Heading to Kanyakumari? You won't regret a visit to the Thirparappu waterfalls, says A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com and A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu is where the waters of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet.
It is also the only district in India that has *both* an east coast and a west coast.
There are other attractions the district can boast of.
Like the Padmanabhapuram Palace. Or the Nikki Bonsai Garden.
And you won't regret a visit to a little known tourist attraction -- the Thirparappu waterfalls, which is where we decided to head to when we had some time before we boarded the Kanyakumari Jammu Tawi Himsagar Express.
The route to the Thirparappu waterfall starts from the district headquarters of Nagercoil that gets its name from a very famous Nagaraja temple.
The road from Nagercoil to Thiruvananthapuram is in a terrible state on the Tamil Nadu side of the border and very narrow on the Kerala side.
Along the road stands Thuckalay, a large town.
It is famous for the Kumara Koil temple dedicated to Lord Shiva's second son Karthik.
The 14-feet tall idol of its presiding deity is what makes this temple special.
From Thuckalay we turned off right at a road sign indicating Thirparappu.
This is the village that boasts of the lovely waterfalls in Kanyakumari district.
The road gets narrower, the hills are high and the landscape is breathtaking.
A parking lot ringed with shops selling dhotis, towels, short pants and other bathing accessories indicated that we had arrived at our destination.
Sure, it isn't as spectacular as the one at Courtallam or Hogenakkal -- the water falls from just a little over 50, 60 feet -- but it is more peaceful because there are fewer visitors here. This is also a man-made waterfall.
A local resident tells us that the water comes from the Pechiparai, a small dam nearby, that supplies water to local farmers.
The water that is allowed to flow over the dam has created a mini waterfall.
The surroundings are clean. You won't even spot a stray plastic bag, water bottle, or a discarded packet of chips.
As is the norm in Tamil Nadu, women and men bathe in separate areas.
Tip: Towels and other bathing paraphernalia are twice as expensive as elsewhere, so please buy it in Nagercoil.
The river bank also has a beautiful Shiva temple where we pay our respects and head back after enjoying a dip in the water.
On our way back, our driver Suresh insists we see the Mathur Aqueduct, a water bridge. Mathur village, that is home to this six-kilometre long bridge, is out of our way. But we decide to visit it anyway and we don't regret it.
The bridge is held up by a little over 100 feet tall pillars and is an amazing work of engineering. A path alongside the channel offers breathtaking views of the valley... the sort of stuff that we city-dwellers miss sorely.
On the way back we stop to have 'Chukku Kapi'. Chukku is dry ginger. :-)
This delicious concoction consists of ginger, coffee beans and karupatti, a kind of jaggery made from palmyra juice. We sip the thick, sweet coffee in the tiny stall and watch life as it passes by.
A long journey awaits us, one that will take us through the length of India.
We spend a few moments in silence.
Then we gather our things and move on.
What is your favourite lesser-known attraction in India? We'd love to know.
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