The second day of our trek was more with nature than people. We started out early morning with Babychayan, the naturalist of Malleeshwaram from the past ten years popularly known as Achayan, from Changanasherry, Kerala.
We took a diversion from Pettickal and walked down to reach the banks of Suruvani River. We walked along the river bank for several kilometers. We saw a lot of birds and beautiful Butterfly on the way. We met a few tribes too, who were really happy to meet us.
After walking a few kilometers we reached the rocky gorge of the river uphill. This was cascade of never-ending waterfalls. This part of the trek was little bit difficult for both of us, but we could manage to do it. We were the only people around. We had a bath from a pool near the waterfall and then had our packed lunch.
We returned to lodge along a different route, along the side of a hill, with amazing views of the valley. I could see Velliangiri hill (Another holy hill to the south of Attappady) all the way.. The beauty of the rolling bunny hills mesmerized my eyes : a landscape unique to Attappadi found nowhere on the planet. Most of the hills were less than a hundred meter high. The hills were covered by deciduous and thorny forests, and the villages were scattered in between amidst a farm of rice, coconut and vegetables. We saw Perumalmudi, the highest hill inside Attapadi on out way back and loved to trek it.
The Last Day
Though we were little tired after the long trek, we could not resist to join the camp fire that evening. After dinner that night we had a long chat with Dominic and learned the story of Malleeshwaram. Dominic, an avid traveler from Cochin used to run a cafe at Bangalore MG road in 90s which was sold to buy this estate and develop his dream project Malleeshwaram Jungle Lodge. The name Malleeshwaram comes from the name of one of the four holy hills to the West of Attappadi. Dominic told us a lot of stories about his travel in whole of India and helped me very well to plan my next trip.
Unlike any other commercial resorts, at Malleshwaram we could feel that tranquility and warmth during our say: relaxed and slow and no worries. There was no TV to distract or vehicular honks to disturb. The library at the restaurant filled with field guides and Coffee table books was more than sufficient to keep ourselves occupied.
The cottage we stayed at night was just below the restaurant and had a good view of the valley to Mannarkkad. The cottage was made from traditional building materials, and was completely under the shade of tree canopy. The french guests defined this as an Asrama, and they were staying there for the past one week and visits once in a year.
The sound of the birds made natural music during the day. There were lots and lots of species of birds and butterfly inside and outside the restaurant. Cool breeze from the Arabian Sea blew from the valley to the restaurant and the bird watching loft upstairs.
During night. there were lights all around the restaurant and the cottages. Kerosine lanterns were placed on the path. A few years ago, this place had no electricity and kerosine lambs were used by everyone. The night sky was lit by the millions of firefly around in between the twinkling stars.
We left to Coimbatore next day: that was a very good trip: happy days f my Coimbatore life.
Thanks to Domnic (http://www.malleeshwaram.com), Mr Baby and Mr Wallery