1 July 2006

SILENT VALLEY



Silent Valley is no longer silent now, Sorry to disappoint you, there's a 
distant traffic noise and some thoughtless drivers blow their horns like maniacs.



Went there 25 years ago and believe me I could hear my own heartbeats. It is still very silent there, your footsteps are so loud, you feel that suddenly your ears have cleared up and become very sharp and you can hear the tiniest noise. But there's great deal of disturbance now.



It is called silent valley because it IS a silent valley. For some strange reason crickets the most noise making insects are completely absent there. Normally they make one big racket in any forest.



I was sitting with the forest officer this time, I nearly had a heart attack when his mobile suddenly went off with a ghastly Malayalam film song. It was so loud that a person 30 feet away could hear the voice coming from the mobile.




This is a 50 million years old tropical rain forest. Been there long before the humans came. the local Government has no respect for its age, as it made an attempt to destroy it 25 years ago.
Shocking ?



All the pictures are taken in and around the silent valley, couldn't post them all. Long story how i reached there 25 years ago, there was no bus service except for a jeep or two there was absolutely no traffic on the road.



These clowns wanted to construct a dam on river Bhavani, as a result the entire 50 million year old tropical rain forest would have come under water completely destroying rich plant insect and animal life.



there was a loud protest from the environmentalists.
During that controversial period, I like a damn fool walked in with my back pack. I had to cross two check posts, deparment of forest, who let me in and the second check post of Electricity department clowns who wanted to build the dam, they wouldn't let me in. they thought I was a journalist.




I am not a journalist, I said
you have a beard

you what ? who says only journalists have beards ? I have a right to grow a beard and shave it off when ever I want and be a musician.
Your beard is wild, growing in all directions, you have not combed your hair in years, you ARE a journalist, I can smell a journalist from miles away. he said.

no fighting, I decided to beg and plead



No reporters, He kept repeating.
I am a school teacher I lied
still worse, no school teachers no journalists, he was adamant
and we have orders, no bearded guys, bearded guys like you are big trouble, they are trying to stop our project. You look like big trouble to us, its written on your face.
Aiyoo !


This is Sherji my friend who took me there this time.

so i went back to the forest check post and pleaded again. they had no problems with me. Those chaps were very nice, one of them said I'll take you inside through the bushes to the forest rest house at your own risk as the area is infested with deadly poisonous snakes. I said fine.
I did not see any snakes.



Finally the environmentalists won the case, the silent valley dam project was shelved after a couple of years of making some big noise. that was a relief.



Stayed at the forest rest house for 2 days, took long treks had good vegetarian food cooked by Velayuthan, sweet chap, still remember his name.



Took me 25 years to go there again. The entire forest was covered in mist, it was like a white semi transparent veil had descended on the valley. Visibility was very poor, couldn't take pictures.



Now there is no problem staying there, the forest is untouched, but the traffic has increased.
room is 300 rupees per head and the dormitory is 80 rupees per head, pretty reasonable I think



Please check Blunt knife for more pictures. I have posted the road to Silent valley there. please click on the pictures for full screen view. You don't see much in these smaller pictures.


Blunt Knife
Travel and Photography Blog

53 comments:

ari4u said...

i dont think those wood-headed politicians who planned to ruin this place ever visit once to see how beautiful this place really is. Thanks for taking us there and sharing these pics thru your eyes. nice pics... and next time pl watch out for the leeches.

Don Iannone said...

So much feeling in water. Thank you Rauf! Powerful and lovely.

Candy Minx said...

Isn't it incredible to think of such an ancient rainforest. Life goes on and on...must feel very special to be some place like that. I know when I am at ancient sites like the rainforest(which is temperate kind) in west coast canada...it feel holy. Actually one such forest with trees over 1,000 years is called Cathedral.

Thanks as always...off to Blunt Knife!

Rauf said...

The politicians want to make money Aamir, they get kick backs out of such projects, they don't care about preserving history, archeaological sites or rain forests.
my love to you and Salma

Rauf said...

Civilisations flourished on the banks of rivers Don. they were wiped out when the rivers went dry.
No water no life. Rivers are worshipped here in India Don.

Rauf said...

We cannot stop growth Candy. they are made to last. Man made things don't last. 4.5 billion years is a long time. This forest is supposed to be 50 million years old. the trees will grow only if we let them. Roots can peneterate through thick concrete walls and foundations. They know how to grow without our protection. You can see grass growing out of abandoned concrete roads. We don't let them grow. Canada is very rich as people there are very conscious and less population. quite opposite in India, so the rain forests get reduced. 40% in 1947 and now only 3% is left. What a tragedy.

Imemine said...

Beautiful deep forest!
This is probably what J. K. was describing or talking about in his journals.

Rauf said...

Adyar, Greenways road were the head quarters Imemine. My friends used to come from far off places to hear him. They used to drag me along. I was not interested. I used to observe faces. every body used to sit on the floor and you had to pay one rupee to sit on a chair.ridiculous. I found that he was talking the same thing what i used to say in my younger days.

He did nothing to discourage the cast system, he could have done a lot if he wanted. He may have talked about it. He was only interested in becoming a saint in the western countries.

kandykane said...

lovely pictures pal.. this is where im going for my next break ! love it

Rauf said...

Thanks Kandykane, please click on Blunt knife for directions. Turn left go straight turn left again then first right on the left and look up.

sonal said...

i want to go there and never come back. things will eat me up no? how are you?????!!! where all youve been!

Rauf said...

EEEEEEE Sonal Sundaree ! wattoo ?? All praajekt pirjentasan all voveraa ? Aiyoo poor thing you, please eat well. waat taarchar these yakjaams. take care of your eyes. compeeter vampeetar ko bandh shandh karo.

I yam heeyar vonly I diddi not want to dhishtarb your shtudy.

I went whereaa ? Aiyoo porgot so soon, went after birds, went after trees. I meens I don have to run apter trees they are in one place vonly, then I went apter rain then I went apter mist. Karnataka Kerala vonly. Now no money to go yannywhere. Now something something wrong with my nose, it is not stopping, it is running and sprinting, cold cough all dat.
No doctors I hate doctors. also also no money for doctors also.

Imemine said...

Nice things to hear about J. Krishnamurti. I must agree with you: nobody is perfect.

Claudia said...

Beautiful and somewhat, inexplicably, eerie pictures.

samuru999 said...

Beautiful!

Rauf said...

Imemine, Sages saints philosophers, gurus and swamijis are absolutely useless to India.

Rauf said...

Very dense forest Claudia, yes straight out of a horror movie. silence is scary.

Rauf said...

Thank you Samuru999

e2d said...

Oh yea...one of those rare occasions where a "development" project gets shelved. But I also read somewhere about plans for a new dam project in the area. I hope those environmentalists and anyone who is concerned never gets tired of protesting.

You are right about SVP not being silent anymore.Last time I went there heard those nosiy crickets
..and ofcourse a couple of leeches got friendly with me..or perhaps they didnt want me there.Who knows..:)
Awesome pictures Rauf and funny checkpost incident.

Rauf said...

This time only one leech e2dees, that too on my wrist and I never knew about it. Leeches don't have eyes so they can't see. they sense the body heat, they caliberate exactly how far their host is and jump and land on the right spot. They are one big wonder of nature. they secrete anti coagulant (check spelling e2dees) and leech bite is just like a mosquito bite actually mosquito bite is more harmful. My leech bit me on a vein after I tapped it off, it kept bleeding in trickles for nearly half an hour.
Usually they get into my shoes and attach themselves between the toes where you can't see.

Never heard of a new dam project e2dees, this time I'll go join the protest. These jokers are bent on ruining the beauty.

Lorraine said...

Almost forgot how lovely your posts are..silence, how I yearn for it.
Silent Valley, stunning photos.
Glad to see you're still you Rauf :)

Kate said...

All photos have a beautiful mystical quality about them!

Rauf said...

Hi Lorrraine ! Traveling traveling traveling. I don't go with any purpose. I like only train rides with a window seat. pictures or anything else is a bonus. Now I am not even particular about what camera I use. After sometime I may not carry the camera at all

How you've been Lorraine. ?

Rauf said...

Mist and poor visibility make the atmosphere dramatic Kate. India being a warm country we hardly find such atmosphere.

Imemine said...

Rauf,
Absolutely. I agree. I'm glad Indians are not gullible.
Well, sometimes it helps to pay attention.

Rauf said...

Imemine,Fortunately only a microscopic minority falls at the feet of such Gurus and swamies, unfortunately that microscopic minority happens to be an educated elite who hold the power. Rest of the indians are so poor that their struggle for survival leaves no time for God, they are too busy dealing with drought hoping for rain or dealing with floods and these Gurus and swamies and sages are not interested in the lower cast people who live below the poverty line as they cannot pay. They are mostly interested in dollars and euros

Amimu said...

great photos. thanks for sharing the story as well //

Rauf said...

Thank you for your visit Amimu, Though pretty late, we have woken up now to preserve the precious rain forests. much damage has already been done. Repairing the damage and keeping up with the development is a tall order. The development is completely misdirected. We want to have what west is having which has come at a price of damaging the environment, but we the developng countries are refusing to learn.

Cari said...

Looks very tranquil and peaceful

AN exact getaway that I am looking for..:}

Rauf said...

There's a problem here Cari, If it is too peaceful and tranquil it gets scary.
Every thing in right measures is good. Water in your house for instance. Last rains, water got into our house. We panicked.In some areas the entire ground floor got submerged.

Every thing should have limits, freedom, peace yes if there's too much of peace in a country, it can only mean terror of dictatorship.Here in India Cari there's too much of freedom, that can only mean the rule of the law is very weak.

Hayden said...

wonderful, rauf! I feel rested, as if I have been on vacation. Here in Northern California we have the redwoods, such awe when I step into the quiet of a redwood forest! Not so old as your silent valley, but quiet and feels more holy than any church I've ever wandered into. Funny thing is, no insects in redwood forests either. Just silence - and the distant screetch of air brakes from the big semi's on the highway, taking another load of forest to the mill.

Rauf said...

Incidentally went to a Sunday mass at the local Church there Hayden, I had different reasons for going there far from faith, I'll post those pictures in a week. There are more pictures in Blunt knife.

Loads and loads of forsts have already been despatched from here Hayden, Luckily this small area of about 90 sq. kilometers has been left untouched. India wakes up pretty late. and we don't seem to learn from the blunders committed in the west. out of 40% of forest cover only ONLY 3% is left now.

Ruth said...

How much time did you spend in silent valley, Rauf? Was it hot? Clicking on photos seeing enlarged view is very nice. Magical.

I'm sorry to hear J.K. was not "all that." I always thought he was one who did not want to be followed, from the things he said.

thedailyposts said...

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Rauf said...

3 days there Ruth, no it was not hot in the height of summer, very pleasant rain, misty most of the time.

there is no shortage of philosophers in India Ruth, there are many who just talk, it may make great deal of sense, but just talking takes us nowhere. No Guru swamiji or philosopher has ever gone to poor developing nations, to countries ruled by dictators, to inspire the opressed. to the countries where people are killing each other. they are afraid of their own safety. they all are interested in money which lies in the western countries. just a little part of it is used for charity which is just an eye wash.

Darius said...

Same the world over - losing the silences and the spaces. The thing driving all the environmental degradation is the one thing no one seems to want to talk about because it's politically unpopular: population.

If we don't learn to control our own population, nature will control it for us.

Rauf said...

On the dot Darius
I have been saying the same from past 3 years that we are facing extiction.
We are taking more and giving less to the planet.

Lord Boo said...

lovely pics, Poms; remind me of Suicide Point in Ooty ( is it Ooty or Kodai ? ) ; it was so misty when i went there, couldn't see anything, except for a some green cover here and there. I'll ask you the directions for it next time i come home. *hugs*

Lord Boo said...

P.S : I'm sorry for the delayed visit, Poms; just found some time to relax and see your blog ( and you know when :D )
*hugs*

Rauf said...

Aree boo, me too forgot where the soocide point is I think its in kodaikanal. long time since I've been to Ooty and Kodai, too expensive for me, Can't afford the regular tourist places, Ruby went to Coonoor with her colleagues. I think I have seen your Kodai pictures, or is it yelagiri hills with dhakki pooja sandhya and who ?
ummmmmmmmmas and hugs and huggs ree ghodee boo

Zarina said...

Wonderful pictures...

e2d said...

Hi rauf! herez the link where i read about the new dam project. http://www.boloji.com/wfs2/wfs269.htm

Rauf said...

Thank you Zarina, it is an almost almost undisturbed forest, something rare in india, much damage around the area has already been done, luckily a small patch of about 90 sq kilometers is left undisturbed.

Rauf said...

Read the article e2dees, what madness, Stupid politicians, actually i regretted calling them clowns in my post, now I have no regrets. They ARE clowns It will be shelved, there are many tribal villages in attapady, they all will be affected. I'll join the protest
when you come we go make big noise.

'big noise in silent valley' good title for a movie.

seema said...

Mist and clarity ... it is as if nature chooses this veil of nature too.

Rauf said...

I was caught in a blizzrd in the Himalayas once Seema. I couldn't see my own hands. I nearly died on that day out of bitter cold and out of over confidence and my ignorance. One step could have taken me thousands of feet down. I just stood there and waited. Nature is a good teacher. Nature loves us like a mother and punishes us like a mother too. that is why we say mother nature.

Ajay said...

boy ! am i in love with this place. heaven on earth ? :)

Rauf said...

Silent valley is in Kerala Ajay, There are some very beautiful villages in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. I'll post some more pictures taken around Silent valley in a couple of weeks, please click on the title or on Blunt knife for 'the road to silent valley'

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Patty said...

gorgeous place...glad to see more images of Silent Valley.

Rauf said...

I'll be going there again Patty, after the monsoon. There is a tribal settlement there which I missed last time.

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