Pattikad: The rains in Kerala may have thinned, but not the waterfalls in Pananchery village of Thrissur district in the central part of the state. They continue to paint a beautiful picture of a brook's course down the Vellani hills. It is another matter that there is no legal cover to your bid to enjoy the scene as the falls are inside a protected forest. Trespassers warrant a punishment of two-year imprisonment, which was a strict law till a couple of years ago. Local people living just outside the woods say the region's waterfalls must be promoted for the sake of tourism.
These falls originate from the Kallakunnu hills and fall in the waters of the Peechi dam. Equally beautiful are the falls half a kilometre away from Kombazha and another at Kallakunnu, the same distance northward of Vaniampara on the Thrissur-Palakkad national highway.
As the region comes under the Peechi-Vazhani wildlife sanctuary, there are restrictions on entry. That one has to pass through privately owned plots to reach the falls is another reason for a check on movements. The way to the falls is paved with rocks that can be slippery, but then adventure-lovers will enjoy it.
The Mambara falls at Anavary village are 9 km from the 1957-built Peechi dam built across the Manali river that is a tributary of the Karuvannur Puzha. The water falls to a depth of 60 feet, making it a cute and noisy sight. In a way, it's a lesser version of the famed Athirappally waterfalls east of Chalakudy. To reach near the Mambara falls, one needs a boat. That is not available of late since boating has stopped at Peechi dam.
A little north of Thrissur, along the Palakkad national highway, cuts the Chemboothra road that takes you to the Pattathipara falls two km northward. It is, again, a steep fall from above the Vellani hill. From above the rocks, one can scale down to reach the waterfalls, but otherwise there is no proper access to it. From June to December is peak season.
For long, tourists have been demanding the inclusion of Pattathipara among the tourism spots of Pananchery. This would necessitate an approach road as well as minimum public facilities including refreshment kiosks. That seems unlikely in the near feature as the area is under protected forests.
On your way to Peechi dam, you hit the Orappan rock. From there, a kilometre south is Orappankettu. The waterfall here is the prime reason for even building the dam (for which construction began in 1947). The water here was shelved for farming in pre-Independence time when local people actually had no solid concept of a reservoir or check dam. Then, authorities noticed that the local topography suited the construction of a dam. Today, the Peechi dam is owned by the state irrigation department.
The Orappankettu falls aren't big but definitely a charming sight. The boulders pose as beautiful structures, adding to the beauty of the water that gets silvery here. But a minimum spirit of adventure is required to reach its surroundings.
This fall is meant only for adventurists with a love for nature as well. It comes towards the end stretch of the mountainous Kuthiran trekking route. From Peechi dam upwards, on gaining altitude walking, you finally hit Mattungalkuthu in the middle of the Kuthiran-Vellani hills.
If the falls are very lively in the monsoon months, it goes completely dry during the other times of year. The water that reaches here is from the rainfall that eastern parts of Vazhani (near Wadakanchery) get during a season. This region is devoid of wild animals (except wild boars) or reptiles like snakes. Deer, monkey, the Malabar giant squirrel and a variety of birds form the fauna.