Chinnakallar


The unforgettable experiences in Rain


The human tendency is to always complain about the weather, whether its a very hot summer or heavy continuous rainfall. But always one enjoys the rain in summer or a hot sun in a freezing weather. So when the summer rain failed in chennai, we decided to go to a place where it was raining. The first place that came to our mind is the Chirapunjee of South India – ChinnaKallar. Chinnakallar is 13 kms from Valpaarai. Valpaarai is located above 3500feet from the sea level on the Anaimalai Hills Range. The place is known for the tea plantations and is surrounded by evergreen forest. Our friends Shanmuga Priyadharshini  and Gokulakrishnan Gunasundaram, the newly weds also joined us in this trip. Priya was not a birder but she eagerly pointed all the bulbuls and mynas to us. We were all inturn taught her the common birds names. At the end of the trip she learnt atleast 20 bird names. Chinnakallar welcomed us with heavy rain.

Chinna Kallar, Rain, Wettest place in south India

Ranked as one of the wettest places in the country, Chinna Kallar recieves rainfall all through the year. Even during summer months it gets wet spells.

On the way to the forest bungalow there was a small hotel where we had our lunch. As the road is very rugged from the hotel to the forest bungalow, it took more than 30 minutes to cover just 5 kms. The place is surrounded by tea plantation and forest area. Once the rain receded, we roamed around to see the misty effect . The wet birds who were soaking in the rain a little while earlier ,were now exuberantly singing.

Malabar whistling thrush , Chinna Kallar, Heavy Rain

With so much rainfall all the life seemed to have adapted their life around it. The heavy downpour looked like a drizzle for this Malabar whistling thrush

The workers staying in the bungalow helped us to light the firewoods and then we cooked our dinner. In night, the wild animals will be roaming in the tea estate, so we were warned not to go out. After dinner we just sat around 50 feet away from the bungalow. We were deeply in discussion about the birds we would love to see in this trip and in our lifetime, we forgot our surroundings. But as Priya was a first timer to the jungle, she was very sensitive to any sounds. Suddenly she told us to keep quiet and then we heard the leaf rustling sound. Immediately we all ran towards the bungalow, after crossing the gate we were looking at each other and Priya was missing.

We were about to shout her name and there she was running from the other end. We never would have dreamt she can run like Hussain Bolt. She thought scattering was a good option and took the long route. We checked with the night vision binocular to see who made the leaf rustling and found a group of Indian Gaurs were grazing. Priya really had an unforgettable experience. Then we all settled down in the room with no power as there was a tree fell on the powerline. But that did not dampen our spirits and we decided to engage in some photography. sing a torch to light up the hand we took a picture of the ring in Priya’s hand. It came out well 🙂

Ring , torchlight , chinnakallar

With nothing to do, all we could do was play with light like little kids.

Early morning we planned for some birding action and roaming around the place.But first we had to wait for our friends from the night to move out as they were roaming nearby. A majestic bull of Indian Gaur was too close for comfort, so decided to kill some time taking pics of him and ourselves.

Indian Gaur, Bison, Chinnakallar, tea estate

The tea estates around Chinnakallar is a major draw for all sorts of wild animals and the Indian Gaur is a regular visitor here.

We quickly decided to pose for  a group photo but why not some variation in that ! Vinod decided that we will take picture of all four of us but from a different angle with us not watching the camera. It was fun posing and staring at nothing. A little bit of mindless fun is always good for health !

Vinod, Mathi, Gokulakrishnan Gunasundaram, priyadarshini dhandapani

Morning Birding became morning posing time for a brief amount of time 🙂

After doing some birding we returned back and ate breakfast and left for the falls. We decided to descend down the stairs as it was supposed to be shortcut to chinnakallar waterfalls.

chinnakallar guesthouse, stairs

The guesthouse where we stayed had a long pathway of stairs. It was a nice place to sit and relax.

The villagers advised us not to take bath in the falls as there was heavy rain in the forest, there was a chance for flash flood. On the way Gokul found a snake skin and happily posed with that. Priya was scared about leeches and unfortunately the trail was covered with leeches. So she again did the Hussain Bolt run and she was the first to reach the waterpool.

King Cobra skin , Gokulakrishnan Gunasundaram, chinnakallar

Surely the skin of a King Cobra based on its length.

Chinnakallar falls is really a hidden beauty amidst the jungle. We all just listened to the sound of the water and few birds. The sky starts getting darkening and before we reached the hanging bridge, it started raining. So we waited sometime hiding under an arch.

chinnakallar falls , footbridge

The footbridge to the chinnakallar falls was nice place to hide from the rains.

We roamed around the place for some time soaking our feet in the water , when the skies decided to open again . We dashed back to a small hotel and had a delicious but simple meal watching the pouring rain. We all felt so cozy in the rain, but the rain was unstoppable. So I just started walking in the rain to really feel it. When the rain touches my face the happiness I felt was really from the heart.
This was my unforgettable experience in this trip.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
― Roger Miller

The unforgettable experience for Vinod and Gokul in this trip is during birding. To know more about Chinnakallar birding click here.

Once all set and done it was time to move. With a sad heart we left the place only to find more birds on the way.


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