Soochipara Waterfalls / Sentinel Rock Waterfalls

Soochipara WaterFalls

Soochipara Falls also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is a three-tiered waterfall in Vellarimala, Wayanad, surrounded by Deciduous, Evergreen, and Montane forests. Locally referred to as Soochipara the 15-20 minute drive from Meppadi to Sentinel Rock Waterfalls offers scenic views of some of the best tea estates in Wayanad. The name Soochipara given from the words soochi means rock and para and needle. One can see needle-shaped rock here so it is also called as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls. One of the most attractive falls in the district, the water hits the sharp spikes of granite at the base and hence the name, Sentinel Rock waterfalls.

Soochipara Falls (Sentinel Rock Waterfalls) is perhaps the most picturesque spot located in the periphery of Wayanad. It is a treat for eyes to see the milky white stream of water making its way to the rivers by passing through the rocky cliffs and clinging trees. The Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is 200 metres (656 feet) and offers a cliff face that is ideal for rock climbing. The water from Soochipara Falls later joins Chulika River or popularly known as Chaliyar River after Velarimala Hills near Cherambadi.

This waterfall, surrounded by dense green forest, is one of the best waterfalls in Wayanad. A 20-minute drive from Meppadi will take you to this splendid waterfall. Visitors have to trek down for about 2 kilometers to reach the falls from the road point through well-laid path. The trekking is of an easy level, which takes about 30 minutes one way. There are high chances that visitors may get a glimpse of wildlife like Deer.

While walking towards the main pool of the waterfall, visitors can see tea plantation, rocky edge and dense forest where the chances of spotting a tiger are quite bright. Many guesthouses and homestays are available on the waterfall stretch that offers the striking view of the mountains. Soochipara Falls is the latest fad for the adventures because it serves as an ideal base for trekking and rock climbing.

The Sentinel Rock, a huge rock which is about 200 meters in height, is an ideal place for rock climbing. The route between Meppadi and Soochipara is lined up with beautiful tea estates with a breathtaking backdrop of Chembra Peak. The drive to Soochipara itself is a wonderful experience. There are few tree-top accommodation facilities provided by the forest department. One can have a spectacular view of the valleys of the Western Ghats from the tree-top hut. Water rafting, swimming and viewing from tree-top huts are common activities amongst visitors at Soochipara waterfalls.

Best time to visit Soochipara waterfall is during monsoon season as you can see the waterfall to its fullest. The pool beneath the waterfall has facilities for rafting, bathing, and other recreational water activities. Tourist can see this falls after the security check at the entrance where they make sure you don’t carry any plastic.

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Brahmagiri Trek

Brahmagiri Trek Wayanad

This is one of the most picturesque views of nature’s artistic present to Wayanad. On your trek you will come across little streams all along the way that is beautiful. The hill presents a stunning and mesmerizing view of the surroundings from its slopes. The only peak that is higher than the Brahmagiri peak is that of the Chembra peak which you can see once you reach the top. Trekkers can reach the top after traveling 9 kilometers.

Brahmagiri, at 1608 m above sea level, is a hill range on the Western Ghats bordering Kerala and Karnataka. It is situated on the border between Wayanad District of Kerala state on the south and Kodagu District in Karnataka on the north side. Pack your bags and head to this trekkers’ paradise that is graced by the ancient Thirunelli temple in the Wayanad district on the south and adorned by Iruppu falls from the Kodagu district of Karnataka in the north.

brahmagiri peak trekking wayanad

November to February is the best time to visit the hill and one should avoid the monsoon. The hill is at an approximate distance of 270 km from Bangalore. If you’re trekking from Kerala, you have to begin at Thirunelli and whilst trekking from Karnataka, you have to begin from Iruppu falls. Permission from the Thirunelli Forest Range Officer and Srimangala Forest Range Officer has to be taken while trekking. The nearest towns to Brahmagiri hill are Kutta, Srimangala, and Gonikoppal.

The area has mainly evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, and in the higher altitudes, there are grasslands with shola forest patches. Bamboos are well represented in these forests.

Attractions

Thirunelli Temple: Legend has it that the Thirunelli Temple was built by Lord Brahma himself and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It lies on the side bordered by Kerala. Also celebrated as the Kasi of the South or Dakshina Kasi, the temple has 30 granite pillars constructed in traditional style.

Thirunelli Temple
Thirunelli Temple

Papanasini is a stream that originates from the Brahmagiri Hills which later joins River Kalindi. It is almost 400 mtrs away from the temple, on its western side. Literally, it means, extinguisher of sins. It is believed that River Ganga and River Saraswathi join in Papanasini. Therefore Papanasini is called the Southern Kashi. A ritual dip in Papanasini is believed to wash one away, of all worldly sins committed in a lifetime.

Papanasini ,wayanad
Papanasini

Pakshipathalam: Pakshipathalam at an altitude of 1740 meters is another attraction on Brahmagiri Hills. Pakshipathalam is a cave that is said to have been used by rishis in ancient times. Pakshipathalam is home to several species of birds and is an ornithologist’s paradise. The deep rock caves, formed among the thick blocks of rocks at the northern top end of the Brahmagiri are the abode of various birds and wild beasts. It is also known as the Munikal cave in Karnataka.

Pakshi Pathalam, wayanad
Pakshi Pathalam

Iruppu Falls: Originating from the Lakshmana Tirtha River in Karnataka, Iruppa Falls is one of the most sought-after destinations in Karnataka. According to fables, Lord Rama and Lakshmana were in search of Sita when they became thirsty. Lord Lakshmana shot an arrow to Brahmagiri hill from where the Lakshmana Tirtha River sprang. It eventually flows into the Kaveri River.

Wildlife and Birds

The top of Brahmagiri Hill is well forested and has a lot of wildlife. Mammals in the Sanctuary include Lion-tailed Macaque, Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Wild Pig, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgiri Langur, Slender Loris, Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Giant Flying Squirrel, Nilgiri Marten, Common Otter, Brown Mongoose, Civets, Porcupine, Pangolin.

Python, cobra and king cobra are some of the reptiles found in the Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary.

Interesting birds in the Sanctuary include emerald dove, black bulbul, and Malabar Trogon.

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Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

wayanad wild life sanctury

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is an animal sanctuary in Wayanad, Kerala, India. It has an extent of 344.44 km2 with four ranges namely Sulthan Bathery, Muthanga, Kurichiat and Tholpetty. A variety of large wild animals such as Indian bison, elephant, deer and tiger are found there. There are also quite a few unusual birds in the sanctuary. In particular, peafowl tend to be very common in the area. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. It is bestowed with lush green forests and rich wildlife.This wildlife area houses some of the rare and endangered species of both flora and fauna.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is made up of two discontinuous pockets – Muthanga and Tholpetty. While Muthanga is situated to the south of Wayanad, about 18 km from Sulthan Bathery, Tholpetty is located towards the north of the district adjacent to Thirunelli. Established in 1973, the sanctuary is now an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is bounded by protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka in the northeast, and on the southeast by Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu.

Wayanad wildlife sanctuary

The dense forests of this area had provided shelter for Pazhassi Raja during his fight against the British Empire.  The sanctuary is part of Project Elephant and if you travel the route, you can observe herds of elephants roaming freely across the various ranges and sometimes to the national parks in the adjacent states too.

Climate and Topography

Undulating hills and thick greenery are characteristics of the wildlife sanctuary. The highest peak is Karottimala, which is situated about 3800 feet above sea level. There are other peaks which lie at an altitude of 2100 to 2600 feet.  The elevated landscape ensures a cool climate and the visitors can enjoy a serene cool atmosphere with the temperature falling up to 13 degree Celsius during winter and rising up to 32 degree Celsius during summer.  A good rainfall of about 2200 millimeter is experienced by the area and usually heavy rainfalls occur from June to August.

Forest types and other flora

While you travel through the roads leading to Muthanga or Tholpetty, you will get a glimpse of the rich enchanting flora that the forests harbor. The sides of the roads are thick and green with various kinds of plants which constitute bamboo trees, long spiky bushes of ginger etc. You can also observe paddy fields on the way.

Typical moist and dry deciduous forest types cover most of the area of the sanctuary while the visitors can also see a few patches of semi-evergreen forests. Bamboo groves intervened with moist deciduous forests is another characteristic of the sanctuary.

About one-third of the sanctuary is covered by plantations of teak, rosewood, eucalyptus and silver oak. Marshy lands also mark their presence in the sanctuary.  Among the dry and moist deciduous elements of Wayanad, Careya arborea (Pezhu), Dalbergia latifolia (Rosewood), Terminatia chebula (Kadukka), Kydia calycina (Vellachadachi), Anogeissus latifolia (Axle wood) and Stereospermum colias (Padiri)  are the dominant tree species.

Ground flora, shrubs and creepers too can be seen here. Shrubs such as Helicters isora, Randia ulginosa and herbs like Ageratum conizioides, Rauvolfia, sida cordifolia, and many others have also been found here. Woody climbers like Entada scandens and Calycopteries floribunda too grow abundantly in the forests of Wayanad.

Fauna

deer in wayanad

The sanctuary is home to a variety of animals and a casual observation of the jungle life while you travel through the way, will reveal to you this fact. You can spot herds of elephants and deer crossing the road, or frolicking in the fringes of forests. The presence of big cats, tiger, panther etc. has also been noted in this area. Langurs, bonnet macaques, bison, monkeys, sambar, Malabar squirrel and bear too can be spotted.  Diverse and bustling animal life of the region includes a variety of other animals too including the rarest Slender Loris.

giant malabar squirrel

The variety of reptiles seen in Wayanad sanctuary includes Monitor lizard and various kinds of snakes such as golden tree snake, coral snake, green whip snake and pit vipers. The other fauna of the region include crocodiles, a type of gecko called termite hill gecko, chameleon, flying lizard, monitor lizard, skinks, and flap shell turtles.

birds

 

About 216 species of birds like peacock, owl, babbler, black woodpecker, golden backed three- toed woodpecker, cuckoo and jungle fowl are found in the area. Malabar whistling thrush, Malabar trogon shama, painted bush quail, golden oriole, peacock, paradise flycatcher, Malabar grey hornbill, pariah kite, crested honey buzzard and crested serpent eagle too are seen here.  A rare blue-bearded bee-eater (Nectyronis othertoni), has been sighted in Wayanad. It is the largest bee-eater in the world with a pale blue forehead and a “beard”. The bird has other characteristics such as  green colour on the upper parts of the head, belly adorned with soft streaks,  square-ended long tail with yellow feathers below, de-curved slender black bill, short wings etc. Its call is audible from a good distance.

peackok in wayanad wildlife sanctuary

The amphibians found in the area belong to about 30 species and they include ornate microhylid, red microhylid, Ceylon kaliula, triangle-spotted Ramnella etc.

The streams and rivers across the sanctuary hold large fish varieties which include Wayanad barb (Puntius wynaadensis), Malabar catopra (Pristoleptis marginata), korhi barb (P. micropogon), snake heads (Chann asp.) etc.

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Jain Temples at Panamaram

Panamaram Jain Temple

Panamaram Jain temple is a damaged ancient religious center of Jains in Wayanad. Ruins of other similar small constructions are also found around this ruined temple. According to the ancient history of Wayanad Jains is the first group who migrated to Wayanad. The Kannada speaking people in Wayanad are known as Jains, they belong to the Digambara sect and they are called Gowadas. Hoysala kings were the rulers of Kamataka’in the 12th century and Wayanad was a part of Karnataka. At that time Wayanad was known as Bailnad. The rulers of Hoysala Dynasty were Jains till Vishnuvardha. Around the medieval period, Saiva religion became a stronghold in Karnataka and the frequent attacks from Salva religion to Jain lead to the migration of Jains to Kerala and especially to Wayanad.

Panamaram Jain temple wayanad

The migrated Jains first came to Panamaram on the banks of Kabini river. From there the Jain groups spread to the different parts of Wayanad. These Jains were basical1y farmers. Digging and plowing were against their belief. So as to keep their belief they introduced eco-farming in Wayanad. Jainism was at its peak in Wayanad during the days of Hoysala Dynasty. Hoysala kings promoted Jainism and they sent many missionaries to the different parts to spread Jainism. There are many proofs, which justify the existence of Jainism in Wayanad. The history tells us that the Bathery Jain temple was built 800 years ago. Earlier this temple was known as Kidangad Basti and the older name of Bathery was Hennaredu Bedhi (twelve streets). These two names are Kannada names and it shows the influence of the Kamataka Jains. Some other similar place names are Bennagode (Venniyode), Palagonthu (Palukunnu), Muthangadi (Puthangadi), and Hosengadi (Mananthavady).

Panamaram Jain Temple

The Jain temple constructed by means of stones appears to be rectangular in shape with numerous spectacular carvings on its walls and pillars. These temple ruins are the fine examples of great architecture and excellent stone sculpturing tradition prevalent in ancient times. The carvings on the temple walls as well as pillars represent Vaishnava iconography which is remarkable in all respects.

Panamaram Jain temples

The entrance of the temple is seen in the middle of one of the walls of the construction. The doorway is made extremely marvelous with exclusive carvings which enable viewers to think about the sculpturing dreams and skills of people lived during the primitive era. The doorway then leads to an elevated position or stage supported by sculptured stone pillars having fantastic carvings. The innermost sector of the construction is appeared to be Sanctum Sanatorium of the holy shrine where the main rituals would have been carried out. Neither idols nor images of Thirthankaras are seen inside the Sanctum Sanatorium of the temple. It could have been moved to some other temple or museums. Unfortunately, the temple is seemed to have fallen during some years ago and locals would have tried to keep these fallen stones at their respective position aiming restoration.

Panamaram_temple

The layout and architectural style of the Panamaram Jain Temple shows its great influence and importance during its functional days. The partly ruined temple with an area rather derelict, generate an atmosphere of mystery about the heritage site. Currently, this Jain temple is partly concealed by a coffee estate in the region.

It is believed that the Jainism was strongly rooted among the inhabitants of Wayanad during the early era. The remains of constructions related to Jainism indicate the strong influence of the religion in the area.

Panamaram Jain temple

It is believed that the wall inscriptions in Edakkal Caves are closely related to Jainism. The Swastik mark, the mark of the seventh Tirthankara, Suparswa Natha, has been engraved on the wall. The Chandrabimbamark, the mark of the eighth Tirthankara, Chandra Natha, also can be seen on the wall of the cave. The other inscriptions on the wall are the Hoysala kings’. The former Hoysalas were Jains. In the 13th  century, Jainism was at its peak in Wayanad. By the end of 18th  century the religion became too weak because of the increasing influence of the Hindu religion and the invasion of Saiva – Vaishnava religions. The relics of many ruined temples can be seen in Bathery, Puthangadi, and Poothadi.

 

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