After tasting hot dosa, vada, idly with groundnut chutney and steaming coffee served with the aroma of Chennai, the breakfast induced energy in me for a long journey. Packing my kit with camera, water bottle, writing pad and towels, we left early just after dawn before the mercury could soar higher.
My affectionate friend Dwaraknath and his family members were courteous and their hospitality knew no limits. I knew him only as a colleague, a brotherly and jovial friend, but not as an enthusiastic car driver who eagerly agreed to sit behind the wheel.
Our destination was ‘Kona falls’ within the limits of the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh which is 60 km from Tiruninravur, Chennai. Dwarak showed his mettle in skillful maneuvering of many sharp bends and irregular patches of roads. After crossing a tiny hamlet Nagalapuram near Tiruvallur, we reached the famous Poondi Reservoir, a mammoth store house with sluice and other inlet channels in perfect state. The inner service road and area were kept spotlessly clean.
Many agricultural lands of Oothukkottai were exhibiting different tints of green and the women folk were busy engaged in kernel transplantation. The chorus song they sang in the dialect to keep them energetic reminded me of the lines from Wordsworth’s ‘The Solitary Reaper’. We chose not to stay but gently passed after a click without disturbing them. The bumpy drive at times gave a soothing massage to the aching parts.
The curvy, clean, long road bedecked with mountains on either side was a joy to drive. Surutupalli is a calm village where we stopped for a while en route to catching the glimpse of the lord ‘Sri Pallikonda Swamy’. The temple under renovation was very calm and was being visited by the locals.
Just before entering the Puthur highway and swerving to the left, an arch welcomes you to the ‘Kailasanatha Kona Falls’ which is 2.6 km from the road. Though it slightly looked uninhabited, the movement of vehicles was clearly visible. Suddenly we entered a vast parking land surrounded by lush foliage. We gasped at the bustling activity, the crowd and the ubiquitous monkeys there.
Climbing a few steps we reached the spot. The serene surroundings with a picturesque hillock covered by lichens, ferns and many hanging wild herbs came alive with a downpour from the heights. Though it appeared scanty in the summer, the local folks say that it has abundant supply during the rest of the season and overflows in monsoon. Kona hills give a perennial source of water to beat the heat and cool down under the showers. There are visitors who frequent this place every weekend!
The experience of oneness with nature and the rejuvenating bath under the water falls left us dumb struck. Do we have more of these resorts to quench the thirst and recharge the tired souls of the city dwellers? Well, there are untold places to explore that are less traveled and away from the noisy metros.
Hot bajjis, mangoes, tender palm fruits and rice meal at the base of the hill were sufficient for lunch. Vroom…off the road we came with fullness and our search for the next destination has begun.