Waterfalls— I have seen and been to many waterfalls from Uttaranchal, Dhunadhar of Jabalpur, Kodaikanal, certain places in Maharashtra, Hogenakkal, Shivasamudram, many others and the recent ones in Coorg. Some of these are known and famous, others are obscure and unknown. Some are seasonal, others perennial. Some are gigantic, wide spread others comparatively smaller and when viewed from far off appears to be like a stream trickling down vertically . But each of these has it’s own symphony, own music , own beauty and own distinct personality too.
A river in it’s entire life journey flows through level surfaced planes, meanders through rocky terrains, skirts around big boulders trying to block it’s course and then sometimes feels restricted by it’s own disciplined, adept and accommodating  way of running it’s life. That’s when breaking it’s own chains it leaps down the hills, mountains, gurgles with free abundant spirit, thrashes along freely with glee, with arms outstretched dances pivoting from rock to rock and once the adventurous urge is satisfied it again starts flowing in it’s own previous disciplined way. Waterfalls to me appear to be the representation of that urge to break free for some time and indulge in reckless, adventurous enjoyment of sheer happiness.
During our visit to Coorg in oct. 2014, I got an opportunity to indulge in the exultant company of two waterfalls. We visited these waterfalls on different days and were fortunate enough to experience the excursions in two entirely different kind of weather conditions.
The day we were with Abbe falls was a sparklingly blue day. Abbe falls are  at about 8 to 10 Km distance from Medikeri town. Paid parking is available outside the gate from where about three hundred meters  down hill walk commences. This gravel path is shady and easy to walk. The way to waterfall runs through a private coffee plantation farm.
We started our walk down. On both the sides were bushes, tall erect trees with creepers entwined to them. Soft, diffused morning light filtering through shady green vegetation haloed the leaves in silken gold hues. Though the path was full of to and fro tourist traffic yet it was not at all chaotic. A graceful calmness spread all around. As I always say, company of nature brings out the best in us.
While our way down, we could here the birds chirping somewhere deep in denseness but could not locate and see them. Spiders and their webs were there in a large numbers. I had never seen such colorful spiders earlier . They were in various sizes too.

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Long before we saw the fall we could hear it’s carefree, roaring laughter. Head along descent of Cauveri from a height of about 70 ft. mesmerized me.White foamy sheet of water spraying it’s pearly drops all around felt energizing.I stood there on the hanging bridge across the gorge facing the fall. Water hurtled down in gorge in ferocious urgency and surged forward with mighty force submerging the rocks and boulders on the way and then I turned 180 degree and faced the river on the other side of bridge. How quickly it’s mood has changed. In a comparatively composed mood the river flowed on in a playful way nudging the rocks in river bed, whispering to branches which bent to kiss it’s ripplets. That’s what is so magical about nature—- it surprises you at every other bend.

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view of Abbey falls as it came into view. People are far away from fall. From here a side view of falls can be enjoyed.

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This is front view of falls taken from hanging bridge. Railings and people can be seen on left side.
Next day we were at Iruppu falls. We planned to visit Iruppu falls in the morning and then be there at Nagarhole national park for 3 P.M. safari.Two safaris are conducted every day one at about 6 A.M. and another at 3P.M. As suggested by our home stay host we confirmed from the office at national park that afternoon safari would take place as per schedule. Some times due to heavy rains the trip inside jungle is cancelled. When we started towards falls it was cloudy and on the way it rained heavily. Somewhere on the way the driver lost the way and instead of taking the turn to falls he drove us straight to Nagarhole. Falls are about 20 Km from national park. We thought that after booking our seat for safari we would head towards fall but in the office we were informed that due to heavy, incessant rains for last two hours the afternoon safari was cancelled. We were disappointed a bit but then nothing should mar the spirit when we are out to enjoy. Keeping that in heart we proceeded towards Iruppu falls and the day turned out to be simply thrilling.

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on way to Iruppu falls
From wide open parking space the far off hills beyond the curtain of rain allured us.For some time rain poured down continuously like sleet, then intermittently it drizzled and this changing pattern of rain provided us with an opportunity to enjoy myriad beautiful frames of lush green hills. A moment slender white columns of clouds arose from the hills and walked tantalizingly towards sky, on other hoard of clouds rushed to hills and hugged them so tightly that we could not even see them.

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Purchasing our tickets we entered the gate .A gravel road run between airy grass fields with multi colored wild flowers. after some distance there was a building and this board was displayed there.

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On other side of the road stood a big Peepal tree with a Shivlinga under it’s shade.After some time the vegetation on either side started becoming denser and then steps leading to fall started. There must be not less than hundred steps to reach the fall. On one side of steps are hills laden with tall trees, creepers and bushes. A board there proclaimed that the area belonged to Brahmagiri wild sanctury. However entry without prior permission is not allowed here. What I gathered that participants to the organized treks are permitted to venture in the dense forest.On other side of steps run deep gorge but so dense is the vegetation that we could see only the wilderness. It was raining all the time yet the there was continuous flow of tourists. On the place from where we could have the first glimpse of fall, quite a spacious concrete platform was built and benches were laid down. We stayed there for some time taking in the untamed beauty of nature.
Iruppu falls cascades down the  Brahmagiri hills and jumps on a bowl between rocks to form a pool. Many groups of people were taking bath, standing in the pool, under the sprays and streams of fall. From there water flows down in number of streams separated by rocks in between. Those who were not taking bath sat on the rocks enjoying the natural beauty all around . There after all the streams collectively roaring and gushing take a steep jump  and later on meet the river Laxman Tirtha, a tributory  of Cauveri.
As per the legend when Lord Rama and Laxman were wandering in forests searching for Sita, who was kidnapped by Ravana, Rama felt thirsty. Inorder to quench thirst of elder brother Laxamana shot an arrow and brought the river Laxamn Tiratha into being.Hence the place is considered to be sacred. It is believed that water of Iruppu fall possesses magical power to absolve one of one’s sin. During Shivratri time many devotees, pilgrims throng here to take part in the ongoing fair and take bath in waters of Laxamana Tirath river and Iruppu falls.
Water drops from heaven above pattered on the rocks, leaves. mingled with  the gushing waters of fall, bouncing water gurgled happily and the forest came alive with harmonious symphony of nature elements.This was a truly spirit uplifting experience.

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Iruppu falls

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I have seen many strong, gigantic trees uprooted and destroyed by ferocious rush of waters but these humble grass blades danced and frolicked stating that many storms could be won by shedding vanity and embracing humility.

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From one side of the Peepal tree near the gate concrete steps slope down to peaceful waters flowing slowly between rocks. This quiet secluded place invited us to it’s fold and we spent some time there too. May be those who are not able to cover the distance upto the fall can take bath here and be in commune with nature, pay homage to Lord Shiva.

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”We all flow from one fountain Soul. All are expressions of one Love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all.”
                                                                                                                      John Muir

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All pics by Sunder Iyer

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