After a gruelling semester, it’s finally winter holidays! Seven of us planned to go on a trek to Tada falls, otherwise called Ubbalamadugu falls. Located at about 80 kms from Chennai, this place seems to be lesser known tourist attraction, but doesn’t fall behind any other nature-lovers’ or trekking destinations.
We boarded a local(sub-urban) train that goes to Sullurpeta from Chennai central station at about 7:30 in the morning. It took about an hour and a half to reach Tada, after which we took an auto to the falls. We stopped in between for breakfast at a local eatery- the food wasn’t very good. But, we couldn’t help but fill our tummies there as there is no other source of food once we start the trek.
It takes about an hour to reach the falls check post by an auto and then we went through what seemed to be a never ending bumpy ride (I wouldn’t even call it a road) till we reached a bridge. From this point on, we walked. I would divide the track into three parts. One- till we reached the first stream of water, after crossing the bridge; two- till we reached the Shiva temple; three- the trek after that.
The bridge was itself a beautiful spot with the pleasant stream of water running under it. At a distance, upstream, you can see the water spilling out smoothly over the rocks – it’s a beautiful view, good news – it’s just the first, there are lots more of those. We started walking in the only path. The place was deserted when we started. After walking a few meters distance, we arrived at a path branching out to the royal tub or the mango pool and took a few pictures there; we were all excited as this was the first place where we got to put our feet into the water. The rest of the first phase was through a path laid with pebbles and sharp pieces of rock and rubble till we reached a small stream of water peacefully flowing over rocks covered with moss. Watch out for the slippery rocks!
The second phase was quite simple. It leads to a Shiva temple by a stream of water. This is where many tourists stop and this is where the path ends. After this, there is no well-laid path and we just followed the stream, in a hope that it would ultimately take us to the falls. On the other hand, after this lies the real adventure.
We crossed the stream and the Shiva temple and decided to follow the stream. At some places, we could follow it on the banks- climbing onto rocks. At other places, we had to walk through the middle of the stream or cross it. The whole path is such an amazing one- the sunlight streams through the trees from above while swarms of yellow butterflies greet you every now and then. You may want to watch out for the monkeys though. After a few minutes of trekking, we arrived at this place- water parts into two small streams gushing from between the boulders, it appeared so breath-taking!
The whole place reminds me of one thing – Bridge to Terabithia!
We continued to trek, for about an hour or so before we came to a small stream of water forcing its way between two huge rocks into a silent pool of clear water. The place was heavenly. The water was crystal clear and small, skinny black fish swam underneath the surface. We had a dip in the pool – the water was freezing! We stayed here for about an hour before we headed back. On our way back, we saw three more groups of people like ours trekking to the falls. In no time, we were back at the Shiva temple, and the rest of the path seemed to be very well-paved after trekking through the wilderness.
We relaxed near the bridge for 5-10 minutes before heading to the bumpy ride back to the check post. It was 3o’clock and we figured out that we would miss the 3:20 sub-urban train back to Chennai. The next train wasn’t until 6:30. So, we took a bus from Tada to Gummidipundi, and headed back home in a local train from there.
Well, is it worth it? I’d say ‘ofcourse! Totally worth it! ’ For a first-time trekker like me, it’s not very usual to walk through uneven rocks barefoot or to pave way through the wilderness, so, the trip was very adventurous. If you want to go on an economy trip and want to have a good time, Tada falls is an awesome plan! How much did it cost us? About 200 bucks per person, yes, that is all we spent on the trip! Here are some tips from my side.
- There may not be any network on your mobile once you start the trek, so inform people about that, if you don’t want them to be worried.
- Start early and return back early. It’s not very safe to stay inside the woods after dark.
- Do carry a med-kit. We didn’t, but it’s advisable to carry one with you. There are no sources of food once you start the trek, so carry some snacks and water if you need. (Do not litter around!).
- If you decide to travel by train, check the train schedule beforehand, plan it out in such a way that you get to stay at the highest point you reach for quite a while, that’s the best part of it all.
Here are some pictures of the place! Photo courtesy – Sanjay Subrahmanyam