The Kerala Forest Department has blocked the path leading to the Ilanjippara Waterfalls at Marottichal, known for its coveted waterfall trek, in Thrissur.
The route to the falls was sealed with an electric fence following concerns that the waterfall and the nearby area are being hijacked by anti-social elements who disturb the ecological balance of the area. Those visiting the falls frequently losing their way in the forest also forced the forest department to take the action.
Olakkayam Waterfall, adjacent to the two falls, is still open to the public.
The lesser known Ilanjippara Waterfalls is a trekker’s paradise, especially during the monsoon season, as the 4km-long trail leading to the falls, which begins at the Marottichal Waterfall, passes through mostly verdant, untouched forest.
Lost and trapped
The one nagging issue was visitors losing their way and getting trapped in the forest. The sound of the waterfalls helps to locate it easily but the return becomes complicated as there are no sign boards leading to the main road.
Recently, two trekkers from Triprayar were stranded in the forest and were spotted only after a massive 45-hour search operation.
Wild animal attacks
The area is notorious for human-animal conflict; wild animals wandering into human settlements is a constant. Leopards and elephants have been spotted often in the area. Tourists have also come under attack on many occasions.
The Marottichal trek is in a restricted area of the reserve forest and it is not officially recognized by the Kerala Tourism Department as a tourist spot. The Forest Department has so far been lenient to nature lovers and trekkers. Since there are no guards or official surveillance, it had become difficult to control unmindful behaviour of tourists detrimental to the sensitive nature of the place. This also prompted the authorities to end the public access to the area.
The electric fence which works on solar energy, is 150 metre from the waterfall. There is already a fence to stop wild elephants from wandering into the human territory. The Forest Department has also posted a security guard for morning surveillance.
The Olakkayam Waterfall at Cheerakund is only 400 metre from the main road. The ideal time to visit are the monsoon months from June. Olakkayam Waterfall resembles the Vazhachal Falls near Athirappilly Waterfalls, two popular tourist spots located at the edge of Sholayar Forest ranges also in Thrissur.
The green trail leading to the spot and the 50 metre high waterfall in the midst of tropical forest are sights to behold during monsoon seasons. Nature lovers have been demanding to turn Ilanjippara Waterfalls into a tourist spot. However, that will require the Forest Department to demarcate the trail, fence the area from wild animals and post guards to turn it into a profitable tourist spot.
Dishes to Try in Thrissur: Palada pradhaman, Pazham pradhaman, Kurukku kaalan, Olan, Mango pachadi, Varatharacha sambar, Chena varathathu, Pineapple curry, Ulli theeyal, Koorka-kizhangu ularthu, Meen Kariveppila Fry