This is the second year in a row, that I went travel and trek right on the 1st of Jan. Last year, it was a biking trip to Nagarjunasagar-dida caves-miryalaguda et al. This year it was to the Tada water falls, some 65 KM north of Chennai.
A brief about Tada – Its a tiny town in the Nellore district some 2KM north of the Andhra-Tamilnad border, on the Chennai – Kolkata national highway (NH5).
Notable places around Tada – The Tada waterfalls – Ubbalamadugu, Tirupati (80KM to west of Tada), Sullurupeta (35KM north of Tada and the nearest railway station where many trains stop!), Pulicat lake (5KM east of Tada), Sriharikota (65KM north-east of Tada) and of course namma Chennai (65KM south of Tada).
We started on the evening of last day of the last year, the 31st of Dec 2010. So the new year’s eve for me was a train travel. When the world around was calling out ‘Happy new year’ I was happily asleep on the upper berth!
We got down at the Sullurpeta station at a ghostly 0645hrs in the morning.
The plan was to reach Tada and wait for two friends from Chennai to join us. As we waited, we’d some local dosa-vada with vadacurry (guess its made of lefover vadas from yesterday). As we ate, we chatted to the locals there for some travel guidance. We were told that we’d have to go to Varadaiahpalem and choose between walking and taking an auto to the Ubbalamadugu falls.
Tada to Varadaiahpalem – 13km – on the Tada to Tirupathi road. One could take a share-auto or buses run by the APSRTC.
Varadaiahpalem to Ubbalamadugu Forest Dept outpost – some 7.5KM south to Varadaiahpalem. Half the way is tarred road and remaing, just a bumpy paved way. However, any car/bike can manage this. Only autos from Varadaiahpalem ply on hire.
Forest Dept outpost to the Vanaruchi canteen – some 2.5KM rough terrain paved road. Only an SUV or a terrain bike would feel easy here.
So four of us started at around 0900hrs in an auto rickshaw to Varadaiahpalem. We were told that we wont get any food on the way. So we bought some packed food (of course you can believe idly vada anyday anytime anywhere) and continued on the same auto till Ubbalamadugu Forest Dept outpost. The auto trip cost us a dear Rs.250.
Men at the outpost collected Rs.5 per person as entry fee and asked if we’d a camera. Had we said yes we’d have to shell out Rs.50 for a camera pass. I don’t see the point. Anyways, though vehicles are allowed till the Vanaruchi canteen, we decided to walk.
And because we walked, we discovered a water stream that looked fascinating as it flew from underneath a huge bed of stones. As we reached the Vanaruchi Canteen we found, contrary to our expectations, that nothing was on the offer except the usual pan-shop miscellany.
The map that you see at the right gave us an idea of what lay ahead. It said we’d at least ten places to visit.
But except for an iron walk-over bridge at the first water stream we saw, there were minimal arrangements for visitors there after. Our group had not done much study of the place so none except me seemed to have come prepared for that kind of trek. It was a combination huge boulders and streams of fresh water to cross.
So the ideal way to dress would be in a pair of track pants, NO SHOES but a pair of good trekking sandals and very minimal luggage. You are bound to wet your feet when crossing the streams, so if you were wearing shoes, you’d end up removing them at least 10 times before you reach the falls. And the sight of broken pieces of beer-bottle-glass scattered around would scare you to death!! To add to this, I’d a 12KG backpack on me all through the trek. This was like the real adventurous mountaineering for me!
After half an hour of trek we reached the so called Shiva temple. We observed that the trek was getting tougher as we advanced. Right behind the temple was a wide and deep stream that offered a pool environment, so as one would guess, a crowd too! Crossing this stream was challenging as it was deep and slippery at the same time.
After this point is where the real adventure began. Not more than intervals of 10mtrs were easy walk, we were either negotiating boulder to boulder or walking through knee deep flowing fresh sparkling water streams. It is perfect in such locations if you were a part of a team. So it was.
As we neared the water fall, manoeuvring through seemed tiring and challenging of not impossible. But I learnt that one should not look too much into what lay ahead, instead, take these little challenges one at a time. This would make things easy.
Boulder to boulder, stream after stream we reached what was called the TADA water fall. We were told that there was another huge fall some 200mt up hill from there, but that was far very challenging unless we could risk our lives. With a heavy backpack, camera and mobile phone around myself I thought this was it!!
On the way back we relaxed a one of the streams named the Royal Pool. It was a heavenly experience to be lying on pebbles while cool and fresh water flew through.
It took us a good 7 hours from the Forest Dept outpost and back.
So, in all a complete trekking experience. Here’s a list of do’s and dont’s, Happy Trekking!
- Dress in track pants and trekking sandals, NO SHOES.
- Don’t carry luggage, if possible put it in your vehicle or deposit at the Vanaruchi canteen.
- Do carry some light but high energy food like biscuits/energy bars.
- Carry some first aid like antiseptic cream, bandages etc.
- Please don’t litter. Clean up some mess if you can.
Please use the comments section to write your views or ask a question.