A Trek To Nagalapuram Waterfalls

All of us live with those small little voices in our head, which constantly keep whispering to tell us how we should stay away from certain things and how we are not good enough to do a few things. Sub consciously our mind keeps brewing an unpleasant emotion, which is caused by the threat of some kind of danger, pain or harm. This emotion is popularly called 'fear' and all of us live with it in some form or the other. No matter how strong we look from outside, somewhere or the other, this emotion makes us weaker from inside and we chicken out when confronted by the biggest fear of our lives. This weekend was about conquering one such fear of mine.

I was always scared of water and hence never learnt to swim until about few years back.....and let me tell you, I am a very bad swimmer. I can barely manage to swim only in the comfort and security of the pool of my apartment or some plush resort, where the water level isn't too deep and I can put my feet down and stand up at any point of time. Swimming in any natural water body was an absolute no no for me. Moreover I am not an adventurous person at all when it comes to any kind of sport. So, I have always stayed away from all kind of water sports.

Friends from my running group had planned a trek to Nagalapuram falls this weekend. Nagalapuram is a town in Andhra Pradesh, which is about 70 kms from Chennai and 275 kms from Bangalore. To trek on the Nagalapuram Waterfalls, one has to go 18 kms further down from this town to a village called Arai from where the trek starts. It is a motorable road till the village. Once you reach the village, Nagala Dam is just close by, where the vehicles can be parked. It is mostly a flat trek. So, it won't be difficult to find a camping ground near the trail and  thus ideal for night camps. During the trek one often bumps in to villagers, who can be reached out for any help required.

While I love to travel and explore but trekking is something, I wasn't too enthusiastic about. Few years back I did the first trek of my life on the Tirusulam Hills, in Chennai, with a bunch of friends. It sure was quite an experience but I never fancied going for yet another trek after that. So, this time, after much deliberation, I decided to join the group and experience yet another trek. Saturday morning when I woke up reluctantly at the crack of dawn to join the group at a nearby park, little did I know that I am actually on my way to conquer one of my biggest fears during the day.

The drive till Arai village in Chittor district of Andhra Pradesh was quite uneventful except for that one stop which we took when we chanced upon acres and acres of sunflower fields on the roadside. As we gushed out of our bus, we were greeted by bright yellow sunflowers in full bloom, with some mist covered hills in the backdrop.

Post some customary selfie and photo session in the sunflower fields, we were on our way to Nagala.

The moment we reached our destination, I knew that the decision to come for this trek wasn't a mistake at all. The beautiful nature at its best start luring you right from the beginning - the surrounding hills, the pristine lake, the flat grounds by the lake covered with small polished rocks and a few stray goats grazing around makes for a perfect picture coming straight out of the drawing books from the school days.

While we braved some steep climbs, rocky terrain and slippery paths, thick vegetation provided us with natural shade and my lovely group members kept extending that helping hand in pulling and pushing us, the heavyweight elements like me, through the crevices of the uneven rock.

Without them, I sure wouldn't have made it at all.

This trek follows along this water stream, which at some point of its course turns into waterfalls and water pools.

In one of these pools, we decided to halt and everybody got inside the pool either diving or swimming but I decided to immerse myself in the water knee deep and sit on a rock by the side of the pool.

That's when one of the fellow trekker, Shikha started prodding me to swim and join her on the other side of the pool. While I was tempted to swim in the cold and clear water of the pool, my mind was flooded with that emotion called fear and that little voice in my head kept on warning me against the temptation to jump inside the pool, which was definitely deeper than the protected and comfortable 5 ft pools, I am familiar with. Shikha kept on pestering and encouraging me from the other side, while I continued to fight this battle in my head. Finally that one moment when I decided to shut my mind off and jump inside the water and let go all my thoughts of drowning, was the moment of my victory over the fear of water. In no time I was on the other side of the pool, balancing myself on a protruding rock and happily chatting with Shikha, when I realised some ticklish sensation on my feet.

Startled, I looked down through the crystal clear water of the pool, only to find some small fishes nibbling on the dead skin of my feet. So, this is what you call a fish spa in their natural habitat!!

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A terrific experience but then at that moment, I was clueless about the acid test of my swimming in the natural pool, which was yet to take place.
After enjoying the fish spa when we finally decided to swim back, I took a deep breathe and jumped in the water again, this time more composed and confident but as luck would have it - I suddenly got pushed inside the water and realized that I have bumped in to somebody and immediately panicked. I looked up only to spot an equally startled lady in her forties, struggling in her safety tube and splashing in the water. Clearly, she wasn't a swimmer. I immediately clutched on to her tube and shouted for help, while the poor lady kept apologizing to me in the middle of the pool. Little did she realize that apologies were the last thing I needed at that point of time. I continued to struggle, when a young boy swimming in the pool, came to my rescue and threw another tube towards me. That's when I realized that I am better off without the tube and can swim back on my own.

Soon after grabbing a bite, we were on our way to descend. Now the celebration of this much discussed victory had to happen and in no time we spotted another natural pool by the stream just after braving a narrow fissure on the uneven rock.

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Both Shikha and I were craving yet another swim, when a male member of our group came to our aid and agreed to swim with us. So, all three of us happily splashed around in this pool, swam and came back before we continued our descend.

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Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water
The trip wouldn't have been half as much fun narrating had there not been a twist in this whole journey and this twist happened, when I lost my way in the jungle. Engrossed in clicking pictures, I walked on a different trail and didn't realize that I was on the wrong route till I was surrounded by the uncanny silence of the jungle. I couldn't hear the water stream flowing by, couldn't hear the din of the fellow trekkers from the other trekking groups and the quiet forest suddenly started growing on me. All I could see around me was the towering mountains and somewhat thick vegetation. I decided to keep walking hoping that I might meet the other trekkers or somebody whom I will be able to ask my way out but couldn't see a single soul around for the next one kilometer. Then I decided to look up my way on Google maps but alas.... no network, no connectivity. I tried calling my friends from the group but the calls refused to go through. .

That's when I decided to call off the adventure and started walking back the way I came. Soon I could spot some connectivity and my call went through to the person leading our group for the trek, whom I informed about my missing status. He immediately asked me to walk back till the water stream from where I went missing and in some time, I realised my mistake and picked up the right trail before I met a bunch of my group members, who had set out to look for me. All's well that ends well and I was soon in safe hands and back home for some warm food and nice sleep.

A big shout out to all the group members, who made this trek easier and doable for me and the other ladies. Without them, we couldn't have done this at all. Treks always develop lot of bonding and camaraderie. Look forward to yet another trip with more people and double the fun.


  1. Just last week I heard about this place from one of my friends. I couldn't believe i didn't have any idea about this place having lived in Chennai for over 11 years.
    It seemed an interesting visit when I heard from him but looks like it would be adventurous too after reading your post. Looking forward to visit soon.

    1. Hey! Thanks for dropping by. There are lot many offbeat destinations in and around Chennai. I was specifically intrigued and impressed by Cape Calimere/ Point Calimere and the Kodikarai Reserve Forest by the point. 'Have done a small story around it. Please read, if you fancy.


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