I was eagerly waiting for a trek to TADA falls, because many of my colleagues have been to that place and have told lot about it. Finally I got a chance to go there and I am penning down our experience during the TADA trek.
And the journey to TADA falls started finally on April 12th 2008 with a Scorpio, a Santro, two bikes (Enfield and XCD) and 17 trekkers. In this gang 3 were from SA and others excluding John were first time trekkers with the club. As per our schedule the pick-up point started from Thoraipakam. Peter, Nagendran, Vinay, Nailesh and Sheetal got into Scorpio. Chandramouli joined us in his bike. Then we drove through Madhya Kailash and picked up Vivek and Prathap in Guindy. Prem had a bike (Royal Enfield) joined in near Le Meridian and other five trekkers Kalpa,Sunitha, Yashoda, Kamal, Kunal joined us from Koyembedu in their Santro. Here comes our great photographer BIG John who joined us in Annanagar 15 minutes late. Because of some confusion with the pickup point Prathap had to take bike and pick Supriya. The last trekker to be picked was Lavanya @ Retteri.By the time we reached NH5 it was 6.45 a.m. Peter tried to compensate the 15 minutes delay by squeezing his Scorpio through the chennai traffic, We started to discuss about our experiences of our previous treks, furure trek places and how we got to know about our trek club. Also there was some discussion going on camera, and John-The photographer was answering to those questions.
Now to know more about TADA, the original name for TADA falls is Ubbalamadugu falls, we came to know this through localates there. This place is in the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil nadu. Its in Nellore district. You can take NH-5 from Chennai and drive for about 85 kilometers to reach Tada. Just before you enter the town Tada, you hit the Kalahasti Road going west off NH-5.
After reaching the TADA village, we had breakfast (Dosa and Idlyz) and also packed the same for lunch. We bought two cases of water bottle and some plantains. From there we had to travel for another 20 minutes to reach Ubbalamadugu Falls check post. On the way some building construction was going on with full of marbles and from far it was looking really beautiful. We started clicking photos of that building and some poses in front of Scorpio and santro. We drove to check-post which is new to that place. Then we had to pay 50/- rupees for the entry into the falls and another 50/- for each camera.
Scorpio started from check post. Then it was turn for the people in Santro and the Bike-riders to pay for the entry and cameras. The road was either with big stones or loose and sandy. As we didn’t see the Santro following us, we waited on to the side, and within a minute, we got a call from Santro people that they couldn’t drive through that road. Peter had to go back and pick those five trekkers. So totally, the count reached to 13 trekkers squeezed into a single Scorpio and it resembled more like an advertisement for Scorpio.
After travelling to some distance, we tried to park our vehicles under the shade, but one of the localite said that we can take our vehicle for another 2 Km inside. We had some plantains and we drove for another 2 km to park our vehicle in the new Parking space under a dead tree. This 2 km saved around 40 minutes of walking towards the falls. Then Peter distributed 2 water bottles each and lunch packets that each need to carry. Thanks to Chandru, for he opened his tripod and clicked group photos with all of us in frame, before we started our trek.
We started our trek towards the falls with lots of photo sessions in the middle. After sometime we crossed a small water stream, where we could clearly see the stones under water. After which we had to walk in an open space under the hot sun, but it was bearable because of the breeze. On the way we saw a nice view of the hills around. Then we had to cross one more water stream, and thank God for no one fell into the water. Cameras were busy in clicking photos when we crossed. This place was very rich in diverse flora and fauna with lots of colorful butterflies and colorful insects of different size.
The next water stream was a delight to all of us. Everyone jumped into water as it was less deep and swimmers had nice time. Then we resumed our trekking, to meet with a Shiva temple on the way. It was from here that the terrain was fully rocky, boulders and had to jump from one big rock to another. Every now and then, we came across small water streams between the rocks. Then came another beautiful water stream between the boulders. There was one more big rock, which we climbed with the help of wooden log. We could see Lot of small rocks submerged in water. Then came the most challenging part of this trek. We had to climb a big and vertical rock which has some support at few places. Thanks to Peter and Prem, who were helping us to climb this vertical rock. A few were helped to climb, and the rest were pulled up the rock on its smooth and slippery surface.
After climbing the last vertical rock, we walked some distance to find a beautiful pool between the 2 vertical mountain ridges. The water was very clear and freezing too. The pool was very deep, and definitely it would be more than 20 feet. So we started tying shirts and towels together to make a rope. We tied one end of rope ( shirts + towels) to a wood plank and Chandru and Prathap swam to the middle of the pool holding the other end of the rope. Kamal held the wood plank from the bank. Some of the swimmers reached the centre of the pool using the man made rope as support. Peter accompanied every swimmer to give then support whenever needed. A few of us were able to reach the centre of the pool without any help. The rest of us including all the girls, swan on Peter’s back. The last 2 were left behind for clicking photos and to safeguard our food from the monkeys.
After the photo-session was over, we all swam back to have our packed lunch .Kalpa had brought chapathis , pickles , and some deserts like mango, papaya and chikki. We had to share our lunch and deserts with a bunch of Monkeys (The only wild animal we can see in this so called forest). One monkey took “Lays” from Kalpaz bag. This reminded us of the slogan of Lays “ No one can eat just one”.
We started returning from the falls at around 3pm, We had to face the same challenge again, but this time it was climbing down the vertical rock. Climbing down the vertical rock was much easier than climbing up. On our way return from the falls, we reached the last water stream crossing. It was here where we relaxed for some free treatment from the Doctor fish, followed by an intro session. The intro session was the really fun. Then around 5 pm , we reached to the place where our vehicles were parked. To our surprise, no one looked tired. We had to squeeze ourselves into the Scorpio for yet another 13 member ride back to the check post. After reaching the check post, 5 trekkers got into their Santro and left to their home. On the way back to tada village, the bajaj XCD ran out of fuel and we had to go and bring petrol in water bottles. When we reached the village, we had tea, juice and snacks. We drove back towards Chennai , but as usual got stuck in the traffic jam.
This trek is much do-able for anybody; nowadays we even saw a group of granny’s coming to tada. If you know swimming, I am sure that you would really enjoy the most, and for those who does not know how to swim, take help from an experts and you can also float on to their back (provided the area is less deep).
This is the beautiful place, but spoilt by some enthusiastic alcoholics who had broken their beer bottles and filled the place with lots of broken glass pieces all over. So make sure you trek this place with your eyes wide open, so that you don’t step on some glass pieces.
Keep Walking…Happy Trekking
Story written by Sheetal
Reviewed by John and Nagendran
Trail in Google Earth