We are now in Uravu, popularly known as Bamboo Village, in Mundupara. Our host is a social entrepreneur and journalist Suneesh CD. We are staying in his lovely home close to supari, banana, rubber, and coconut plantations, and of course bamboo forests. Morning birds greet us with their sweet chirps. There is one bird that makes a sound as if it is blowing kisses. We name it Kiss bird.
Breakfast is a simple affair of Aalu sabzi and Appams, along with chicken curry to spice up the things. All meals are accompanied with warm water infused with a particular tea bark, called pathimugam, to improve digestion. After the breakfast, we start on our day tour on an auto. The auto-driver is called George and he stays nearby. We will be paying him Rs. 8 per kilometer for our day + waiting. We did not know then that this auto will drive us through the most spectacular landscapes and the toughest terrains to ensure that we are able to see all that we want to see through the day.
Our first target is Banasura Sagar Dam. It is located at around 40 kilometers from our homestay. The route to the dam is scenic and roads are more or less even and well-paved. We stop at a couple of places to click photographs.
The Banasura Sagar Dam is the second largest earth dam and its water reservoir is spectacular with several islands big and small jutting out of its surface. The Tourism Authority offers speed and pontoon boat rides. A speedboat ride costs Rs 500 per boat and can seat 5 people. We are able to find another couple to share the ride with us and thoroughly enjoy the 15 minutes cruising through the otherwise still waters of the reservoir.
Our next target is Pookode Lake. This is where we have snacks of onion and cauliflower pakodas with chai and coffee. After the snacks, we take a long walk along the banks of the lake and en route see countless butterflies, some huge spiders snacking on the butterflies and a handful of birds. The water on the sides has several purple lilies that add to the beauty of the sea. There is crowd but there is no noise. It is unbelievable.
And of course there's boating, which we didn't opt for, preferring to walk instead. It was anyways too sunny now.
Our last stop is the Soojipara waterfalls. George drops us about 2 kms from the falls and the terrain ahead was tricky. The walk was all downhill and at the end were some treacherous steps that were really tiring to climb down. I was worried about the return journey. There was substantial water in the waterfall, but we can imagine how big it would be in the monsoons.
Several people were bathing in the waters. We were once again not prepared for it. We just enjoyed the scene around and then started back. It was a truly uphill trek. But we enjoyed it better than our walk downhill. It was Suneesh's niece's birthday, so we bought a couple of knick knacks for her from the near the ticket counters. We were slightly hungry now and had maggi and bread omelette with some tea. We will soon share our chai experience as well soon.
Then we started back and stopped for a while to walk in the tea plantations. It was surreal. Cool breeze was blowing and bulbuls singing in all directions.
We were back at 6 and were tired but happy. We thanked George. The total had come out around 1200 Rs and we felt that it was quite reasonable. We had spent enough time at all the places and still managed to reach back in time. We were welcomed back to a sumptuous dinner of biryani with raita. At the end we congratulated ourselves on a day well planned and timed.
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