It is often that one forgets the local destinations around their own place of living. After having been associated with Wayanad for over 3 decades, it was with surprise that I realized that I have never been to the one famous falls at a 30 minute drive from where I live. So when a friend suggested we go there, we changed our original plan to go to Tirunelli and diverted to Iruppu Falls. Little did I know I was going to be so impressed by this remote destination.
Getting to the falls
From the Mananthavady town of Wayanad, it is roughly a 40 minutes drive to this fall which lies in the boundary between Kerala and Karnataka in Kutta area. There are signboards that should safely get you to the falls through the only couple of diversions that are present. The last few kilometers of the journey may appear to take longer due to the almost non existent roads just before you reach the parking lot for the falls. The muddy uneven roads can prove a challenge to regular cars and requires expert maneuvering to cover. Once you reach the parking lot for the falls, park the car in a convenient spot and head to the ticketing counter. The charges are Rs 50/- for Indians and Rs.110/- for foreigners.
Following this is a walk to the actual location of the falls. You would cross a few impressive banyan trees right after entering the gates adjoining the temple area. As one moves ahead, the road narrows and becomes a stone paved route leading up to the water fall.
Very soon you would come across a hanging bridge connecting over a stream. This is an ideal spot for clicking some amazing photos and may be take a dip your feet in the stream below and feel the cold mountain water as it flows through the rocky bed of the stream.
Moving on ahead, we came across the arch indicating that we are in the Brahmagiri Wildlife Reserve area. The dense vegetation around us, the sound of various birds, the gurgling of the streams and the various signposts indicating the possible wildlife around will take your mind off everything of the hustle and bustle of city life and instead fill it with calm and quiet.
Iruppu falls is also popular for the famous Shiva temple. The stream and the temple are a part of the folklore that has its roots in Ramayana. Hence the place sees a lot of devotees of Shiva around the Navarathri festival time.
After walking for about 15-20 minutes through the well laid paths, the Iruppu falls opens up in all its beauty and majesty in front of you.
There are multiple points at which you can access the numerous little falls before the main falls.
If you proceed ahead, you can hop over a few rocks and get to the bottom of the main falls.
In the lean months, that is not during the monsoons or the rainy seasons, the falls is safe to approach and has a steady flow of water across its numerous levels. However, in the rainy season it is clearly advisable to stay safe from the thundering waterfalls and slippery rocks. Not to mention, the dampness in the forest and falls during this season is the thriving ground for the little bloodsuckers – leeches!
There is a ramp built to walk on that can take you right under the main falls. Normally, there is always a crowd of people waiting to get here. But if you chose to visit during a weekday like how we did, it is likely you will be able to do this hassle free.
There are multiple covered shelters to change your wet clothes, so do carry a spare set of clothes if you wish to have some fun getting into the water at the falls.
When to visit
I have often heard people complaining about how crowded these falls can get. The inevitable that happened with the influx of tourism to Wayanad and Coorg is the loss of peaceful places like these where one can blend with nature. We chose to visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds and we were lucky enough to be there with just another group of people..Also make sure to enter before 5:00 PM in the evening. That is when the ticketing counters close and entry is not permitted beyond this time. Those who have already entered are expected to return and exit the gates by 5:30 PM.
Do’s and Don’t’s
1. In the rainy season, watch out for the leeches. The wet and damp invariably attracts these little blood suckers to such places and hence it may be a good idea to carry saline solution to get them off should you come into contact with any of them
2. Watch out for the slippery algae on the rocks. A slip here can land you in dire consequences. Wear costumes and shoes that are comfortable to move around .
3. Avoid using soaps and shampoo in the waterfall. Though there are numerous sign boards indicating not to use these, people have a tendency to ignore precisely these. By doing so, we are only polluting the waters of a pristine fall. Enjoy the waterfall, take a dip, but try to avoid the usage of such products to preserve the purity of this water.
4. Carry a change of clothes and dry towels if you intend to play in the water. There are numerous covered changing sheds, so women will not need to worry about getting a change of clothes.
5. Try to avoid screaming and howling while walking through the forest area. It took me by surprise to see how many people find it exciting to create such animated noises. It only disturbs the peace, quietness and sanctity of such places. Enjoy the silence and sounds of forest and not destroy the natural serenity of the place.
6. Should you have the company of elder people, know that the walk can prove to be difficult for people with knee or leg pains. There are stairs to climb and rocks to hop over to get to the falls. So before you plan the travel, ensure that everyone is comfortable with this and knows what to expect.
7. Most important – do not litter. It was heartbreaking to see the plastic bottles, cigarette packets and used diapers and food packets tossed irresponsibly into the rocky bed of the falls and the forest area. To think that people cannot carry their own trash back and have it disposed properly is something that continues to shock me. It is important to educate the elders and the younger generation that nature has bestowed us with beautiful gifts that we need to preserve and hand over to the next generation. After all, we are only keepers – not owners of anything this planet has to offer.
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