As luck would have it, I am in Bastar. Here too I am on my way to Tirathgarh, 35 kilometre from Jagadalpur, the district headquarter. About a kilometre or so before the destination, we cross a small bridge below which flows a placid small stream – Nothing unusual.
We pass through two manual toll gates mounted by locals to charge some token fees for development of the area. A row of small shops in shanties line both side of the road. The items on display consist of plastic packs of snack, biscuits, aerated drinks, bottled water; some shops selling freshly fried pakoras; and some shops selling parsada for the temple…All these add vibrant colours to otherwise drab surroundings and harsh hot weather in the end of March month – It’s full blast summer, temperature souring to 38 degree centigrade.
I am guest of the Forest Department and end up at an exclusive facility called Van Chetna Kendra, bang opposite Tirathgarh… Wow! I am face to face to a massive waterfall.
I sit down on a sofa, stretch my tired legs on the table in front, postpone photography… It is just to relax, admire and capture the essence… a caretaker brings tea and snacks…feels like a paradise… I enjoy the luxury, far from the madding crowd.
The gorge has been cut into steps over which the transparent water gets transformed into pure white – It is as if, milk is rushing and gushing down the steps – Ever in a hurry to join the pool below. It creates a continuous vibrant music. Incidentally, Tirthgarh is one of the tourism jewels of Chhattisgarh and is boldly promoted by the State Government.
I wonder where from these huge sheets of water, cascading down the fall, coming from.
Deputy Forest Range Officer with me brings my attention to the small stream we crossed before reaching here. Oh no. I do not believe. “Yes”, the deputy says, “it is Kanger river!”
I am not able to judge the height of the fall. It can be 100 m or more? But online search corrects me – 91 metre or 300 feet. Further, I find 135 visitors have reviewed the site at Google and given dashing average 4.5 /5 rating. I for one give it 5/5 rating.
I do not have strength to go to the foot of the fall in the deep gorge, but I can see stream of people joyously making the journey down. There are well laid spiral of steps. It is not only that many of them are bathing in the hard hitting water falling with gravity, they are jumping with joy, bliss…it is simple people gathered from across the country side. They know how to enjoy life without inhibition and give themselves to the situation, and be one with nature. Just enjoy… just do it…
In India, we have a tendency to link all natural wonders to religion. This becomes business for the temple caretaker and vendors selling parsada – A miscellaneous mix of flower, fruits, nuts, sweets etc which is offered to god, through the temple caretaker/priest, who keeps some for god and rest he returns for visitors’ consumption. At Tirathgarh, just near the foot of the fall, juts up a small rocky hillock, on which a small temple is installed, where our simple folks flock to be fleeced by the caretaker!
Soon lunch is served. It’s simple but fresh and piping hot food – Lovely. After filling meal, I take a small stroll. It’s all soothing green. Moist deciduous forest surrounding the fall complements the great experience – unforgettable.
PS : I have added some photos of the fall and surrounding in monsoon.