Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala

Tripoto
19th Jan 2019
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid

Palakkad or Palghat is a district in northern Kerala. It is also known as the gateway to Kerala due to the presence of Palghat Gap, which is a low mountain pass between Nilgiri hills and Annamalai hills.

Nestled in this gap are the pristine Dhoni waterfalls. Kerala forest department offers a hike on this trail which starts from the basecamp 12km away from Palakkad town.

How to reach:

Palakkad is well connected by train and bus with the major cities of southern India including Trivandrum, Cochin, Coimbatore and Chennai.

We took a Kerala State bus from Trivandrum to Palakkad which cost us around ₹600 per person. The bus timings are very convenient. We traveled aboard a Scania multiaxle semi sleeper which dropped us at Palakkad at 0400 hrs in the morning after 7 hours of on-road journey.

Where to stay:

Unfortunately Palakkad does not have any cool hostels you can hang out at. However, a lot of budget hotels and homestays are available. Booking can be made through any travel planning website of your choice. We landed a deal for ₹800 for three people per night through Yatra.

The lodge where we stayed was called Apex Residency. It was walking distance (1.7 km) from the bus stop and is right opposite the Palakkad town railway station. We were able to do an early check-in at 0500 hrs in the morning, but had to pay extra for a delayed checkout the next day.

How to reach Dhoni waterfalls:

There are buses to Dhoni falls plying from Palakkad. However, the timings are not exactly known, even to the locals. If you are traveling in a group of three or more, it is advisable to take an auto to the base for ₹200. Taking the bus will still be a cheaper option at around ₹30 per person.

Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls, Puthuppariyaram, Kerala, India by Mustafa Shahid

Since the bus stop was not a convenient location, we found it better to take an auto instead of waiting for the bus. Our return trip however was in the bus because the return bus timings match with the arrival of the hikers back to the base.

The Hike begins

We waited for about half an hour after purchasing the tickets for the hike from the forest department. The ticket costs ₹100 per person which includes a guide, and his dog. More about the dog later.

We commenced our 350m elevation climb exactly at 1045 hrs. Total distance to the top is around 4km which can be made shorter by an adventurous traveler (will tell you how in a bit). The initial stretch of the hike is pretty straight. You walk through the trail lined with teak trees on either side. This winding path continues till the top. After about half an hour or so we had gained enough elevation and were now above the tree-lines. Viewing the valleys and hills from this isolated spot is a very tranquil feeling.

Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid

It is not necessary to follow the same path to the top. There are many opportunities to take a shortcut climb from within the forest. It is ultimately upto the hiker to make the activity more interesting. Be sure to have proper footwear before attempting this adventure. Since we visited in dry season, the soil was loose and we often found ourselves holding onto tree stems to avoid slipping.

The Dog Chronicles

Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid

The guide was nowhere to be seen after the first five minutes of the hike. However, his dog was keeping track of all the hikers and walked with the leading group. It would merrily walk ahead and wait for everybody to catch up. Me and my friends were walking about 50 meters behind the leading group when we saw a side-track which crossed directly to the road above. We climbed that way and emerged out of the forests ahead of the first group. The dog was bamboozled. He was walking under the assumption that he was with the leading group. He scurried towards us and made a look which I sincerely think meant - "Bhaiya kaise kiya ?". He walked by our side the remainder of the way, running ahead and pausing for us to catch up. We were frequently taking non-traditional routes to make the hike more adventurous, and the dog might have understood this. We reached a point where there was the normal route which was going straight and then turning along a raised curve and a side trail directly cutting to the top. The dog paused there and then took the shortcut, guiding us through thick bushes. The dog definitely made our hike much more memorable.

The Waterfall

Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid
Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid

We reached the waterfall which is shaped like a heart shaped hole after almost 90 minutes of walking. Since it was dry season, the flow was not as strong as it would be during the monsoons. It was a pretty and small water spot which made us realize that it is not the destination but the journey which matters. There were fishes and crabs swimming in the pond around the falls. It is prohibited to swim in these waters. The guide who had left us was already there. The dog was lapping up water after his long ordeal. Getting prepared for the next batch waiting downhill.

Photo of Dhoni Waterfalls | Palakkad | Kerala by Mustafa Shahid

It made me wonder that if this is all the dog has to look forward to ? Climb up , drink water , climb down , get thirsty and the then climb up again to drink water.

Until next time.

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