Weekend Drive to Manimuthar Falls – Manjolai – Kuthiraivetti – Part I (Nov ’11)
This trip was a long pending one since I bumped in to a blog post detailing about the place ‘Kuthiraivetti’. The fact that only one bus ply between Tirunelveli to Kuthiraivetti ignited a special interest in me to visit this place. Last Friday when I decided to go on a weekend break, and searched for some new places, I bumped into another blog post detailing about ‘Manjolai’. The place looked quite beautiful and decided to head there. Tirunelveli is located some 600kms from Chennai and this Manjolai is further 30km from there. Also, checked for accomodation and found a link which provided details about staying options in Singampatti Zamin, which is located at the foothills of Manjolai. It; is located very close to Manimutharu dam and the staying options are maintained by bed and breakfast services of Tourism department. After gathering all these details, I decided to use public transport as the distance to cover on a weekend is too much and tried to book tickets in Volvo. Unfortunately, there was a problem while booking and money has been deducted from my account without booking a ticket. Upon verifying, got confirmation that the money will be credited back to my CC in 7 days.
Don’t want to make another try, decided to use my trusted car to take us there. Once out of office at 5.15, headed home and packed things and loaded everything in the car. It was raining heavily outside and the initial plan was to start around 2 or 3 AM. But watching the heavy downpour and travelling to this place for the first time, I decided to start at 7 it self as the rain will not allow us to travel at a speed I expect. So, left home at 7.00 and took Chennai bypass and crossed Tambaram at 7.40. Rain stopped just after Chengalpattu and from there on it’s an uneventful journey. Took the route Chennai – Villupuram – Trichy – Madurai – Tirunelveli. Took a couple of hours break after crossing Trichy and had a small nap just crossing a toll plaza. After that the drive was easy and we reached Tirunelveli around 7 AM.
Called up Singampatti Zamin’s residence to get the directions and reached the palace around 8.30 AM. It just looked like any other building but had the signs of a Zamindar’s residence. We were guided through the rear entrance where we parked our car just in front of a residence where we will be staying. Then we met the Raja, Theerthapathi and had little chat about our travel and what we are intended to do during our stay. He handed over the permission letter, which he has got from Forest Department for our visit to Manjolai / Kuthiraivetti on Sunday. Then we went to our residence and freshened up. In the mean time, Raja has arranged for some delicious breakfast. After that we had a quick nap for couple of hours before we freshened up again to check out Manimuthar falls.
The drive to Manimuthar Falls from Singampatti is quite scenic. A few kms from Singampatti on the uphill road, you will see the forest check post. You need to sign the register & pay for entry tickets (Rs. 15/ head & Rs. 25 for camera). If you like to go beyond Manimuthar fall, you need to give them the permission letter else you will not be allowed to go beyond Manimuthar falls. The beauty of the place increases on every curve and the route becomes narrower as you go on. It will take 20-30 mins drive from the check post to reach the falls. A guard will standing near the entry point of the bridge and verify the vehicles going beyond that point.
We spent close to an hour in the falls, though the water flows from relatively low height, it’s not easy to stand there for quite long. Not much people around at that time and we enjoyed our stay there, clicking photographs at will. Along the water falls, you can spot numerous monkeys and one must be careful with their belongings.
After spending time in Manimuthar Falls, we headed Papanasam where you have ‘Agasthiyar Falls’ & VaanaTheertham falls in Karaiyar. By the time we reached Papanasam, the clock showed 4.45. There is again a forest check post where you need to sign the register. They informed us to just visit Agasthiyar Falls as one has to exit the place by 6 and we wouldn’t be having time to visit Karaiyar. We quickly moved on to the uphill road and reached the place a downhill road goes to Agasthiyar Falls & the uphill road goes to Karaiyar. We quickly decided to visit Karaiyar and took that risk to visit the place which is some 20km away.
The drive through the forest was quite an experience in itself. We spotted a fox & bison but couldn’t capture as they moved into the thick forest in a matter of few seconds. When we reached Karaiyar around 5.20, the path to boat house is locked down as the time is between 9 to 5 PM. From here only one has to take a boat ride to reach Vanatheertham Falls. We quickly returned to Agasthiyar falls and visited the Shiva temple, which is located on the top. The place was deserted and the looks from here are quite scary. After taking few snaps, we returned to Singampatti without any further delay as its getting dark.
That concludes Day 1 & Trip to Manjolai & Kuthiravetti will follow soon.