Monday, August 22, 2005

குற்றாலம் - Kutraalam – Courtallam – Coutrallam

The above names bring with them, freshness, energy, fun, spirituality, adventure and lots and lots of exciting meanings! One will have to land there to experience what it means.

Aani-Aadi [Jun 15 – Aug 15] is the peak season in Kutraalam, a foot hill spot in south Tamil Nadu known for its natural water falls.

For 16 years, I was a regular for the season. This year an excellent season has just come to an end and I have missed it, for the first time.

Kutralam is the foot hills of the podhigai mountains [an easterly extension of western ghats]. It, is abt 5 km from Tenkasi and Shencottah railway stations in Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu. It is also very well connected with the rest of the state and bordering towns in Kerala.

MainFalls photo courtesy TamilnaduTourism

The very name of that place is enough to take people through the nostalgic expressway.
While travelling towards K, we can start feeling the temperature reducing, the breeze strengthening, the clouds gathering, the On and Off 5-minute-drizzling cycle, the green fields, the vaaikaals [irrigatation canals] like the one in the opening scene of Roja.[ btw, Sundarapandipuram is close to Kutralam], from abt 40 kms distance. All of them transporting us from the routine to a tryst-with-nature holiday, instantly.

Entering the town is marked by the distinct mundri oodu smell [cashew shell], used as the fuel in the mess and hotels around the town, and the shenbagam flower fragrance pleasing through every sq. inch of the town.

As any busy location, this place also has very good places to stay and equally lousy places. I remember when we sometime in 89/90, we took a buggy place [literally] and had vowed never to comeback to this town again.[But prasava vairagyam took us back next year]. Then after a couple of trials, we zeroed in on an excellent, friendly lodge. It is like a private guest house, lots of freedom.:)

Next thing after checking in at the lodge is to change to Kutralam Uniform. For men, it is either naalu muzham veshti/lungi with thundu, or shorts with thundu. Women stuff themselves all day into the nighties, and a thundu. [Aruvi Thundu is a towel, which is light and holds very less water. It is easy to squeeze and light to carry. These are sometimes referred as Kutralam Thundu].

When the season in Kutralam is good, there is always a drizzle and sometimes a heavy pour. The best part is that, apart from the locals, nobody cares about it. All of us who are on the leisurely stroll towards the Aruvi, enjoy getting drenched in the rain. The child inside pops out. The falling droplets remove the fatigue and strain from every muscle and bone of the body.

Steaming glass of filter coffee now, brings heaven on earth. That is what the co-operative milk stalls do. Co-Op milk societies from Rajapalayam, Shencottah, Srivilliputtur open their shops in all strategic locations and serve the best of filter coffees and hot milk for astonishingly cheap prices. Pick up a glass, stand in the drizzles wearing just a shorts and an aruvi thundu, have a sip. Sorry, this is where words end…

I will be mentioning lots of eateries and shops in this post. We had been regulars at these places for abt 15 years. Got close with them as friends, that we invite each other even for domestic functions. The Tirunelvei halwa shop Velu, gifted a big silver vilakku for my sister’s wedding.

On walking through the sannidhi theru [street] towards the main falls, lots of halwa shops line up both sides, and we stop by our Velu’s stall. He offers a complimentary welcome 50g for each of us. The hot sweet put in a piece of banana leaf floats in ghee more like a nazhuvara meen [slippery fish], always tending to run out of the palm on to the floor if not attended properly. The moment the first piece slides through the throat, would one realize how true is all the hype abt Tirunelveli halwa. Slurp Slurpp. Mind u all of these are happening while the semi naked body is basking in the drizzle.

Next destination is the Main falls. We have walked through this lots and lots of time. But the excitement is always on the raise. The thrill brought by the sound of water cracking on the rock tickles every nerve ending.

To be contd….


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At Mon Aug 22, 02:43:00 PM CDT, Blogger Kasthuri Srinivasan said...

Very nice blog TJ. Shows how much u enjoyed coutrallam. When we were in tuticorin, we visited coutrallam atleast three times and I still remember the beauty. Its an awesome feeling beyond description as u rightly say.

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At Mon Aug 22, 06:17:00 PM CDT, Blogger Ram.C said...

Visited Courtallam only 2 or 3 times, when I was a Kid. So, not much to remember... My recent memories are with Hokkenakal falls near Dharmapuri. That one used to be fantastic... with so much of swirling river.

At Mon Aug 22, 08:33:00 PM CDT, Blogger ada-paavi!!!! said...

TJ, it was once a good place, now its become KALEEJ primarily because of the crowd! i wudnt want to tgo there these days, but been there bout 10 yrs ago when it was much much better.

At Tue Aug 23, 09:47:00 AM CDT, Blogger Lavanya said...

I somehow do not like the falls which are filled with a big crowd wanting just to take bath :) On the otherhand, I like to enjoy the nature; but in India I never got that chance.

At Tue Aug 23, 01:33:00 PM CDT, Anonymous Sundaresan said...

It remembered me of the time when we took a big container full of idlies and another two containers with sambar and chutney!!! yummy!! our job was - take an oil bath, come to car, eat...go again do the same till we got tired ;)

I had been to Courtallam last year and enga paathaalum orey makkal, we just changed the plan and went to was not crowded and had a great time...there was also a small water falls and it was like a private water falls and we were the only one enjoying!!!

At Tue Aug 23, 02:22:00 PM CDT, Blogger krishna said...

I wanted 2 post on the differnet kinds of aruvis in Kutralam , being pretty damn close to my home town of Tenkasi..

in fact , our native village is like 3 kms west of Sundarapaandia puram..

may b i can write a complementary post..:)

At Tue Aug 23, 05:32:00 PM CDT, Blogger Ramana Siddharth said...

i havent gone 2 kutralam..the only falls i have bathed in so far was in the kaikal valley in andra.

there is a song in duet,with pretty funny lyrics-

kulicha kutralam,
kumbitha paramashivam...

At Wed Aug 24, 05:35:00 AM CDT, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

TJ - You are turning out to be the vijayasarathy of the blogging community :)..nice one..come up with more..

At Wed Aug 24, 07:49:00 AM CDT, Blogger Paavai said...

Am reminded of kutrala kuravanji - am able to recall only a few lines - vanarangal kani koduthu mandiyodu konjum, mandi thinnum kanigalukku vaan kavigal kenchum - beautiful poem that brings that picturizes the aruvi so vividly

At Wed Aug 24, 09:45:00 AM CDT, Blogger Slice Of Life said...

i m only worried about the crowd there

At Wed Aug 24, 10:02:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Dubukku said...

TJ - are you from Tirunelveli side?
Kutraalam is a bit crowded.during season..on the otherhand try Agasthiyar falls(papanasam - tirunelveli district) nice one season all through out the year!! nice one.

At Wed Aug 24, 10:11:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Dubukku said...

TJ - Sorry just read your other post and guess you are from trichy.

where in london are you in? Murugan temple - is that the East Ham one?

At Thu Aug 25, 06:32:00 AM CDT, Blogger WA said...

Naan Kutrallam ellam ponadhille :(

Tj - Mahalakshmi kovil pakkam poneenganna namma Dubukksa theriyumnnu sollunga, gurukkal apple pazham ellam kuduppar :D

At Thu Aug 25, 07:17:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

Tuticorin is a nice place as well. The sankararameswarar kovil and the adjacent perumal kovil.. hmm.. my sister lived there.

At Thu Aug 25, 07:19:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

I havent been to hogenakkal. Heard that it is great. When i was in bangalore, i was planing to visit there, but finally end up couch-potatoing in trichy even on a oneday holiday. ;)

Yes now it is Kaleej. But weekdays are much better. Weekends are a strict no no.

At Thu Aug 25, 07:20:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

Courtallam is an excellent place for nature lovers. Just move out of the main falls and walking towards the ones over the hills on a weekday will be an excellent thing.

At Thu Aug 25, 07:21:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

Yes, the appetite created by bathing in the falls is so much. We have this Gomathi Shankar Brahmanal hotel on the sanndihi theru. Suda suda idly and sambar with pachavengaya chutney... deivame..

At Thu Aug 25, 07:23:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

You shud be the best person to post on the aruvis. I will restrict myself to a tourist perspective. :)

As in the song, the place to take a refreshing bath is kutralam. wow! nice place.

At Thu Aug 25, 07:25:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

vijayasarathikku panramadhiri yaaravadhu oor sutha sponsonr panina innum nalla dhaanirukkum :P

Tirukoota rasappa kavirayar's kutrla kuravanji, is a refershing folk form. I remember this song, 'kurangu panai themavin pazhangalai pandhadikkum. thenalar shengaba vaasam vaan ulagil vedikkum'.

At Thu Aug 25, 07:28:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

True, it is nowadays crowded. So i make it a point to visit on weekdays.

I am from trichy, my granny is from Tirunelveli. Agasthyar falls is definitely unspolit by tourists. Nice place to be.
Yes i meant the east ham murugan kovil. I stay in Ilford.

apple kidaikkardhuku super idea koduthuteengha. nandri ;) udanay implement pannrein.

At Thu Aug 25, 08:24:00 AM CDT, Blogger Priya said...

Nice one tj,
I have always wished to settled down near kuttrallam (soemwhere near thenkasi) for just the beautiful breeze !!!!

At Fri Aug 26, 04:30:00 AM CDT, Blogger thennavan said...

My bath in the falls happened long time back on my way to Sabarimalai thru the Tirunelveli side. It is one of the most refreshing that one could have and those who have never done it don't know what they are missing :-)

At Fri Aug 26, 09:05:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

The Breeze around that area is really cool. The Tenkasi/Shencottah railway station, with the trees in the platform. What a place.

U said is rite..
"It is one of the most refreshing that one could have and those who have never done it don't know what they are missing :-)"
Perfect statement.

At Wed Aug 31, 03:37:00 PM CDT, Blogger Saravana Kumar said...

TJ I don't like kuttralam mainly because of the croud there, for enjoying the nature there are better places. It has become a place where you can't go with your family.

according to me the best waterfalls that i've seen is kovai kuttralam near coimbatore. If you have a chance visit it, its serene with the siruvani water and an amazing natural location around.

At Sat Sep 03, 05:07:00 PM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

I am yet to visit the Kovai kutralam. Definitely will do it when it is possible.
The crowd at Kutralam is a repellent, but if u take a day off and go in a weekday, it is lot more better.

At Sun Nov 12, 03:15:00 AM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent description about Courtallam. Planning to go on June 18th,2007. Please get me details of decent lodging facility at affordable rate please.

At Fri Sep 28, 04:49:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Paul Raja said...

Really nice narration. I am immediately reminded of my bathing in the spring waters of the Pyrnees in the South of France. Again in cold weather when you take a dip and go out drenching wet. I have not met a single person who has caught a cold or had a fever. In fact they get healed from their physical and mental discomforts!

Read here about it or just search Google for miracles at Lourdes.

It is really the power of the herbs and minerals that the water passes through adds to the medicinal properties of the water. I go there once a year and really feel rejuvenated.

At Mon Jun 02, 10:17:00 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

coutrallam is really a good and exciting place for bachelors, old age people and the drizzle, climate amazing. no tensions. calm place, love to eat more and more. all the falls are amazing, We friends go every year and i make the full plans.. without me none of my friends go. Lovely and Great place..bye Sandeep

At Mon Jun 02, 10:24:00 AM CDT, Blogger Sandeep Mootha said...

Hi..Coutrallam is very good place. we go every year and enjoy all the falls. the climate amazing and every year we do go without missing. Friends also dont go without me,they ask me to make plans and make the trip a success. no one goes without me. Really enjoy going every year.

At Thu Jul 17, 09:18:00 PM CDT, Blogger Madan said...

Hi everybody can anyone let me know how to get to kutraalam from bangalore through train.....

At Tue Nov 18, 05:39:00 AM CST, Blogger karthika said...

Excellent blog..... Me also travelled from Madurai to Courtallam by rental car. I visited the site "Car Rental Madurai" and rent the Toyota Innova Car with minimum rental amount. I took the tour in and arround courtallam. Waterfalls in Courtallam were very nice to see. I want to get this nice tour once again from Madurai.

At Tue Oct 06, 07:36:00 AM CDT, Blogger vinesh said...

nice posting

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