PIcnic at Dolphin Nose - Swatantra Kalra
Photo: Swatantra Kalra

Trek to Dolphin Nose

When my Mama first told me we were going to trek to Dolphin Nose, I thought, it was a really funny name. What kind of place would this be like? Just a nose sticking out of a cliff? Or would there be more of the dolphin? I was excited to find out. 

We chose a Sunday for the trek. That morning, my friends Zac and Zoe came over, and after a quick breakfast, we set out for Dolphin Nose. 

Map from Fern Hill Road to Dolphin Nose. Follow at own risk.

If you want to try this trek too, you can follow the map we drew for you. But please don’t blame me if you get lost. Haha! Just kidding ok. It was not a difficult trek at all, and the only chance we had of getting lost was at Seven Roads Junction. But let me begin from the beginning. 

We started from Fernhill Road, all three of us skipping along with our backpacks, and with our parents behind. Our parents were very useful in stopping traffic so we could cross roads, and carrying our bags when we got tired. They were also very useful whenever we had to pay for anything along the way. 

As we walked along, one of us tripped on a wire. We were startled thinking it was a snake. But we soon realised what it was and all had a good laugh. We tried to fool some passerby too, but nobody was as silly as us I guess. 

Finally leaving the traffic behind, we stopped under a rocky place. As our parents sat down, chatting, the three of us decided to climb that rock face. Though it took us just five to six steps to reach the top of that rock, we felt like we had climbed Mount Everest. We sat atop that rock, singing “We climbed Mount Everest, We climbed Mount Everest”, much to the amusement of our parents. 

Credit: Swatantra Kalra

After that great achievement, we continued walking. Plucking wild strawberries and raspberries from along the road. They were delicious. I hope you manage to find some too whenever you go on this trek. Oh, and we also found some dandelions. I didn’t know that you could make a wish while blowing a dandelion, and your wish could come true. As soon as I heard this, I quickly blew on one, and wished that there would be no tourists at Dolphin Nose (It being a Sunday, only a magical wish could make that happen). 

Credit: Swatantra Kalra

As we moved ahead, we saw something even taller than our Mount Everest. It was the TV tower. Wow! Did you know that this TV Tower is the second tallest TV tower in all of India. Second tallest it may be, but it is definitely the one closest to the sky.

With that exciting thought we continued our trek (which was more like a stroll by now). We walked past the La Saleth Church, and then little further down we took the small dirt road on the left for Vattakanal. We were greeted by a board that read ‘Keep Vattakanal Clean’, with some plastic wrappers thrown just under it. This would have been really funny, if the place was not so beautiful. We made some remarks about the trash, and walked into this beautiful forest. Not very far away, we could hear water gushing and voices. It was a waterfall with tourists clicking selfies in the water with their pants rolled up, and soaking wet. We giggled at the sight, and kept going, hoping to reach the quieter parts soon.

Well we only reached a traffic jam of motorcycles stuck between jeeps and cars. The best part about walking is that without honking we managed to get ahead of everybody who were on wheels. We patted ourselves on the back, and as a reward, our parents decided to stop for lunch at Altaf’s Café. Yes, our stroll had taken us over two hours to get to here. Apparently, Dolphin Nose was just ahead. Or so we thought.

We had a good (really good) lunch at Altaf’s. Hummus and chintzels and sandwiches and fries. With our tummies full, we set out for the last part of our trek. Downhill from Altaf’s towards Dolphin Nose.

We met lots of interesting people as we walked down. Mostly people walking back up, huffing and puffing, and stopping for breath. We also met some monkeys. Let me give you some good advice about the monkeys on this trek. They will grab anything you have in your hands. If it looks like something eatable. Anything shiny. Any packet. A bottle. A small bag. Either you put everything inside a backpack or don’t be startled when they grab things from your hands. Zac was so surprised. He picked up an empty bottle of coke (he loves picking up trash and making things from it) and a monkey snatched it right out of his hands. We were all more careful after that. We also met a curious Giant Malabar squirrel. I have spotted them around Kodaikanal, but never up so close. This one didn’t seem to be afraid of humans, in fact it seemed to be posing and showing off its beautiful bushy tail. All photos taken, we moved on. 

In spite of all the trash thrown about by the visitors, this path still managed to look so beautiful. Especially the steps. Some places it is just rock, but some places roots criss-cross the path forming natural steps.

Credit: Swatantra Kalra

Finally, after almost four hours (you can complete this trek in an hour) we reached Dolphin Nose. It was not as funny looking as I expected it to be. It looked quite awesome. Stretching out over the forest below. People were taking turns to sit on the ‘nose’ and dangle their feet over the valley below, as their pictures were clicked by professional photographers. Seriously! There were professional photographers, who even had a tent at the back of the nose where they printed out the photos they clicked. 

Credit: Swatantra Kalra

We didn’t go out on the nose. Our parents said that we would come back on a weekday, it would be empty, and we could sit wherever we wanted – if we were careful of course. We just sat there and enjoyed the view.

The trek back up was the most difficult part of the whole trip. But we made stops everywhere, remembering the huffing-puffing people we met while walking down. We stopped for nimbu pani. And then for ice cream. And then just like that. 

Credit: Swatantra Kalra

Zac found two empty five litre bottles of mineral water, and insisted on carrying it back with him. To make a cow from one of them, he said, don’t ask me how. I helped him carry one of the bottles. We soon began to beat the bottles with sticks we found along the way, and Zac blew into an harmonica. We soon had a band, walking up from Dolphin Nose. Now as we climbed back up, singing, we saw a horse galloping down the path, straight for us. We managed to quickly jump aside. The horse, which had some sacks on its back, was followed by a tall handsome man in a lungi, running barefoot. And then another man with a horse carrying a gas cylinder. We were surprised. The lady at the nimbu pani shop solved the mystery for us. She told us that those were villagers from Vellagavi. It is a small village that has no road, and can only be reached by trekking down six kilometres past Dolphin’s Nose. How amazing is that, we thought. That is one trek we promised to try someday soon. But a six kilometer walk down would mean twenty hours at the rate we walked today.

With all this new and exciting information, and our singing, we finally reached back up in Vattakanal. We decided we had walked enough for the day, and so hired a cab to take us back home.

On the way back, we made up a joke about the trek – 

Q. How long does it take to trek to Dolphin Nose? 

A. I don’t know, Dolphin knows!

It was a lovely trek, and would really recommend it to you. But just a request : please don’t litter the place, and try and pick up at least one piece of trash on your way back up. Thank you for reading. Have a nice day.

Reet Kalra

Nine-year-old Reet Kalra is originally from Punjab. She has been living in Kodaikanal since June 2019, with her parents and elder brother.

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