Subha J Rao captures the rustic beauty of Poolampatti that has featured in many a film

Erumaipatti, Raakiampati, Vellandi Valasu, Billukuruchi… these are the villages one passes en route to the Poolampatti barrage. Even the nameless hamlets on the way throb with life. The fields are being watered and weeded; women keep an eye on the livestock as well as the bubbling rice pot; village dogs soak in the afternoon sun; and men unhurriedly chomp neem twigs.

Off the National Highway at Magudanchavadi is another — of sunflowers, birds, buffaloes and tender coconuts. A long drive, a right turn, and the Cauvery greets you. It stretches past as far as the eyes can see. Coconut trees frame it on the one side and sturdy naanal (reeds) on the other. The river cuts through two districts — Poolampatti in Salem and Nerinjipettai in Erode.

On the Nerinjipettai side, the ride towards the barrage even in the noisy boat, is perfect ‘me’ time. It is also a great photo opportunity. A few tourists pretend to be Titanic’s Jack and Rose. The water, the greenery and the bright light… everyone looks like a star in the making. Probably why, Poolampatti and the villages surrounding it have featured in many films, especially those by Bhagyaraj. Raasukutti, Pavunu Pavunu Thaan… locals reel off a list of movies that have been shot here. Some film sets have been left intact; the locals still use them.

On the Poolampatti side, two fishermen ready their coracles to fetch the day’s catch. In the shallow waters, smaller fish frisk about, and swoop in on any food thrown in.

There’s little to do other than sight-see. Once you are done with boating, drive to the barrage taking a road through the fields. Get on to the bridge for a view of the water from above.

POOLAMPATTI

Getting there

Magudanchavadi, en route to Salem, is about 140 km from Coimbatore. Take a left there, and drive on till Edappadi, 18 km away. Poolampatti is 11 km from there.

What not to miss

Take the ferry to Nerinjipettai (Rs. 5), walk down the village that cultivates paddy and cotton, and take a return ferry to Poolampatti.

Or, opt for a 20-minute ride on the bigger boat that takes you on a round of the water body. It costs Rs. 300 for a group of five people. An additional person is charged Rs. 50. You can drive up to the barrage, which is about a km from Poolampatti and take in the vast expanse of water.

Where to stay

Coimbatore, Erode or Salem. Poolampatti is just a couple of hours from Coimbatore and less than an hour from Erode and Salem.

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