“My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.” These words by William Wordsworth hold true for me and my family. During monsoons, we look for reasons to be out there with nature. So when my younger daughter, Keyara, turned six, it was the perfect occasion for us to head to the most sought-after waterfall destination of Kerala- Athirappilly.
Athirappilly waterfalls have always been a fascination for me, right from my early days. I never miss a chance to go to the place that gave colors to my childhood dreams. Onam holidays were on; so we expected a crowd and started off quite early. As we passed the city bustle and neared the waterfalls, there was a marked change in the scenery around us. Oil palms on both sides of the road; a pretty sight they were! At one point, the road ran along the sides of Chalakudi River, giving us spectacular views of the elegantly flowing river.
After a long journey, when we arrived at the destination, there was a long queue of honking vehicles ahead of us. We got to park our car quite far from the waterfalls. But a walk with the family is always pleasant, provided nature is not too harsh on us. The canopy of tall treetops was just the shelter we needed. The first view that we get is from the top of the fall. It is an awe-inspiring sight even when viewed from the top. Seeing the mammoth fall in full vigor is overwhelming, to say the least.
In Athirappilly, if you are willing to go for a 10 minutes’ downhill walk, you can reach the bottom of the fall. We were definitely game for it. The view from below was even more spectacular. The waterfall was in full fury, ensuring that those who ventured to go near it, were soaked to the skin in the water droplets splashed around. The gushing fall and the water splashes gave a misty look to the entire area. It was a splendid sight to watch! My kids were ecstatic with joy.
Charpa and Vazhachal Falls
After enjoying to the fullest in Athirappilly, we decided to explore two more nearby waterfalls, Charpa and Vazhachal. Both looked pretty against the backdrop of thick jungles. But compared to the mighty Athirappilly, they looked minuscule. My kids were not so keen on spending hours there. They were excited about our abode for the day, which was Silver Storm Amusement Park and Resorts. We had decided to celebrate Keyara’s birthday there. So there we go, to Silver Storm for an array of fun-filled events.
Birthday celebration in snow
As we entered the park, I could see the anticipation building up on the faces of both my kids. They had wished this a lot. I had heard that this water theme park has the best of facilities, and was happy to note that there was no exaggeration in this. There were a good number of fancy rides, all were properly maintained too. We entered the Snow Storm Park, as the birthday celebration was to happen there. There was fluffy white snow everywhere. I had planned it as fun for kids, but there I found myself turning into a kid again! It was really fun to make balls of snow and throw at each other. Standing in knee-deep snow, my little Keyara cut her birthday cake! The temperature was subzero, all our hands were trembling in the cold, but I could feel the warmth of my family’s love. It was one of the best days of my life.
Fun Rides in Silver Storm
When the snow fun ended, it was time for us to pack up for the day. We were tired, and found the accommodation in the resort entirely comforting. A good night’s sleep, and the next morning, we were geared up for more fun. We enjoyed Mirror Maze, Horror House, Giant Wheel, and a lot more. Getting trapped in the mirror maze was a little discomforting for the claustrophobic in me, but my wife and kids were uncontrollable with laughter. There were water rides too. What we enjoyed the most was the Jurassic Splash. The wave pool is an all-time favorite with my kids.
A Helicopter Ride
Now, our best experience was yet to come. As a part of Onam celebrations, the resort had arranged for a special helicopter ride. It came as an unexpected surprise for us. As it was for a total of just 10 minutes, I didn’t have many expectations. But in these 10 minutes, I was blown away with the sheer magnificence of nature. If the waterfall looked gigantic when seen from down, it looked heavenly when seen from the sky! The thick jungle surrounding the waterfall, the gently flowing river nearby, altogether it was a perfect snapshot of nature. Even the resort where we stayed looked like a palace from above. My usually boisterous kids were also silently enjoying the spectacle. Our first helicopter ride was probably going to stay in their minds forever.
With the helicopter ride, we bid adieu to Athirappilly. On the way back, Keyara remarked, “this was my best ever birthday.” True, a trip where family, fun, and oodles of natural beauty merge together, is bound to be the best.