can consider using their own vehicles. It would be wiser to do so.
Food option: There is no restaurant are available at Keezharkuthu waterfall and the nearest location for food is Thodupuzha. Either you carry your own food while going on trek or you can ask local residence like Mr. Aji to prepare your food on request.
Accommodation: There is no accommodation available near waterfall area. You can find basic hotels or lodge at Thodupuzha village.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Keezharkuthu water fall is during September to May. Kindly avoid during monsoon season due to slippery rocks and mud.
Other attractions: Vagamon, Thoniyam Kadu
If you are from Kochin, you can definitely do this trek in one day with prior planning and if you are planning for weekend trip, you can also plan for Thekkady.