Took a week off from classes a while back to catch up with friends visiting Kerala. Due to yet another train line gauge upgrade though, the train to Kerala from Madurai runs out of track at Sengottai (*1).
So, it seemed like as good an excuse as any to visit the nearby Courtallam Falls.
Its a popular place – mostly on account of the beneficial effects of the water itself, but also as a place of pilgrimage. And yes, of course I took a dip – just ask any of the traumatised locals who bumped into me – I don’t think they get so many Irish bathers in these parts…
There are actually separate bathing spots for men and women, but it still gets hectic enough – especially during particularly auspicious times – that the police have to carry big sticks.
After the falls, it was a drive through the hills of the Western Ghats – which compared to the by times hot and dusty plains around Madurai was a nice break. Its a lot cooler and damper up here – making it ideal countryside for rubber and spice plantations which are all over the place.
Next stop Kerala!
*1 Also helpfully spelled as Shencottah, Shenkottai, Chengottai, Chenkottai and Senkottai – if there was ever a reason to learn Tamil, visiting செங்கோட்டை could be it.
Wikipedia article on the Western Ghats
Wikipedia on the Cardamom Hills
Wikipedia article on Courtallam and its falls
Wikipedia on Sengottai