[Photos: P.V. Akshay and Kunjiyanda Machaiah (Machu)]
It is raining heavily in Kodagu and almost all the waterfalls in the district have come alive with a milky-white flow, accompanied by the gushing sound. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that rains will only intensify in the coming days.
Though the rains have wreaked havoc on the lives of people with relentless downpour resulting in landslides, roadblocks, tree falls, power outages, closed educational institutions, lack of movement of people on the roads and also lack of transportation from one place to another, the rains have resulted in the bountiful cascading of water from the mountains to the downstream.
The lush green surroundings, chill amidst drizzle and also the beauty of the waterfalls is beckoning tourists who are taking the risk of travelling from far-off places like Mysuru and Bengaluru just to see nature’s beauty.
While there are many waterfalls that are familiar to the tourists like the Abbey Falls in Madikeri, Mallalli Falls on the way to Somwarpet and the Irupu Falls to the South of the district, there are many unknown and least explored waterfalls combined with the scenic beauty of mountains.
Star of Mysore presents a section of numerous waterfalls in this tiny district.
The Abbey Falls is located at around 8 kilometres from Madikeri and hundreds of tourists are visiting this waterfall that is amidst coffee plantations. Before it was formally renamed Abbey Falls, it was named Jessy Falls during British rule and Jessy was the name of a British officer’s wife.
The person who built a coffee estate around the Abbey Falls that increases the beauty of the waterfalls is Neravanda B. Nanaiah. The waterfall now is nestled amidst a green plantation and the tourist flow to the place earns a handsome revenue to the Madikeri City Municipal Council in the form of entry tickets and parking charges.
Situated in the northern part of Kodagu, the Mallalli Falls is one of the main tourist attractions and a dangerous one too. Fortunately, the Kodagu District Administration has erected barricades and now no one can enter the water which was accessible earlier. Still, some enthusiastic youths climb the falls from below when the water is less.
Kumaradhara River is the main source for the waterfall and now it is in full glory as it is raining heavily in the Pushpagiri Hill ranges. The river travels to Dakshina Kannada via Kukke Subramanya from here.
Another popular waterfall in the southern part of Kodagu is the Irupu Falls which is located in the Brahmagiri Hill Ranges, bordering the Wayanad district of Kerala. It is a fresh-water cascade on the highway to Nagarahole National Park. One has to trek for some distance before getting to see the water and hear the gushing sound of water falling from a mountain.
The waterfall is also known as the Lakshmanatheertha Falls, derived from Lakshmanatheertha, a tributary of River Cauvery. A famous Shiva Temple — Rameshwara Temple — is situated near the Lakshmanatheertha River, en route to the Falls.
Youths, especially college students, are attracted to Chelavara Falls and this explains the high death rate at this place where a couple of students who ventured into the water have met their death.
Now, after much demand from the local villagers, many warning boards have been erected at the waterfall surroundings. But for the dangerous aspect, the waterfall is bewitchingly beautiful.
It is a natural waterfall formed by a small stream, a tributary of River Cauvery near Cheyyandane on the Virajpet-Talacauvery State Highway. The water here falls from a height of over 100 ft.
Chiklihole Dam is a small reservoir near Rangasamudra that provides water to local farmers and the scenic place is located in a reserve forest. It is located around 13 km from Kushalnagar on the road which leads to Siddapur town near Dubare Elephant Camp. One has to travel around two km into the forest to reach the Dam.
One of the smallest reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, Chiklihole Dam is the first Dam to be filled to the brim due to heavy rains in the region. It is a sight to see as water gushes down from the half-moon-shaped Chiklihole Dam, displaying its scenic beauty. This Dam does not have any crest gates but water collects in a well-like enclosure with a relatively large outlet.
Kote Abbey Falls
Kote Abbey Falls is located at Makkandur Gram Panchayat (GP) limits. The exact location is near Avandi village, about 14 km from Madikeri and comes under Makkandur GP.
The Falls, situated in the midst of lush green environs, were lesser known until a few years ago. But it gradually turned out into a popular tourist destination in the past couple of years, with tourists flocking to the Falls on a regular basis.
An encouraging factor here is that with the Falls turning out into a major tourist attraction, the local villagers have taken upon themselves the responsibility of maintaining nature’s beauty. They guard the Falls, keeping a watch on the activities of visitors.
The Medura Abbi Falls or Surlabbi Falls is another least explored waterfalls in Kodagu district. It is located in Somwarpet taluk between the Garwale and Surlabbi villages. Surlabbi Falls is a natural waterfall formed by a small stream. It flows through several steps through rocks. The waterfall is locally also known as Medarahole Falls. The waterfall is a wonderful sight as the water gushes from the rocks amidst the green environs.
Abbi kolli Falls
Located on the Highway between Madikeri and Mangaluru, the Abbi Kolli Falls has its origin in Monnangeri village. It is the most sought-after tourist destination and an unofficial rest stop for all those who travel along National Highway 275.
The waterfall presents a surreal scenery rich with natural beauty and tranquillity. During summer, the waterfall is literally dead and no one even notices it. But come monsoon, the sound of the gushing water is heard from a distance and commuters stop over for a refreshing sprinkle of cold water that flows from the hill on their tired faces.